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I believe Henry Ford thought he was doing a service to humanity by normalizing the eight-hour workday. Eight divides evenly into the total 24 hours each individual experiences in a day. Eight hours to work. Eight hours to sleep. Eight hours to play. Indeed, it was far better than the previous paradigm.
It doesn’t work out that way. Eight hours to work. Two hours to commute. Two hours to get ready for work in the morning. An hour to get settled at home in the evening. An hour to eat with the family. That leaves two hours for play if one is lucky. Five hours extra taken by work’s requirements of the individual. Thirteen hours dedicated to work in a day. Fooled into thinking we’ve only given eight.
Or one might push their sleep schedule to have more time for play. Or abandon evening wind down or dinner with family to go straight to an event from work. Combine the commutes of work and event so there is more time.
Henry Ford was wrong. He didn’t create the eight-hour workday. He created the fifteen-hour workday. It’s time we stop accepting the dictates of old capitalism in favor of true wellness.
Today we live in a new paradigm. Remote work is so much better for the well-being of the individual (and thus society — for a group of well individuals are the building blocks to a healthy society). The two hour preparation to leave home may be reduced for a lack of need to pack a lunch or prepare belongings for transport. One might divide their preparation across their early morning breaks, getting dressed or eating breakfast in between meetings. There is no commute eating their time. Suddenly, there is time for chores and general personal needs. The individual’s eight hours outside of work truly belong to them.
Even better is entrepreneurship. The eight-hour workday suddenly dissolves, leaving endless possibilities for a self-imposed work schedule as variable as the wind. One might break it apart, or reduce it entirely. One might wake and work, one might leave work until afternoon, or work late in the night when others sleep and the city is closed. In entrepreneurship, work is equal to choice, and each action determined by the individual and no other. The only ‘must’ is what the individual deems worthy.
Unless the individual is using Ford’s template for their own work. When one only knows one template, it becomes the default. Here we find entrepreneurs burning out, unable to set boundaries with clients because they didn’t have the option with a boss, unable to organize a workday as unique to them as they are to the rest of humanity because they fear judgement or retribution. The danger of entrepreneurship is when one carries a caged mind into their creation and calls it freedom. Let’s break that cage.