Long working days

Long working days

Summer in Sweden – long days, and daylight until late night around mid summer. One can actually fit two full working days in 24 hours. Compare to the 5 hours of daylight during the winter. These long days call for a certain way of farmer’s life. Working hard, but slow, taking care of the long days.

In our modern way of life, an eight hour working day will tear our body in a way that we need a good workout or weekly yoga sessions to stay healthy. How was it possible to handle 12 hour working days just a generation ago? Well, work was more diverse, and incorporated many things we today choose to do on our free time. Life as a hole was of course harder back then, but there are some things we can learn form history of working long days on a farm.

Shifting tasks is one of them. Painting a ceiling in the morning and picking potatoes in the afternoon is stretching the back in both directions. It sounds to easy, but shifting tasks is keeping both the body and the mind focused. Better to do two tasks during two days, than doing one thing one full day.

Rest – not just a short brake. Pack your lunch bag and head out in the nearest forest or park. Eating the hole lunch brake is not the main goal. It is what comes after eating that is the big difference from today – the mindfulness of letting your mind rest as well. It is when you stretch out on a sofa or under a tree the brake turns into resting… farmer’s way. The long working day will need some training in the art of resting during work. If you usually have one hour lunch brake during an eight hour day, the resting brake will need to be longer during a long working day.

Bring what you need, and learn what you need for a long day. It might be different clothes for different tasks. Or just dry, new socks, after lunch. It is easy to trick your mind to believe that a new outfit is the start of a new working day (14:00 in the afternoon).

And then there is time of corse. Or is it – time is just the sun passing from one horizon to the other. It has nothing to do with work. The measurement of work is strength. Different kind for different professions – and we can spend it in a short while, or during a long time. When the strength is gone, time can not do the work for us. I find my self working longer during the summer, when the days are longer. And shorter during the dark half of the year. This is the farmer’s clock in contrast to the city time ticking. This might be the cure to many stressful minds, who try to work hard during the winter in order to take a brake during the summer. A longer day can carry both more work, and more rest – don’t forget to rest.