It's Monday, the dreadful countdown has started. You're already thinking about the end of the week, and it barely started. As the days go by, you are fixated on Friday 5pm. By Friday afternoon, your mind is so overfilled with the prospect of the two-day break that you can barely get anything done anymore. Some of your co-workers are not even at their desks anymore; they left early. When it's your turn to leave, you breathe a sigh of relief. It's the moment you've been waiting for. The start of the weekend.
However, what's so odd is that it's already Monday again. The weekend was a blur. Everything that didn't fit the workday was squeezed into the weekend. Groceries, laundry, chores, medical appointments and so on. By the time you've finished all that it's Sunday evening. Just like work, the weekend made you tired. You want to idle, but tomorrow's Monday and you've already begun thinking about work. You don't have time to do anything anymore because you need to sleep early to wake up for work on time.
Our lives are high maintenance. We need to maintain our relationships with our spouses, friends and family. We need to take care of ourselves with exercise, hygiene and so on. Our houses need to be kept clean and our fridge full of food. And to be able to do all that, we need work to make a wage so we can pay for what keeps us alive.
With only two-day weekends, we find ourselves squeezing all that maintenance in such a short span of time. We meet with our friends on Saturday. We do the groceries on Sunday. We do the Laundry on Saturday morning. Little time is left to do what we enjoy. For some, it's simply watching TV shows. For others, it's learning a new art.
The worst part is there is hardly any time for resting the mind and body. Our jobs can be mentally and physically demanding. Our relationships and our chores demand it too. It feels like being on an endless treadmill and there is no way to stop it. Many experience burnout or depression due to excessive stress and little break.
It's clear that the two days we yearn for so much every week are not enough.
Almost every month, there is a statuary holiday which extends the weekend by a single day. Oddly enough, after those weekends end, I find myself more at peace and rested. The first day of work after feels smoother and I'm not as stressed out.
Personally, I have tried to extend the weekend as much as possible. I do the laundry on weekdays, I shop for groceries on a weekday late at night. I try to meet my friends on weekdays. I do all that hoping that my weekend would be empty of such obligations and I would have it all to myself.
I want to spend time partaking in my hobbies on the weekend. However, I often find myself lifeless and staring blankly out the window. My mind is tired, my body is fatigued. By the time I'm fully rested it's Sunday night. At that point, it's time to head to bed and start the cycle of work again.
I feel like my whole life is centered around work. Even though I work a (what is considered) reasonable 40-hour work-week, I feel like too much of time is taken away from me. Not only is it actually being in the office but commuting too. My morning are devoted to getting ready for work: dressing up, packing up a lunch and so on. When I get back in the evening, I have to empty my mind of work and that can take a while. Only a few hours a day are left for me.
I'm a backend software developer and writing code requires plenty of creativity and thought. There's only so much I can muster before my mind quits. On top of that, I'm mentally ill and thoroughly medicated meaning I need even more rest. However, I hear co-workers who are healthier and more productive than complain about the same things I do. No matter how much fun I have at work, I still get tired. Everyone does and everyone needs rest after that. Even caffeine, energy drinks and modafinil can't fix that.
When I first started writing this, I thought that the problem was the weekends were too short. However, it is that weeks that are composed of 168 hours are not enough to account for 40 hours of dedicated work. Our body and minds cannot optimally function without adequate rest and breaks. We're not made for it. Our lives are demanding and work is demanding too much of our lives.
Even though modern society has allowed us to come really far when it comes work ethic, I don't think we are far enough yet. Our basic needs, our own desires, our dreams, our physiologies and psychologies need to be taken into account when we rethink what an ethical and humane work-week looks like.
We are no longer factory workers where our output is proportional to the company's sales figures. Machines and automation are taking over the remedial roles that we used to do. Today, we are artists and developers and managers and service providers. What we do might not make any money at all. Still, what we do demands of us quite a bit and to provide more, we need to do less.
I'm convinced that we need more time devoted to ourselves and those we care about. I want to spend more time caring for myself but I can't because I'm stuck in the system. To live, I need to pay my bills. I'm not lucky so I have to spend most of day working for it.