My 25 Hour Work Week

Before the green-eyed monster dogs you, let me just assure you that I have done my best to ward it off by publishing this post on a Friday morning.

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You might feel like TGIF, but the weekend is actually the busier period of the week for me. While you are winding off like most other employees, I will be working hard trying to bring home the dough.

Besides the unstable income, I have a feeling this might be one of the top reasons why unengaged employees do not ever take the plunge to try out self-employment or even entrepreneurship. Well, even with my somewhat “chillax” schedule, I find it hard to free up pockets of time when most others are free.

Just take a look. (A closer look if you’re interested in stalking me.)

Timetable

Components of My 25 Hour Work Week

1. Work & Income (Green & Grey Boxes)

Yes, I know. It’s not 15 hours. I am definitely not “there” yet…

And there’s even a little bit of cheating here. If I include the periphery work hours spent on lesson preparation, we could be talking about clocking 30 hours a week.

Obviously, the shorter hours come with its own set of trade-offs. Many lessons are either on weekday evenings or the weekends, traditional periods of time reserved for the family.

Since I am also not working long hours (and I am paid hourly) the income is not exactly high either. On average, for the past 3 months, I am earning ~$700-$800 per week. To put things into perspective, it’s definitely more than enough to subsist but a fraction of the annual package that I used to draw.

2. Rest Time (Blue Boxes)

From an introverted individual’s point of view, the above are trade-offs that I am happily making.

Even though I had the same amount of rest time when I was in the “hated office”, they are not exactly the same. I was always conscious of my behaviour and was never one to openly take a nap or shut-eye in the office, even when I had a bad sleepless night the day before. I also wouldn’t court controversies by whipping out a book to read or playing games on the computer.

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However, now that I am self-employed, without the need to portray an “image” to peers, subordinates and bosses, I an do whatever I want during my rest time. Be it playing games, reading, writing, catching up on housework or even taking a nap, I CAN IF I WANT TO.

There’s plenty of these hours on the non-peak weekday mornings and afternoons for me to recharge.

3. Social (Purple Boxes)

I am reserved, but definitely not reclusive. Since the time during “peak hours” is more limited, I am also more selective in the groups of people I meet. Therefore, do be honoured if I decide to meet up with you instead of spending couple time with the Mrs or being out with my family.

In the case you are free on weekday mornings or afternoons, I am always open to meeting up for coffee or lunch. Especially if you’re treating. *wink*

I am also lucky that the Mrs is understanding enough. It is difficult for me to reject parents who want to squeeze in additional lessons nearer their kids’ tests or examination and when I comply, it inadvertently results in less time for her.

But well, I guess I make it up by reducing the amount of housework she ever needs to do.

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She does this every night… just kidding!


I have been freelancing full-time for the past 3 months and felt compelled to share my experience in case anyone is thinking of making a similar leap as me. Just paying it forward.

So far, things look pretty much sustainable to me and I really sense my stress levels have reduced tremendously. Things and time are more within my control than ever.

Life’s a breeze and I am enjoying it. Hope it continues…

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    22 thoughts on “My 25 Hour Work Week

    1. Ajith

      I have been freelancing for the past one year. I agree with you that it takes a lot of discipline to stick to your schedule; there is no boss who is watching you !

      But the freedom to be your own boss surpasses all the guaranteed and fixed income from a salaried position.

      I am enjoying myself; I go for walks, read books ( actually read; previously I bought books, never read them) and allow myself the luxury of a few good meals in a week), some travelling in the region, catching up with friends; what more do you need ?

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Ajith,

        Glad that you are enjoying life in your fifties. I definitely have lots to learn from you.

        You probably understand best why I try to do up a schedule. Otherwise, one can easily go overboard with the surfing, youtubing and of course, for me, gaming.

    2. Dividend Knight

      Hi,

      That is a nice-looking and sensible schedule. I hope to semi-retire soon too and have a more flexible and relaxed lifestyle…..

      Btw, do u still teach during school holidays in June and December? If not, u can do some overseas travelling!

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Dividend Knight,

        I actually prefer to travel during non-peak periods. I am actually going to Taiwan in a month’s time.

        June holidays could be a busier period than normal since students’ mornings are freed up. Those preparing for national exams could well add lessons. But well, I am not complaining.

        Good luck with your semi-retirement plans. A look at your portfolio indicates that you are not far away.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Black,

        I guess in short, if I look forward to meeting them, I would. It’s all gut feeling.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi SMOL,

        Of course. Leisure is important. We time is sacred, must be protected. We could be enjoying a movie, playing some iPad games or just chat about our day at work. Or just spend some time window shopping at malls.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Cory,

        I need a schedule to be more productive. Otherwise, I could get obsessed over certain activities and it becomes a downward and vicious spiral. I have experienced such cycles before the previous year when I had too much time on my hand.

