There’s always too much work to do—and working evenings and weekends isn’t helping…

There’s always too much work to be done on software projects, too many features to implement, too many bugs to fix. Some days you’re just not going through the backlog fast enough, you’re not producing enough code, and it’s taking too long to fix a seemingly-impossible bug. And to make things worse you’re wasting time in pointless meetings instead of getting work done.

Once it gets bad enough you can find yourself always scrambling, working overtime just to keep up. Pretty soon it’s just expected, and you need to be available to answer emails at all hours even when there are no emergencies.

You’re tired and burnt out and there’s still just as much work as before.

The solution is not working even harder or even longer, but rather the complete opposite: working fewer hours.

A shorter workweek will make you more productive—and give you more time for yourself

Working fewer hours forces you to prioritize, it forces you to plan, it forces you to think about you’re doing.

Both in my experience and that of other programmers I’ve talked to, working fewer hours makes you more productive. So productive, in fact, that you can reduce your workweek below full-time work, and still get just as much done.

And once you’ve reduced your work hours, you’ll have all those freed up hours to do whatever you want to. Instead of living for your job, your job can enable your life.

If every weekend was a 3-day weekend, you’d be more productive—and you’d have a whole extra day to yourself, every single week.

How can you get a 3-day weekend?

But how can you find a job with a 3-day weekend? After all, at many software companies you’ll be lucky to get the weekend off.

You can get a 3-day weekend by negotiating.

Most employers won’t offer shorter workweeks by default—but by negotiating the right way you can get them to make an exception for you.

Negotiation skills will help you set boundaries with your boss, so you’re not forced to work long hours. And negotiation will help you increase your pay, so you’re making enough money even with a shorter workweek.

Negotiation is a skill you can learn (just like I did)

Since 2013 I’ve worked between 28 and 35 hours per week, at three different startups. I did it by negotiating, and here’s the thing—

I used to be a terrible negotiator. In fact, I was so bad I didn’t even try to negotiate.

To give just one instance of many: years ago a manager told me I was underpaid, given my experience and skills. I did nothing, I asked for nothing—and when the next review period came around, I once again did nothing. It never even occurred to me to ask for more money, so I spent years making less money and I should have.

Eventually I realized I needed to do better. So I read books, and observed other people; I negotiated higher salaries, and negotiated consulting contracts.

And then one day I found myself negotiating a shorter workweek—and it worked!

And then I did it again at another job.

And then again, at a third job.

Just like I did, you too could learn how to negotiate a 3-day weekend. But unlike me, you don’t have to figure this all out on your own.

Instead, you can benefit from my research, my experience, and the experiences of many other programmers I’ve interviewed who have also negotiated a 3-day weekend.

With the help of this book, you can negotiate a 3-day weekend

To help you get the free time you need, I’ve written a book: Negotiate a 3-Day Weekend.

Here’s what a reader of an earlier iteration of the book did:

For the first time ever I negotiated my salary! I also set my boundaries clearly and said upfront I won’t be working over time.

After 6 months I had a recurring health issue, and I felt the need to reduce my working hours, which I wanted to do anyways. I negotiated to work ¾ time and that was honestly amazing. I was pretty much as productive as previously, and I finally had time for 9 hours of German course per week (I moved to Berlin 2 years ago).”

—Katarzyna

Book cover

Based on my personal negotiating experience, real-world stories of other programmers who negotiated reduced hours, and extensive research, you’ll learn:

Here’s what a reader from the Bay Area had to say:

I GOT IT!!! I GOT A 4 DAY WORK WEEK!!!

I have to thank you. Without your blog and book I might have given up, thinking it wasn’t possible.” —Alex K

Ready to learn how to negotiate a 3-day weekend? You’ll get:

  • The book in PDF format.
  • All future updates to the first edition.
  • The book’s contents: an expert guide to freeing up a whole day for yourself, every single week—for the cost of just one fancy meal at a restaurant.

Buy the book (US$39+tax)

100% Money Back Guarantee: If you decide—for any reason at all—that the book isn’t for you, just email me at itamar@codewithoutrules.com and I’ll refund your money.

Common questions

“What about health insurance?”

If you live in the US, health insurance can be a big worry.

But there’s good news. Under the Affordable Care Act, employers with >50 employees are required to provide health insurance to all full-time employees (if they don’t, they have to pay additional taxes). “Full-time” is defined as employees working at least 30 hours a week or 130 hours a month.

