Thirty Hour Weeks

It is common acceptance (it seems) that everyone should work at least a FortyHourWeek.

The day is 24 hours. From that, we sleep about 8 hours (RecommendedSleepTime?). We then spend about 1 hour getting ready to work, 1 hour going to work, and about 9 hours there (work time plus lunch). Then we spend another hour going back home. Then there's time spent on house chores, preparing meals, and generally polishing the various gears of our daily routine to make everything run smoothly. Let's assume that it leaves us with about 2 hours of free time a day (without counting all the hiccups of life that happen during the week).

I say 2 hours a day is very little time. Is it really correct to spend the best of our lives chasing... what? Are we waiting until the evening of our lives to find some time to enjoy life? Is money that worth it? Is our job worth it? Is our career worth it?

Therefore, we should work less time while we are young, and enjoy life more. There is always our family, or friends, to be with; the latest game to play; that novel to read. There is always a lot of everything that is not work to do, and very little time to do it, because of work.

Therefore, work smarter, and work less. And remember that, in the end, NothingMatters, except the good that you built with your life.

-- DavidLeal

I've been fairly successfully fitting a 40 hour work week into 45 hours per week. I work through lunch, 15min commute and it takes me about 10mins to get ready for work. When it doesn't rain I bike (along the Willamette river) so I can tally the commute on the fun side. I started doing this when we had kids, before that my day looked more like yours. I'd still like to work 30hours, though. When we had our second kid I did that for 3months and I liked it. I noticed that I never worked more than 30 hours then because I only got paid for 30. Once you get paid for a standard work week it's easier to slip into a 45 or 50 hour week. --AndrewQueisser

David, the fact that you only want to work 30 hours a week and didn't mention exercising as part of your current daily routine leads me to believe that you are lacking the energy that your average young person has. Try exercising an hour a day and you will find that you have a lot more energy. I exercise everyday, happily work 70+ hours a week and usually sleep about 6 hours a night. If it takes you an hour to eat lunch you are doing something wrong. Lunch should be fast, and you should not be eating a lot because then you will be lethargic and unproductive in the afternoon after eating a large lunch...maybe that's why you take an hour to digest? Tell your boss you want to take a 20 minute lunch break instead of an hour...then you can leave work 40 minutes earlier everyday. Besides not exercising it sounds like your hour each way commute is the next major thing screwing up your day, moving closer to your office may not be a possibility (got mortgage, kids in school, whatever), so maybe you can suggest to your boss that you work from home one day a week. This will a. give you at least one day a week where you get 2+ extra hours (getting ready shouldn't take you an hour on that day and no stressful commute) b. may make you more productive on the work from home day since it gives you a chance to work with minimal distractions, and c. make you more productive when you are at the office because you are happier.

--Jordan Brock

Your advice sounds more like a list of strained excuses for the FortyHourWeek when one takes into account the examples of countries where people work fewer hours for the same if not higher productive output, foremost among which is Germany:

From the very start of this debate we should remember that the magic number of 8 hours to be allocated for work every day was chosen during a time of revolt against much worse work schedules and as part of an easy to understand and repeat propaganda message and rallying cry calling for "Eight hours labour, Eight hours recreation, Eight hours rest". But this was by no means the result of a scientific effort of measuring, testing and optimizing human work schedules, so maybe our first reaction whenever this discussion is brought up should be to ask for precisely such a scientific effort to be undertaken rather than jumping straight to the FortyHourWeek post-hoc justifications and various suggestions of lifestyle tweaks that supposedly make this schedule "work". (Which is not to say that sport shouldn't occupy at least some part of any sedentary worker's weekly routine, but rather that it's not a fix that addresses the core of the issue here raised.)

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