This is an oldie but a goodie! I wrote this blog last January and have been meaning to share it with all of you. I work remotely now, so some of the info is outdated, but I still think it works for those of y’all stuck in cubicles. Enjoy!
I had the amaaaazing privilege of working a flexible schedule during the holidays. I only worked two full days during a two-week time span and was on call for the rest of the time. “On call” is a business code word for “go home and sit in your pajamas and we’ll still pay you.”
So while I lounged in my sweatpants and worked on various frugal activities, I learned a few lessons about work and the value of time. After returning to my normal schedule, I’ve decided I have a huge beef with traditional 9-to-5 work.
9-to-5 work is stupid
Sure, few people eagerly commute to work each day—it’s work, after all. But seriously, folks. What in the hell are we all doing? Here’s why I’m against 9-to-5 work schedules.
Whoever expected a human being to work four hours straight in complete focus is silly. Our brains don’t work that way. We’re not robots or machines; we’re productive in bursts of time, and these bursts of productivity are different for everyone.
When I’m chained to a desk for eight hours I know I need to make my work last eight hours. I hate running out of work at 10 am and desperately looking for something to fill my day.
However! When I work half days (4 hours), I get so much shiz done. There’s no busy work. There’s no meandering trips to the bathroom. It’s just me and my work, takin’ care of business.
In my opinion, an eight hour workday is overkill for the majority of white collar jobs. Hell, the concept of the 9-to-5 actually came from physical factory labor, not office work. Humans aren’t designed to do extended mental tasks for four hours at a time with one 60-minute break.
The way we design our schedules discourages our natural cycles of productivity—which results in lots of lost time and money.
For half of the year I don’t see the sun. I leave for work before the sun rises and I come home after sunset. That kinda sucks! It’s also tough to feel passionate about non-work hobbies after an exhausting day at the office.
Daily work frustrations really add up, particularly if you have a demanding job, are invited to pointless meetings, have mean coworkers, or just generally don’t like what you do.
When I returned to work after my nice break I was overwhelmed with a to-do list that seemed impossible to tackle. So I ate two chocolate bars in a day to feel less depressed.
Two. Chocolate. Bars.
Good-bye, New Year’s Resolution!
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: being sad costs money. When I’m sad I’m more likely to binge eat or buy something for a fleeting moment of false happiness. Plenty of people aren’t satisfied with their 9-to-5. The issue is that we tend to take out this unhappiness in pricey ways like shopping sprees, new cars, and fast fashion.
The 9-to-5 is making us unfulfilled and less rich.
I hate when it’s slow at work but we still have six hours to go ‘til quittin’ time. In many ways my time would be more valuable than my hourly paycheck—I would have time to enjoy more hobbies, cook better meals, and prioritize healthy exercise. But nnnnoope. I’m at a desk for eight hours a day, come hell or high water.
The traditional 9-to-5 isn’t very flexible. It doesn’t allow for much enrichment or enjoyment since most of our waking hours are at work. After you factor in getting ready for work, commuting, being at work, and commuting back home, most of our time is gone. There are really only 3 – 4 hours in a day we can use for ourselves.
The bottom line
I know this blog comes off as frustrated. I’m not frustrated with my job in particular, but I’m frustrated with the flawed concept of the 9-to-5. Office work as we know it isn’t natural—it programs us for stress and failure. I’m pushing for an alternative to the 9-to-5 with shorter work weeks altogether. Obviously change won’t happen overnight, but I firmly believe that the satisfaction of office workers would be improved with shorter hours. Over time our happiness and productivity will improve for a better life balance.
We want to know: What are your thoughts on the 9-to-5?