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Why I hate the weekends (2017) (cdahmedeh.net)
393 points by rajeshmr on Feb 16, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 340 comments

This resonates with me. I love my work, I really like what I do, I think it's mentally challenging, interesting, and important for our world and civilization and I believe I'm compensated well enough. But it's tiring ok? And all I can ever do on weekends is lying on my bed watching netflix. I work 9 to 6 and work out intensely for 2 hours every week day. By the time it's saturday I'm both physically and mentally exhaust. I cannot do anything other than sleeping. Of course this is not a good situation for various reasons: no friends, no relationships, no hobbies. Just work, gym, and recovering from those two. I like this for a lot of reasons (which is why I do it) but I acknowledge that my life is also pathetic. I wouldn't be surprised if I died alone.

First off, it seems as though your gym schedule is very intense and easing on that may help especially the physical aspect of what you’re going through.

Secondly, I strongly recommend, if you don’t already, to just maybe see a therapist? It seems like you’ve got some cool things going on and like you could be a cool person, and sometimes it’s tough to reach out. I had to myself recently.

Seriously. If they're hitting the gym with any sort of intensity, 2 hours a day is going to leave you destroyed on the weekends. 3-4 days a week is plenty. Your body needs to rebuild.

2 hours/day at 100% intensity is a lot, but I have found doing something physical everyday to be key to mental health, sleeping better, and general well being. Very people go 100% even when they go to the gym 3x/week, so I don't want others reading this thinking that is all they need.

In fact, people will be surprised what the body can do (go read up on ultra-marathoners, etc...). Few regular gym goers are even close to needing rest days, and instead use it as an excuse not to go.

My gym is filled with people half-assing it(not even half really), sitting on equipment playing with their phones, or just generally doing it wrong. Those people aren't going to get the message no matter what. You either want it or you don't. I mean want it. "Want" is a funny word. My ex "wanted" everything but never put any effort into anything. That's not "want". "Want" is a desire strong enough to drive actions. If you don't have that, nothing can help you.

I totally get you about the ultra marathoners. What I don't see is those people using their skills to benefit anything else in their lives. Sure, it's amazing to see someone, especially someone in their 50s or 60s, run 300+ miles. It's also sad to see them devote so much of their time to training and fueling that they have nothing left for anything else in their lives. I used to do 30-60 miles of fast walking in a week. Even at that level my job and social life took a hit.

I think for anyone who is serious about hitting the recommended levels of fitness and exercise, a few hours a week, spread out into 3-4 visits, is more than enough. You should probably try to get some low intensity exercise every day, like walking and simple yoga, while maintaining good posture. If you do that, you'll stay fit, increase the chances of living a long life, and have enough time and energy left over for the important things in life.

You are seriously looking down on the folks with their phones? How else are folks supposed to overcome the absolute drudgery and hate they have for the activity they are doing? I'd argue these folks are more motivated than the folks like you: Regardless for their hate for the activity, they are still doing it.

It is the same reason I have headphones with some sort of entertainment when I walk or use treadmills. The same reason my spouse reads while on the stationary bike. These activities are an absolutely dreadful way to spend time. Especially when one could be home making artwork or music or devoting time to cooking something creative or even watching silly videos.

I assume GP is referring to people who arent actively working out, but floating around the gym mostly playing on their phones, checking social. As though time spent in the gym was the point rather than the exercise itself.

Yeah this. I see people camped on machines, just sitting there on their phones. They're not resting between sets. Just sitting there. Yesterday it was a guy pacing in front of the dumbbell rack, talking loud enough to hear over my headphones, not exercising at all.

> How else are folks supposed to overcome the absolute drudgery and hate they have for the activity they are doing?

By trying some other activity instead of wasting their time and other people's.

So, someone being active on a stationary bicycle while reading is wasting someone else's time somehow?

I've never found an enjoyable workout activity. The closest I've come to it being bearable is walking as transportation - and sometimes that leads me to staying home rather than do social things. It is horrible without headphones and horrible in the rain or snow.

All of these "workouts" and "exercise" have mind-numbing boredom as a side dish.

You're doing it wrong then.

Or perhaps I simply do not find any joy in such activities. Just because you find some enjoyment here doesn't mean that others do.

You need to find some type of exercise you like to do. You mention that you like creative activities. Many studies show creativity spikes during and after physical activity. At worst, look at the end goal of being healthy physically and mentally and derive joy from exercising.

For me, exercising is like breathing. It is not about liking/disliking, it's about doing because it is how the body works.

I've never, ever found an exercise I like doing. Never. None of that stuff actually motivates me to the point of joy. It merely means I'll do the drudgery a bit longer. The end goal is even more laughable since I'm going through tests for MS right now - it is very likely that I'm doing the stuff for nothing.

The creative stuff is simply someone being bored doing a repetitive. It is the same reason folks get creative in the shower or while driving. You can also learn things to be more creative. There may be a slight edge to the extra blood flow, but I'm not sure that is backed scientifically like the boredom is.

Face it, some people simply hate this sort of thing.

Good for you. Some people hate doing it, but know they should. So whatever helps them get through it don't knock it.

Exactly this.

I've never, ever found something I enjoy doing for extended periods of time. There is even less out there that you can do if you happen to be poor.

Working out for 40 minute high intensity sessions (making every minute count) 3 times a week is enough to become buff as hell.

You need adequate resting time as well.

The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.

Sounds like he's not making the most of his workouts.

You can actually do a full body workout with just 5 compound exercises: https://stronglifts.com/5x5/ and believe me when I say that after doing just 5 sets of 5 reps at your max of a deadlift you will be tired as hell.

> The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.

That's not a good rule. Once you've past the first few months of resistance training, not being sore after a workout is not an indication that you didn't work out hard enough. It's very possible to work hard and have little to no soreness while making reliable strength gains.

In general you really want to get to place where you're working out more days per week, for a smaller amount of time each session (with a targeted muscle group). There shouldn't be much soreness at all unless you've over-exerting yourself.

It's an extremely common misconception that you need to work yourself to soreness to facilitate muscle breakdown and repair. But that's actually inefficient. The only reason it's even so common in people new to training is because they tend to workout with someone who is significantly more advanced (or enthusiastic) than they are.

The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.

Which is why I'll never, ever actually work out. Seriously, not only do I hate the time spent getting most activity, but now you are telling me I'm supposed to hurt for days afterwards? No, thank you. Not without being under the direct supervision of medical professionals who tell me I really need this sort of pain.

> 3 times a week is enough to become buff as hell.

True. I wasn't talking about only being buff. I view working out as something I do to be mentally and physically healthy for life. I think some physical activity every day is key for physical and mental well being.

> The rule is if it doesn't ache for a couple days after, you need to go harder/heavier.

I disagree here. I've done many programs (used the 5x5 you mentioned for years to max out at a #525 deadlift), and rarely get sore from a weight workout. The only time I get sore now is if I take time off and come back.

Most natural body builders will never become "buff as hell". In 20 years of body building ive known 1 natural guy who had the genes to become really well built without juice.

Most people who look 'buff' are really just lean. A decent diet and some IF and many people can look buff.

> 2 hours/day at 100% intensity is a lot, but I have found doing something physical everyday to be key to mental health, sleeping better, and general well being.

On non-gym days, I go for a 1-2 hours walk in the park/woods in the evening. It's very soothing and meditative (thanks in no small part to being unplugged from electronics), plus you can still get sweaty if you walk fast enough. Obiously, you also get plenty of oxygen vs the gym.

Me too. If you need someone to reach out to in the Austin area, feel free to DM me.

You should definitely see a therapist, you sound clinically depressed. Laying in bed all weekend is not healthy. Making friends and having lasting relationships takes effort but is a requirement to have a happy and fulfilling life (excluding total hermits who are perfectly happy ignoring family, friends, and social contact, and some of those people do exist on HN and will argue with this comment).

You have a career, now it's time to have a life. You owe it to yourself.

"Requirement" is too strong a word. We've all read the Harvard 75 years old study [0] probably here, cause it was posted couple of times on HN, but I for one side with Chamfort: "Happiness is very difficult to find in yourself, but impossible to find someplace else"

I've felt this way all my life, even before I read Chamfort. I always valued quality relationships with people, not just any relationship with anyone. To me, being alone is much better than being in the wrong company.

It's very hard to find good, well-mannered people with moral integrity. At least it is for me. And based on everything I see around me, those people are just rare. Most people tolerate each other, instead of actively wanting to be friends/whatever with each other. I don't fully understand why that is. But is just is. I'm curious to see other's thoughts on this subject, though.

[0] - https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/inspired-life/wp/2016/03...

"It's very hard to find good, well-mannered people with moral integrity. At least it is for me. And based on everything I see around me, those people are just rare. Most people tolerate each other, instead of actively wanting to be friends/whatever with each other. I don't fully understand why that is. But is just is. I'm curious to see other's thoughts on this subject, though."

So much of this, I feel that 100%. And people who are like-minded to me feel the same. I think I have 6-7 people/friends like that, it took me time to find them, and I said many times no to "regular ok" people who are not ok to me. Additionally (don't take it too seriously) people who say they don't like people in general (like me :D ) are the ones who I like and who "do have a bar" at all.

To me it seems like most people are not in "real friendships " just accidentally sharing similar background in a space and time so they benefit some of the pros of having a "regular" relationship (eg. friendship).

> "Additionally (don't take it too seriously) people who say they don't like people in general (like me :D ) are the ones who I like and who "do have a bar" at all."

Chamfort, again, put it more eloquently than I can: "If you aren't misanthrope by age 40, you never liked the world anyway"

I guess the initial shock for me was that people know what they are doing and what kind of harm/pain they are causing, and at every step of the way they choose to do it. I've seen this all around me and I've experienced some of it myself and I just don't understand why is it so. There really isn't a need for it, people like and choose to do it. That's kinda scary to me.

Once you start thinking about this subject, you will inevitably realize the same, as a plethora of philosophers did earlier and since always, basically.

