Take Back Your Time

Fighting Overwork and Time Poverty in America

John de Graaf (Author)

Publication date: 08/09/2003

Take Back Your Time
  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.
  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.

Take Back Your Time is the official handbook for TAKE BACK YOUR TIME DAY, a national event. Organizers have enlisted the support of colleges, universities, religious organizations, labor unions, businesses, activist groups, and non-profit organizations to create events that will take place across the country, calling attention to the ways overwork and lack of time affect us-at home, in our workplaces, and in our communities-and to inspire a movement to take back our time.

In Take Back Your Time, well-known experts in the fields of health, family therapy and policy, community and civic involvement, the environment, and other fields examine the problems of overwork, over-scheduling, time pressure and stress and propose personal, corporate and legislative solutions. This book shows how wide-ranging the impacts of time famine in our society are, and what ordinary citizens can do to turn things around and win a more balanced life for themselves and their children.

  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.

Read more and meet author below

Read An Excerpt


ePub:
9781609943974

$16.95
(member price: $11.87)

Other Available Formats and Editions

$16.95 (member price: $11.87)

$16.95 (member price: $15.26)

9781576752456



Bulk Discounts
Rights Information


Featured Books



More About This Product

Overview

  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.
  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.

Take Back Your Time is the official handbook for TAKE BACK YOUR TIME DAY, a national event. Organizers have enlisted the support of colleges, universities, religious organizations, labor unions, businesses, activist groups, and non-profit organizations to create events that will take place across the country, calling attention to the ways overwork and lack of time affect us-at home, in our workplaces, and in our communities-and to inspire a movement to take back our time.

In Take Back Your Time, well-known experts in the fields of health, family therapy and policy, community and civic involvement, the environment, and other fields examine the problems of overwork, over-scheduling, time pressure and stress and propose personal, corporate and legislative solutions. This book shows how wide-ranging the impacts of time famine in our society are, and what ordinary citizens can do to turn things around and win a more balanced life for themselves and their children.

  • This is the official handbook of Take Back Your Time Day-a national event scheduled for October 24, 2003 and the 4th Friday in October in subsequent years. On this day, millions of people will join in hundreds of activities focusing on work/life balance and how we can reclaim it.
  • A stellar list of contributors includes such well-known bestselling authors as Vicki Robin, Camilla Fox, Anna Lappe, David Korten, Cecile Andrews and many others.
  • Examines all aspects of the time-famine issue-from overwork among adults to overscheduling of our children; from environmental consequences to the effects of our time deficit on our communities, our families, and even our pets; from the history of overwork to viable alternatives.

Back to Top ↑

Meet the Author


Visit Author Page - John de Graaf

John de Graaf is a documentary filmmaker who has produced more than a dozen national PBS specials, including Affluenza. He is the co-author of What’s the Economy for, Anyway? Why It’s Time to Stop Chasing Growth and Start Pursuing Happiness, and editor of Take Back Your Time. He is the Executive Director of Take Back Your Time, co-founder of The Happiness Alliance, Senior Well-Being Advisor for Earth Economics and a member of the Earth Island Institute board of directors. He has taught at The Evergreen State College and lives in Seattle, Washington.

Back to Top ↑


Table of Contents

Preface: Take Back Your Time Day

Introduction: Time Poverty and What We Can Do About It

Part One: Overwork in America

Chapter 1: An Issue for Everybody

Chapter 2: The (Even More) Overworked American

Chapter 3: The Incredible Shrinking Vacation

Chapter 4: Forced Overtime in the Land of the Free

Chapter 5: Two Jobs and an Empty Pot

Part Two: Time Is A Family Value

Chapter 6: Overscheduled Kids, Underconnected Families

Chapter 7: Recapturing Childhood

Chapter 8: What About Fluffy and Fido

Part Three: The Cost to Civil Society

Chapter 9: Reclaiming Community Time - The Work We Really Need to Do

Chapter 10: Time to Be a Citizen

Chapter 11: Time and Crime

Part Four: Health Hazards

Chapter 12: An Hour A Day (Could Keep the Doctor Away)

Chapter 13: The (Bigger) Picture of Health

Part Five: Environmental Consequences of the Hurried Life

Chapter 14: Haste Makes Waste

Chapter 15: The Speed Trap

Chapter 16: On Time, Happiness, and a Small Footprint

Part Six: Historical and Cultural Perspectives

Chapter 17: When We Had the Time

Chapter 18: Can America Learn from Shabbat?

