TMMW 3: Shorter Workdays and Weird Meals

Awhile back, I listened to Keith Richards autobiography (which is great, btw), and he mentioned how he generally eats one meal a day. Part of that habit came from having a performer’s schedule, where it wouldn’t exactly make sense to follow a steak dinner with giving a rock concert, but it would to eat a few hours afterward (maybe). Main thing: he was against the notion that everyone should be eating three squares a day. Three meals a day was a weird product of the neurotic standardization that came about from industrial revolution: Workers were given standard meal times structured around their 9 to 5 workday.

🎸 Yes, I take health advice from Keith Richards. The notion that it is somehow right or correct for everyone to eat a given thing at a given hour is needlessly forceful. Much of what passes for normal human activity should be deconstructed, and as a result of the pandemic, this is happening to some extent. With respect to eating three meals a day, people are figuring out what works best for them. I think that’s great. Small changes like this can lead to further blossomings of originality downstream.

🧐 The main thing to focus on: become aware of how outside forces have habituated us to given patterns. To begin to objectify this:

  • listen to your body’s wisdom! what do you want? what do you really want?
  • tolerate phases of weird chaos. It’s likely headed somewhere more interesting. Maybe the status quo will turn out to be the real weird thing.
  • even if you end up re-embracing the prior pattern, the process brings some discernment about why we do things the way we do. Think of it as a mini hero’s journey.

πŸ— The real enemy, in my view, is the standardization of the 40 hour work week and the 8 hour work day. The eight hour workday came about to limit how much workers could be exploited by employers. It is in no way the optimal length of productive time in a day. Studies have shown that a five-hour workday is much better. Why don’t we dive right into that? I think it’s because employers feel threatened by the notion. It takes humility to admit that the status quo doesn’t truly serve. A meeting to schedule a meeting to discuss the importance of cover sheets on TPS reports would be a waste of time.

🏠 Workers who want it should fight for remote work, setting up home/studio office environments that best support them. And their employer should cover the costs.

Bureaucracy naturally builds cruft with time. Elon Musk maintains that it should be much harder for rules to be created than destroyed. Unless we are mindful of this tendency, we end up being our own worst enemies in this regard. Eliminate busywork. Be ruthless about adding value. If a given task/meeting/activity doesn’t add value, then drop it for what does. Long work hours and endless meetings are not a badge of honor; quality is. And specifically what kind of quality? Quality of life. Of civilization moving towards truth, good, and beauty.

🍴 More good reading on meals

πŸ•° More on 5-hour/flex workday