20-Hour Work Week: 12 Real Schedules To Try | Buildremote (2023)

20-Hour Work Week: 12 Real Schedules To Try | Buildremote (1)

What is a 20-hour work week?

A 20-hour work week is often structured as five work days with four hours of work per day. An alternative format is to work 6-7 hours per day for three days per week. These are the types of people who work this schedule: 1) part-time employees, 2) freelancers or contractors, or 3) entrepreneurs who own their own businesses.

In 1930, economist John Maynard Keynes predicted his grandchildren would work 15 hours per week due to improvements in technology and, therefore, productivity. In other words, the robots would do the work and we’d reap the rewards. But for whatever reason, the economist’s great-great grandkids are in the workforce now and most full-time employees are still stuck at the 40-hour work week, which ironically was widely adopted starting in 1926 (just a few years before Keynes’s prediction).

There are people who work 20 hours per week these days, but they are either part-time employees, contract workers, or entrepreneurs who set their own schedules.I asked our list of contributors to share their weekly work schedules if they work about 20 hours per week. I received 23 replies, and we’re highlighting a range of unique formats here.

Creative Schedules If You Work 20 Hours Per Week

Five by Four

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

I typically start work around 7:30 a.m. and work until lunch. This leaves my afternoons free.

When I retired, I struggled with finding a purpose. I started documenting our travels and found a new passion as a content creator. However, I did not want or need a full-time job, so I chose to work part-time. I am most productive in the morning and find if I work later in the day, I am extremely unfocused. Plus, I love the feeling of accomplishing a project before lunch. Therefore I normally work in the morning and spend the afternoon doing fun stuff like hiking, biking, and exploring amazing places.

– Kara Metcalf of Trying To Unwind

My work week is structured into the mornings. I work a typical Monday to Friday, but only from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. This allows me to have afternoons and evenings free to develop personal projects, organize any events, or meet potential collaborators in a more personal setting while allowing me time to spend with my children. I wouldn’t say I’m doing much less work, as those four hours are completely focused on doing the most I can and really utilizing the time I have. Of course, sometimes you have to put in more hours, but I try to keep to this focused ideal as much as possible.

It was mostly decided through knowing that I work better in the morning, allowing for short sharp bursts instead of a longer, slower day, and it also allowed me freedom in the afternoons with my family.

– Alex Mastin of Home Grounds

Three-Day Week

22 hours per week over Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

I decided to work midweek days so I would have an extra-long weekend.

I decided to work this schedule because I have two children and don’t want to do full-time work anymore. Working mid-week gives me a good presence at work and allows me to have an extra-long weekend. I feel like I have more of a work-life balance now and am happier with my time management.

(Video) Steal My 20 HOUR WORK WEEK Morning Routine

– Amber Rogers of My Chicken Guide

The Afternoon Shift

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

I work four hours a day, five days a week. Monday through Friday, 1 p.m-5 p.m.

I’ve never been a morning person, so now I take mornings off to enjoy a couple of cups of coffee and spend a few hours in the gym before starting my day. Building my working hours around the way my psyche works has made me far more productive, effective, and successful, and I’m kind of sorry that I didn’t start working “The Afternoon Shift” a lot earlier.

– Robert Greene of Price of Meat

Daily Time Blocking

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday

I structure my typical work week in a way that I need to balance work, doing household chores, taking care of my baby, and taking care of myself. I grind from Monday to Saturday, but I don’t allow myself to work on Sunday (even if I want to sometimes), just to give myself a day to breathe and relax.

Having flexible time and working 20 hours per week is life-changing. I get to learn better time management, develop strong discipline, and (most especially) make the most of my “holy hour,” a time when I could be the most productive. Cheesy as it may seem, my schedule helped me be a better version of myself (in terms of my career and my family life), so I’m really grateful for it.

– Arvie Narido of Gift Rabbit

Productive Fun

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday

I have divided the 20-hour weekly work schedule into two parts where I actively work on business functioning for 10 hours and the remaining 10 hours on creating business, marketing, and brand ideas. To enhance my productivity, in a week I spend 15 hours in the office and five hours in an open environment like a cafe, co-working space, etc. Post-pandemic, I have set time apart for workouts, meditation, my family, and hobbies.

The new schedule enables me to achieve greater productivity while investing fewer work hours.

– Karthik Manoharan of WeCodee Innovations Pvt. Ltd.

