images1AUYYMPXThank God it’s Tuesday. I love my work in the library, but one of the reasons I find it so enjoyable is that I’m usually there only 3 ½ days a week. I work Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday (that’s the half bit). Every Wednesday (weather permitting) I join a friendly group for a 3 ½ hour to 5 ½ hour hike. I can’t tell you just how much I enjoy this. Not only do we walk in the some of the most beautiful and pristine places in the Far North of New Zealand, this time spent in nature works as a perfect counter-point to my time at work and with writing that cannot be done without technology. So while I watch full-time workers get progressively more stressed and sluggish as each week wears on, I’m fresh and raring to go every time I arrive at work in the morning.

4_day_work_weekIn the past more than 100 years worthy individuals have laboured long and hard to improve the rights of workers, introducing such revolutionary (at the time) concepts as the 5-day week and the eight-hour day. We’ve inherited this hard-won paradigm and it has worked well. But now, as countries the world over have privatised state assets such as power, telephone and rail we’ve experienced dramatic spikes in unemployment. This in turn has led to increases in crime and family violence. People without worthy work tend towards harmful actions.

If every full-time worker dropped a full day of work, we’d instantly increase jobs by 20%. Yes, people would need to learn to live with less but they would then have the opportunity to discover what they could do with more spare time. They could have more quality time with their families, join a service organization, exercise more. The opportunities are endless. They might have to live with fewer expensive gadgets, but they just might find, as I have, that life can be extremely satisfying, complete and meaningful when work and leisure time are in balance.

imagesBVBU4NDHIf we all worked fewer hours perhaps we’d reach less for the short-term props of caffeine and sugar, the drugs that fuel our current over-full lifestyles.

When I started work with the telephone company in Canada in the early 1980s I watched colleagues with management positions similar to mine retire one year and die the next. Some people are so married to their jobs that they forget or choose not to experience the wealth of life outside the workplace. If retirement frightens you why not ease into it by dropping one work-day a week every few years as you approach the gold card plateau?

Why work too hard and spend your health trying to achieve wealth and then retire and spend your wealth trying to get back your health? Why not live now?

Radio host, librarian, inspirational speaker and health educator John Haines is the author of In Search of Simplicity: A True Story that Changes Lives and Beyond the Search, books to lift the spirit and touch the heart. See

“In Search of Simplicity is a unique and awe-inspiring way to re-visit and even answer some of the gnawing questions we all intrinsically have about the meaning of life and our true, individual purpose on the planet. I love this book.”

Barbara Cronin, Circles of Light. For the complete review visit:

“In Search of Simplicity is one of those rare literary jewels with the ability to completely and simultaneously ingratiate itself into the mind, heart and soul of the reader.”

Heather Slocumb, Apex Reviews

“The author’s experiments and experiences working with nature simply amaze. . . . Beyond the Search is a treasure trove for those who enjoy planting and reaping as it seems nature intended, with respect for each animal and insect as belonging on the planet and therefore deserving of honour.”

Theresa Sjoquist on Suite 101