The only people content with the situation seem those that never started thinking about it anyway. Ignorance is a bliss? :)

Exactly. I feel like I've had enough bad companies/relationships to be really content just to be on myself. And I feel so, so much better off with it. I have total tranquility of mins and can concentrate on what I'm passionate about, instead of being always upset, disappointed or have my attention taken away and all that. I still actively engage in online communities and this makes me happy. Also I maintain occasional contact with a few friends, who I sense to share my values and are generally reliable, which seems more than enough really.

People might have tended to "tolerate" others because it was harder to survive without the others, when technologies were not that advanced. But do a lot of people really want to be with the others that much? This I really doubt.

Also I feel the couple mentioned in that article might have well been better off if they could actually pursue their passions instead of focusing solely on personal relationships, or why not both indeed.

"I feel like I've had enough bad companies/relationships to be really content just to be on myself. And I feel so, so much better off with it."

Yep. Bad companies/relationships also reserve "space & time" and the "need" of possible new ones.

He (or she) does not sound clinically depressed at all! They are excited about life and work. Wanting to relax and spend some alone time on the weekend is not depression. May be lonely, and probably not healthy in the long term, but not depressed. Depression is primarily characterized by hopelessness and despair.

"Moderation in all things" - Aristotle

Like others I think you should see a therapist about it.

Work - Gym - Netflix, misses so many things from reaching a balanced life.

A person needs to interact with others apart from their work and gym. Also I do understand that through e.g Netflix you are sort of interacting with 'others' points of views etc e.g getting emotional about your favourite character etc. Thing is that this needs to happen in your real life as well apart from the imaginary world of watching a film or online gaming for example.

I too for some years while growing up got stuck into computer games, and it felt like it was the only thing I liked to do. I got out of it and I am happy I did so, now I have a family, I go out, I go to the gym, I like working too, I do play video games for 1-2 hours a day on my off time and I am quite happy that I explored and learnt that there are way more things in life than just video games.

I hope that helps you understand that you also need some human interaction in your personal life.

Nobody wants to interact with me, can't speak for the grandparent, but not everybody has the same options as everybody else. With me, people have a visceral reaction of extreme dislike upon first meeting me, so I have to work twice as hard, and when "friendship" is so ephemeral it's a lot of work for little long term reward, tbh.

I was in the exact same position. Growing up and playing online games, spending most of my time with people that were obnoxious douches - cause who cares its the internet (and they were older), shaped me to be an obnoxious douche too. 18 to 20 it was all time low for me. Apart from being very obese, I just didn't care about anyone I'd meet in real life. I'd put up a wall and anytime I'd meet someone I would feel like they don't like me etc.

Difference between you and me is that I worked heavily on it. I understood that I need to be more open to conversations and more kind. Also that not everyone speaks the online gaming culture language I do, people would not laugh at my brutal jokes cause not everyone plays games out there or has been subjected to trolling etc, and not everyone would diminish things so easily as I and other gamers would do. I lost all the extra weight and anytime the obnoxious douche would try to come out and be weird or mean to people I'd say no to him. If it did happen and I was a douche to someone, which can happen even today after many years I'd own up to it and be sorry and ask for forgiveness.

Nothing in this life is a given and yes some people like me and you have to put extra work in order to make things happen. Its totally doable though.

I'd also suggest you to find a therapist that you like and can trust and get some help on it.

Hope that helps you on your quest.

>people have a visceral reaction of extreme dislike upon first meeting me

What makes you say that?

I faced similar things regarding time management. I shifted my exercise stuff towards HIIT, i.e. short but super intense exercises most of days (~30 minutes), with 2x/week strenuous weightlifting ones that might take longer. I know this limited amount won't make me an Olympic winner, but I don't care. Then, remote work with my own hours helps another time management issue; usually I am done working at 2pm and can do something with my life. Then once/twice a month I throw a party where I invite a lot of people from all around the world from different fields, many of whom I never interacted with before (if you are in a large international city, it gets easier). Then there are hobbies, where I suddenly have time to pursue e.g. serious photography or electronic music composition etc.

This is a super intriguing comment. Could you say more about the parties? I'm imagining a bunch of your Twitter followers descending from everywhere on Munich or something into a warehouse that you rent out.

I can relate to your schedule, but you have to break it up. Working out every day is great, but 2 hours of 100% intensity is tough. It's okay to do a light run on some days. The Zen concept here is you want to fill everyday with as much as possible without impacting your ability to do the same tomorrow. Think of your life as a marathon instead of sprint. What hours would you need to keep to exercise and work every single day? Treat the week like that and you'll have the time and energy to do other things on the weekend.

You also need to find some things outside work. Joining a sports league would help. You get your exercise and meet people. Jiu Jitsu is fun and many gyms treat all the members like extended family. It's also mentally challenging (think physical chess), so it gets your mind off of work.

Good luck.

+1 for BJJ as a exercise/social thing.

2 hours a day of solo gym exercise is pathological unless you have some really good reason to be doing it and it's making someone happy. Which it clearly isn't.

It's possible to get to 'intermediate' powerlifter level on about 2-3 hours a week. There are of course many other goals, but 12 hours a week in the gym is almost certainly reaching diminishing returns for almost any of the goals I can think of (with the possible exception of really hardcore bodybuilding or endurance work).

BJJ is not good for older bodies :). Its too tempting to keep rolling and ignore signs your body is telling you. I think BJJ is the most grueling on your body of all combat sports.

If you're 40 going up against 20s all the time sure. But BJJ is one of the easier things I have done to my body. Basketball (back injury, broken ankle), wake boarding (slight concussion, torn ACL), and snowboarding have all been much harder on me than anytime I've done starting from a knee rolling. But, you do need to make sure the people you roll with are not idiots (like any other sports where you have to rely on/come into contact with others).

"starting from a knee" rolling, he says carefully. I bet there's a story there... I have a SLAP lesion from a Judo throw, myself.

Also +1 for "make sure the people you roll with are not idiots". I guess my role is to follow you around agreeing with you.

Further, make you that the person that you are 2 minutes after the roll starts isn't an idiot. My IQ often drops about 10 points her minute of the roll, so I'll go in saying to myself "OK, today I'm going to work the Shaolin sweep from knee shield half", a minute later it's "I'm going to get whatever I can get from knee shield half", a minute later it's "let's just wrestlefk my way to top position any old how and then work a principled submission" and by the end of the roll it's "smash this fool with everything I've got like it's the Abu Dhabi trials". I am very aware of this tendency and work like hell to avoid it, but it's important to recognize that idiot-avoidance isn't just about other people.

> I bet there's a story there...

No real story. I'm not a BJJ expert or anything, but my experience has almost always been starting from the knees. I have seen more MMA style gyms that I would avoid at my age. I'm too old to be punched in the face or thrown from standing :D

> Also +1 for "make sure the people you roll with are not idiots"

I broke my ankle playing basketball b/c of a new guy who showed up to play and ran through me while I had an open layup. I would have gotten in a fight if I could walk haha. Instead we had some choice words for him, and never saw him at the game again.

> Further, make you that the person that you are 2 minutes after the roll starts isn't an idiot....

Great point (and I'm going to get meta here), this is important to learn in life. How many times are you at work and a couple minutes into a discussion you or someone else loses their cool? It takes discipline to see that and stop it from happening. Martial arts really do teach so much beyond the activity itself.

I'm a 46 year old mid-level blue belt. It's possible to avoid the temptation; I speak from experience as someone who has tried it both ways. It requires a considerable adjustment in your game and attitude to stay healthy, but I think it can be done (check back with me in a few years, though :-) ).

ps. The other element which really seems to help is to do some 'old man bodybuilding' (build some armor rather than trying to Get Hyyuge). This (stuff like high rep overhead presses with wimpy weights) really helps with some of my broken bits (ex-Judo shoulders, fr'instance). Dan John is a big influence on me.

I’d also recommend Jiu Jitsu. Incredibly fun, physically demanding, and very social. It’s also damn near impossible to be thinking of anything but the present moment while in the middle of rolling, so I’ve found it be a great way to reset my brain after a long and demanding day of work.

> I wouldn't be surprised if I died alone.

Everyone eventually dies alone, but do not let that sadden you. A full life is measured in the depths of sorrow from that truth, not in avoiding it.

Have you ever watched someone die?

Dying is terrible, but there is definitely a difference between being surrounded by loved ones and being all alone or among strangers.

"Everyone dies alone" is one of those things that is sort of technically correct, but has absolutely nothing to do with what people mean when they talk about dying alone.

Yes, I watched my mother die (of cancer). I was standing in a circle holding hands with her and 3 or 4 of her best friends. On a sunny day in a house with 180 degree ocean view. They scattered her ashes on the ocean.

My dad died (also of cancer) 3 years ago last week. Didn't have a view of the ocean or anything fancy like that. But at least we got to be there for it.

Ah sorry to hear that. Not her house, she just had an amazing knack for having friends with nice houses that needed to be house-sat!

Dying is terrible, but there is definitely a difference between being surrounded by loved ones and being all alone or among strangers.

I don't know, dude. My dad died, but I'm not even sure he knew we were around him. He had been in a coma after a stroke for a couple of weeks at that point. The same goes for folks that just die in their sleep - I'm not sure it matters. I hope they weren't actually lonely, but I wish that for lots of folks.

The dying alone part isn’t so bad. It likely takes less than a week or so.

The sad part is the way there.

My mother died in my arms. Surrounded by loved ones. Ghengis khan was also surrounded by loved ones when he died. Dozens of them.

I used to work out 1.5hrs 4 times a week -- it was so exhausting on-top of my normal day (I'm a dancer as well) that I was about to just let it all crash and walk away.

I since changed my schedule to 40 min, 3 times a week, 2 sets, maximum reps till failure with pyramids.

Most gains in strength i have ever achieved with the least amount of work I have ever done.

Less time - more ROI

check out @maclulich on Insta -- I can back it up.

What's your routine?

3 full body days.

2 sets, each exercise, 3-4 exercises per day.