The Anti-Burnout, 4-Day Week

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday

(Video) Jordan Peterson on people who work 80 hours a week

I usually work around 20 hours per week. I usually take Fridays off, allowing me plenty of time to spend with my family, do chores, and relax. Additionally, it helps me stay productive for the other four days because I know I have Friday off to look forward to.

I always knew I wanted to have a family and spend time with them. However, I also knew that I wanted a successful career. When I was younger, I thought this meant working long hours and sacrificing time with my family. As I got older, I realized that there are other ways to be successful. I decided to work a four-day work week to have more time for my family. This schedule has allowed me to be more productive and efficient with my time. Additionally, it has given me more energy to devote to my family and hobbies. I am very happy with this schedule and recommend it to others.

– Kate Zhang of Kate Backdrop

20 hours per week over Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

20-Hour Work Week: 12 Real Schedules To Try | Buildremote (2)

When I put up the business, I promised myself to work at a comfortable pace to avoid burnout at all costs. After some trial and error, this is the schedule that worked best for me.

– Jack Miller of How I Get Rid Of

Fluidity and Flexibility

20 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

I have five kids, so my structure is very fluid. Most of the time, I end up staying up until 2:00 a.m. working because I haven’t had a chance to get things done earlier in the day. Thankfully I have the flexibility to do that.

My number one priority was being home with my children. Being a stay-at-home mom has been my lifelong dream. But after a few years of only doing that, I wanted something to stretch my mind. Working from home lets me earn an income, exercise my brain, and still raise my kids full-time.

– Melanie Musson of Clearsurance.com

Half-Day Bliss

25 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Weekdays: 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.

My peak productivity is in the early morning hours. I like to start the work slowly by answering emails, and as the world and corporate offices are waking up, I am moving forward to the day’s most important tasks. Usually, I am done with work by noon and have the rest of the day to myself.

(Video) How to Change Work week and Working hours of Calendar in Outlook - Office 365

– Jason Baker of Emerald House Cleaning

Three by Seven

21 hours per week over Monday, Wednesday, Friday

I work seven hours on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I spend Tuesday and Thursday with my daughter while my wife works. Most working days are a mix of responding to client inquiries, project management, and some translation, plus associated admin.

I chose this schedule to fit with my wife’s working pattern so we can manage childcare ourselves. Working one day on, one off is really refreshing, and I can highly recommend it, as I find you get less mentally tired and can achieve more after a day doing something else as opposed to the fatigue of five consecutive working days.

– Mark Hemming of Libra Translation

Two-Hour Increments

18 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Sunday

I typically work in one- to two-hour increments, never exceeding more than four hours most days. I have a target of 15-20 hours a week, so if I work a full four hours one day, I will not work at all the next, so I can spread my work throughout the week.

I am a working college student, so the hours I work are contingent on classes and other activities I have on my schedule. I find that I can easily be distracted, especially in a remote setting. By only working in small increments, I can focus on my work before pivoting to something else. This helps me keep a focused balance between each aspect of my life, especially when I eat, where I sleep, where I work, and where I play.

– Ashlyn Cook of UniMovers

Five by Three

15 hours per week over Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

I work three hours per day — according to research, the average worker is only productive for three hours per day! (Source: Inc.com). Instead of spinning my wheels trying to squeeze as much productivity out of the day as possible, I maximize my best three hours for high-quality work. Creativity requires margin, so I rejuvenate my brain by playing with my kids or doing simple tasks like folding laundry. Working from home with this structure allows me to balance taking care of everything important to me, like running my business, taking care of my family, and cultivating my home.

Running my own copywriting business gives me the power to make an impact with my words AND have a schedule flexible enough to meet the demands of caring for my young kids. It allows me to do it all — without feeling like I’m constantly on the verge of burnout!

– Megan Kachigan of Kachigan, Inc Copywriting

You-shaped Schedule

15 hours per week over Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday

(Video) Why 40 hour work weeks are a joke... | #grindreel

20-Hour Work Week: 12 Real Schedules To Try | Buildremote (3)

For years, I worked as much as I could trying to squeeze as much out of myself as I possibly could. However, my health started to go down hill, not to mention my mental health! After becoming a mother, I was determent to break this harmful pattern and show my kids I could be successful without burning myself out, or ruining my relationships in the process. That is why I prefer the “you-shaped” or “me-shaped” work schedule. It fits my family as well as my personal needs.

Because my schedule is designed to prioritize my (mental) health, I feel great 99 percent of the time. This means that when I work, I can focus, be productive and get things done quickly. I rarely waste anytime staring at my screen because I don’t know what to do, or where to start. The “you-shaped” schedule allows me to show up fully and deliver create results for my clients.

