When You Can Work Any Time, What Time Should You Work?

For the past decade or so I have been able to more or less work whenever I want. My current schedule has me working from home 3.5 days most weeks, with one day in the warehouse and a half day meeting/collaborating with my partners.

In my last post Balancing Out the 24x7x365 Nature of Online Business I talked about the importance of setting boundaries and some of the things we’ve done to make it easier to step away from work so we’re not tethered to our laptops all day long.

What I didn’t cover is when you should work. If I really wanted to, I could work nights and weekends and take off my weekdays. Or work early mornings, take afternoons off, and work evenings. Or really any combination of work hours one can come up with.

But that’s not what I do. I work mostly between the hours of 7 AM and 5 PM, pretty typical hours. I surmise that most people working from home would end up on the same schedule eventually. Why? Because that’s when everyone else works. Social events happen on nights and weekends. Uninterrupted work time happens on the weekdays. For better or worse, that’s how it is.

The flexibility to adjust your schedule on any given day that comes with being a business owner and working from home, that’s where the real value is because you don’t ever have to miss out on an opportunity because of your rigid work schedule.

It’s the same reason that polyphasic sleep schedules like Uberman almost never work for people. It makes sense to sleep when everyone else sleeps, just like it makes sense to work when everyone else works.

2 comments on When You Can Work Any Time, What Time Should You Work?

  1. Rob says:

    I think setting boundaries can be hard, but it important. Like you, by schedule is very much my own, but I generally work when other people are working too, for me that’s usually 8:30-6:30 ish. One of the annoyances of client work can be that you’ve got to work to their timetables – as a freelancer you have the illusion of flexibility and control over your time but it’s really not the same as the kind of control you can get by giving up (most kinds of) client work.

    Interesting you linked about the polyphasic sleep schedules – I remember reading http://www.stevepavlina.com/blog/2006/04/polyphasic-sleep-the-return-to-monophasic/ a while back and he came to the same conclusions – it’s fine, but as nobody else is doing it it just doesn’t work. Perhaps when we all move to Mars a new precedent could be set?

    • Adam McFarland says:

      Haha yup, when we move to Mars we can all change at once 🙂

      I read that Steve Pavlina series a while back too! I know a few people who tried it and came to similar conclusions.

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