For example (in kgs):

1. Deadlifts, 145x20, 150x13 2. Hamstring curls, 60x25, 65x18 3. Dumbbell bench, 32x24, 34x18 4. Lat pull down, 40x25, 44x18

Massive nervous system overload with high reps.

This usually leaves me shaking and needing a 5-10 min rest at the end in the changing rooms before having the energy to change and leave.

It's maximum effort in 40 min, and at least for me, it works.

Increase reps/weight as u cross the 20+ rep barrier.

The key here is going over te same muscles more often than what a typical more mainstream routine would have you do, ie go over a muscle group once a week. The smaller the muscle group the faster they recover, day or two, and then the protein synthesis goes down the muscle begins to atrophy before the next stimulus arrives.

I think we all need to be part of a small tribe, a group of friends we see at least every two weeks or so. Also getting intense contact with nature, I’ve noticed that if I’m without going out for more than 2 weeks I also begin to feel down and lay in the couch. Biking, skiing, trekking, it doesn’t matter, be out in the nature, far from the city.

Unsolicited advice usually makes me feel worse about a given discomfort in my life. Do others really think I haven't considered these simple remedies? Most people assume that, if someone is in a bad way and sharing their experience, they possess the armchair wisdom to save them.

I imagine they think you have tried most of them. But from experience, even if someone telling me to go do sports was getting really tiresome after a while. I was still looking for other things I could try.

"What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, but lose his soul?" Be sure to guard your hearts from the idolatry of work.


If you are unhappy you should change. Take that as given.

I will second the people who say two hours is a lot. Honestly more time with lighter amounts of activity (thinking walking rather than deadlifting) is actually healthier for you in the long run. The human body is a 250,000 year old OS with the last update maybe 10,000 years ago, and for most of that time we sat around and ate a badger (or similar) maybe once a week.

If you want friends, join a group that does some light activity and then hangs out. Kickball is fun as is hiking or ultimate frisbee or kickboxing. Working out and friends can go together! Two birds stoned in the hand is worth three sober in the bush, or something.

OP, have you taken a look at alternate day total body workout splits, instead of working out every day ?

Something like this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RDWyqnGhmWY

Maybe you want to ask yourself what you are working out for. If working out is actively eating into the reason that you are working out for, then I hope you can see the damage or at least the redundancy caused by extra workouts.

Also, you could take a look at some workout-esque hobbies. Bouldering has become very popular recently. Maybe try playing a sport that is high intensity (like squash or swimming)

Please read Feeling Good by Dr. David Burns, or even check out the website he maintains. He gives lots of resources for DIY Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, if you want to give that a shot before professional help.

Work less and get outside more. Whatever it is your job entails, it's simply not important nor urgent enough to deprive yourself of experiencing a greater variety of living.

Death, alone or accompanied, is inherently irrelevant. That you're even thinking about it suggests you're aware on some level that this pattern isn't a good use of your life.

If you're going to the gym that often, you must be in great physical shape. Go climb a mountain, working at computers endlessly is for suckers.

> ...if I died alone.

An alternate viewpoint on this - perhaps it will help you:


Regardless of whether you agree with Big Clive on this, his channel is amazing - IMHO at least :-)

This was me in grad school. I did do stuff on the weekends, but most of it was vegging. It didn't work out for me healthwise. I would recommend trying to transition into a more slow-burn, less intense lifestyle. If work is that intense that you need to crash on the weekends, it can add up over time in bad ways.

I'm starting to see this more and more after reading Bullshit Jobs. What's thing where you see something and start seeing it more and more called?

> I think it's mentally challenging, interesting, and important for our world and civilization

What do you do, if I may ask?

Do you smoke pot? That's how smoking makes me.


Your life isnt pathetic, youre focusing on what matters to you rn in life.

>t. Same except managed to find energy to enjoy my weekends.

The secret is healthy diet, 8 hours sleep, drinking water, and limit in alcohol

> The secret is healthy diet, 8 hours sleep, drinking water, and limit in alcohol

It's not really a secret. We all know this, but few execute (common theme in life?).

What I don't understand here: Why can't we just work less?

I know it's not trivial, but it can't be impossible either. I doubt he would starve if he got a part-time dev job (are those easy to find? I have no idea). I agree wholeheartedly with all that he said. I think a life of work-home-work without breathing is almost meaningless unless you can have possibly unreasonable amounts of fun and freedom in the job (few if any industries allow/demand this kind of work). Indeed if a job allows for fun and freedom markets will usually exploit this advantage to try and push you to work even more (if you let them of course).

I'm still a student but I'll certainly look for a job that's either totally fulfilling (rare) or allows as much freedom as possible while maintaining a reasonable lifestyle and quality of life.

It is the government's explicit policy to continually raise the price of housing (etc) so that most everybody is forced into working "full time" to keep up the "growth".

The elephant in the room is that all of those housekeeping tasks used to generally be done during the week by a second householder. So what happened?! Rather than double income households actually resulting in getting ahead, economic feedback simply made it the new normal!

Similar destruction of economic progress happened when Walmart (et al) gutted local business - a lot of high-margin employers went away, yet prices weren't allowed to go down. So rather than local economies' costs at least going down along with their pay, they only got the downside.

Taking into account women entering the workforce plus general technological progress, "full time employment" these days should be under 15 hours per week!

> It is the government's explicit policy to continually raise the price of housing (etc) so that most everybody is forced into working "full time" to keep up the "growth".

I downvoted you because of this extraordinary claim. If you're going to make a claim like this you need to provide evidence. Not only that but the government doesn't even have direct control of property values and indirect control is at the local level.

It can seem quite extraordinary when stated plainly.


The main goal of inflationary monetary policy is the shameless "maximum employment". Since the cost of manufactured goods will not go down (technological progress and fundamental economic optimization), in order for CPE to continue to rise then some other component must go up. The closest consumers get to new money creation is taking out loans for housing, therefore the price of housing goes up.

Landlords and realtors raise the price of housing, not government.

The biggest reason is because bosses don’t want us to. They want to make as much money as possible, and that’s about it really. The good news is we have made progress, through mass action, people have won the right to weekends, fewer hours and other rights. The final battle is one to win control of the workplace itself, a self-managed and owned workplace.

In tech in SV, so many stupid things happen because people work too much. Self-organizing is a challenge as well though.

So let’s legislate a four day work week. The productivity gains to justify it already exist, they’ve existed for decades.

I wonder if that would have to happen globally. We are still competing with companies in other countries. Chinese startups subscribe to the 996 schedule (9am-9pm, 6 days/week). I'm not sure if 954 allows us to compete.

More hours does not mean more output. Productivity decreases significantly when you work those kinds of hours regularly.

Competition has little to do with working hours. If anything you have to look at hourly rate and company revenue divided employee-hour

Why not? We're currently competing with 955.

I don't think we've really gotten to the phase (at least in software) where we are directly competing outside of China. I think we are starting to compete in markets like India. I'd be surprised if in a few years we won't be fighting over US market share. The recent Reddit investment by Tencent might be a harbinger of things to come.

Edit: I very much hope I'm wrong. I do see a danger of a future where a small percentage of people work long hours and everyone else is unemployed.

I'm pretty astonishing about that movement happening in the West(or USA only?). Because, by contrast, in China, 996 is the current trend in tech companies.

> Because, by contrast, in China, 996 is the current trend in tech companies.

Only very poorly run ones with crappy per-hour productivity.

I convinced my boss to let me work less days per week. 4 to be precise. It was a very very rare exception open just for me and because I was a well regarded dev 2+ years in the team. Since then, I had interviews with companies and recruiters and there simply isn't any offers for reduced week loads. Companies have fixed costs in hiring you, I guess, and want to suck you dry ASAP.

There aren't any offers, sure, but you can still negotiate for this and get it—it's harder than doing it at your current job, but it's still possible. And once you've done it at one job it's easier to say "and I did this successfully at last job and it worked out fine" and that reduces their worry somewhat.

Still means a longer job search, but it's definitely possible.

Key trick: ask for shorter workweek only _after_ you have the job offer. That way they don't just filter you out in advance, and they're already in a mental state of wanting you.

I've negotiated for shorter workweek at three jobs so far, and did it this way at last two. And people who have read my book on negotiating a 3-day weekend (https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/) or that I've interviewed about their independent experience doing this (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/01/08/part-time-programmer...) have done it as well.

Pretty much. People have been talking of 6 hour work days and 4 day work week for awhile now. It makes sense. It is mostly a matter of, lack of, influence.

The final battle is the only battle worth striving for. Become financially independent and make bosses a thing of your past. You would not believe how motivating it is to work for yourself.

Even when self employed I don't really want to. I know 5 days/week is unproductive, but it's difficult to scale down to 4. That's cutting down "potential" salary by 20% and with all the fixed costs out there, the potential income loss is much, much higher.

But the reality is that being constantly tired is unproductive and having 50% more time off is huge.

Just employ yourself at 25% more than your current rate?

Or do as I'm striving to do and work 5 days a week for less and less of the year. I aim for 35 weeks, basically 2/3 on, 1/3 off. And then I find when I consult for 2 or 4 more weeks it's like a bonus.

It also allows you to work a little harder on Fridays when there's a tanigble endpoint.

Just go work at Mondragon.

The first step to working less is being in a comfortable enough financial position that you can push your boundaries without worrying that if it backfires you'll be out of work and behind on your bills.

Once you have the money to cushion the blow, you can start pushing back on demands for your time with a lot more confidence. A thing I've personally found is that my employer just wants results and things done on time and when needed. They don't particularly care how much time I'm physically in the office working.

Definitely not impossible, one of my co-workers switched to only working 3 days a week last year. He lives a fairly frugal lifestyle and enjoys more time for other things, so it works well for him... But it wasn't easy for him to get either, they originally told him he'd only be able to continue like that on a temporary 4 month contract... But we work in a larger bureaucractic company, and after a couple months it was clear that we wouldn't get approval to automatically replace him any time soon if he left completely, so it made more sense to keep him permanently even at 3 days a week, rather than have no one new. It helped that he was one of the better performers on the team, so even at 3 days a week he's very productive, he's just taken less of a role on many of the side tasks that he used to do.

