Is the narrative that the world has given you aligned with what you want for yourself? How can you reclaim your time and energy with genuine productivity? What is the science behind the four-day workweek?
Podcast Sponsor: Brighter Vision
How would you like to fall into cash this month? Every year, my friends over at Brighter Vision kick off the fall season with a month-long digital conference event they call ‘Fall Into Cash’.
For the entire month of September, they’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways; all centered around one main theme – helping you grow your practice and make more money.
Plus, in celebration of the 5th anniversary of ‘Fall Into Cash’, they’re also offering a very special discount exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners. From now until the end of the month, they’re offering new websites for only $49/month for your whole first year plus no setup fees – that’s a savings of over $200!
For more information and to take advantage of this great offer, head on over to brightervision.com/joe.
Meet Joe Sanok, author, podcaster, and private practice consultant
Joe Sanok is the author of Thursday is the New Friday: How to work fewer hours, make more money, and spend time doing what you want. It examines how the four-day workweek boosts creativity and productivity.
Joe has been featured in Forbes, GOOD magazine, and the Smart Passive Income Podcast. He is the host of the popular The Practice of the Practice podcast which is recognized as one of the Top 50 Podcasts worldwide with over 100,000 downloads each month. Bestselling authors, experts, and scholars, and business leaders and innovators are featured and interviewed in the 550 plus podcasts he has done over the last six years.
In This Podcast
- Neuroscience on how working less gets more done
- Three inclinations that top-performers have
- Joe’s advice to private practitioners
Neuroscience on how working less gets more done
What’s interesting is we often think that when we work harder, we’re going to get more done but there’s a certain point where we don’t really experience that same level of productivity or creativity. We’re just burnt out. I think we know this intuitively. (Joe Sanok)
Our brains are not wired to have great ideas when they are stressed and overstimulated.
Many neuroscience studies have looked at how the brain is optimized, and one showed that you can boost creativity through a three-day weekend, but also by taking short breaks within your workday: micro-moments.
Vigilance-decrement was studied and shown to appear more frequently when people worked without pause and was minimized or even absent when people were able to take short breaks throughout working.
When you take a quick one-minute break, that actually is triggering your brain to restart and have some vigilance. When you do that during your day that can help you be more productive and creative, even just with those micro-breaks. (Joe Sanok)
Three inclinations that top-performers have
These inclinations are not the be-all and end-all of successful traits, however, they are commonly found in most top-performers.
You may have one or two or all of them, but the trick is not having them or not, it is to develop what you do have.
- An outsider’s perspective
- The ability to move on it
In Thursday is the New Friday, Joe Sanok provides practical tools and advice that you can use to develop your skills further to slow down, optimizing your brain, and gear down – or up – towards a four-day workweek.
With this book I really tried to be different from the average prescriptive book where it says “okay you’re this way and now you have to do this”. [Rather], it’s “okay, let’s look at this and say: do I want to build curiosity? And if I do, what are some tools that I can use?” To view [this book] more as a menu.
Joe’s advice to private practitioners
Stand up to the narrative that you have been handed and ask: “Is this the narrative that I want for my life? Is this the way that I feel like I want to live, or should I try new things?”
Dip your toes into new ways of thinking and see new ways of being in the world and completing your work.
Books mentioned in this episode:
Useful links mentioned in this episode:
- Brighter Vision – Receive the first year of websites at $49 a month
- Purchase Thursday Is The New Friday and get some amazing bonuses
- Killin’It Camp
- Email Joe at [email protected]
Check out these additional resources:
- Dallin Cottle on the Importance of High-Velocity Marketing | MP 76
- Email Sam at [email protected]
- Design Services With Sam
- Apply to work with us
Meet Sam Carvalho
Sam Carvalho is a graphic designer living in Cape Town, South Africa, with over five years of experience in both design and marketing, with a special interest and experience in the start-up environment.
She has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 70 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!
Thanks For Listening!
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Welcome to the Marketing a Practice podcast with me, Sam Carvalho where you’ll discover everything you need to know about marketing and branding your business. To find out more about how I can help you brand new business visit www.practiceofthepractice.com/branding. And if you’d like to see some examples of my design work, be sure to follow me on Instagram at Samantha Carvalho Design.
