Living the French work life…

Published Mar 10, 2011 (13 years ago)
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The last modifications of this post were around 13 years ago, some information may be outdated!


When I spent a couple of summers in France on a missions trip, I was impressed, and a bit envious, of the two hour lunch schedule. We were able to relax and chat at a restaurant, or maybe do a little exploring, or even a nap 8^D. The biggest impact for me though was that it helped keep the day from getting too overwhelming, since there was a significant break away from work.

So at the beginning of this year, after talking with Jen a bit and then my supervisor, I was approved to setup my own work schedule along these lines. I augmented my work schedule to work a 7 to 5 schedule, with a 2 hour lunch break, which I typically take from 11:30 to 1:30. Some of you may wonder why I’m not working 8 to 6, and that’s two fold. One is that I’m an early bird, and I’m already up around 5:00 in the morning to start my day and take care of the girls when they wake up. The second is that a lot of our servers start running backups around 5:30 in the evening, so the department prefers that we’re not using the network resources by then to make things go smoother.

Having been in this new schedule for about 2 and a half months now, here’s what I’ve come to find about the situation, done in classic movie fashion.

The Good

  • Naps! I’ll admit that I’ve only taken 1 so far, but it was pretty sweet.

  • Less Rush. I’m fortunate enough to be able to go home for lunch to see Jen and the girls. Even being so close, sometimes lunch was rushed, especially if I was picking something up from the store. That really isn’t a factor anymore. Plus I get to pick up my girls from school now.

  • Quiet Mornings. A lot of times when 8:00 hits, the e-mail box gets full and there’s the hustle and bustle of office life. Having an hour to get a jump on things really helps the day.

  • Focus. I don’t know if its because my lunch is a little earlier than it used to be (I used to take it at 1), but the day seems really focused now. I’m in at 7 and get into the zone, and then all of the sudden it is lunch time. I have a nice on break, and then I feel focused to finish off my tasks before the end of the day. Previously things felt a bit scattered or dragged out.

The Bad

  • Less free time. As aforementioned, I’m a morning person. I’d get up, enjoy some “God time” as I tell the girls, tidy a few things up, and then hit the road. Now I have an hour less time before I hit the road, and I realized that I really have to be good with my morning routine to get out on time. I also have to do less in order to make this time. So sometimes it can feel rushed in this regard.

The Ugly

  • Sometimes the day can be a REALLY long one. You don’t sleep well. You walk in the door and a high priority website is down and needs attention. You have an appointment or some errands you have to have at lunch. It can really make for a long day and wear you out. I’ve had a couple of these.

All in all I find that the pros have FAR outweighed the cons and Jen has been most gracious in losing an hour of her sleep to make this happen. She has said that she benefits from me having the longer lunch hour (errands, getting kids, etc.) so in the long run I think we’re both winning.

So maybe we can start a revolution of “longer, but shorter” days to enjoy a nap, or a hassle free lunch. Just think of all those lunch breaks with an old friend you had to rush because you had to get back into the office, or use some of your time off to cover. This could eliminate all that, and potentially make you more productive, but I have no studies to back that one up yet.

Anybody else game?