When you work for yourself you soon find what hours are the most productive for you. I was reflecting on this when I found myself in a Hanoi-style cafe in Saigon on a Saturday night. I usually walk around everywhere with my laptop, but this night I only had my notepad and pen at hand. With the combination of Vietnamese coffee and the atmosphere of the cafe, it was the ideal Saturday night out for me.
[At the office any day of the week in Ho Chi Minh City (Photo by Legal Nomads)]
Before I became self-employed, Saturday nights were prime working nights. In the year before I became a full-time digital nomad I was living in Dublin working a 9-to-5 job, and taking overtime whenever I was offered. In my spare time, I would work on my website projects. Even with a full-time job I would find 5 hours a day to work on my own business.
When you are working for someone else the weekends become your business weekdays. In Dublin I didn’t have internet in the share house I was living in (this was 2003) so I would spend many hours in net cafes. I found one place that was open 24 hours and they used to have an all-night special where for a few Euros you could stay all night. It was mostly gamers there on those long nights and I used to wonder if anyone else was doing non-gamey things.
One Saturday night around 2 am (Sunday, technically), a couple of drunks burst through the door. One yelled out “Look at all the nerds’ ba hahaha!”
Everyone looked up but I don’t think anyone was bothered by it; they had heard the taunts before.
The interlopers left and didn’t cause any trouble, but I recall looking at them thinking, just you wait – I will be free in a year and you guys will still be drunkenly stumbling around Dublin on a Saturday night. The mocking egged me on to make it work, even though at the time I was making no money.
I like working on the weekends, but I still meet the occasional person who looks at me sideways when I say I work every day.
Friday Night Buzz
On Friday nights there is a tangible buzz in the air. Even when you forget what day it is, you can feel it in the air when it is Friday. It is the energy exerted from the collective pent-up frustrations of office workers around the world, which is released with exclamations of TGIF while getting blind drunk.
As someone who gave up drinking I’m not a big fan of Friday night. It’s ok in Asia but if I’m in lands where binge drinking is something like a sport (UK/Ireland/Australia in particular) I prefer to stay home.
Thank God It’s Monday
Ahh Mondays, such a maligned day by so many, but for me, it is when order is restored. I can go to any one of my favourite cafes and know I will get a seat, and Monday night in Asia (when Europe and the US are getting back to work) my inbox comes alive with new work opportunities.
Foot massages on a Tuesday afternoon? Sure, why not
I work on Saturday nights but on a Tuesday afternoon if a friend calls me up and says let’s go for a coconut and foot massage, I down tools/clock off for the afternoon. One of the biggest benefits of working for myself has been the flexible work hours to take leisure when it suits me. It also allows me to travel cheaper by flying during the week, or whenever the cheapest flight option happens to be.
4-Hour Workweek? Not quite
I have no idea how many hours a week I work now. When I first started out it might have been 70 hours a week. These days I would say it is closer to 40 (definitely not 4 hours though!).
I don’t keep track of my hours and do not desire to. If I feel like knocking out more hours per week I just go with it. If that means I’m working on a Saturday night then I’m alright with that.