Today, we have Practice of the Practice’s founder Joe Sanok as a guest. Joe is the author of Thursday is the New Friday: How to work fewer hours, make more money and spend time doing what you want. It examines how the four-day work week boosts creativity and productivity. Joe has been featured on Forbes, Good Magazine and the Smart Passive Income podcast. Here’s the host of the popular Practice of the Practice podcast, which is recognized as one of the top 50 podcasts worldwide with over 100,000 downloads each month. Best-selling authors, experts, scholars, and business leaders and innovators are featured and interviewed in the 550 plus podcast he has done over the last six years. Hi Joe. Thanks so much for being with us today.
Hey Sam, really glad to be here.
Today we wanted to dive into your new book you have coming out in October this year called Thursday is the New Friday. So without further ado, can you tell us where the 40-hour work week came from?
Yes. So back in 1926, Henry Ford, who started the assembly line, was doing Ford automotive, recognized that when people were working 10 to 14 hour days, six to seven days a week, they weren’t likely to buy a cars and so he, in an effort to just try to sell more cars started giving his people a 40-hour work week, because he thought if they have a weekend where they can go do fun things and more likely to buy cars from him than if they were working all the time. No one wants to get to work faster. So he was one of the first major companies to switch the 40-hour work week really in an effort to sell more cars to his own people.
That’s very interesting. So what is the neuroscience on how working less gets more done?
So what’s interesting is we often think that if we work harder, we’re going to get more done. But there’s a certain point where we don’t really experience that same level of productivity or creativity and we’re just burned out. And I think we know this intuitively. When you’re taking a shower or out for a hike or on a long car ride without the radio on your brain starts to wander and come up with ideas and make connections. I know personally, whenever I do say meditation the first minute or so of meditation, I have all this flood of ideas that I need to write down. And the meditation takes a bit to get into our brains. Our brains really aren’t wired to be stressed out and have great ideas then.
So a number of neuroscience studies have really looked at well, how is the brain optimized? And there was one out of the University of Illinois that I really liked. Because oftentimes we think, oh, we have to have this huge break in order to get creative. It is true that a three-day weekend can help boost creativity, but also within our own work days, we can have these micro moments, these moments where we really can bounce back faster. So the study looked at how in the past people thought about energy and the ability to pay attention as being somewhat like a glass of water that throughout the day you’re pouring out this water, you’re pouring out the energy and when you get to the end of the day, basically the only thing that you can do is you can go to sleep or eat or rest. But these researchers wanted to challenge that.
So that idea is called vigilance decrement, vigilance, meaning how well you pay attention, decrement, meaning breaking down over time. So what they did is they brought students in and they gave them a random four digit number. So it was 4, 3, 5, 6. So every time 4, 3, 5, 6 came up on the screen, these students were supposed to hit and they did this for an hour and it was super boring. So at the end of that time the amount they paid attention was worse than at the beginning. They got bored. They weren’t paying attention as well. They had vigilance decrement. Then a second group came in and at the one third mark, they gave them a one-minute break and they said something to them like, “We put you on the wrong computer, just have a break in the lobby for a minute while we get you reset up,” and then at the two thirds mark, they gave them another one minute break.
Now what they found was there was no vigilance decrement. In other words, they did as well at the very end as they had at the very beginning, which is really interesting because when you think about the brains, like, well, why is that? Why was it that just these two, one-minute breaks actually helped people be more productive? Well, you imagine if you’re walking through a forest or a jungle and you’ve been told there’s a tiger or a lion there and for 40 years you’ve walked the same path and you’ve never seen any sort of animal that will eat you. You’re probably going to have some vigilance decrement. You’re not going to pay attention as well as you would, maybe the first day. But say then a friend of yours says to you, “Hey, on that path we’ve walked for 40 years I just got chased by a tiger. I ran away. I barely escaped.” You’re going to have more vigilance. Our brains are still really old and don’t recognize that when you just go take a quick one-minute break, that that actually is triggering your brain to again, restart and have some vigilance. So when you do that, even during your day that can help you be more productive and creative with even just those micro breaks.
