As I write this, it’s a Wednesday. What do Wednesdays mean to you? Is Wednesday just like any other day in your world? It’s not to me. For me, Wednesdays are special. Wednesdays make my freelance work life more than tolerable. Wednesdays, in fact, help me truly love my life. Here’s why.

Maximizing My Productivity through Strategic Self-Scheduling

I’ve written before about how wonderful it is to be able to set your own schedule as a freelancer. But “setting your own schedule” doesn’t mean working whenever you feel like it. At least, it doesn’t for me. I maintain a pretty strict work schedule because I’ve found it’s conducive to productivity. When I’m in the office, I’m there to work – not to surf the web, check Facebook, or balance the household checkbook. Maintaining set “office hours” helps me focus on work.

However, I don’t work full-time. As my career evolved, I started analyzing my energy levels in relation to the quantity and quality of work I was producing over a traditional work week. I learned I’m not maximally productive when I force myself into the office five days in a row.  I discovered I require mental rest time to maximize my work output. I knew I needed to get strategic about how I structured my work week.

The Midweekend Concept

Once I gained this insight into my working style, I began experimenting with taking a day off during the week. It sounded heavenly to consider taking every Monday off. Who wouldn’t love a work life with no Mondays?? But I found I’m actually the most productive on Mondays, so that plan was scuttled quickly.

Then I tried taking Fridays off. Again, no dice. In theory a three-day weekend every week sounds great, but I realized I had trouble shifting back into work mode every Monday.

Then I came up with the concept of a “midweekend.”

I decided, rather arbitrarily, to try taking every Wednesday off. I had already learned I am not effective as a writer when I force myself to sit at the keyboard for more than two hours at a stretch. I thought maybe the same concept would apply to entire work days. By taking Wednesdays off, I would work two highly productive days in a row, then take a rest day, then go back at it at full speed again for two more days.

When I was talking to my husband about this, I called it my “weekend in the middle of the week – my ‘midweekend,’ if you will.” The term stuck.

The Recharging Effect of a Midweekend

In her book The Artist’s Way, Julie Cameron reminds us of the importance of engaging in artistic pursuits outside our profession so that we free our minds to be maximally playful and creative. Even though writing may be a creative career, other artistic activities can stimulate inspiration for our writing lives. I truly believe this to be the case.

And so I spend some of each Wednesday not only getting away from the written word but pursuing arts and crafts. For me, this means cooking. I love to cook. I find it very relaxing and a great creative outlet.

I also take time for myself on Wednesdays. Some of you may know I care for my mother, who is elderly and has dementia (and lives with me and my husband). “Me time” can get scarce around here, and I desperately need it to stay creative in my job. So on Wednesdays I often take myself out to lunch, go to the salon, or simply head to the bookstore and browse.

The Midweekend as a Cure for Workaholism

I would be a workaholic if I had my way. I am the type of person who would work at all hours of the day and night, burning myself out spectacularly. Part of the reason I enforce a strict work schedule is to keep myself in check.

On Wednesdays I force myself to stay out of the office. I do check my work email on my phone occasionally, but I absolutely do not get on my computer. This enforced rest period allows my brain to relax. It is as good for my mood as it is for my professional productivity.

Have you thought about the way you structure your freelance work life? What days and hours do you work (or do you plan to work, once you get started)? Post your answers in the comments!

Wishing you well,