Hiring is actually a tremendous burden for most small/mid sized business with all of the compliance and regulatory stuff. Its far cheaper to hire one person for 40 hours/week than 2 people for 20, even if their pay is half.

This. It’s interesting to read all the other reasons people think that we don’t have a shorter workweek but the above is the simplest reason. It’s also easier to manage 1 person working 40 hours than 2 people working 20 hours. It’s also less effort to interview and hire 1 vs 2 people. As the business owner you might even prefer hiring a 60 hour employee over 1.5 40 hour employees by the same reasoning, but we in the U.S. and western world have reached an equilibrium in the supply/demand at something around 40 hours.

Saying employers don't want it is kind of stating the obvious. Of cause the employer tries to extract as much value as possible, while most discussion in this thread seems centered around improving quality of live of employees. So looking at only one side of the labor market doesn't really help. The more interesting question is employees make deals without it.

Is it actually true to say there is an market equilibrium at 40 hours? I'm no expert, but 40h seems heavily reinforced by regulation (FLSA comes up on search). Without government intervention, I'd not see much stopping a race to the bottom, at least for a significant part of the job market.

I wonder if less wealth inequality would give more leverage to the average citizen, enough so that this additional bargaining power would make a significant difference on the job market. Influences like that might explain the systems trends over longer time periods...

You need to account for all the people who leave a job and would have stayed for a 30-hours week. High turn rate companies see that all the time.

> Why can't we just work less?

You can. Anyone that says you can't hasn't tried hard enough.

Ask your boss. Tell them you want a better work-life balance, tell them it's really important to you and that it's something you will prioritize. Work 4 days a week and get 4/5th of the pay. Step down to 3 days a week later.

If your boss won't come at it, find one that will. Your time is so much more important than more money.

There are a lot of industries where if you aren't at work before and after the boss is and aren't there 50+ hours and promptly answering calls and emails all weekends, you will not ever be promoted. A lot of my friends in finance are going through an existential crisis due to the weight that this mandatory brown nosing has on their well being, despite the decent pay. A lot of them feel trapped in their job, that they can't transition to a better industry with a better culture without basically resetting the last five years of their careers with no guarantees of making it back through the rat race, or that it will be culturally any different at all.

You're right that you may not get promoted. If your time is more valuable to you than money, why does it matter?

> hasn’t tried hard enough

Its worth noting that “tried hard” isn’t a good description of the things necessary. You need to creatively manoever into a position to do so and you need to know how to do that.

I do this, I work 4 1/2 days a week (more accurately, I take a day off every fortnight).

It’s really nice. That’s an errand day, or sometimes hang out with friends day, and sometimes just a sleep in lazy day.

Does 10% less pay (more like 8% less after taxes) affect me? No, not really.

I’ve worked both 3 and 4 day weeks (at 8 hours a day), and it was always really great, but it made me feel I was missing so many things in the workplace, I’m now not particularly bothered by working 5 days.

But if you want to do a lot of things beside work, 3 days is best.

It’s also a bit dependent on life situation. When I left university I was perfectly good with 3/5ths salary, but now with a family to support that would be hard.

I felt the same about 3 days and then asked to work 4 days again, which by boss was happy to grant me. But for me 4 days is the sweet spot.

Graeber's book on Bullshit Jobs gives an answer: we work more , and for longer hours, as a (fallacious) proof that our jobs are useful after all. Being busy, in a hurry, and tired is a form of validation.

Some possible solutions:

1) Ask for a 30 hour work week, or find a company that can offer this. Your salary should still be high enough to aim for a comfortable retirement at 65.

2) Adopt a more frugal lifestyle and increase your savings rate.

You need to save a few million dollars to retire with $40-$80k in investment income. It should be very possible to do this with a backend developer's salary over a period of 10-15 years, and then you should be able to retire in your 30s or 40s. You should also aim to increase your salary by changing jobs every few years (or get a job at a FAANG.)

3) Build side projects or a startup and try to get some passive income (or an exit)

Write all your startup ideas down and keep looking for opportunities. It can be hard to build products in the evenings or weekends, especially if you're already burnt out from your normal job. So this option works best when combined with part-time freelance work:

4) Become a freelancer and work part-time while you work on your own projects

Bonus: Move to a place with a very low cost of living.

Working 10-20 hours per week gives you a lot of free time and much longer weekends. But it also gives you a lot of time and energy to work on your own ideas.

Note that working 10 hours per week is a terrible idea if you just spend the rest of your time working on hobbies that don't make any money. If you do that, then you won't even be able to retire at 65, and you probably won't be able to save money for emergencies. Only do this if you spend the rest of your time trying to build a business.

If you can't get anything to work after ~10 years of trying, then you should still have plenty of time to go back to a full-time job and save for retirement.

> You need to save a few million dollars to retire with $40-$80k in investment income.

You need a lot less than a few million dollars if you're willing to live at a more reasonable retirement income. I mean, you won't have to commute anymore, or buy all those services that did things you never had time for, or pay for daycare, or live in an overpriced city, etc. Hell if you move to a country with a lower cost of living, as you suggested, you'll need even less.

You would be surprised how little of what you consider "necessities" of your lifestyle you actually need, or miss when they are gone.

A conservative "safe withdrawal rate" is about 3.5%, so you need around $1.1M invested in index funds in order to have $40k income per year.

I'm living in Thailand, and $40k goes a long way. Many people would be happy with this lifestyle, but it's not quite enough for me, and I wouldn't want to spend the rest of my life here. I'd much rather have $80-100k and live somewhere like Toronto. But to each their own.

I'm in Japan. Last year I remitted $16k. My residence is paid for and I spent an additional $12k cash. In total, I live on 28k / year. Add in a residence if I had to rent, down where I am it's $500/mo for a 3 br "home". It's really a shanty by western standards but enough for me. On 34k if you rented, one can live comfortably in Southern Japan. Of course, this is not possible without a valid visa. I have lived in Midwest, California, Washington and visited most of US. I would still choose to live here than anywhere else. I think most Americans who have not done enough travel do not seriously consider living outside of their country (if they had the chance) just due to a mindset that America is the best place to be (hint: it's not).

But you said it yourself: you need a visa. It's not simply a question of whether an American or anyone else finds it satisfying to live in another country. The government has to want/permit you to be there. And in the case of Japan in particular, that's a difficult situation to navigate, especially if you are looking for a place to live for your retirement years.

Can I ask what city in Japan you're in? I wouldn't expect it to be that cheap.

I live in the DC area on $20k a year, and I don't feel like I'm missing anything.

It took me a while to build this frugal-yet-fulfilling lifestyle, but it was so worth it.

This completely ignores inflation.

By spending that 3.5% on living, you are actually losing a portion of your wealth each year.

In order to remain "flat", you need to be earning 7%, in order to spend 3.5%.

...but of course, this also completely ignores the risk. Assets don't give 7% for free. The investor is accepting the risk - that's the whole point. So in reality, you need to be earning closer to 10% in order to mitigate the risk of a default on those assets.

Living off of investment income is almost never really winning battle.

No, the safe withdrawal rate of 3.5% does account for inflation. The idea is that the S&P 500 should return around 7-8% per year on average. Lots of information about this in the "r/financialindependence" FAQ [1], particularly the "What about inflation?" section [2]. These results are based on the Trinity Study [3], which is also known as "the 4 percent rule." 3.5% is a more realistic withdrawal rate for a very long retirement, and 3% would be very conservative. 2.5% would almost guarantee that you die with more assets than you started with.

It's also very important to decrease your expenses during a market crash, and to never panic sell. You could also have some other income streams like rental properties, or software businesses.

If you just want to hold cash and bonds, retire at 30, and expect to live until you're 100, then you need to save up 70 * 100000 = $7 million, and spend $100k per year until you die. (Although $100k in 2089 will be worth a lot less than 2019.)

And who knows, maybe longevity treatments and gene therapies will become widely available in the next 70 years, and people might live until they are 200. Or even indefinitely. If you think that might be a possibility, then you should definitely invest in the stock market instead of keeping everything in cash. There is such a thing as "too little risk" when it comes to investing.

[1] https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/wiki/faq

[2] https://www.reddit.com/r/financialindependence/wiki/faq#wiki...

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trinity_study

Honestly, I am surprised that by now, places in SEA/ India haven't become retirement homes for low savings westerners.

2 people can easily live lavish life in India (something like Goa or a nice hill station) for ~$2000 a month.

Healthcare is not as bad, especially in urban locations. People speak English well, and it isn't that far, given that people drive ~10 hours across states to meet family anyways.

If no one else steals this 'idea' , I might just think of implementing it 20 years down the line.

Australians have been retiring in Malaysia for a while. Good food, great climate, and the professionals can find easy employment or consulting gigs if they get bored (let's face it, nobody really wants to fully retire). Living costs are moderate, but far cheaper than something like Sydney. Healthcare and dental really is world class and plenty of people speak English well.

$2000/month here is about the salary of a senior PHP engineer with 15 years experience, so it'll take you far.

Moderately high personal wealth does not translate into having nice public spaces as well.

No amount of personal wealth makes a Texas suburb walkable. No amount of personal wealth makes it possible to skateboard on Tokyo sidewalks. No amount of personal wealth makes the downtown park you live next to actually be nice.

Beyond that, most places in SEA have caught on and if you have money, the society around you will figure out how to charge you enough to get it from you, especially if you're used to a pretty high standard of living

> You need to save a few million dollars to retire with $40-$80k in investment income. It should be very possible to do this with a backend developer's salary over a period of 10-15 years,

How would a few million be possible? What is your contextual salary for this position, and their expected expenses?

Earn 250k on average across 15 years. This is quite conservative for FAANG. In California, you'll take home about 150k. Each year, live frugally off 50k and put away 100k in index funds. Over 15 years, you'll gain 7% real annual returns from the stock market. In 15 years you'll go from $0 to $2.5m. At a very conservative safe withdrawal rate of 3.5%, you can withdraw about 85k per year for the rest of your life.

