27-Oct-2010 10:43

Do you work far too hard?

According to Wikipedia, 'working time' is defined as the period of time that an individual spends at paid occupational labour & Government laws do regulate minimum rest periods, annual holiday allowances and the maximum number of working hours per week or per month.

Most European countries stipulate a normal business working week as Monday through Friday - 35 to 40 hours depending on contracts. Indeed 'The EU Working Time Directive' states that workers cannot be forced to work for more than 48 hours per week on average (although the UK allows individuals to opt out if they so choose)

However, are these really applicable to the very many who run independent businesses, are 'bosses', business owners, management or even those who want to 'be seen' to be hard-workers to achieve promotion or are simply in fear of redundancies & possible 'downsizing' in times of austerity..

I did a quick calculation for my average working week and found that - although I never work on a Saturday - my typical working week was about 65+ hours (& that is 'full hours' i.e. not time spent at work chatting, asleep at my desk or having endless coffee breaks or water-cooler periods….)

True, I suppose I'm a bit of a workaholic, and also true that 'she who must be obeyed' often shouts at me to stop working, but I must confess that I may be one of the lucky few who really enjoys his work!

I reckon I could actually quite happily spend even more time working rather than reduced hours & still not suffer…

My own working life and situation may be a little different to many because, as the boss (& perhaps applicable to most self-employed too) I do take more time off than most.

I will, several times a year, spend long weekends away from the office (albeit still in contact with the office, responding to emails and enquiries and thus effectively 'still working') & I do also take two or three (last year 4) holidays a year of 10 days or more.

So, please comment…

Are your working weeks like mine?

Are you working far harder & longer than the 'average' worker?

& do you believe you should slow down and take more time off?

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Contributed by Les Potton Chartered FCIPD ACII • on 28-Oct-2010 10:09
Norman, you have identified something that I found, the moment I left a "job" and became "self employed".
Once you choose to do something and enjoy it, it ceases to become "work" in the traditional sense. Its just a part of your life.
Gone are those Sunday nights fretting about getting up "for work" on a Monday morning. I do appreciate your point about family members not really understanding how addictive doing something you like doing can get, especially if family members are not doing something they like doing most of the time.

"Work" conjurs up the picture of being kidnapped between the hours of 9 and 5 and beyond and being made to do something you dont like doing so that you can pay the mortgage.

This culture is exacerbated by a lot of people having huge financial commitments and lifestyle expectations, in the materialistic western world, and therefore scared to make the move away from the rat race, to something they enjoy doing. Often redundancy is the blessing in disguise that is needed (it was for me).

Its further perpetuated by radio DJs on breakfast shows moaning that its "only Tuesday", "I hate Wednesdays" etc, breeding the old fashioned "live for the weekend" view of life.

It might sound idealistic but we should all strive to do something for a living that makes us want to get up in the morning and do it. Teenagers are at the best time of life to embrace this philosophy, when they have no real financial commitments.

Then the line between "work" and "non-work" time, will become blurred, leading to less stress and more fulfillment. Work should eventually just be a part of your life that you choose, that thankfully brings in money to pay the bills, not something that you feel takes you away from life.

Working itself does not cause negative stress, its doing something you don't want to be doing that causes stress.
Contributed by Shelley Fishel on 27-Oct-2010 21:39
Hi Norman

Great thought provoking blog as usual!

Are your working weeks like mine?

Are you working far harder & longer than the 'average' worker?
Absolutely! Since I have worked for myself I work MUCH harder and longer

& do you believe you should slow down and take more time off?
Maybe sometimes, however most of the time I luurv what I do!


Shelley Fishel
The Training Surgery Limited
Gold Standard Accredited Training Provider with The Institute of IT Training
Contributed by Solveigh Calderin on 27-Oct-2010 19:41

I don't count the hours I'm doing, what I love to do

& do you believe you should slow down and take more time off?

There isn't anything to add to Cornelis statement:

Maybe - but its so much fun to do what I do
Contributed by Peter Syme on 27-Oct-2010 19:39
Nope. Used to when I worked for corporates and the military. Now I work when and where I want to. Created my work to enable me to live. I do notice than many seem to live to work, nothing wrong with that I was the same for years but I much prefer this model.

Contributed by Massimo Luciani on 27-Oct-2010 12:29

I'd be happy to comment but I'm too busy working...
Contributed by Dr. Das, Suman (Doctor-Da) on 27-Oct-2010 12:11

@ Are your working weeks like mine?

....even more!

@ Are you working far harder & longer than the 'average' worker?

....of course yes!

@ do you believe you should slow down and take more time off?


Thanks n' Regards

Dr. Das, Suman (Doctor-Da)
Contributed by Demos Flouri on 27-Oct-2010 12:00
I work 65+ hours easily.

I also work all weekend.

I think I do work too hard and do not spend enough time for "me" I do not know how to switch the blackberry off.
Warm Regards,

Demos Flouri

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Contributed by Cornelis de Maijer on 27-Oct-2010 11:13
Hi Norman,

Are your working weeks like mine?


Are you working far harder & longer than the 'average' worker?


& do you believe you should slow down and take more time off?

Maybe - but its so much fun to do what I do

Cornelis de Maijer
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