That makes a lot of sense. And I think even just in my experience even just stepping away from the computer for a while and going and standing outside and just being in the sun for a bit, and then coming back, I really feel like I have a fresh perspective. I mean, I can only imagine if you had a three-day weekend instead of a two-day weekend, because I was just thinking now, like we’re used to working five days a week and then having two days on the weekend to kind of catch up with friends or do admin things that we didn’t get around during the week. So having an extra day on the weekend would only help give us time to, as you said, let our minds wonder and to let creative ideas emerge.
Yes. And I think that a lot of times people don’t recognize how much they’ve been pushing themselves. Of course we’re going to have certain seasons when things are a little bit busier for us. But if we don’t allow ourselves some time to step back and to let our brains recuperate, or maybe the kids are in bed and then people are checking their email all evening, you’re not allowing your brain to really bounce back in a way that’s going to help you do your best work. And that’s, I think the shift away from thinking like the industrialists. Henry Ford gave us in a way a gift to say, “Hey, yes, working 10 to 14 hours a day, six to seven days a week, we’re going to move away from that.” But I would say, as a society, we’ve all moved away from thinking about people as just machines. So that’s where this next kind of evolution of what business can be and what society can be into a four-day work week is really that important next step.
So what would you say are three inclinations that top performers have?
So it’s interesting the search looks at a number of different things that top performers have. The first section of the book after I kind of deconstruct time and look at that we look at those internal inclination. The reason we start there instead of jumping to productivity is so many books will start with, here’s how you can be most productive. And then it’s very prescriptive, says, “Here’s the one way to do it and then if you don’t do it that way, don’t follow my book.” On the other side, we have kind of woo woo books that say, “Let’s put up a vision board,” but you’re not going to actually do anything to make these things happen. So the science actually shows that we need that slowdown in order to then speed up. But if we don’t do the work inside first and really understand where we’re at we’re kind of putting our energy into the wrong things.
So we start with the internal inclinations. So those three are curiosity, an outsider perspective and the ability to move on it. So each of those three may be natural inside of people. They may be an inclination that you’re just born with, or it may be something that needs to be developed. So it’s not necessarily really a pass fail thing where, oh, you don’t naturally have as much curiosity as the next person. It’s more okay, where am I at and what can I do to develop each of these internal inclinations?
[BRIGHTER VISION PROMO]
How would you like to fall into cash this month? Every year, my friends over at Brighter Vision kick off the full season with a month long digital conference event they call Fall Into Cash. For the entire month of September they’ll be teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways, all centered around one main theme, helping you grow your practice and make more money. Plus in celebration of the fifth anniversary of Fall Into Cash, they’re also offering a very special discount exclusively for Practice of the Practice listeners. From now until the end of the month, they’re offering new websites for only $49 per month for your whole first year plus no setup fees. That’s a savings of over $200. For more information, and to take advantage of this great offer, head on over to brightervision.com/joe. That’s brightervision.com/joe.
So I actually took your assessment that you have available on joesanok.com and found out that I am not such a curious person after all.
Yes. And that I’m actually quite apathetic, so I will notice that there are things wrong in the world, but I’ll just be like, “Yes, someone else can take care of it.”
Interesting. So what has that done for you personally to discover that? Does it make you want to be more curious or are you not curious about your lack of curiosity?
I don’t know. I think I’m, I definitely also mentioned that I’m a perfectionist and I kind of will take action on things that are obviously important or not important to me, but things that I kind of need to do. I’ll take action on and I’m the type of person, I think there was also a question where it was like, would you map out your route in a grocery store before the time to be the most efficient? I’m definitely that. And I’ve always felt bad about being apathetic towards the bigger things of the world. But I think I just get overwhelmed and I almost get that sense of like, what is my actions going to do to change? But no, I definitely would like to be more involved in that sort of thing.