If you're dual income for part of that 15 years, you'll have far more money, or you can retire a few years earlier.

You are describing an outlier of an outlier. To follow your advice our developer has to have well above average skills (250k salary would be relatively senior even at FAANG), be single and live in a share house for 15 years (50k would cover rent for a family in areas with high tech salaries, nothing else) and the tech sector has to remain strong for 15 years (looking back 2004 was 4 years before the financial crisis and generally not a great time to be staring a career in a big tech company).

> 250k salary would be relatively senior even at FAANG

Not at all. I joined a FAANG company less than a year ago, am not a software engineer, and I'm at about $250k. Senior software engineers are closer to $400k-$500k. See levels.fyi.

EDIT: You mentioned salary, but I think you're referring to total comp. Base salary at these companies is indeed lower than $200k except for non-senior positions.

No, referring to salary.

Total comp is great and all, but unless you're liquidating immediately after you receive a grant then you're adding another variable into the mix of things that need to go right.

And the stock portion of your comp being valuable is dependent on the company doing well. True for FAANG, but that's only because by definition that group is the companies that are doing well!

A $200K equivalent RSU grant spread over four years could end up being worth 20K a year or 200K a year, depending on whether you get lucky or not. Remember that the biggest tech companies 15 years ago included Dell, Delphi, Cisco and Yahoo.

> unless you're liquidating immediately after you receive a grant then you're adding another variable into the mix of things that need to go right.

Why aren't you liquidating immediately after you receive a grant? Why would you choose to doubly leverage on your primary source of income, and, as you accurately point out, add another source of risk?

Liquidating is the rational action, but people are not always rational. Consider the two outcomes from selling stock early:

- The company tanks. You maybe retained some of the value of your stock, but you're still on a sinking ship.

- The company takes off. Thanks to loss aversion you feel like you lost money that is rightfully yours. And your idiot co-worker who held just turned up for work in a supercar.

I agree that it's difficult to pull this off, but it's not as difficult as you say. 250k is the total comp for someone with one promotion at FAANG, i.e. a couple years out of school. My wife and I spend about 50k a year and we live in a 1-bed in the Bay Area.

Who knows what the future holds, but if you started at FAANG in 2004 you would have far more than a couple million by now. The financial crisis is a fantastic time to invest in index funds.

FAANG in 2004 paid much less in nominal terms than it does today. I was a level 5 swe at Google in 2006 and total comp was around $170k.

3.000.000 / 15 * 2 (50% savings rate) = $400k

That’s a bit on the high end, but I guess not SV/FAANG impossible.

I don't think the IRS would be impressed with that logic.

I haven't looked into this recently, but are 30-hour work weeks a thing now? With benefits and all? Last time I checked they were being piloted by a couple of companies, but it wasn't so commonplace that you could just go out and find a company offering one. I feel like you could also be cast as "lazy" (at least in American culture) if you asked for a 30-hour work week.

I dream about a 30-hour work week for all of the reasons listed in the parent article... I would take a 25% paycut for one without second thought

"Average pension pot at 55. On average those aged 55-65 currently have £105,496 saved in pensions, according to research released by Aegon in June last year": hmm.

> I feel like my whole life is centered around work. Even though I work a (what is considered) reasonable 40-hour work-week, I feel like too much of time is taken away from me. Not only is it actually being in the office but commuting too. My morning are devoted to getting ready for work: dressing up, packing up a lunch and so on.

As someone who also works a reasonable 40-hour a week job, I cannot emphasize enough how much of a difference working remote has made.

I used to commute an hour each direction in the DC area, and (like the author) spent time preparing meals, getting dressed, etc. I have since moved to the NC area to work remote, and quality of life improvement is incredible:

- I can get to work immediately with no commute, and when I'm done, I don't have to get in a car to get home.

- Lunch break involves making a healthy lunch in my own kitchen, then reading a book while I eat in the comfort of my own home.

- I am a coffee enthusiast, and I love being able to make a french press, pour-over, or cold brew right in my kitchen.

- Crappy weather and accidents on the roads no longer have any effect on my workday.

- I get the exact office setup I want.

- I can go work at a coffee shop, an outdoor park, or even at the beach (all of which I have done), if I want a change of scenery.

WRT to the central point: I hate the _concept_ of living for the weekend, and have taken intentional and proactive steps to ensure that I don't fall into that trap.

Just a few examples:

- Get up early, and make time for what matters. I like to work out in the mornings, and also make sure to do any hobbies or side projects during this time, as my brain is fresh.

- Make yourself stop working at the appropriate time. This will differ depending on your job and your personal preference, but I draw a line in the sand and do not let myself work any later than 6 PM. My personal time is very important to me, and even though I love my job, I will never choose it over my personal time.

- Make sure to do things you like during the week, too. This really just involves not allowing yourself to believe that you can only make time for yourself on the weekends. Sometimes I'll get up early and meet someone for breakfast at a restaurant, sometimes I'll do a fun hobby in the evening, like rock climbing. If your job is flexible enough you could even step away for a quick break during the day to do something outside, like bicycling or kayaking, if that's your thing.

edit: Formatting

I've been working remotely my whole life (freelance developer).

It's interesting how jaded I am of driving in general. There are certain intersections in my town where it's common to get stuck at a red light that lasts for minutes. Things like this put me on complete life tilt. All I think about is "how can anyone put up with this every day?". I'm no longer surprised why people go berserk out of no where.

I really don't know how people do it. Getting stuck in traffic or waiting on long red lights sucks the life out of you because it's such an utter waste of time. Maybe I'm just not used to it (I drive, but it's usually outside of rush hour), but man, I am pretty sure I couldn't exist in a world where I had to do the traffic grind daily.

Yes - once you have full control of your time things like traffic and lineups drive you bonkers.

Honestly, one would think that 'less stress' and a more peaceable mindset give one more resilience in dealing with such things, but just the opposite.

To deal with traffic you almost have to 'give up' on the notion of doing something quickly and resign to the reality of it, which is what happens if you have to deal with it daily.

When working from home I avoid doing absolutely anything during rush hour.

To deal with traffic you almost have to 'give up' on the notion of doing something quickly and resign to the reality of it, which is what happens if you have to deal with it daily.

That's the only way to treat driving IMO. If you let yourself get upset at 'delays', you will drive rashly to make up for it, and eventually you will cause an accident.

Every time you get in a car you should expect delays, and expect dangerous driving from others.

"Honestly, one would think that 'less stress' and a more peaceable mindset give one more resilience in dealing with such things, but just the opposite."

That's one thing that stuck with me when I attended a class with a Buddhist teacher. He said meditation shouldn't make you more stress resilient but more aware of the damage stress causes so you avoid it.

> waiting on long red lights sucks the life out of you because it's such an utter waste of time

Weird... now that you mention this, I recall that during grad school when I had complete control over my time (and essentially worked remotely), I would get so angry sitting at red lights. Now that I have a corporate job, they no longer seem to bother me. Maybe you're on to something.

> Maybe you're on to something.

The reason it bothers me so much is that it makes me feel like I'm more so a slave to "the man" than I already am, even while being a freelancer.

Inefficient rules are in place by an unignorable authority who cares nothing about you other than to take your tax money every quarter (or go to prison / be homeless, neither of which are reasonable options). It's just a constant reminder to how little freedom most people have in today's world.

I don't think it would bother me as much if it were efficient. It's the compounding fact that as a whole we pay such a massive amount of $ towards taxes but we can't figure out how to make transportation suck less.

I use the time at traffic lights to do little stretching and twisting exercises in my seat. Rotating my wrists, punching, wiggling my ankles and hips. Basically the warmup exercises I need to feel healthy at 40, and a good use of dead time. I do neck and wrist twists when I'm on cruise control too.

I've ended up in a situation where I am commuting one hour each way to a client's office once per week.

This is my choice -- I could work totally remote, but I have found it necessary in order to resolve some issues to go in.

The difference is even more stunning when you are only doing it 20% of the time. I am fried when I get home, and commuting in Houston on a regular basis can take years off your life.

People get sucked into living like this slowly and don't realize how damaging it is.

Or you can adapt around it.

I'm super lucky and 1) Work from home 2 days a week, and 3) When I do travel to the office, I rotate my day forward to start from 5:30 am and finish at 2:30 - 3 pm to avoid traffic.

15 years ago in Houston, 6:30 am was adequate to avoid most traffic when commuting from the Northside, nowadays, you need to be out the door about 4:30 am. That's a huge change. Traffic on I45 ramps up in the Spring area, right around 5 am.

I typically avoid commute time and have a flexible schedule. It's still an hour and driving on 45/the beltway is stressful no matter what time you do it at :S

Seems that you have an innate talent for regularity. For some it's tough to get moving when home after a while. Some get lonely. All your points are super valid and super obvious and moving to an office involves so much drag it's insane.. but we need to learn a few balancing tricks for remote work too.


I don’t have any talents for regularity (diagnosed adult ADD), but I work 100% remotely for the last few years, and I was never happier. Office environment is a strain for people like me.

And is remote work almost free of problems or is it more a case of so much benefits that even the few problems are barely worrying ?

There are different problems. I have to overcome procrastination, sure, and regular meetings are a strain, but if I want to work at nights, I can. If I want to go for a walk and think, I can. The balance is much better.

I remember a friend who needed to have naps the afternoon, but his 'ethos' didn't allow him to do so. So he fought sleep for hours while doing nothing productive..

I used to work a 4-day week (a true 32-hour week, not 4 x 10 or something) and it was the greatest thing I've ever done. All the "weekend stuff" you can do on your extra day, and get two full days off. I can't believe how great it was.

Though I’m young and have little work experience, I’ve already started to think that a ~30-hour work week would be optimal for the rest of my life. My current work place is very flexible in work hours and days, so I decided to do 6-hour days. I think it leaves me enough time to get daily activities & hobbies done and relax.

I really enjoy my work. However, I still occasionally think to myself “man, this kinda sucks”. I think it’s because I feel the need to put my productivity in something original, something that is born from my personal passion only.

