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Category: Linked

Shared from elsewhere.

Who’s afraid of the Four Day Work Week?

Here’s an enchanting idea. Being able to go to places open the same hours as I work. Being able to make appointments during weekdays. Not always trying to manage the rest of my life around the time I spend yelling at computers and bending them too my will.

If you’re a “full-time” employee, your work week is likely five days (if not more), and spans 40 hours (if not more). You might be paid by the hour, or you might be on salary, but you probably have two days “officially” off every week (although work might slide into those days) and they probably land on Saturday and Sunday.

Now imagine that your salary and benefits stayed the same, your responsibilities at work stayed the same, but everyone at your company only worked four days a week. Think about your current life, and the current make-up of your week, and what you usually have to smush into the weekend. What would you do with extra day off, every week of the year, for the rest of your working life?

Who’s Afraid of the Four Day Work Week? – by Anne Helen Petersen – Culture Study

When you have time away from work, you’re able to refresh yourself and return to work with renewed vigor and focus. I work in a white collar industry that involves computers all over the place. My job isn’t physical. I’m not moving, lifting, running, or carrying things around. Thought that can absolutely be part of a computer job. Technical Support isn’t just 1s and 0s.

My job is mental. It’s keeping systems and information flows in my head. It’s remembering how different variables work together within a greater system to perform tasks. It’s knowing where the limits exist. And a simple Yes/No answer could be the result of an hour of work researching and testing.

Time away from work to unwind my brain and let is breathe and focus on other things is vital to my performance. I dive deeply into hobbies because I need the break. I need the time to unwind and unstressed and build up reserves for another five days of 8 (or more) hour days diving into complex problems and stuffing flowcharts, settings, variables and options back into my head.

Findings from Iceland support this. I didn’t read the full report (PDF) but the same answer appears whenever experiments like this take place.

Worn down by long hours spent at work, the Icelandic workforce is often fatigued, which takes a toll on its productivity. In a vicious circle, this lower productivity ends up necessitating longer working days to ‘make up’ the lost output, lowering ‘per-hour productivity’ even further.

Sound familiar? Replace Icelandic in this sentence with United States and the same applies.

And we don’t even have any of the following (emphasis mine):

But if you don’t have time for an 82-page report, the highlights are as follows: Iceland has a strong social safety net, with low income inequality, significant parental leave, and a robust universal health care.

How many weeks have you really only worked four days? Slow Monday. Taking it easy from a rough weekend. Friday hits and you’re so exhausted you coast through the day counting the hours until the salvation of a too-short weekend arrives.

This is the principle at the heart of the four day week: working less can actually mean working better. That idea is particularly difficult for Americans, who fetishize long hours for many ideologically tangled reasons, to understand. It’s true in knowledge work, it’s true in medical fields, it’s true in construction. You’re just a better worker — a safer worker, a more creative worker, a more astute and alert worker — when you’re not exhausted.

There’s so much in this article to unpack. But it’s time to start thinking about how we work and why we work like we do. Work has expanded through technology to reach into your homes, vacations and every moment of our lives. Long commutes take more and more of our personal time out of our hands and place them into the realm of working hours. But aren’t counted as such.

As a society, we’ve repeatedly shifted our understanding of the “standard” work week. We’ve shifted — through union force, through governmental edict, through business leadership — when it’s made sense. When the work could be done in fewer hours, when employees demanded it for their own health, when societies realized the way things are doesn’t have to be the way things will be. And now is one of those times.

Anne Helen Petersen has quickly become one of my favorite writers and Who’s Afraid of the Four Day Work Week? is this week’s reason to keep loving her work.

Focus. Execute. Repeat.

You want more out of your employees? Radically reduce their responsibilities, then leave them alone to execute.

The Neuroscience of Busyness – Study Hacks – Cal Newport

I credit my manager and company with allowing me to do this for the past year. Especially the past 5 months as I worked on a major product launch. Getting it out the door on time was in large part thanks to the many, focused hours I was able to spend on the project.

The constant interruption and context switching of the office a distant memory. Focus. Execute. Repeat.

It won’t be long before every community standard is violated

“Conservatives -Things are good the way they are, or that they WERE good at some point or points in the past. Want things left alone or to go back the way they were.

Progressives Things are not fine the way they are, and they need to change in a way that they have never yet been. Want change.”

Why Are Conservatives Obsessed with Pedophilia Right Now? | David M Schell

I think about this post a lot. The difference in world views. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. One group is looking to return to the past. The other is looking to the future for change. Nobody is happy with where things are now. Whenever now happens to be.

There’s so much fear wrapped up in the idea of the future. Especially if it’s a future that feels scary and alien to what you know. And who you know.

It won’t be long before every community standard is violated.

Think about how scary that is. The beginning of change is scary when that change is unfamiliar. It feels like things you don’t and can’t understand are happening around you and there’s a tectonic shift happening in the world.

It doesn’t help the change is packaged and sold to you as fear. Change is bad. Those who want change are bad.

It’s the beginning of the slipping of standards. The slippery slope. Careening down the muddy bank into uncertainty and fear. The refrain of It won’t be long before every community standard is violated is visceral.

It’s not just words. It’s tradition. It’s family. It’s a way of life. These things are extremely important in smaller towns. These issues feel like other people’s problems. It feels like people in big cities, who can’t possibly understand my way of life are.telling me I’m wrong.

It’s an attack on identity.

When your way of life is under attack. When you identity is questioned. You’re going to defend yourself.

It won’t be long before every community standard is violated.

That’s scary. And if you feel the change is getting further from where you want things to go, of course you’ll fight against it.

I grew up in a small town. I live near a big city. I’ve marinated in both ways of life. I can see things from both sides. I can see we are all just trying to do our best for ourselves and our families.

It won’t be long before every community standard is violated…………

Recording All the Melodies

In this recent TED Talk, lawyer, musician, and technologist Damien Riehl talks about the rapidly diminishing number of melodies available to songwriters under the current system of copyright. In order to help songwriters avoid these melodic legal landmines (some of which are documented here), Riehl and his pal Noah Rubin designed and wrote a program to record every possible 8-note, 12-beat melody and released the results — all 68+ billion melodies, 2.6 terabytes of data — into the public domain.

We are running into this with our podcast. When I take our show, add video to it and upload it to YouTube, we inevitably get hit with some copyright claim.

Often for innocuous audio behind something that, if removed, would have no bearing on what’s being said. It’s a bit of sad music. Or a guitar riff that meanders on.

We aren’t at the level of making any money off YouTube, but if we were, it would give me a strong reason not to upload the show to their service.

The best ad you’ll see this year

An advertisement for a car that will have you sobbing halfway through.

This is a masterful bit of advertising. The cover image gives away what it’s for but ignore that. Who cares about this car?

Go on the emotional journey in this ad. It’s 2 minutes 10 seconds of masterful storytelling.