Mechanical Time vs Body Time

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“We became more efficient, yes, but also more machine, less human being.” – Alan Lightman

This is my challenge with work. I like working, I like contributing to my community, I like making things, I like having a routine, I like the people I work with. But I don’t like working 8 hours a day year-round. I’ve gotten lucky in being able to work part-time, thirty hours a week. My six-hour day each week is so much nicer — and more honest about how much work a knowledge worker can really do a day. I would love to work four-sixes instead. I am pretty sure I’d have almost the same results, because the less important things would naturally fall away, be easier to decline or deprioritize, or be accomplished quicker.

Also ties into this Seth Godin post I saw earlier today: is your boss buying your time, or your results?

Some bosses are demanding workers return to the office, and some managers have spent the last year forcing people to endure endless zoom meetings. The mindset seems to be that if your time is what got purchased, the boss wants to be sure you’re spending all of that time at work on work…

My boss is buying my time, but I wish they would buy my results instead 😉 (Although it seems like this should be the intent of salary, it seems that in reality it’s an excuse to make workers work even longer and not hire enough staff to complete projects.)

By Tracy Durnell

Writer and designer in the Seattle area. Freelance sustainability consultant. Reach me at She/her.

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