After I graduated from college, I actually kept a year-long “break” and just stayed at home. On this “break”, I set up daily tasks for myself to see what I could accomplish on my own. I did creative, productive stuff from 5 to 7 hours a day. I was learning Spanish. Programming. Piano. All on my own. It was a really awesome year. The problem in the long run, of course, is that I don’t get any money from those. It was only possible because I was still living with my parents. I would really like to do all of those activities as often as I could back then, but it’s just not possible now with a job.

I hope to soon have a solution for this: a business. Currently I’m slowly working on a software project on my free time, with the aim of it eventually creating a solid income, with a relatively small need of maintenance. Not overly confident that it’ll work out, but I’ll do my best to be able to do the stuff I want, as long as I want, while also being able to live comfortably. That’s the dream.

You can build up a reputation on the side by creating educational "content" (ugh I hate that word) in the form of written tutorials, videos, etc. While you're building up that reputation + backlog of content, you can also be building an email list of people who like your stuff. Then you'll have an audience ready and waiting if/when you launch a product.

It's not necessarily fast, but it can work! I started in 2015 blogging, wrote & launched a book in 2016, and quit my job in 2018 to focus on my own products. I don't make nearly as much (yet!) but 100% of my time is my own and I can grow it at my own pace.

I'm in a similar state of mind. Would love to hear about what you're working on!

I’m afraid I can’t go to very specific details on what it’s about, but it’s a web service. In my country, there’s only one firm offering the same kind of service and they make a lot of money out of it. I think there is room for competition; I’m going to offer an equal-or-higher quality service with cheaper pricing.

Just working at home gives all these benefits. No commute saves tons of time. An hour or so at lunch lets you do most of the normal house chores. I end up working more from home, but with so much less stress. And, when I stop working I can go right into leisure time.

What made you stop doing this?

I'm currently doing something similar at the moment, and I can't imagine I would want to go back to a traditional M-F 9-5 schedule.

Same here. There is a world of difference between 32 hours/week and 40/week. I'm looking forward to being more settled in my current job so I can move back to 4 days/week (and be more productive too).

I’ve just been hired by big tech (TM) working 4 days a week. Have done this in the last 2-3 jobs. Ask for it (after you have been made an offer), blaze the trail. We can make this become the norm!

I just switched to every other Friday off and it seems like it will help a lot. I can never relax until like Saturday evening and then Sunday it's like welp, back to work.

Used to? What do you do now? What happened?

I’ve tried to think of a way out of this, but so far none of my ideas are very good.

1) Use my spare time to study a more lucrative field, and negotiate a four-day work week. The pitfall here is that I need to spend all of my spare time working, so that I may be able to work less in the future (and it’s not guaranteed that I will).

2) Move to a country where the cost of living is cheap, and freelance with international clients. The pitfall here is that I have to move away from all the people I care about. I may also end up introducing more stress into my life by living as a foreigner and relying on a freelance income.

3) Invest all of my time into starting my own business (for pitfalls, see 1).

4) Negotiate a four-day work week on my current wage, live a much more ascetic lifestyle, and only save a small amount of money for my future.

5) Marry into a wealthy family.

6) Find a duffel bag with a few million dollars in it.

Does anyone have any better ideas?

> Use my spare time to study a more lucrative field

assuming you are in software development field, it is tricky to get into a more lucrative one, probably easier to just stay here.

> Move to a country where the cost of living is cheap, and freelance with international clients

Not long-term sustainable. Might work for couple years (especially if you are single and have perfect health), but after a lot of problem will show up – relatives, friends, connections, etc. Also, you might want your own home.

Overall, you listed it. Other ideas are:

1. embrace it. Be consistent in your hobbies, and dedicate one day to it (like Saturday). It is tough for new hobbies, but if you are already in it, might be just fine. Not everybody has to produce something artsy and from their passion – your family, what you like might be enough. Try to reflect on it sometime, it might clear some things for you.

2. Retire early. If you live more frugally (or not so posh, depending on your preferences), you can easily save plenty of money, which will allow you to retire not in 65, but around ~45 (number depends heavily, but you got the idea).

3. Aggressively negotiate vacation days, and take off 1–2 days at the end/beginning of the week. You'll work much less (you'll notice it), and taking 2 days off reduces 2 weeks into 4 days work week.

Will assume you are programmer, here, if not the dynamic might be different.

The presumption is that you get paid less when you work less. And this is true, to an extent: when I've negotiated a shorter workweek I've typically gotten paid correspondingly less, e.g. at 4 days a week get paid 80% time.


1. My experience (https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/02/11/working-long-hours/), and that of others (https://lobste.rs/s/hvjwd6/how_become_part_time_programmer#c...) is that working less makes you more productive. You learn how to prioritize, how to avoid wasting time, you're force to plan more... basically you end up a much effective programmer and employee.

As a better employee, you can get a better baseline salary. So you're getting 80% of a higher salary.

2. The key to getting a shorter workweek is negotiating. If you have better negotiating skills you can get a higher salary, e.g. merely asking for more than the company's initial offer will usually give you a 10% boost (https://codewithoutrules.com/2019/01/18/negotiate-like-6-yea...). Knowing how to present yourself in a job interview and resume can also give you a salary boost (https://www.kalzumeus.com/2012/01/23/salary-negotiation/).

So again, it's possible to get 80% of a higher salary.

You'll still get paid less than you could have otherwise... but beyond a certain point I and others at least have found time to be more important than money.

7) Move to a country where the cost of living is cheap, and work remotely as an employee in a remote friendly/remote only company.

To add insult to injury I find doing things on the weekend often a chore because everything is so crowded. Around here finding a parking place at the mall, movie theaters, etc is very difficult. There's a beautiful state park that my wife and I love. But to go there on the weekend you gotta arrive either at 6am or 6pm. The parking lot fills up solid, complete with people lurking in their cars waiting for someone to leave. Want to get out of town? Be prepared to sit in lots of traffic. I sometimes seriously wonder if living in such a crowded part of the country is worth it.

I had to take a blood test today. Normally if I go my local clinic the wait time is 15 minutes. But because I went on a Saturday the wait was 1-2 hours!!

Yeah. I am at ski resort and it's total madness here. I had the whole mountain to myself on Tuesday.

My technique is to remember where the job ranks in my "give a shit about" list and it's not as high as you might assume. I am not irreplaceable, and either is my job. So I try to give a good value for the work I'm paid to do, but at the end of the workday I flip the switch, as it were, and my life is my own. I am militant about not letting my job control me. I am polite but firm with coworkers and managers, and they respect my off-hours time, and I respect theirs. We all have families so that probably helps.

We moved from a 7 day working week to a 6 day working week about 2000 years ago, and to 5 days about 100 years ago, it's time to move to 4 days. In addition the 5th day should be used for lifelong education, people should be expected to learn about all the new things that have been invented since they left school, or refresh what they're not good at.

    > In addition the 5th day should be used for lifelong education
It's tough because in tech, spending significant time (probably totaling about a day per week) needs to be spent on continuing education and employers (and spouses) are not keen on letting it happen on "their" time.

I've been doing Ruby on Rails for four years and even that -- a relatively stable, mature framework -- is a grindy treadmill of continual learning because any project you're rotated onto will have 492 gems you're not familiar with, most of which are utility classes but some of which are essentially miniframeworks. I can barely consider myself "full stack" at this point because I think even fulltime JS devs must struggle with that explosion.

I'd love to do 4 days work 1 day education for exactly this reason.

Though I've come to point where I'm starting to approach it strategically. For the most part the only thing that really matters is how employable you are. So long as you can find a job that meets your standards you are fine as you learn the minutiae on the job and it's always different for every job so you can't prepare in advance.

With that in mind this year I'm focusing mostly on the fundamentals doing deep dives into knowledge with extremely long half-life. I've got about 280 hours of courses I'm making my way through on Pluralsight this year. I'm about 1/4 the way through. Just started my SQL playlist and already I'm so glad I'm taking the time to dive deep on it. The difference between now and the end of the year will be night and day.

In many rural societies work and leisure were constantly intermixed. An craftsman/shopkeeper/farmer could spend 110 hours a week on the workplace while doing 20 hours of active work.

I think this is a good point and shows how there is more depth and complexity to the conversation. I find that my work isn't as draining as it could be, but part of that is I often spend over an hour a day chit-chatting with coworkers at work. If it's not all meetings-go-go-build-go-go, then work can be quite pleasant, while still being productive.

And given the problem of loneliness that is arising, it might be less smart to reduce the work week (giving people more time to be alone), than to just make work less intense and forgiving. I.e, I suspect 56.5h is better than 48h.

This was also the point of the Luddites, they weren't against technology, but against working in a factory 8 to 8 instead of working from home.

Today I just wasted the second half of the day doing nothing at all; just watching mind-numbing videos on Youtube.

I had been working on a side project most weekends for the last 10 years and been particularly busy in the last year so I forgot what it felt like to just waste time. Wasting time feels great.

In this cut-throat competitive industry, it does feel like a luxury through.

As a software engineer, I can't afford to not be on the cutting edge. I have the feeling that if I stopped working for just 6 months, my career would be over.

Just as a counter-point: I took off 3 years to stay home with kids.

I recently started a new position after very little time looking with a >80k raise.

I've felt the same pressure to stay current. But, turns out it's all about how you can frame what you bring to the table vs what you can't.

More and more I think this is true. But with a huge caveat that you actually have to be able to bring something to the table and know well what it is.

> I have the feeling that if I stopped working for just 6 months, my career would be over.

That's not true. There are many companies who are still writing and maintaining new code in Java 1.6 for example.

> Today I just wasted the second half of the day doing nothing at all; just watching mind-numbing videos on Youtube.

I try to do this and just can't. I get antsy. When I 'binge' Netflix is max 2 episodes and I have to go do something. Usually, I just go workout. If I've already worked out twice, then I'll read a book. Or, I'll work on the long list of home projects I have going on, etc...