– Susanne Grant of Grant Method Coaching

Where else does the 15-hour work week come from?

In 1930, Economist John Maynard Keynes predicted his grandchildren would work 15-hour weeks due to advances in technology and productivity.

Who typically works 20 hours per week?

The 20-hour work week typically falls into three categories of workers: 1) part-time employees, 2) freelancers or contractors, or 3) entrepreneurs who own their own businesses. There are not any well-known companies that have their full-time employees on a 20-hour schedule, so this work week is typically for more unique situations.

Are there 20-hour work week jobs?

You won’t find any full-time, 20-hour jobs. If you’d like to work 20 hours per week, you need to set your search filters to part-time and/or contract work.

If you’d like to see what’s out there for flex-schedule positions and companies, take a look at Flexjobs. You’ll find dedicated filters to “flexible” and “alternative” schedules.

Search for jobs on Flexjobs.

View other unique work week schedules

This is part of our series highlighting unique work schedules. Have a look:

  • 80-Hour Work Week
  • 60-Hour Work Week
  • 50-Hour Work Week
  • 40-Hour Work Week (Creative Schedules)
  • 32-Hour Work Week
  • 30-Hour Work Week
  • > 20-Hour Work Week
  • 4-Day Work Week
  • 3-Day Work Week
  • The 9-80 Schedule
  • The 4-10 Schedule
  • Average Work Hours Per Week For Every Country

We hope you find this article useful. Just so you know, Buildremote may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page to help keep this site running.


What is the best schedule for a 20 hour work week? ›

A 20-hour work week is often structured as five work days with four hours of work per day. An alternative format is to work 6-7 hours per day for three days per week.

What is a 5 4 9 alternate work schedule? ›

There are several ways in which a compressed schedule can work. The two most common are: 5-4/9 in which you work 8 9-hour days and 1 8-hour day in the pay period and get an extra day off. 4-10 in which you work 4 10-hour days each week of the pay period and have an extra day of each week.

What is a 12 hour 2-2-3 schedule? ›

The 2-2-3 plan, also known as the Panama schedule, involves a rotational cycle of 28 days where each employee performs a daily 12-hour shift. This plan often involves four teams working for two days, taking two days off, and then working for three days. That is why it is called the 2-2-3 work schedule.

What is a 3 2-2-3 work schedule? ›

The schedule is based on a 14-day period in which employees work 2 days on, 2 days off, 3 days on, 2 days off, 2 days on, and 3 days off.

What is a 4 36 4 schedule? ›

Those 36 hours, plus the four hours from the previous Friday (when the payroll clock started at noon), add up to 40 hours. Which means the workweek is over, and the employee gets Friday off.

Is a 20 hour work week a lot? ›

For people who want flexibility, 20 hours a week is a really manageable number. It's particularly good for young people, who often want a solid gig but also value the side hustle that helps them find their purpose. And it's excellent for older people who have recently retired.

What is a 4 3 3 work schedule? ›

4-3. The 4-3 schedule uses six teams working overlapping 10-hour shifts for 24/7 coverage. You can tailor the 4-3 schedule to cover any amount of time that your business is open.

What is a 5'2 2 5 work schedule? ›

5-5-2-2 and 5-2-2-5

The second squad works 5 days on and has 2 days off, then 2 days on and 5 days off. This sequence is repeated with two more squads for night shifts. This method is great for getting consistent long breaks.

What is a 4 10 40 work schedule? ›

4/10/40: A type of AWWS consisting of four 10-hour days and one scheduled day off per week.

Can you do 2 12-hour shifts in a row? ›

The short answer is no. Although the law states that employees have the right to 24 hours of uninterrupted rest in a seven-day period, the terms need to be looked at closely.

What is a 4 1 2 work schedule? ›

As its name states, this schedule requires employees to work four consecutive day or night shifts followed by four consecutive days off. While it varies by company, employees typically rotate day and night shifts as frequently as every 8 days or as infrequently as every 24 days.

What is a 3 2 split schedule? ›

What Is The 3/2 Split Model? Put simply, the 3/2 Split or the 2-2-3 Work Schedule refers to the idea of working three days of the week in a physical office space, two at home, and having two off on the weekend.

What is a 5'8 work schedule? ›

5-8 schedule means a work schedule of not more than five (5) consecutive eight (8) hour shifts of work followed by not less than forty-eight (48) hours off duty.

What is a 4 4 work schedule? ›

It involves runs of 4 shifts followed by four rests before returning to another run of 4 shifts. Shifts can be grouped in runs of 12 hour days and 12 hour nights or 2 days followed by 2 nights and then four rests.

