Thursday, October 19, 2020

Take Back Your Time Day

Here in the United States, next Tuesday (October 24th) is Take Back Your Time Day. It is held 9 weeks before the end of the year, to emphasize the fact that Americans work an average of 9 weeks more per year than do European workers. The aim of Take Back Your Time Day is to draw attention to imbalances in work and leisure in American cultural life.

This year, the sponsors are inviting people to "Take Four Windows of Time, " suggesting that you choose four windows of time between October 24th, Take Back Your Time Day, and December 31st, 2006 to: If you need help, a site called “Living 5 to 9” offers a Productivity Profiler to “diagnose your Productivity Profile and . . . recommend tips to help you start maximizing your personal work ethic so you can slow down, take back your time, and ultimately get out of the office and back to your life.”

In today’s Washington Post blog, Leslie Morgan Steiner writes:
We're working way too much and need some perspective. While the folks behind Take Back Your Time Day have a bunch of smart policy suggestions (more vacation, guaranteed sick time, paid family leave), that's not what sets them apart. What I really like is their call to step back and reflect on the craziness that is daily life . . .
You might also want to download these Adult Playground Rules and post them up somewhere to remind you to give yourself (and others) a break now and then.

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I don't buy it.

Firstly, I don't know if there is a European number to compare with. We are 25 or so nation states that have wildly varying labour laws and work patterns, at ground level. And 9 weeks is a heck of numnber...really.

BUT - the point about taking time back is vital : I work for a companys that asks for flexibility in working hour in order to best serve the needs of the client. You probably do to. My employer often expresses their thanks for my work, the extra effort etc.. which is very nice indeed.

But did they ever call to say - "take the morning off, you've done enough this week"

No. And I doubt they ever will.

So I must take responsibility for flexibility. I must take back that time. Guilt free...and now I do....but, it was a significant step to take.

It's not slacking. It's flexibility - the responsibility to flex both ways lies with you.

sorry if i hijacked the post.
Having recently expatriated to the UK from the States, I will be thinking of all of you next Tuesday. You see, next week is mid-term break for schools over here, and as my wife is a teacher and I am freelancing right now, we will be taking the entire week off as a holiday.
Hi Jason

I'm always grateful for your comments and interested in what you have to say.

I have no idea whether what they say about 9 weeks of extra work is right—or how they calculated this. I do know that my son-in-law works for an American company, but is based in France. At middle management level, he gets 35 working days per year paid holiday, plus twice as many national holidays as the USA. I guess that's more time off than many people in the USA.

You are abolutely right that, in the end, we must all be responsible for our own flexibility—at least to the extent employers will allow this to happen.

Keep reading, my friend.
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