Maybe that's fine if you want to be writing Java 1.6, but you've basically given up at that point if that doesn't bother you slightly. I've seen Java 1.4 in production as late as 2017 but I didn't have to work on it, nor would I be happy doing so. Some people are though I guess. And I'd say that's exactly right as we need those people to maintain that system. Or we just need clients who aren't such hellish tire kickers about upgrading.

The OP said their career would be over if they jumped off the cutting edge. My point was that many people have fine careers in software without staying out on the edge. In fact, that is how the very large majority of software engineers function.

Do these people work at FAANG? Probably not, but if you want to work there you are accepting the stress that comes along the position.

Wasting, or more generally, not paying attention to time is my favorite state of being. Us Mediterrans are known for being "lazy" and wishy-washy with our time. That's why I keep Saturdays open on my calendar, no appointments with friends, nothing. Even if I get myself into something I usually don't commit to a specific time, I might say around "6 pm" which in Med timing is really 8pm.

Since I moved to the US I've been working 60 hour weeks, which I don't mind since I'm doing what I love and largely on my own terms. However, the act of keeping time is the thing that stresses me out the most.

When I started transitioning from a programmer to a CEO I have weeks where my calendar has 20 events and meetings on it and the thought of it in itself is stressful. Since then I've learned what my limits are and keep large blocks of time on my calendar to myself which I use to code or to just squander it on something semi productive like brainstorming future product ideas with one of our engineers.

As Kanye says "time is extremely valuable and I prefer to waste it."

> As a software engineer, I can't afford to not be on the cutting edge. I have the feeling that if I stopped working for just 6 months, my career would be over.

Stop following hype and focus on practical business solutions. You'll have no problem finding work after doing so.

You need to remember that things like Wordpress solve the majority of business needs and skills related to it are in demand next time you feel like you need to keep a constant pulse on what's popular to the HN crowd.

Isn't that just something WordPress developers say?

I work on enterprise "Line of Business" applications and WordPress has no place in that world.

I'd agree it solves most of the "we need a website" needs. And some of the "we need to be able to sell shit through our website" needs. But not "the majority of business needs".

Though I agree with your fundamental assessment of just focus on how to deliver business value and less on hype. It's true. But I'm going to hazard a guess and say it's possibly more true for some segments of the population than others.

> Isn't that just something WordPress developers say?

I don't know, I don't ask for their take on the market. However, I've consulted with businesses where "We use Wordpress for X" is incredibly common to hear and they don't have problems with it, even if it wouldn't be my first choice of a platform.

> But not "the majority of business needs".

The majority of businesses are small or medium-sized, where Wordpress with a few standard or custom plugins are enough to suit their needs.

Wordpress certainly isn't a good platform for IT and software, and I'm not aware of any SaaS companies trying to use it for their business.


Wow. Ok. Some businesses even use it for inventory management. Can't work out whether that's slightly better or slightly worse than a spreadsheet. I guess there are all kinds of options on the market and someone somewhere has whipped up a WordPress version.

I've seen payroll, scheduling and appointments and a Blackboard-esque system built on top of Wordpress.

Barrier to entry is low and there's a glut of cheap Wordpress developers out there, too, so companies that don't have a budget for an entire IT department can still get by with hiring a few engineers when they're needed.

Again, not my first choice, but it seems to work.

> As a software engineer, I can't afford to not be on the cutting edge

If you are referring to the framework of the month and the buzzword of the year - no, you can stay away from the type of company that follows the hype.

There are many companies that prefer stability over hype. They usually do industrial automation, aeronautics, civil infrastructure, banking and all sort of non-flashy things.

I'm not convinced that's true. I guess it depends on what your goals are, but I would argue the majority of devs in the American workforce don't stay on the cutting edge of anything. Getting a software dev job is still quite easy as long as you are mildly competent.

The "no free time" issue for me is not due to work; it's due to being married — which is a choice I made knowing that I would lose a lot of "me" time. Every so often my wife visits family on the opposite coast for a week or two and suddenly it feels like bucketloads of time have appeared out of nowhere. I imagine once I have children (which I hope to have in the next few years), I will feel even more pressed for time, but I accept that this is just the nature of that decision.

Everything is really about trade-offs, but I think if you are single, a 40 hour work week is probably not enough to make you feel like you are on a hedonic treadmill. I'm currently working at my dream company, but over the next few years, my goal is to reach financial independence as quickly as possible via some side project. 95% of startups fail, but at least in the valley, most of these startups are VC funded and have big ambitions. I'd say if your goal is to simply reach $2-3 million for financial independence, the failure rate is a bit lower for some small project that fills a niche market need.

We had a kid last year. My time went from some availability to NONE. Granted, we don't have a babysitter, both myself and wife stay at home (I work from home, she doesn't work). Despite both of us being available, just the daily chores and things that must be done with a little one are insane. Ours could be a unique case because my kid is kinda difficult, but it's definitely a huge change from not having kids. That being said I think anyone who recently had a kid and works from home can attest to forming new abilities to manage time super effectively. Before I would waste a lot of time on non-important things, now I know what my priorities are and get things done really fast. I am a lot more focused because of this.

And if you have a second kid your availability will go from NONE to negative balance. I remember when I had just one, suddenly now it feels like I had so much time then!

Haha, I am not looking to find out but I'm sure it'll happen soon enough. Oh god.. just thinking about the exhaustion that comes with that, maybe I'll run off into the desert.

Ah, someone wrote down some of the reasons I'm terrified to go back into tech. Not because it's unavoidable to be sucked into working a 60 hour week for a soulless company that doesn't care other than to use you as cheaply as possible... but because I am afraid I will let it happen to myself again.

You know the phrase, "working for the weekend"? From the actual hours in office, piled up non-work responsibilities, constant stress from the job... I was working all of the time for... for what, retirement? That's a horrifying thing to think through end-to-end, especially when you step back from your job for a while to realize, in most cases, for most people, it's just a job.

American culture is masochistically obsessed with attaching human value and worth to "work ethic" or "career success". It's a nice distraction (probably not on accident), but I'm fairly there's more to life and I glad it didn't take 30 straight years working to figure that out. And now I guess I'm repeating it here to try and solidify it for myself.

Huh, for what it's worth, this doesn't resonate with me at all. I appreciate the author sharing how they feel but really don't like the "we"s and "our"s, since they're not expressing some universal truth.

When I was younger, it didn't resonate at all (I've obviously heard this complaint before). The older I've gotten, the shorter everything has gotten. Whether it's based in the natural warping of time perception as we age, or stress from greater responsibilities pushing me towards burnout, my weekends go too quickly and my work weeks take too much time.

I find that the work week flies by very quickly as well. I get less done than I used to/wanted to.

    The older I've gotten, the shorter everything has
    gotten. Whether it's based in the natural warping
    of time perception as we age
I think it's objectively real for most people. As you get older, expectations and obligations placed upon you (work and non-work) grow.

People in their time working years are relied upon heavily by family and employers.

This is generally true even if you avoid having children, which is the probably most significant time investment a person can make.

Of course, you can live a "lone wolf" lifestyle but this is difficult for most people if they have any family at all.

Totally agree with you.

I think the biggest reason this is not universal is because not everybody hates their job or working. I get an incredible amount of Joy doing what I do. So much so that when I get home I have plenty of energy to do a little more on my own personal projects. This is obviously not true every single day but the vast majority of days it is.

That dosent mean I don’t love my wife or my family, quite the contrary I spend as much time as possible with them and love them very much.

But it does mean that I don’t love TV or much of the other bullshit.

This article is a great read, with a different sort of take on life:


I love my work too. But this still resonates with me. Yesterday I left work at 8:30. Why? Because I'm designing a software architecture that will change a lot of people's lives around the world and I ended up having this stimulating conversion about our design with my coworker. Nobody does this if they don't like their work. I do this only because I believe I'm capable of contributing something to conversation, and I want to contribute. But we're all humans and I think having entirely exhaust on weekends is pretty expected after working hard for 5 days. I hate weekends because I'd much rather working. I hate weekends because it gives me this existential crisis, it makes me feel like I'm not doing anything with my life.

That's cool, and I've been there, but not a lot of people will have that opportunity in their careers... and certainly not on a regular basis.

Idealists will say not to take a job unless it lets you do something cool and world-changing like that. Well okay, but there is a LOT of code to be written in the world. Somebody has to write the boring stuff. And 99.999% of it is boring. If every developer held out for the chance to write the fun stuff the world would just not work.

It's like if everybody held out for some kind of job they passionately cared about. Theoretically cool, but who'd sweep the floors and shovel the horse shit out of the stables?

This is probably what I resonate with most.

>Our lives are high maintenance. We need to maintain our relationships with our spouses, friends and family. We need to take care of ourselves with exercise, hygiene and so on. Our houses need to be kept clean and our fridge full of food. And to be able to do all that, we need work to make a wage so we can pay for what keeps us alive.

Nothing that a short stint in the developing world doing a non-desk job for a month or so can't help put perspective on...

Just because there are kids starving in Africa doesn't make me any less hungrier.

Yeah, I worked mandatory 53 hours in a plastic factory for years, sometimes six twelves in seven days. You still manage to take care of most things. Then sometimes when the economy slowed we would go down to 36 hours a week. That would show us just how much time off that actually is. Just working an 8-hour shift instead of 12 means you come home and have four-plus hours of your own time for whatever you want, every single day.

After that, programming is so far from exhausting that I work overtime just because I feel like I'm not doing my fair share any more.

I find the typical work in developer jobs very fatiguing. It involves reading through loads of old code that other people have written over the years, trying to figure out how it all hangs together and where I inject my change in. For some reason that does my head in.

Greenfield work is a lot less tiring, but much more rare in my experience. It's also a career path of it's own and hard to get on. I.e. you need greenfield experience to get a coveted greenfield job role.

I am considering getting into tutoring/teaching programming and I might find that a lot less tiring, covering the basics X times rather than wrangling the spaghetti code day in and day out.