    3. LP

      ENVIOUS!

      You shld take a look at my weekends… This yr is an odd yr for me. I have EXTREMELY busy weekends, but extremely lax weekdays. I find that better actually. I just need a full day without work to recharge, haha

      Our definition of lax differs too. A lax day is no work or 2 hrs of work. 4 to 6 hrs is the norm for me, considered a light day. Anything more or equals to 8 hrs per day is a long day.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi LP,

        Envious? The irony of life. You are trying to get to my position but I am try to reach yours?

        I am trying to aim for a higher income. Maybe $1,000 a week next year? But without working much more than currently. Not too greedy right? LOL

        I know I can’t work like you. 4 lessons and I would be quite exhausted at the end of the day. I really don’t know how you handle it. Like you mentioned, the sweet spot is probably 2-3 lessons a day. Good balance. At that stage, is it semi-retirement? =p

    4. The Finance Smith

      That’s a detailed plan for the week! I like how there is plenty of exercise time in the schedule. It’s the one thing that really gets to me when I work in the office, just a big mental struggle to make time to exercise more often.

      Cheers,
      TFS

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi TFS,

        Yes, I find it easier and less tiring to make time for exercise in the mornings these days. 5 days a week hasn’t proved to be too difficult for me to maintain.

        I might not be commenting on your blog but I am definitely lurking around. Looking forward to you sharing more about your experience down under!

    5. K

      Kudos on your courage to take a temporary pay cut in search of better work / life satisfaction. It is something I struggle with.

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi K,

        Thanks for your kind words. I am sure with a little more planning and preparation, you would be able to make the leap too!

    6. Mr 400k

      Hi Mr 15HWW,

      It’s heartening to see you well embarked on a be-your-own-boss path and truly enjoying yourself. Certainly seeing no regrets from you.

      Would you consider ever going back to the corporate world again and would you be concerned if your calculations were off due to unforseen circumstances?

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Mr 400k,

        I really don’t know whether I will be going back to the corporate world again.

        Sometimes, it’s really too difficult to predict what will happen in the next 5 years, let alone the next few decades. If my calculations are off, and self-employment is not sustainable, I guess I would have to go back to the office again. At the very least, I enjoyed was a few years off the treadmill?

    7. Gencube

      Hi MR 15HWW,

      I just wanted to say I have been following your blog for awhile now and have been enjoying your articles. This particular article stroke a chord with me because I am actually doing some freelance private tuition at the moment, as long as one other part-time gig before I begin my first job in August.

      After reading on your background, I am wondering which area in finance (I am presuming banking & finance here) did you work in that caused you to leave the cushy salary package you were drawing in favour of your current lifestyle?

      Also, I would like to share that I will be commencing on my full time job as a graduate trainee in one of the global banks this august. Do you have any advise for me to prepare/enjoy/to do with my ‘spare’ time before entering the corporate world?

      Cheers,
      gencube

      1. My 15 HWW Post author

        Hi Gencube,

        Thanks for your kind comments and hope you continue to enjoy the blog!

        I actually pursued Economics in my undergraduate days and went to work in the public service. On hindsight, it’s really a cushy job with a good annual package. However, except for occasionally reminiscing about the pay, I still have no regrets leaving after fulfilling my bond.

        Hmm, advice on “spare time”? Maybe spend more time with your GF or your family? Time could be hard to come by if you’re working in a hectic line. Good to take an extended trip overseas if your finances oblige too.

        1. Gencube

          Hi there,

          My definition on ‘Spare Time’ is the fact that I owe no obligation to anyone right now. Because once I step into my full time job, I would then need to play the corporate game right and be under supervision of a ‘boss’.

          Yes, I am currently doing a couple of part-time stints so as to save enough money to allow myself to go for an extended overseas trip soon. Would you encourage me to do something such as WOOF-ing or some other volunteering work? What do you think I ‘must’ do before starting work that will give me the best benefit possible/prepare myself adequately before the working world?

          Cheers,
          Gencube

          1. My 15 HWW Post author

            Hi Gencube,

            I really don’t think there is anything that you “must” do. But is there anything you “want” to do?

            For me, before I left for my overseas exchange in university, I had certain misgivings because of the $$$ and the opp cost (tuition) involved. On hindsight, it’s probably one of my most interesting and valuable experiences ever.

            I am not sure what will work for you, so just sharing my experiences in my 3 decades thus far.