Why do Shorter Work Weeks Feel Longer?

Has it ever happened to you that when you are anticipating a long weekend, the week tends to pass at /10th speed? Or when you are back after a long weekend, the week just seemed to have stopped? Why do Shorter Work Weeks Feel Longer?

I am currently experiencing this weird phenomenon (I don’t know how common it might be) in which whenever the workweek is shorter, it seems to be never-ending.

After coming back from a long three days weekend, one can be particularly excited about the next week which is going to be just four days long. The long weekend ends at its own fast pace, leaving us craving for more.

You had planned almost a lifetime for those 72- hours, which took no time to fly by and might have left you with underachieved plans as well.

But that is certainly not the bad part.

The bad part the following work week, which is just four days long.

It doesn’t end.

It drags. Terribly. Period.

The Friday takes forever to come and this wait is even worse than the payday wait!

Sushmita Malakar | Why do Shorter Work Weeks Feel Longer?
Why do Shorter Work Weeks Feel Longer?

And this desperation to reach the weekend, even though it is a typical two days weekend, made me do a li’l bit of research to find out if this phenomenon is even real?

There are proper research papers available which state that a shorter working week after a public holiday seems to go by 20% slower. And it turns out that there are many reasons due to which time stops.

Sometimes, your work is so monotonous that even if you are busy throughout and your time should ideally pass faster, the exact opposite happens. Or the company that you keep might keep the time for pacing at its average pace. Also, since your standard waiting time is usually five days, the unexpected wait of four days tend to seem longer.

So, is there a way to combat that? There surely are, according to one of the many types of research available. I am sharing the tried and tested ones with you.

Why do Shorter Work Weeks Feel Longer? Try these!

Learn something new that week

You might be caught up with work, which, as discussed earlier, is monotonous. So, pause for a moment. Think about what you have always wanted to learn. Look for it. Enrol in some structured training. The “fresh start” feeling helps a lot in making the time fly by at an average pace, if not faster.

Change your point of focus

When I say that, I mean, change your work station. Sit on some other seat or work from the office break-out area, if that helps. If you are working from home, maybe change your place from your usual bedroom to the hall or something. This helps in chasing the monotony away.

Set timelines in terms of task and not time

This one is the most effective. Instead of planning a task for every day of the week or every hour of the day, plan the day task wise. Doing this makes you less aware of the time.

Having said all of that, this is a complete psychological phenomenon. Its very subjective how each individual deals with it. For me, these things worked.

Happy a great week ahead!

4 Comments
  1. @Ronnie Dada
    A shorter week never seemed like a longer one to you? That is strange! I know about this research but organizations here in India surely don't keep up with such researches – for sure!

  2. I have never felt this. I have felt the opposite though, shorter bursts of work can lead to great efficiency. Because you know you can work all out for a short time before getting rest. Its like giving Shoib Akhtar a 2 over spell where he can bowl extreme pace rather than giving him 10 overs to bowl where he feels overwhelmed by the task. Research also indicates that shorter working hours in a week leads to more efficiency than dragging on for hours.

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