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 make sense to follow a steak dinner with giving a rock concert, but it would make sense 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 yourself! what do you want? what do you really want?
  • enjoy and learn from phases of weird chaos. Choosing a path of anti-domestication leads to a more interesting life. Maybe you’ll find yourself with the vantage point where you can conclude that, after all, the status quo is the weird thing in truth.
  • even if you end up re-embracing a prior pattern, you’re a richer person because you have brought more consciousness into things that were previously unconscious. “Why we do what we do” is a big question to hold.

πŸ— The real element to put pressure on, 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? Perhaps under a more liberated structure, workers would not only be more productive, but also more innovative and longer-lived.

It takes humility, not arrogance, to admit when the status quo doesn’t truly serve. A quick gut-check would ascertain that tomorrow’s meeting to schedule a meeting to discuss the importance of cover sheets on TPS reports is a waste of precious time.

🏠 Workers who want it should fight for remote work, setting up home/studio office environments that best support them.

Most people truly want to work. Given the opportunity, would thrive in an environment where they are empowered to work creatively in a way that benefits themselves and adds value to humanity.

Bureaucracy naturally builds cruft with time. Elon Musk maintains that it should be much harder for rules to be created than destroyed. Old rules should automatically expire unless people continue to want them.

Unless we are mindful of the normal tendency towards organizational clutter, we end up being our own worst enemies. 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