What is the most productive work schedule? ›

Specifically, the most productive people work for 52 minutes at a time, then break for 17 minutes before getting back to it (similar to the Pomodoro Method—more on that here). The employees with the highest productivity ratings, in fact, don't even work eight-hour days.

What is a 5 2 5 3 schedule? ›

The officer will work 5 days on, 2 days off, 5 days on, and 3 days off. We noticed this pattern was used in law enforcement departments ranging from 25-50 people.

What is the healthiest shift work schedule? ›

In general, 8-hour shifts are preferable to 12-hour shifts. Circadian physiology suggests that morning shifts should begin no earlier than 8:00 am for the physiological best fit to circadian rhythmicity.

What is a 9 8 80 work schedule? ›

A 9/80 work schedule is a way of compressing the standard five-day workweek. With a 9/80 schedule, employees work 80 hours over nine days instead of the usual 80 hours over ten days. In total, an employee works eight nine-hour days, one eight-hour day, and has one day off over the two workweeks.

How much is 20 dollars an hour 40 hours a week? ›

To figure out how much $20 an hour is per year, multiply $20 by how many hours you work. For most full-time jobs, that's 40 hours per week for 52 weeks, or 2,080 hours per year, if you don't take any time off. That means $20 an hour is $41,600 a year.

How much is $20 an hour for 20 hours a week? ›

$20 an hour is about $400 per week working part time (about 20 hours per week).

How many hours a week is ideal work? ›

If you want to achieve the perfect blend of productivity, happiness, and time affluence, a more realistic goal is to work slightly below 40 hours per week. The research shows that even shaving an hour or two off of the standard 40-hour workweek can have huge benefits, both at work and at home.

What is a 5 5 4 work schedule? ›

It consists of a 25 day cycle where each team works five consecutive 10-hour first shifts, followed by 3 days off duty, works five consecutive 10-hour third shifts, followed by 4 days off duty, works five consecutive 10-hour second shifts, followed by 3 days off duty.

Is 4 10s a good work schedule? ›

Workforce Institute's research demonstrates that a 4/10 work schedule reduces employee stress and boosts their happiness and well-being. Having an extra day off each week allows employees to find a better work-life balance. In this context, offering 4/10 hour shifts have also shown to increase employee attendance.

What is a 4 5 5 4 12 hour shift schedule? ›

The system involves four (4) shifts on, five (5) off followed by five (5) shifts on, four (4) shifts off followed by five (5) shifts on, five (5) shifts off, on a continuing basis.

What is a 5 4 9 flexible work schedule? ›

5-4/9 CWS - a type of compressed work schedule in which an employee meets the 80-hour work requirement by working four 9-hour days and one 8-hour day during one workweek plus four 9-hour days and a day off during the alternate week, in addition to the established lunch period for the Office.

What is a 4 3 12 hour work schedule? ›

For three days you work 12 hours during the day, have two days off; work 12 hours on nights for 4 days, have 3 days off; work 12 hours on days for 3 days etc. Of course there are many variations on this theme.

What is a 4 10 rotating work schedule? ›

What is a 4/10 compressed work schedule? The most common compressed work arrangement type is a 4/10 schedule, which means an employee works four 10-hour days (Monday through Thursday), with Friday, Saturday, and Sunday off. You'll also hear this arrangement referred to as “a four-day workweek.”

Is it better to work 4 10-hour shifts or 5 8-hour shifts? ›

The math is simple: working five eight-hour shifts is equivalent to working four 10-hour shifts. That's true. But the implications of these schedules are different. The danger is in disregarding the health effects that can occur as a result of fatigue and stress that accumulate over a longer-than-normal working day.

What is a 9x9 work schedule? ›

A simple definition: "9/80s work schedule" is a compressed work schedule which consists of eight 9-hour days, one 8-hour day, and one day off in a 2-week period.

What is a 8 6 work schedule? ›

2 of the work weeks will be 6 days on and 8 days off. While it is popular belief that guys will be working an exorbitant number more days in the calendar year vs. the compressed half, that is not true.

What is a 4 on 4 off 12 hour schedule? ›

Regular 4-on 4 off:

This is a classic continuous working pattern based on 12 hour shifts. Participants work for four consecutive 12-hour days, followed by four consecutive days off, then four consecutive 12-hour nights, followed by four consecutive days off, then four more days and so on.