Part Seven: Taking Back Your Time

Chapter 19: Enough - The Time Cost of Stuff

Chapter 20: The Simple Solution

Chapter 21: Overcoming the Fear of Leisure

Part Eight: Workplace Solutions

Chapter 22: Jobs to Share

Chapter 23: A New Bottom Line

Chapter 24: Working Retired

Chapter 25: A Case for Sabbaticals

Chapter 26: America Needs a Break

Chapter 27: It Would be Good for Business Too

Part Nine: Rethinking Patterns of Culture

Chapter 28: Recipes for Change

Chapter 29: Time by Design

Part Ten: Changing Public Policy

Chapter 30: Europe's Work-Time Alternatives

Chapter 31: A Policy Agenda for Taking Back Time

Chapter 32: What's an Economy For?

Back to Top ↑

Excerpt

Take Back Your Time

image

Introduction

JOHN DE GRAAF

In this book, you’ll find a wide range of perspectives regarding time poverty and begin to see the connections between all of them. Frances Moore Lappé pointed out to me the critically important observation by farmer and environmental writer, Wendell Berry, that in the United States, we too often solve problems issue by issue when it would be more effective to solve them by “pattern.” What is it about the pattern of our lives that exacerbates so many of our social and environmental problems?

This book suggests that a key aspect of our pattern problem comes from an unconscious choice we’ve made as a nation since World War II. Without thinking about it, Americans have taken all their productivity gains in the form of more money—more stuff, if you will—and none of them in the form of more time. Simply put, we as a society have chosen money over time, and this unconscious value pattern has had a powerful and less than beneficial impact on the quality of our collective lives.

True, we didn’t all get the money; in fact, the poorest among us actually earn fewer real dollars than they did a generation ago. Our most significant financial gains went to the richest 20 percent of Americans. Nevertheless, as a whole society we now have much more stuff and considerably less time than we used to.

That’s the pattern, and this book shows that the consequences have been and continue to be troubling. The argument here is that if we begin to change the pattern in favor of more time rather than more stuff, a host of other beneficial changes in the quality of our lives will follow.


A Collection of Essays

This book is a collection of essays written by academics, religious and labor leaders, activists, work/life and family counselors and personal coaches, physicians, and journalists. Most have devoted years of their lives to thinking deeply about the issue of time and Americans’ lack of it. The views of all writers, including myself, are theirs alone, not official positions of Take Back Your Time Day, and not necessarily shared by other writers in this book, although I suspect you’ll see considerable agreement as you read along.

You will see, too, that styles differ; some chapters focus on factual data, others on anecdotes and personal stories. Some are conversational, others more academic in approach. Each can be read alone and fully understood, but the whole here is greater than the sum of its parts. As you read along, you’ll clearly see how connected these issues are. You’ll find some repetition because these glimpses into various aspects of time famine do overlap, but, I trust, not too much.

A word about statistics: you may discover in reading this book some differences in the working hour statistics presented by different authors. As Juliet Schor explains in Chapter one, measuring work time is an inexact science. For example, measuring working hours per job will result in statistics showing shorter hours of work than will measuring hours per worker, since nearly ten percent of Americans hold more than one job. Estimates using the Current Population Survey of the United States show longer working hours than do Time Diary studies. International Labor Organization (ILO) reports on annual working hours show longer hours than do those of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). Nonetheless, the central point the book makes—that American working hours are getting longer—is backed up by all measurements, although only recently in the case of Time Diary studies. Moreover, the ILO and OECD both show the same gap between American and western European working hours, approximately 350 per year. About the fact that Americans work considerably longer hours than the citizens of any other modern industrial nation, there is no longer any debate.


