The Split Schedule

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If you’ve traveled to Spain perhaps you were surprised to observe several businesses were closed for the midday break or siesta. In the Mediterranean where afternoon temperatures may reach over 100 degrees siestas are an established historical tradition, yet few Spaniards actually nap during their siesta.

Split shifts replace siestas

Today, office workers typically work from 9 in the morning until 2 p.m. and then return at 5 p.m. for their final three hours. Of course, that means late evening meals or entertainment for Spanish workers.

Should we keep our traditional 9 to 5 routine that has become the backbone of the American work ethic? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

Early or Midday Split

We are not machines yet when it comes to the daily work schedules we often behave like one. Maybe a change of schedule could be just what you need to avoid burnout, revitalize your energy, and potentially improve your availability to others. If you’re an employee the ability to adopt a split schedule will depend on your present workplace responsibilities and management.

For me, an early start works best. My typical workday begins at 5:45 a.m. during which time I can respond to clients on the east coast, prepare projects for the day, and reply to high-priority emails. This buys me time for an early morning workout at the gym or a 1-hour walk through our nearby nature preserve.

Night owls may prefer the traditional midday break instead. This allows one to attend to important errands or appointments that can only be made during business hours, catch a nap, or enjoy a long lunch. Working and eating a late meal fits their lifestyle.

Ditch the guilt

Some fear that a split-shift schedule will sap their productivity. However, the results have shown the opposite. In a typical 9-5 workday productivity and effectiveness wane as the day wears on. However, a mid-day re-charge or later arrival has been shown to improve productivity.

In addition, modifying your typical 9-5 days may allow you to work for longer concentrated blocks of time without interruptions. Then there’s your psychological well-being and sense of professional satisfaction.


Our schedules are built around connections and priorities. Some of the disadvantages of a split schedule are that it may misalign you with colleagues who are on a typical timetable making ad-hoc discussions and planning difficult. Also, those commuting have to consider the traffic patterns in their region as well.

If feasible a split-schedule is worth considering. It’s done wonders for me personally and benefited millions across the globe.

What’s your take? Leave your comments below.


1 comment

The Positive Realist April 1, 2021 at 8:44 am

Excellent points and something to consider. My cardiologist opens at 9AM and closes for lunch before noon. He claims to reopen at 2PM but his staff is rarely back from lunch before 2:30PM. While not a full three hours, his staff works until 6PM or so and loves that “extended lunch period” to get personal business done during the work week.


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