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Working half days

Both my wife and my mother-in-law are visiting family in Mexico, while I’ve stayed back to take care of the kids while they go to school.

Instead of taking two weeks off, I decided to work half days. There were some interesting finds that I would like to share with you here today.


My days have been highly focused. I start the day by waking up at five AM, getting the kids ready for school, preparing breakfast for myself, going to the gym, and listening to the latest audiobook.

I do all of this in about an hour and a half every morning before opening my computer to start work.

During the period, I have set up timers to make sure that we have breakfast on time, brush our teeth on time, and leave the house with enough time to get on the school bus.

It gives me enough of a window for me to go hit the gym in the morning and then make it all the way back home, shower, and start the workday.

Once I open up my computer, I do about 15 minutes of reading to catch up on Yesterday’s happenings or anything else important that might have happened in the company.

I then move on to a couple of one-on-ones, and then I spend the last hour before I close my computer writing up documentation and replying to relevant conversations.

I usually have a to-do list that grows every day, and I’m sure many of you can relate to this, but since I have a tight time constraint of only half my day, I feel the urgency to ruthlessly prioritize my to-do list. 

If I see something in there that was nice to follow up on in the past, I just mark it off and remove it from my to-do list, or delegate it to someone, or delay responding to it.

This framework of delete, delay or delegate is something I have used in the past, but it kind of went sideways as of late.

With my new time constraint, I only get to work on what truly adds value. Everything else is deleted, delayed, or delegated.

Fewer meetings

My typical day today is full of meetings, but since I’m working half days, I just canceled out all the meetings I had and only kept one-on-ones.

I was worried about this. It is different when you take vacation time, and then there’s no expectation that you’re doing any work whatsoever. 

For this, it’s different since I am present in Slack, and people can see me replying and actually working on initiatives, headcount planning, half of the year planning, and all the other fun stuff we do as managers.

But it turns out that not going to the meetings it’s ok.

I have been able to catch up on the topics and provide my opinion.

I have been able to follow up on projects, I have been able to understand the context, I have been able to participate in planning activities, and I still feel like I know everything that is going on. 

Now I have to say that I feel lucky I can do this because my current employer has an excellent remote working culture.

Every meeting is documented, and I can watch recordings at two or two 1/2 times the speed to get myself caught up with what was said at the meeting.

Keep one-on-ones

Now the meetings I did not cancel were mainly one-on-ones.

First, I believe one-on-ones are extremely important, and they deserve my full attention.

When I was thinking about priorities, one-on-ones were always top of mind.

Second is that given that they are one-on-ones, there are only two of us involved, so it is a lot easier to move around when compared to a regular meeting.


So far, I like this experiment. 

I have found out that I am ruthlessly prioritizing now, really using my delete-delegate-delay framework. 

I am also learning that I can stay up-to-date on most topics without having to meet

Lastly, I end up prioritizing face time for my one-on-ones.

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