Yes, yes, and I think that, that self-awareness to just say to yourself, is this what I want, and I think that’s where this book, I really try to be different from the average prescriptive book where it says, “Okay, you’re this way. Now you have to do this.” It’s, “Okay, let’s look at this and say, well, do I want to build curiosity? And if I do, what are some tools that I can use to view this more as a menu and to trust that Sam knows herself well enough, that you can say, here’s where I want to adjust and here’s where I’m just perfectly content.” So that idea of accepting yourself where you’re at and then saying, “Okay, I want to do some small incremental changes to be a little bit more curious,” that can be really effective. And then it’s less of, again that pass fail mentality of, “Oh, I’m not a good enough person, or I’m not a good enough employee, or I’m not a good enough, whatever.”
Instead it’s am I happy with where I’m at? Can I assess that? And what are some small changes that I can make that will move me in that direction? So even just now, you mentioned overwhelm and seeing this really big world that there’s all these problems, what’s my impact going to be, probably slowing down and allowing yourself to experience that kind of brain refresh. You may have a different perspective than entering into those questions when you maybe have slightly less overwhelm than if you just kind of kept plowing away, full tilt.
Absolutely. Well, my husband took it as well and he turns out he’s very curious and definitely has an outside perspective. So we seem to be on opposite sides, which is probably a good thing. So how will we see the four-day work week emerge as the standard in our generation?
We’re already seeing it, kick starters moving to a four-day work week. Also Nissan Infinity, Canada did a book-buy of a number of my books to start to explore it. We’re seeing larger companies do it or at least test it. And I think that’s what is important, to say, there’s not a model right now that we’re saying this is the new 40-hour work week. Instead it’s, let’s do some experiments because we all went through this global experiment through the pandemic to say the way we used to work probably isn’t the best way to work anymore. And to be able to say, well, now what? We’re really in a post industrialist world, but we’re in that messy middle. And this is just part of that conversation.
There’s people that have been talking about this for a while. I’m just one of many voices around it. So I think what we’re seeing emerge are really unique experiments and one of those that I talk about started a number of years ago is Kalamazoo Valley Community College. KVCC is this small community college in Southwest Michigan, just in Kalamazoo and this guy down there, he was an HVAC instructor named Ted Forester and is teaching about for furnaces and air conditioning, things like that. He went up on the roof of KVCC every Friday in the summer and took a picture of how few cars were actually there and he started to run the numbers about how much money they would save if they started shutting down the air conditioning on Fridays, in addition to the whole weekend, and just said, “Let’s not be open on Fridays in the summer.”
He convinced the board to switch over to a four-day work week in the summertime. And this is a community college, I mean, a pretty strong institution that doesn’t typically move very quickly. But what they saw were they saved millions of dollars in air conditioning costs. Then on top of that, students were happier because a lot of the offices were open later. So then better student outcomes, better health outcomes with people working there. But then also you think about, if one admissions counselor says I’m sick of working at the college and they get burned out and they move somewhere else, how long does it take to hire a new person to then get them up to speed to where that other person was? So they’re seeing better retention with their staff too, because who wants to give up a four-day work week in the summertime?
So there’s all those HR costs that are saved as well. So I think that as companies start to see this emerging research, and also the Iceland study that came out with 2,500 people that did a four-day work week, they were happier, same productivity. There really wasn’t a downside to it. And we’re seeing countries like Portugal and Spain and New Zealand, a lot of countries are testing this out. We’re going to see this continue to spread, and it’s going to really be up to us and individual businesses in how we advocate internally as an employee or as an owner of the business.
And I think exactly what you said that COVID, the whole experience of COVID has definitely sped up this notion that we need to change the way we work, because I think it was coming anyway. But I think COVID is fast forwarded by like five years.
Oh yes. Well, I think even internally looking at Practice of the Practice, my contracts have always been based on a 35-hour week and to say here’s the annual number of hours but flex it however you want. If you want to do a 42-hour week, one week and then have less time the next week, or plan ahead to have a longer vacation, to me, that’s what I would want if I were an employee. So to be able to have that kind of flexibility and to say to the staff, “Hey, you have a life outside of here and I want to support that,” whether that’s having a child or building a family or going on vacation. When people take a break, I really want to encourage them to genuinely take a break because then when they come back, they’re going to actually be better staffed than if they felt like they had to check their email and do all these other things while they’re on vacation.