What is 4 on 4 off 12 hour shifts? ›

Four On, Four Off (4 x 4)

Employees work four consecutive day or night shifts followed by four consecutive days off. Employees usually rotate between date and night shifts. The advantage of this schedule is that employees have plenty of time to rest and recuperate between their four days on.

How does 3 12s work? ›

Three 12-Hour Shifts‍

Commonly known as “three-twelves,” this type of nurse schedule entails working twelve-hour shifts (three days a week for twelve hours each day).

What is a 2 2 3 work schedule example? ›

Four teams work 2 days in a row, get 2 days off, then work another 3 days. Typically, the teams will work opposite schedules throughout the 28-day cycle. So, if one team works days for the first two weeks, the other team works nights. Law enforcement, hospitals and call centers tend to use this schedule.

What is a 9 3 slide shift? ›

This arrangement is referred to as a “9-3 Slide,” as a means to emphasize the clustering of nine “normal” days within the scheme. The shift was selected because it offered the potential of serving both the socio-domestic needs as well as the diurnal needs.

What is the Pitman schedule? ›

The Pitman fixed schedule is also known as the 2-3-2 schedule because employees have two days off followed by three working days, and then they have two days off again. The first team works the day shift while the second team works the night shift, as you can see in the table below.

What is a 5 5 4 shift pattern? ›

5/5/4 rotating schedule

The 5/5/4 rotating schedule uses five teams of employees and three overlapping ten-hour shifts to operate 24/7. This system uses a 25-day cycle. For example, Team A works five consecutive 10-hour first shifts, followed by three days off.

What is a Panama 12 schedule? ›

Panama: This schedule follows a 14-day cycle with employees working 12-hour shifts each day. This schedule is also known as a 2-2-3 because employees will work two or three consecutive days interspersed with two or three consecutive days off.

What is a 7 on 7 off schedule example? ›

Employees working 7on/7off are considered full-time hourly employees and are scheduled to work seven consecutive days (56 hours) in a 14-day period (Wednesday through Tuesday). This allows the employee to work a Wednesday through Tuesday schedule with every other weekend off.

What is the most efficient work schedule? ›

Specifically, the most productive people work for 52 minutes at a time, then break for 17 minutes before getting back to it (similar to the Pomodoro Method—more on that here). The employees with the highest productivity ratings, in fact, don't even work eight-hour days.

What is the most preferred work schedule? ›

As well, there are also studies saying that companies that impose their employees daily working hours are also less productive. In the end, scientists generally agree that the ideal daily working time is around 6 hours, and more concentrated in the morning.

How does a 5 2 split shift work? ›

On a two-week cycle, one squad works 5 days on then has 5 days off, then 2 days on 2 days off.

Is working 20 hours a week good for college? ›

The amount of hours a student should work during college is close to 15-20 hours per week. This will help students to stay afloat with payments such as housing, tuition, food, clothing, transportation, among other necessities.

What does a 4 3 work schedule look like? ›

The 4 on 3 off shift pattern usually involves 6 teams that work 4 days and then get 3 off days. This is repeated weekly, however, the shifts in the second (swing) and third (night) week have different start and ending times. Typically, a 3 week cycle consists of 12 10-hour shifts.

How do you make a realistic schedule? ›

6 steps to create a daily schedule
  1. List to-do items. Before you can organize your to-dos, you first need to make a list of all the items you need to do for the day. ...
  2. Prioritize tasks. ...
  3. Note deadlines. ...
  4. Identify recurring events. ...
  5. Order items by time, priority, or deadline. ...
  6. Stay flexible.
Oct 20, 2022

What is a 4 3 3 4 work schedule? ›

In this rotation, teams work 4 day shifts, have 2 days off, work 4 swing shifts, have 3 days off, work 4 night shifts, and end with 3 days off. Over the course of the 20 days, crews will work all 3, 10-hour shift durations. The overlapping hours can be set to occur whenever is most convenient for your organization.

How many hours can I work with fafsa? ›

Permissible Working Hours

Work-Study students may work a maximum of 20 hours during the academic year. (The employer is responsible for 100% of hours worked in excess of 20 per week.)

Should I go to college while working full-time? ›

If you elect to work full time while pursuing your degree full time, you will also not add years by taking time off while you're in school. Given this, taking on on school full time alongside full-time work can be efficient if completing your degree quickly is a top priority for you.

Is it possible to work full-time and go to college full-time? ›

A Georgetown University report shows more than 75% of graduate students and roughly 40% of undergraduates work at least 30 hours per week while attending school. One in four working learners is simultaneously attending full-time college while holding down a full-time job.


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