"One mans greenfield project is in a year, another's old code" - proverb 66

I drop comments and refactor the spaghetti code so that each time I come back to it it gets easier. I think I like that better than greenfield, it's like being a topiary artist instead of a farmer.

Problem with that is it takes a few years at a company before you've seen it all and are comfortable with all of the code. I've been job hopping a lot because, well, had bad experiences with certain companies. I hope I get to stick this one out for a while to get to that comfortable spot of knowing the codebase well.

Once you have kids, you cherish Mondays and weekdays much more..

Omg so it's not just me. For a while maybe I thought Im just a bad person for feeling that way.

As others mention here and there in the comments: you can get a 3-day weekend at many tech jobs. It's just a matter of asking, and asking in the right way.

E.g. this guy I interviewed has been working 4 days a week for 15 years: https://codewithoutrules.com/2018/01/08/part-time-programmer...

I've personally not worked 40 hour weeks since 2012, because, too much stuff to do, especially with a family.

If you don't have negotiation experience, well, I started out a terrible negotiator and eventually figured out how, so you can too. And if you'd like to skip over all the mistakes and research I did and just know what it takes to negotiate a shorter workweek as a programmer, I've written a book that can help you: https://codewithoutrules.com/3dayweekend/

Rather than have a job, become financially independent. Work to make money, when you have acquired enough money, take a break. Even if you have to work non-stop to get to "enough to take a break", it's MUCH LESS stressful than being on someone else's clock. I look forward to Mondays, that's what happens when you become your own boss. https://boldanddetermined.com/t-g-i-m-thank-god-its-monday/

I can attest to this. Being on your own clock is still stressful in some ways, but compared to a standard work week - not even close.

If the OP's post resonates with you and you are a software engineer, consider hiring a part-time personal / virtual assistant.

I haven't heard of software engineers in VC startup land or corporate world hiring personal assistants but in the freelance / consulting world it's very common and an amazing way to "level up" yourself as a professional. It's ok to need help and it's ok to hire someone who enjoys helping with personal or professional admin tasks.

You can start out with a virtual assistant for a few hundred bucks a month and can find one on Craigslist or a branded service like Zirtual.

I have a VA help with routine marketing / admin tasks in my business and then impromptu one-off personal tasks like booking flights, hiring task rabbits, booking doctors' appointments, etc.

I know not everyone is in a place to afford this but I think most engineers are if they are thoughtful about their finances. I'd highly recommend trying it out.

This is such an SV answer. Have a problem with work related stresses? Don't consider changing your relationship with work, take advantage of our new Personal Assistant as a Service platform!

It makes total sense. If your time is worth way more than theirs (in terms of pay), why not outsource as much of your daily boring, time-consuming work to someone else?

Haha I don't live in Silicon Valley.

Assuming you're happy with your relationship with work and it's a healthy relationship, and you still don't have enough time, getting professional admin help from someone might help.

Or you know work less

We're definitely ready for a 4 day week. It might be the best way to reduce inequality within wage-earners too when you consider how many people are underemployed or are part-time workers who want to work full time - those people stand to massively benefit.

However I do think the author is making it sound harder than it is... if you don't have kids, I don't see how you can run out of time on the weekends to do basic things or not do those things during the week (esp. chores and errands). I also experience a general feeling of malaise thinking about time wasted during the weekends on internet/games/socializing when I could have been cultivating new skills or working on entrepreneurship but that's definitely mostly my fault.

work on entrepreneurship... you may be working 24/7 at first but the freedom it creates is worth it in the end

If you work 5 days, 2 day weekend, that’s 150% more workdays than days off. Replace just one of those workdays with a day off, and it drops radically - just 33% more workdays than days off.

I went one further and dropped down to 3 days a week. I earn less now sure but I get 3 full days to commit to hobbies/activities AND a no-guilt dedicated rest day.

I'm in my mid-late twenties however, where the time is certainly much more valuable to me. A lot of the things I find most fun are rather physically demanding, you can go much harder for much longer on a mountain bike or on skis the younger you are.

I guess there's an argument that you can retire earlier if you work more right, but I think I'd get less out of that than having more time now. Maybe that'll prove to be a mistake in the long run, who knows.

How do you do it? In which industry/role are you working? Employed or freelance? Asking for a friend.

Software developer for a financial services company. Employee at first, went freelance for unrelated reasons.

Honestly there wasn't much to it I just asked, but also made it clear I'd be leaving if the answer was no. Company already had some part-timers (though they are mostly new parents, so our motivations differ.)

4x10's, and cut mondays out of your life.

Most employers want 5x10's from their workers.

Even if they're strict about 4x10 or 5x8 as a software dev I find it winds up being more like 50+ hour week anyway because of the need to invest in continuing education (which is 99% reinventing the wheel in Today's Favorite Framework/Language, but that's how it goes)

I agree strongly with the author’s feelings. Machines and automation have taken on most of the repitive work.

Also if the wealth disparity between the rich and the poor is growing, clearly there is room in the budget to relax work schedules for most who want or need it. For jobs that require mostly problem solving, one might argue that a shorter workweek could actually increase productivity.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I actually started a newsletter for job listings with shorter hours and other related stuff just last week:


This is funny because I've always actually hated weekends. I try to do something "fun" or at least whatever people think of as "weekend-y", go out for a hike, work out, whatever, but ... most of the time I feel like it's just time wasted.

I'd far rather have a six-day work week, or perhaps even seven, and then three consecutive months off per year to do some real travel or something.

Pretty sure this is a minority viewpoint, but curious if anyone else feels the same.

I certainly don't hate weekends or days off here and there generally. That said, if I were to take more time off (and I get reasonably generous for the US time as it is) I would definitely want it in a form where I could use it for extended travel time rather than extended weekends.

This has already been solved thousands of years ago and it’s called Shabbat, one day of the week of true, strict rest. No doing the laundry, no cooking, no driving the car. In general, no creative activities which modify the world in some way.

Doesn't this just exacerbate the issue? It means instead of a 5/2, you're restricted to 5/1. I definitely feel that more people should take the time to rest and reflect, but I don't believe that taking 1/7 of my life and devoting it to neutrality would have a positive impact on me, my relationships or even the world!

That one day should be spent with family, friends, taking a stroll, meditating, praying, studying, reflecting, napping. It’s not just the negation of work. Some say it’s an “island in time.”

No turning a light on. So instead you get lights on a timer. The lifts that open at every floor. The magic wire that extends your back yard to cover the whole neighbourhood so you can take your kid in a pushchair or carry your house keys when you go for a walk.

That would be straying from the original purpose of the sabbath.

The workplace is a means of exhausting humans with mundane labor that enriches a few while making the rest suffer. If you work 9-5 a 5 day week or longer, consider yourself a hamster on a wheel. Business does not share the same values us humans share. To see change you must be the change. Personally, if I ran a company or a startup I’d mandate a 3 day work week - Tuesday to Wed if we absolutely had to meet. Otherwise it would be fully remote and you choose your work days.

When I first went out on my own, the line between weekends and workweek melted so I always felt like I was working even on weekends. As time went by I realized that I did not share that feeling the author mentions and it feels great! I can go shopping any time, see a movie at 11 am if I want to on a Monday and skip the crowds when everyone is out doing the same things on the same day.

Modern workplaces are not built for productivity- they are places where you go to waste time, time that could be spent on yourself.

I used to think business would not compete on a shorter work week but then I looked at how I spent time at work - most of t was idle time once you count the breaks, lunch, chit chat, browsing when you’re fried. All of this added up to a significant amount of time no matter the position I occupied. It gets worse when you are in a managerial position. Why on earth anyone would want to subject themselves to wasting time at work instead of enjoying it at home (unless they had problems at home) is not clear. I think we are stuck in this perpetual need of having to outwork the other. To show that we are hard working and will do anything to provide for our families. Except, in many cases more time does not directly result in more money. Sure, you spend more time sitting on your butt and claiming working hours or because your boss demands it, but are you really getting more done? In an office environment I can tell you with absolute certainty the answer is no.

So if you are a manager, a CEO or anyone in a position to do something about this insane self-infliction, please evaluate your values, how you think employees spend their time and be the change.

It seems to me, this has nothing to do with a 40 hour work week.

This person has overcommitted themselves in their personal life to the point where it is conflicting with their work responsibilities.

/s(arcasm) ?

I used to think I had no spare time. Now I have 2 kids under 3. It turns out I used to have a TON of time in comparison.

All of this is a choice.

You can choose to live a different life. In 20 years in tech, its the rare person who asks "should we?" instead of "can we?"

Should you work yourself to death? Probably not. Can you? Sure. Was it a well considered choice to do so?

When I was younger, I had a fulltime contractor job where I only worked 4 days a week, and also had flexible starting times. The freedom was incredible and having just 1 extra day made work vs personal time seem much more equal (4 work, 3 off). I also got more done because longer days allowed me to get into flow more and I suspect most salaried workers already spend more than 8 hours a day anyway.

I've yet to really see any other companies do it, and I'm thinking of instituting that policy in our current startup, but it deserves serious consideration.

I solved most of this for myself purely by relocating closer to work. If you have an hour commute (hour to, hour from), that's 40 hours/month sitting in traffic being unproductive. That's an entire 3 months worth of full-time work in a year. Just eliminating a long commute gives you back a lot of time during the regular week that's currently being completely wasted. Now I mostly just work remotely.

My impression is that the author needs to take entrepreneurship more seriously instead of ranting about changing the universe to fit its current comfort zone.

"It's Monday, the dreadful countdown has started. You're already thinking about the end of the week, and it barely started. As the days go by, you are fixated on Friday 5pm."

I felt this doing data entry for $20/hr at Elections Ontario. My single most effective co-op term because it really motivated me to get into a career I love and bust my ass to never work a day in my life again.

When I was younger I had this job I absolutely hated, and for a while I had these really boring, mundane, night-long, recurring dreams about being at that job. It was the worst. Felt totally trapped.

I can relate to the feelings in this article. But, for what it’s worth I’ve found that cognitive behavioral therapy, meditation, and sleep, and exercise, really help.

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