Wednesday is the Best Day Off

Wednesday is the Best Day Off

Years ago I was working too much and burning out as a software engineer. I had been working solo on a multi-quarter project, and the sense of loneliness, focus, and pressure to deliver had worn on me. I began considering different jobs, a break from work in general, all of the things engineers do and consider when times get hard and no change is in sight.

Rather than do something extreme, I recalled a few times in the previous year where I had to do errands during the week on Wednesday and took the day off. Those weeks seemed easier than most, so I figured it would be valuable to try it as a solution to stress.

I took of 5 days for a month – every Wednesday. This didn't affect much from a productivity standpoint, but made my job and work situation feel so incredibly different. Here's what I found.

  1. It feels like you have a 2-day week, then a short weekend, then another 2-day week then a long weekend.
  2. You have a whole day every week to deal with life stuff and do errands that can't be done on the weekend.
  3. You're never more than 2 days from a weekend.
  4. You're never more than 2 days since your last day off.

Most of the time, I've seen people trying to take Monday or Friday to try to get more time off in a batch, but the evidence shows that anything less than 7 vacation days in a row isn't helpful for restorative time off--that a single additional day off added to a weekend isn't more restorative than a weekend, in fact it can feel like a waste.

Instead, I recommend breaking your week into pieces, taking your Wednesday, and having two small weeks instead of one big one. Maybe this is the polyphasic sleeping equivalent of working?