Structure of the Book

The book starts with work-time issues, demonstrating clearly how American working hours have risen since the 1960s. You’ll see how American vacations have become an endangered species—the Spotted Owl of our social lives—and how millions of workers face steadily increasing “mandatory” overtime demands that leave them exhausted and leave you less safe and secure.

image

The next series of chapters examines the impact of overwork and over-scheduling on our families, children, communities, citizen participation, and even our treatment of animals.

Health and security concerns follow. A criminologist suggests that long working hours make us less safe, while two doctors examine the impact of our rush, rush, work, work, hurry-up existence on our health as individuals and as a nation.

We explore the environmental impact of overwork, and the time cost of our sprawling land use patterns and automobile dependence. We reveal a new study showing that people who work fewer hours are not only happier than are the overworked, but also more benign in their environmental impact.

Two chapters explore history and tradition. For more than half a century, the United States was the leader in the worldwide movement for shorter work time. Moreover, our great religious and spiritual teachings all emphasize the need for rest from work, for time to be instead of to have.

But this is also a book about solutions, and they start with personal choices and responsibility. We see how our spending patterns and unconscious acceptance of the plethora of consumer messages we get each day actually cost us time. Thousands of Americans are finding out how to simplify their lives and sharing their ideas with others.

Others are finding ways to share jobs and win more flexible work schedules through negotiation with their employers.

We present the case for phased retirement options and for sabbaticals—for ordinary workers, not just academics. We find out what labor unions are doing to challenge mandatory overtime and win more family time for their members and other workers.

Some critics suggest that shorter working hours would be bad for the economy, bad for business. But this book counters that assumption.

We also look at possibilities for cultural change, seeing how the “slow food” and “slow cities” movements are changing everyday life in ways that give us time.

But Public Policy has a place here as well; many Americans will not win more time through personal action or even workplace bargaining alone. We examine the enlightened laws that have given Europeans the choice of far more balanced lifestyles than their American counterparts enjoy—shorter working hours, longer vacations, generous family leave policies, and other innovative approaches that assure benefits for part-time workers.

Can we develop American public policies that put work in its rightful place, as part of life, not the be-all and end-all of life? We offer some bold ideas to do just that. Finally, we ask the big question: some economists say shorter work hours and more balanced lives are bad for “the economy,” but what’s an economy for anyway if not for happier, balanced lives?


A Practical Appendix

The appendices comprise a practical organizer’s toolkit, giving you the ideas you’ll need to organize Take Back Your Time Day activities in your community or college (you’ll find more of them at our Web site: www.timeday.org.) You can use this handbook in classes or discussion groups. You’ll find suggested discussion questions on our Web site, as well.

If you are like most readers, you will find many things to agree with here, and other points that call forth exclamations of “no way!” But the point of this book, and of Take Back Your Time Day, is not to get us all to agree on everything, but to begin the conversation about an issue that deeply affects the great majority of us in this country, yet one which our leaders seem not to think and speak about at all. We cannot solve the time crunch until we talk seriously about it as Americans and make it part of our social, workplace, and political agenda. Let the discussion start with this book.

Back to Top ↑

Endorsements

"If you only have time to read one book this year, then this is absolutely the book to read!"

-Barbara Ehrenreich, author of the bestselling Nickel and Dimed

"Americans' increasing hours at work and veneration of the market are eroding our capacity for interdependence, care, and citizenship. Take Back Your Time offers both an essential new perspective on this disastrous social trend, and concrete ways we can begin to reclaim our lives---and our society."

-Ilene Philipson, sociologist and author of Married To The Job

"Take Back Your Time launches the new American revolution against the tyranny of soulless organizations and mindless consumption, liberating ourselves to meaningful and free lives. Take back your time and everything is possible."

-John Stauber, Executive Director of PR Watch, author of Toxic Sludge Is Good For You! and Trust Us, We're Experts

Back to Top ↑