Well, I’ve definitely, always appreciated that flexibility and I think thrived in it because I’ve definitely been in roles previous where there was a lot more kind of micromanagement. I mean, nobody likes that, but I think even what’s interesting is in my time working for you initially, I was the anomaly where I’d chat to people and they’d be so shocked at my freedom in the way I worked. Whereas even, just obviously now with COVID specifically, but over the years, there’s been so many more of my friends who’ve been given flexibility within their work or who’ve turned to the freelance lifestyle. So it’s definitely something that is happening more and more. And I think it just goes to show that companies are realizing that this is a way more productive way to do things and to keep your employees happy.
Well, yes, and I think that I’ve actually used you as an example on a number of podcast interviews of the switch in mindset for an owner, from being an industrialist mindset to more of what we might call an evolutionary mindset. So in the typical industrialist approach to running a business is Sam I’ve hired you to do design work. That’s what you’re hired for. Here’s the bullet points of that role and if you want to make more money, or if you want to level up, you can be a supervisor. It’s very linear whereas you’ve experienced this, that every year and even ongoing, I’m having these conversations of asking the three questions I frequently ask the team. That’s first, what do you love doing that you want to keep doing? Secondly, what are things that you hate doing that you’d like to hand off to somebody else? And third, where are areas that you want to level up, that you want to build your skillset?
So it’s then more of an evolutionary model where you’re evolving as a person, and it’s not just, you have to move into a supervisory role, unless you want to do that, you want to oversee a team. So even just looking your trajectory of just starting with some design work and then doing show notes, and then realizing I don’t like doing show notes and handing that off, and then getting trained in video production and social media management, it then allows an individual to really kind of plot out their course and say, “I want to level up and here’s how I want to do it. It’s different than what I was hired for.” Does that then match kind of where the company is evolving into. And to even have some experiments around that within Practice of the Practice, to say, “Okay Sam, you want to do some more social media management? Let’s test out bringing on some more clients around that and see if we can do that.”
Then you have that autonomy to say, I want to create the kind of role that I want to have instead of just saying, well, Joe hired me for this one thing and the only way to do what I like is to leave the company for a different job. That then benefits me to have a long term employees that also are working towards something they love doing instead of just being stuck in a role.
Absolutely. So if people wanted to pre-order the book Thursday is the New Friday, where can they go to do that?
Wherever they typically buy their books, whether that’s their local book store, it could be Amazon, it could be anywhere online. It’s available all over the place. So it’s being put out by Harper Collins. So if you just search Thursday is the New Friday, wherever you typically get your books. I’m sure your local bookstore would appreciate you asking them as well to order it. Then it’s available October 5th. So in just a little bit here.
Awesome. And if people wanted to get in touch with you, what is the best way for them to do that?
They could just email me, [email protected]. Or, we have our Instagram which is Practice of the Practice. Also over at joesanok.com we have a number of different resources to enhance the book. So we’re keeping track of the experiments that people are doing. We’re going to be offering some extra blogs and different trainings and videos there as well. So a number of different ways that people can get involved to genuinely make Thursday the new Friday.
And that’s also where that assessment is, where you can discover where you’re at with the three inclinations we spoke about previously. So Joe, I know you always ask this at the end of every one of your podcasts. So I’m going to ask you now, if every private practice only in the world were listening, what would you want them to know?
Ooh, turning it around on me. Love that. I think that so often we’re given a narrative. It could be the narrative we’re given in graduate school. It could be the narrative that we’re given from other, whether it’s therapists or counselors as to what our job should look like. It could be the narrative of the 40-hour work week. But I would love for people to stand up to whatever narrative they were handed and to ask themselves, “Is this the narrative that I want for my life? Is this the way that I feel like I want to live or should I experiment and try some new things?” When you experiment and you try new things and you dip your toes into different ways of thinking, it’s amazing how you can just see opportunities that you never would’ve saw if you had just stuck with the narrative that you were handed.
Awesome. Thank you so much, Joe, for being on the Marketing a Practice podcast.
Thanks so much, Sam.
Thank you to bright vision for sponsoring this episode. Remember that for the entire month of September, they’re offering new websites for only $49 per month for your whole year plus no set of fees. That’s a savings of over $200. Be sure it’s head over to brander vision.com for slash Joe to make use of this very special discount.
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