October 23, 2003

Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - Take Back Your Time

By: 800-CEO-READ @ 8:51 PM – Filed under: Management & Workplace Culture

Take Back Your Time: Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America edited by John de Graaf, Berrett-Koehler Publications, 270 pages, $14.95, July 2003, ISBN 1576752453
Time poverty is something experienced by all of us. With the high demands of our fast-paced lives, there seems to be little time to relax. According to this official handbook for Take Back Your Time Day, more free time is the solution to the stress of being overworked. Through the advice and research of academics, activists, physicians, and journalists the argument is made for a movement toward less working hours and more free time. As John de Graaf says in the introduction:
Americans work more than the citizens of any other industrialized country. Our work days are longer, and our vacations are disappearingwe are caught up in patterns of life that force us to pay an enormous price in terms of our health, our families and communities, and the earth itself. Countries like Norway, the Netherlands, France and Germany have shown that shorter work time and a balanced life is possible and that it can actually be good for business. In fact, most of them are more productive per worker hour than we are!
A reason that we do work so much is that weve taken gains in productivity in the form of more stuff rather than more time.
Another way many of the contributors in this book suggest to simplify life is to take a stand against over-consumption. A move away from financial values and toward life values could result in less of a struggle to succeed in the material world, and therefore, more free time, as less money would need to be made. Throughout the book the authors list numerous ways these changes can be made and how the patterns of culture can be rethought.
One of my favorite things about this book is that it doesnt just beg the question, it examines the origins of overwork and its impact through history. It concludes by offering several possible solutions that include action on the level of personal choice and in public policy. This book is for anyone who has felt the burden of making ends meet while trying to care for a family and still trying find time to relax. This is the ultimate road map to finding ways to make more time, and to change the future of how this country will handle productivity.