It’s Weisure Time?

When you can’t tell where work ends and play begins, or you can’t stop reading your work-related email at midnight, you’ve entered texterthe “weisuretime” zone.

Coined by a sociology professor at New York University, the term refers to the way we have all squeezed fun onto an endless treadmill of working. Instead of enjoying life and making time for work, we work all the time and try to find moments of leisure.

There was a time when we debated whether we should live to work or work to live. That seems like it was another century. Wait – it was another century ago. The debate is over and the live to work crowd has won. Nine to five is just a memory in a world that’s gone 24/7. There was a time when only workers who collaborated with fellow workers in another time zone we’re up at 4 am or still working at 2 am.

Workers feel guilty if they don’t take their office Blackberry with them on vacation. They check their email constantly to make sure they have not been sidestepped or sidelined. Taking time off from work is now literally a guilty pleasure.

Multi-tasking has evolved to dizzying heights where one has to answer email, read an instant message and follow someone’s tweets while speaking laser hair removalon the phone – and for the really savvy – texting too. So many forms of communication, so little time. Does anyone have time for real work or is everyone caught in the maze that passes for a communication system?

Can anyone really increase their productivity and still follow what Ashton Kutcher is up to? Can you tweet so much that you become incapable of writing anything that exceeds 140 characters? Does any or all of this social networking bring anyone closer together?

In another ten years, workers won’t be able to tell the difference between work and play, so your only option will be to pick one or the other. So after forty years of work or more, we’re just about right back where started – choosing between living to work or working at playing.

Jay Harrison is a graphic designer and writer whose work can be seen at DesignConcept. He's written a mystery novel, which therefore makes him a pre-published author.

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