Skilled At Work

How I Moved From 45-Hour to 20-Hour Work Weeks



I wasn’t an energetic employee. I was super demotivated at work and I didn’t enjoy it. I also didn’t enjoy this entire game of playing politics to appear like a shining star in front of leadership.

All this for a 5% raise.

Felt like a waste of energy.

And I always questioned — is this the way to live? Is this how I’ll work for another four decades?

I was only 25 when I quit the corporate sector and thank god I did. If I couldn’t stand it for 2.5 years, how was I supposed to stay there forever?

14 months later, I’m living 4-hour workdays and it’s the best decision I’ve made for my mental health and my soul.

Here’s exactly how I did it.

Part 1: Guilt

There was a point when I felt guilty about having spent over $75,000 on my Master’s degree. With the salary, I was earning (under $1000), it would take me at least a decade to earn back my ROI. Without accounting for inflation, that is.

I couldn’t figure out what I did wrong.

My high school and undergrad were from premier institutions, and my Master’s degree was also from one of the top B-schools in the world.

Yet life was just.. average.

For the longest time, I made peace with being average. I comforted myself by feeling this was the initial struggle before good things would come my way.

Part 2: Clarity

I then started reading about other people’s journeys who are genuinely happy doing what they do.

I was also tired of my chest feeling heavy every Sunday evening and anxiety all over me when Monday kicked in. I then realized:

  • I want to do what I enjoy
  • I don’t want to feel this anxious
  • I want to work with people I look up to
  • I want to make a lot more money than the stupid paycheck

However, I also:

  • don’t want to be famous
  • want to pursue my creative ideas
  • don’t want to create the next big start-up or unicorn

I just wanted to sit in my room, as I am right now, and be happy. Work a bit, enjoy my days, and be at peace.

Part 3: Priorities

By now, I had quit Instagram and gotten rid of notifications. I got rid of social media for months and just read books and learned from people.

I became hyper-focused, and I did the one thing I never had — self-reflection.

Ultimately, it comes down to finding what makes you feel alive instead of merely breathing.

I realized my core values, which are:

  • honesty
  • to help others

Both weren’t met at my job, hence the dissatisfaction.

So what would make me happy? Possibly:

  • teaching
  • learning
  • writing
  • family time

I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. after my undergraduate degree because I always wanted to teach, but I also didn’t enjoy studying. Weird combination, I know.

Part 4: Action

Things that I never imagined happened — teaching, passive income, a business.

Passive income requires active work. 4h workdays don’t always start as 4h workdays. Anyone who tells you otherwise is trying to sell you something. I promise you this is the reality for me and many other creatorpreneurs.

I started to side hustle as a writer outside of my corporate job.

I started taking a few freelance gigs. And damn, the money tasted good.

But more than that — I was happy. I was genuinely excited to put in the work before and after my working hours.

It was the only thing I looked forward to all day.

Passive income requires active work.

Part 5: Strategy

What you read from now is what I have only done in the last year.

I quit my job when I realized I won’t be broke, and that's when it all started.

However, the journey isn’t close to what I imagined. I quit so I can be a freelancer only to realize I don’t enjoy freelancing as much.

And things that I never imagined happened — teaching, passive income, a business.

Here’s what I do now.

#1 A cohort-based course

Can this be pre-recorded, scaled up, and bring me passive income? Yes. But I do the opposite.

The reason is simple: I want to prioritize learning right now to set a better foundation. I can always make money later, but right now I want to learn and have fun.

So my cohort-based course on writing consistently with a sustainable system was downsized from 25 to 15 members so I can interact with all of them on a deeper level.

Time: It takes place 4 times a year. I spend roughly 20 hours on it across 6–8 weeks.

How to do it: I didn’t want to, it was a random experiment I conducted on a few people, and the strategies I taught them worked. Solve a problem and see if your solution is helping. If it does, see if your target audience is willing to pay for it.

# 2 One client at a time

If I freelance, I take only website copywriting for one client at a time so I can deliver good quality content. Why do I freelance if I don’t like it? Because it challenges my writing skills.

Time: I spend under 5 hours a month on it.

How to do it: Take on one or two high-paying clients from LinkedIn or Upwork instead of spending all your day negotiating for $20/1000 word articles.

#3 Products

This is passive income. It isn’t as fancy as it sounds and takes a lot of work — primarily, audience building.

I’ve created guides to cater to most of the questions I receive. Since most people ask me about growing on LinkedIn, I released a guide about it two months ago which is performing well.

(Don’t worry, I won’t link it because I’m teaching you right now, not selling to you.)

Time: My first product was a free eBook that took 90 minutes to assemble. I used my existing side hustle articles and clubbed them into a PDF.

My other guides have taken me more time, say about 12–20 hours of work. I plug them into my mailing list once in a few weeks.

How to do it: for a freebie, use existing content as it’s low effort. For paid products, wait for the reaction after your freebie.

#4 Creating content

This is where most of my time goes.

Time: This is how much time I spend on a weekly basis:

  • Articles: 10 hours for 5 articles
  • Twitter: 1.5 hours for 50+ tweets
  • LinkedIn: 2 hours for 3 posts
  • Newsletter: 2 hours for 2 weekly newsletters

I create content in order to build an audience and sustain my current audience.

Good part? I love, love, love it.

How to do it: Hop on to a platform and publish consistently for at least a year to see some traction.

The Pros and Cons

If you look closely, this is a journey of self-awareness and consistency.

I know 20-hour workweeks and earning way more than your corporate job sound amazing. But let’s not see this only through rose-colored glasses, yes?

Pros

  • Get to do what I love
  • Have more time in hand
  • The creator economy is super fun
  • I’m not spending my waking hours only working

Cons

  • Have experienced burnout often
  • Since you’re all alone, it can get exhausting
  • Few people around you really understand you

Another common thing that I don’t experience but many do is feeling terrible by comparing yourself to others. Followers, likes, etc – please don’t do it, it’s not worth it and isn’t in your control either.

Lastly

If you look closely, this is a journey of self-awareness and consistency. When you realize who you are and what you want from life, you work for it day in and out.

This isn’t for everyone.

Many won’t even enjoy 4-hour workdays because they’ll get bored. But it is what works for me, and what I enjoy.

Ultimately, it comes down to finding what makes you feel alive instead of merely breathing.

When you realise who you are and what you want from life, you work for it day in and out.