So as long as you’re working for a company with >50 employees, for at least 30 hours a week, you’re not any different than a regular full-time employee; at worst your company may require you pay a bit more employee contribution.

More broadly, just like you can negotiate for hours and salary, you can also negotiate to ensure you have health insurance.

“Won’t my coworkers be resentful?”

It’s possible, yes, though none of the people I interviewed had this happen to them.

If you’re working 4 days a week, chances are you’re going to be paid a pro-rated 80% of your salary. So if your coworkers ask, you just can tell them that.

They might be inspired to emulate you, or they might decide lower take home pay is not for them. Either way it’ll be clear you’ve chosen your own particular tradeoff.

Speaking of money—

“I can’t afford to live on 80% of my salary!”

A 3-day weekend sounds great, until you realize you’ll be paid less. But here’s the thing—if you’re learning how to negotiate, you’ll also be able to negotiate a better salary. What matters in the end is the amount of money you make in absolute terms: 80% of a much higher salary is better than 100% of a lower salary.

Nonetheless, it’s true that you might make less money than you could have otherwise. But once you’re past the threshold of making enough money, would you rather have more time or more money? I can’t answer that for you—this is something you need to decide.

Who this book isn’t for

Do you want that extra free day sooner, later, or never?

This is a beta release of the book, but you can get started now (and for a lower price than the final release!). You’re going to need to do some work to get that 3-day weekend, and the earlier you start the better.

Here’s what a different reader of the earlier iteration of the book had to say:

Inspired by your book I actually negotiated an offer from a new company to work 32 hours per week, my first part-time job ever… I’m so looking forward to those free Fridays!”

Ready to learn how to negotiate a 3-day weekend? You’ll get:

  • The book in PDF format.
  • All future updates to the first edition.
  • The book’s contents: an expert guide to freeing up a whole day for yourself, every single week—for the cost of just one fancy meal at a restaurant.

Buy the book (US$39+tax)

100% Money Back Guarantee: If you decide—for any reason at all—that the book isn’t for you, just email me at itamar@codewithoutrules.com and I’ll refund your money.

What’s in the book?

By reading this book you’ll get expert advice, detailed processes, training exercises, and real-world inspiration to help you negotiate for more free time: focused and actionable.

Here’s the book’s table of contents:

  1. Introduction: An overview of the book.
  2. The basics of negotiation: The basic principles of job negotiation, along with real-world stories demonstrating why these principles matter.
  3. Building financial strength: Why more savings will make you a better negotiator.
  4. Practicing negotiation on the job: Get better at negotiation before you reach the all-important final negotiation.
  5. The dimensions of negotiation: Time, Money, Benefits: What do you want? What do you need? From money to health insurance, what you need to decide in advance.
  6. The value of being an existing employee: The easiest place to negotiate shorter hours is at your current job. Plus, tips to strengthen your negotiating position.
  7. Negotiating as an existing employee: What to say, what to do.
  8. What makes you valuable? If you’re going to negotiate at a new job, you need be a valuable worker; this chapter will help you figure out your strengths as a programmer.
  9. Finding Jobs and Interviewing: Find the companies where negotiation is most likely to succeed. Then, make sure you interview the right way.
  10. Negotiating a new job offer: The process you need to follow to negotiate at a new job, from the initial request to following up on the company’s response.
  11. Maximizing your income: Learn how to get more time and more money.

Ready to learn how to negotiate a 3-day weekend? You’ll get:

  • The book in PDF format.
  • All future updates to the first edition.
  • The book’s contents: an expert guide to freeing up a whole day for yourself, every single week—for the cost of just one fancy meal at a restaurant.

Buy the book (US$39+tax)

100% Money Back Guarantee: If you decide—for any reason at all—that the book isn’t for you, just email me at itamar@codewithoutrules.com and I’ll refund your money.

About the author

Hi! I’m Itamar. I’ve been writing software since 1995 or so. As an employee I’ve worked for companies small and big, ranging from 8-person startups to a year at Google as a product manager (my previous employer got acquired). And as a consultant I’ve written software for a similarly broad range of companies.

I wrote this book in the hopes of helping you and other programmers get a shorter workweek, just like I have.

Want to learn more about me? I write a weekly newsletter sharing my past programming and career mistakes, and how you can avoid them.