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Who Says I Have To Work To Your Schedule?

January 7, 2010

If you have read my blog the last few days you would have noticed that i) i have returned from a dormant phase in the blogersphere and ii) i have set myself a 21 day challenge to test out the theory that if you do something every day for 21 days it will become a habit.

Well it’s Day 3 of my challenge and it’s going well at the moment as i have been to the gym every day this week (twice yesterday actually), im eating healthy and im also, as you can see, blogging daily too.
Rather than bore you with the salad that i ate today or how many reps i did with a dumbbell, i think it’s about time i got you people thinking. Now how can i do that? I didn’t think of this whilst in the sauna this evening, as i have spoken about this topic with people previously, but i would like to get your thoughts about the working week and the infamous eight hour day.

As it stands in the UK, the standing working week is eight hours per day and five days per week. In this time we are to achieve whatever tasks our job relies upon so that we can be set free for our two days off. Now before anyone starts assuming ive done masses of research to justify any argument, i haven’t. I try and keep my posts off the cuff enjoyable, with a slight twist of nerd, and maybe add in a hint of controversy. Okie dokie…

As everything in life comes in twos (good/bad, yes/no, boy/girl, Alex Reid/Roxanne) i want to understand, the concept of self employed (freelance) and employed. So, hypothetically, if i am employed by a company, i tend to accept the fact that i am secured into a contract of 35-40 hours, over a five day period, right? And if i am self employed or freelance, i choose my hours and work around my clients or something like that.

So who invented the theory that we work this five day period? Robert Owen that’s who. Well this plank isn’t alive for me to interview, so i’ll just expand my argument a little further myself.

My theory is this: If you were given a project to complete, to work on all week (Monday – Friday), due in on Friday afternoon, it would probably take you all week to complete. Maybe because you procrastinate a bit and get it done Thursday evening, or because you may be a perfectionist and research the f**k out of it, anyway, what if, you were offered an all expenses paid trip to Las Vegas, leaving on the Wednesday, but only if you could get the project completed by Tuesday? The next day, that is.
Erm…. “I can’t do it, i need all week to complete this”? Sorry but i don’t think i would hear those words.

The point of the argument is that society has a grasp on the employed person, stating that this is your week, in this week you have X amount of tasks and these tasks will take all this week to complete. Why will they take all week? The reason is because there is no incentive to complete them sooner. You’re not receiving any direct benefits, and as your boss, their job (instructed to them by their head honcho) is to make sure all the tasks are complete by that Monday morning meeting.
If you do complete it before Friday, they’ll probably only tell you to double check it or throw you another task anyway!! No company boss wants to see someone excel so quick by completing tasks effortlessly with no reason, because they become a challenge. In a recession, who wants a challenge? No thanks, lets keep the pawns doing as they are told.

So do we argue? Nope, because all we care about is 1) making our bosses happy 2) ensuring we still have a job and 3) guaranteeing that pay cheque.

However, If it was your company or if you are freelance, it would be a different story though right? The deadline is yours to meet, and if you achieve it in quicker time, you have more time to seek further opportunity, you have a happy client, you can enjoy yourself and feel proud for the achievement, bum around with your spare time, play with your kids or whatever. You improve as an individual knowing you can achieve tasks without being set deadlines externally, moreover you are your own boss, and understand the simple rule that time management is pivotal to success.
This success is something an employer does not want to see, because an employer needs you, to do your job, that makes them money.

Recently i undertook this challenge myself from both sides of the spectrum; i was given a task by a previous employer; to create a digital proposal for their company. It was set on a Friday and due the following Friday. I completed it at 3pm on deadline day. Could i have completed it a day before, two days before, or even the previous weekend? Of course! But i didn’t because i had no reason to. I was employed by that company and paid to be there daily, Monday to Friday. I may as well keep myself entertained on a project than i was immersed in, than start a new project mid-week and give myself extra work at no extra benefit.

I then had a freelance task, to create a blog post, set in mid December with a deadline for January 4th. I completed this post before Christmas. Now what made me complete this task way before the deadline? Incentive, that’s why. The benefits of proving you are a competent manager of yourself and your time, with the ability to guarantee completion and prepare for the next opportunity.

So going back to the theory of society and the five day week; who says i have to work to this schedule? If you are employed, begin working to your own deadlines (obviously don’t over run any set deadlines) and see what potential you have by excelling beyond the restraints of your employer. The next time you get set a project or a task with a deadline, ask yourself if this could be completed much sooner, if you complete it sooner, what do you gain or would you prefer to just complete it by the deadline set?

Please share your thoughts on this theory, i’d love to hear from both sides of the playing field.

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10 comments

  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Luca Massaro, Luca Massaro. Luca Massaro said: New Post: Who Says I Have To Work To Your Schedule? http://bit.ly/4uDcLK […]


  2. Brilliant post Luca! I have cursed that punk Robert Owen many a time… grrrrrr
    I think it also comes down to whether an individual works better under pressure or not. I know i do. So generally i leave things until quite late in the day as that is when my creative streak kicks in!


    • Thanks Adele for the comment. What you are saying about pressure counting of course is an aspect for most people, but remember your all expenses paid trip to Vegas. Could you complete the project in one day?


  3. “It was set on a Friday and due the following Friday. I completed it at 3pm on deadline day.”

    This is me, I think. Many people also suffer from the problem I have; For any work due in, do it as late as possible on the night before! LOL


    • Exactly Lee i know that one. That was me all over at Uni. Lol


  4. Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by iamluca: New Post: Who Says I Have To Work To Your Schedule? http://bit.ly/4uDcLK


  5. Hey, ok, I get it, I guess – but does this really work?


    • Only one way to find out right? Try implement it with the next deadline you get set or set one for yourself.


  6. Nice piece Luca!

    In my opinion it is not down to the individual whether the work is completed in front of schedule, it’s down to management.

    As you say; if there is no incentive to work faster – why would you? No incentive = no motivation.

    Check out Frederick Winslow Taylor and his Scientific Management Theory, interesting stuff! (for geeks)


  7. Nice piece Luca!

    In my opinion it is NOT down to the individual whether the task at hand is completed ahead of schedule or not, it is down to the management of that individual.

    As you say; if their is no incentive to work harder/faster-why would you? No incentive= No motivation.

    Check out the Godfather of Scientific Management: Frederick Winslow Taylor, his theory tries to put regimentation and motivation into practice, kinda interesting!



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