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Use Your Time Wisely

Who decided on an eight hour work day, or the five-day work week?

Why not seven, or two, or four? Was five studied and discovered to be the optimal number of work days for an effective and happy society?

What I can tell from all-knowing Wikipedia, is that we’re lucky to have any rest days, and we can thank religion for it. For most of us in the Western world, ¬†Christianity came through for us, claiming Sunday as the Lord’s Day, or at least it was, until football was invented. Saturday got thrown in as a day to prepare for the big game…or the big prayers I guess.

So we’re talking about a system that goes back some 2000 years. Now I’m all for tradition, I celebrate Festivus every year after all, but isn’t this something we should maybe have a look at?

In general, is there a correlation between the amount we work and the success of a society?

The US believes in work. This country, that I just moved to, has no legal vacation requirements, and the standard is just 10 days, one of the lowest among industrialized nations. Nice move Simon.

France? Well, you can’t rush a fine wine. 35 days required vacation time. Oh, and a new 35 hour work week.

But all that working has paid off in the U.S. – continuously ranked #1 in productivity among G8 countries, and proud of it. And the French, who, when all told, work almost 2 months less per year? A lowly #2.

Of course, it begs the question: how do we define success? And that’s a question for another day.

But suffice it say, I doubt anyone in France, as they lounge their days away on the Riviera, is complaining that they’re not productive enough.

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