4 Ways to Escape the 9-to-5 Routine, Without Sacrificing Your Paycheck


Written by Liz

Just your regular 27-year-old, queer, super-introverted, FIRE-chasing, frugal Singaporean, who lives a pretty good life while earning only a modest salary, but still plans to retire at age 40 with $1,000,000. Click here to read more

June 9, 2018

I discussed the ridiculousness ineffectiveness of the whole 9-to-5 routine in a previous blog post. In this post, I’d like to discuss a few ways to possibly escape the 9-to-5 routine. The method you ultimately use will depend on whether you love your job. Or absolutely hate it.

If you like your job but want to escape the 9-to-5 routine, without giving up your regular paycheck (that I know you love), just keep on reading. There are 3 ways you can escape the 9-to-5 routine without sacrificing your current paycheck.

On the other hand, if you dislike (or even hate) what you’re doing, you think it’s meaningless, you really want to quit, but you can’t right now, then I’ve got a few words to say about that too. Click here to skip to that part.


If You Don’t Want to Quit Your Job

If you love your job scope, but hate the 9-to-5 routine, speak to your employer to see if they would be agreeable to at least 1 of the 3 flexible work arrangements discussed below.

Armed with the arguments about the ineffectiveness of the 9-to-5 routine that I gave you in the previous blog post, you’d be invincible. (Alright, not really, but it’s worth a try.)


1. Work At Home

Depending on the nature of your work, it’s possible for your employer to allow you to work from home on some days. Perhaps working from home every single day would be too much to ask. Then how about working from home 2 days a week? Or even just 1 day a week? Every little bit can make a huge difference to your happiness, when you deduct the draining commutes and ridiculous clock-in times.

The greatest resistance you may face is probably your employer’s belief that you’d lounge around all day at home. So, use that 1 day a week to prove that you’re just as efficient. That you get all your work done. That you’re able to meet deadlines.

When you’re able to show your employer that you work as efficiently (or even more) from home over a period of time, you’d be in a better position to negotiate for even more days at home. Use the results of your productivity to assure them that you’re not just lying on your kitchen counter and nursing hangovers all day.


2. A Compressed 4-Day Work Week

If working from home isn’t possible, then you may want to negotiate for a compressed work week. Instead of working 5 days a week, 8 hours a day, why not work 4 days a week, 10 hours a day? Ultimately, you’re still working 40-hour work weeks. You still show up at the office 40 hours a week. Your employer gets to see your face 40 hours a week.

But bear in mind that 10-hour work days are exhausting. Like I mentioned in my previous blog post, humans were never meant to be mentally engaged for longer than 4-6 hours a day. 10-hour work days would mean struggling to get through the last 5 hours a day while maintaining your productivity. Doesn’t sound pretty.

I don’t think I’ll ever try to negotiate for a 4-day 10-hour-a-day work week, simply because of the insanely long work days in a job that I don’t quite enjoy. But for those of you who can manage a 10-hour day, then this may be a viable option.


3. Staggered Working Hours

If working from home is out of the question, and a compressed work week isn’t possible, your employer may allow you to stagger your working hours instead. I mean, come on, would it make a difference if you came in at 11AM but worked till 7PM? Maybe try that for a few days a week, and then negotiate for staggered working hours for the full week when they realise how much more productive you are. (Yup, all you night owls who struggle to stay awake at 9AM in the morning.)

I believe that this is the flexible work arrangement that employers would be most amenable to. Your employer will still be able to see you in the office 5 days a week, 8 hours a day.

My employer is pretty traditional. Working from home is only allowed when you’re unwell. Or when your child’s unwell. A 4-day work week is out of the question too. However, I do have night owl colleagues coming in at 10AM, while making up the extra hour in the evening.

Should all that fail, then well, you wouldn’t lose anything from asking. Your employer wouldn’t think you’re a lazy, unconventional freak, would they? Have confidence in yourself, your value to your employer, and your willingness to question the conventional.


If You’re Dying to Quit Your Job

If you’re anything like me, you probably hate strongly dislike your corporate job. The mindless gossiping. The draining office politics. And the whole 9-to-5 routine makes it so much more unbearable. But you can’t quit because you need the money, right?


4. Work a 30-Hour Week

If so, cutting down the number of hours you work a week may be a viable option. Try to negotiate with your employer for a 35-hour week. Or even a 30-hour week. That’s a 6-hour work day. Come in at 10AM, and then leave at 4PM. You’d avoid the rush hour traffic to and from work, and only need to bear with the mindless gossiping for 6 hours, instead of 8. Sounds amazing.

Sure, your paycheck will get cut proportionally. But you’d have more time to work on stuff that truly matters to you, while still receiving a regular paycheck to cover your living expenses.

Keep your head down and continue saving your hard-earned money. Eventually, you’d have enough to quit your job completely and chase your dreams.


Escaping the 9-to-5 Routine While Keeping your Paycheck is Possible

It is possible.

If you like your job (lucky you!) and you don’t want to quit, chances are, your employer will be reasonable enough to accept one, if not more, of the flexible work arrangements I discussed above.

If you hate the idea of working in the corporate world, but can’t afford to quit now, negotiate having a 30-hour (or maybe even less) work week. The shorter 6-hour days may make you dread going into your office less.

Remember, the whole 9-to-5 routine is rubbish, so don’t let yourself be a victim of it more than you already have.




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  1. Kara Lapinsky

    I absolutely love your blog and find nearly all of your post’s to be exactly what I’m looking for. Would you offer guest writers to write content for you personally? I wouldn’t mind publishing a post or elaborating on some of the subjects you write concerning here. Again, awesome website!

    • Liz @ Splurging on Freedom

      Hi Kara, thanks so much for stopping by. I don’t think I’d be hiring any guest writers at the moment. My blog is mainly to pen down thoughts and to track my financial journey over the years. I appreciate the thought and the kind words though 🙂