We’ve all had those moments where work takes over our lives. For me, the wake-up call came quite literally—I fell asleep in a chair, muttering about my CV. It was a stark reminder that I needed to find a better work/life balance.

As a freelancer, I’ve always prided myself on my work ethic. But, like many of us, I sometimes find it hard to switch off. That’s when I decided to make a change and embrace a more focused work schedule.

The realisation

The moment I realised things had to change was both humorous and sobering. There I was, asleep in my chair, talking in my sleep about my CV. It was a clear sign that work was invading my downtime. I knew I needed to reclaim my personal life and be more present for my loved ones.

The plan: Becoming a Working T.W.A.T.

Inspired by the concept of working smarter, not harder, I set a new goal: to become a Working T.W.A.T. (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays). Here’s why this approach appealed to me:

  • Focused Work Days: By concentrating my client-facing work into three days, I can give my undivided attention to each project without the constant juggling.
  • Quality Over Quantity: Fewer workdays mean I need to be more productive during those times, ensuring the work I produce is of the highest quality.
  • Personal Time: With Mondays and Fridays free, I have dedicated time for hobbies, family, and personal growth—allowing me to recharge and return to work refreshed.

Making it happen

Transitioning to this new schedule wasn’t without its challenges. Here are the steps I took to make it work:

  1. Communicating with Clients: I informed my clients about my new working hours, reassuring them that this change would enhance the quality of my work.
  2. Setting Boundaries: I established clear boundaries, avoiding work-related tasks on my off days. This meant resisting the urge to check emails or take on ‘just one more task.’
  3. Prioritising Tasks: I started prioritising my workload, focusing on the most important tasks during my working days to ensure everything gets done efficiently.

The benefits

Since adopting this new schedule, I’ve noticed several positive changes:

  • Increased Productivity: With a clear focus on workdays, I’ve become more efficient, completing tasks faster and with greater accuracy.
  • Improved Wellbeing: Having more time for myself has significantly reduced stress and improved my overall wellbeing.
  • Better Relationships: I’m more present with my family and friends, enjoying quality time without the constant distraction of work.

Final thoughts

Balancing work and life is a journey, and what works for one person may not work for another. For me, becoming a Working T.W.A.T. has been a game-changer, allowing me to enjoy the best of both worlds.

If you’re feeling overwhelmed by work, consider what changes you can make to find a better balance. Whether it’s reducing your hours, setting boundaries, or finding a new focus, small steps can lead to big improvements.

Remember, it’s not about working less—it’s about working smarter and living more.

Andrew

Andrew Backhouse is a Yorkshire-based artist working with time-based media and digital collage. He is a self-confessed radio geek and he hopes to share his wonder. He also wants to share his naivety and enthusiasm for finding something interesting. Henri Chopin, AGF, and RuPaul influence Andrew’s artistic enquiry. Documenting “The new shiny thing,” Andrew tries to share his excitement for it. But, he also asks about its authenticity and worth.

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