Thursday, July 30, 2009

What do people do exactly for 8 hours a day?

Until I start getting readers to ask questions, or I have some inspiration from a friend's situation - I will write about some interesting experiences I have had, books I have read, food I have eaten, or art I have seen, etc...

I am reading a book right now called The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich by Timothy Ferriss. The premise of the book is that "being rich" has more to do with flexibility of time, independence and the ability to travel and pursue personal interests beyond one's career than it has to do with money. "Being rich" to Ferris doesn't mean being a billionaire but it does mean not waiting until one is 65 to retire and only then to start living a dream life.

The point that really got me was that Ferriss questions why our society has bought into the notion of working "9-5." Who is to say that work needs 8 hours to be accomplished? How can that standard be accurate for every company? One could argue that more than 8 hours is required to be truly successful, however Ferriss argues that when inefficiencies are removed from the workplace the notion of "9-5" can be thrown out as well. What matters is the bottom line. And the bottom line to Ferriss is making money and also enjoying life.

As a woman who always thought she could have it all, a loving marriage, children, a dynamic career...I am realizing that "9-5" might not work for me in the future or me or my friends. Maybe we need to reinvent what it means to accomplish a lot in a day and do our own math.


  1. Dear Danielle,
    Interesting... My husband and I are both people who hated the idea of 9-5. So what did we do after graduating from college? We persued Master degrees of course! I'm a science geek and he's an engineer but what our labs have in common are flexible hours, while some bench scientists do adhere to the 9-5 rule, the most succesful phd student in our lab would come in at around 3 pm and leave at around 3 am! Hmm. The hours suited her better than 9 to 5 but she is working TEN hours! Which I quickly realised is common for graduate students, not exactly my idea of wealthy! Well I'm looking for a 9 - 5, 8 hours a day job thank you very much while my husband has happily started his phd. He still maintains he could never work 9-5 (It should be noted, while he may have escaped a rigid schedule he is working way more hours than 8 a day and he works Sunday!). I am actually reading a book called 'brain rules' by John Medina, and he argues that a percentage of the population are not getting enough sleep because of the 9-5 notion. Some people function better 6am to 2 pm and some,like my succesful labmate, function better from 3pm to the early hours of the morning. Maybe, after more research on sleep and productivity, the 9-5 rule will become obsolete.

  2. (I meant my lab mate is working TWELVE hours :-P)

  3. Naomi, I appreciate your feedback and science/lab perspective...a background I clearly do not have. I agree with the opinion of Medina that you mentioned. I definitely function better in the late morning and early evening, whereas late afternoon is tricky for me.

  4. Hi Danielle, mazel tov on the birth of a great blog! Naomi: Brain Rules is a great book! & Medina talks about a siesta-time in the late afternoon where EVERYONE may benefit from a little nap.

    I once saw Timothy Ferriss give a talk (recorded) about keeping/writing his blog, and then one of the comments was, "it sounds like all this takes more than 4 hours a week!" He admitted it did, but thought that if he ENJOYED it, it didn't count as work. That's a great thing to keep in mind, that the quality of the hours matters more than the quantity.

  5. I love Medina's opinion on siesta time! Thanks for the insight. Quality over quantity is something I'll keep in mind :).