Evan and Gordon Talk: Naps [And Also the Hours in a Day]

GORDON: Ladies and gentlemen, because we are men of our word, today’s Evan and Gordon discussion will be based off a suggestion left by you, the readers. 

Specifically, Joe Chinn, who asked us to talk about rest and leisure time in this crazy modern world.EVAN: The irony is not lost on me, as I embark on a forty-five minute chat at around 11:15 pm with work the following the morning.

GORDON: So I’m guessing we’re stating right off the bat that we don’t have enough hours in the day?

EVAN: Well, let’s see-

I wake up at 8 AM, and then bathe, get dressed, pack my stuff, fix breakfast for my granddad, and am out the door by 9 to head to work.

I get back at a little before 5:30 PM and have about an hour before I have to start getting dinner ready. My free time begins around 8; because I am really dumb I usually do not sleep until 1 AM.

So to answer your question, I guess I wouldn’t mind an extra hour here or there.

GORDON:  I guess we should put the comment out there for everyone to read:

” How much is enough? What times the right time to rest one’s feet or take a nap? Do naps increase overall productivity? What does society say? What do you think?”

Now I’m inclined to agree with you. I work 8 (more like 8.5) hours out of the day, not counting the time it takes to get to and from work. I too am finding myself either exhausted or simply without time to really and truly kick back.

EVAN: I also have coursework to do for an online Gender in Comic Books online course that I’m doing; since I’m staying up doing this, I may actually wake up early tomorrow to do it then.

GORDON: Granted, some of the things that consume our time are self-imposed, but let’s do the math here- 24 hours to a day. Eight or so for sleeping. Eight for work. Let’s drop an hour for transportation, what do we have left?

EVAN: Another 1/3 of a day. Eight hours. Okay, 7, minus transportation.

GORDON: Ok, let’s drop another hour for dinner, including preparation and clean-up. And another hour for getting ready in the morning and heading off to bed at night. And we’re down to five. Sound about right?

That’s about the extent of my math skills right there

EVAN: Sure, we can go with that.

GORDON: That’s approximately 21% of the day, if we round up. Now I know it might sound pretty decent, but let’s frame this a different way:

What percent of the day do you have to spend bettering yourself as a person (mentally, physically, and spiritually)? What percent of the day do you have set aside for pursuing your own personal goals and interests? 20% suddenly sounds like a pretty piss poor amount, doesn’t it?

EVAN: So are you saying that we just don’t have time to take naps? In trying to bring it back to Joe’s prompt.

GORDON: I guess I’m saying that we don’t have time to take naps and  really develop ourselves as full human beings.

EVAN: Hm, I think I can agree with that. What I’m really taking away from this though is that we feel like we need so much downtime from work that we spend time we could be [in our case] writing and lay about watching TV online instead.

GORDON: Which brings us to another interesting point: what about entertainment? I mean, can we say that simple, pure entertainment (without necessarily having any edifying value) is an essential part of a balanced human life?

EVAN: Yeah, I think we need to be entertained. Furthermore, entertainment overlaps with relaxing/unwinding, which is definitely a necessity.

GORDON: I want you to respond with the first number that pops into your head: how much time should have to just be entertained?

EVAN: 2 hours?

GORDON: That was my first thought as well; ’bout the length of an average movie, give or take.

EVAN: To postpone our breakdown of the hours in a day for a sec, let me go back to our prompt and ask if you want to take naps. On that same note, if you could, when and for how long?

GORDON: Well, I don’t take naps- I guess in part because I can never really relax knowing just how little time I have.

I’ve got four hours left to be everything I can be, am I really going to blow twenty minutes staring up the ceiling doing nothing?EVAN: And that answer is similar to mine, in that 20 minutes is a pretty decent duration for a nap. It’s enough time to rest and recharge, and any longer is liable to just make you feel groggy and tired.

GORDON: But again, can you really afford that? In 20 minutes you can watch a show, listen to music, work out, read- whatever it is you gotta do

EVAN: I’d say that yeah, napping can be worth it. When you’re well-rested you’re better able to do other things. I mean, I’ve fallen asleep watching very, very good shows, and there’s no point if that happens, y’know?

GORDON: That’s true, but I guess it all just seems to be a losing battle. 20% of the day is not enough time to be devoted to enjoying life.

EVAN: Wait, just how are we defining “enjoying life”?

GORDON: Reading, writing, entertainment, exercising, socializing, philosophizing, talking long walks in the woods.

EVAN: Dang it, man. I miss the woods.

GORDON: Me too, man. Me too.

EVAN: Remind me how many hours we have, not including work and getting ready for work, our commute, getting food ready, etc.

GORDON: 5 hours.

Less than that, if you factor in chores and whatnot.


EVAN: I think that when it comes down to it 5 hours, if you schedule it right, is a fairly decent amount.

If I was really smart about my time I would spend an hour on my online course, an hour and a half on TV/surfing the web, and 2 hours on just writing; that would still leave half an hour to get chores done, and I don’t think you really need more than that.

GORDON: I gotta disagree. The whole point of having your own time is that you’re not rushed. You can take things as they come. You don’t have to strictly ration out your free time as if it were water on a desert island. Keep in mind, this is the only time you have to be you.

Not the professional you, not the sleeping you- the real and true you.

A tiny sliver of the day to grow as a person? To enjoy the company of others? To learn? To produce? That’s not enough time.

Heck, we’re not even accounting for the time that simply gets away from us when crap just happens

EVAN: I think there’s a difference between rationing our time and making sure we’re not wasting it. Did I need to watch two full episodes of “Eat Street”? Did I really have to re-read that article about superhero costumes that I saw just last week?

I feel like we need to acknowledge that we waste our time plenty, and that we could all do better in that respect.

GORDON: I can agree on that.But at the same time, I can’t help but think of countries with a much shorter work week. France, for example, has a 35 hour work week maximum, and besides the racism and bigotry France seems to be doing decently. Samoa has a mere 30 hour work week, and while they’re not at the top of the charts, they’re doing pretty good too.

EVAN: To connect this back to naps, many non-North-American cultures put less emphasis on work, and are more accepting of naps in general.

I read an article a few years ago about how here in Canada/the States we look down on naps because they’re not productive. This is not the same view much of the rest of the world has.

GORDON: This is true.

Certainly in the West, we’re a deeply profit-driven nation. The only reason we don’t work more than we do is because it’s either illegal or our bosses would have to give us overtime pay; one of the reasons shift times are manipulated so crazily is to avoid having workers go into overtime while still making sure the work gets done.

Now all that said, I don’t really have a problem with work. I think everyone around the globe wants and needs work. I just don’t think we like blowing away such a huge chunk of our day for the benefits, dreams, and desires of someone who isn’t us.EVAN: My work primarily revolves around divorce.

GORDON:  I’ll just say I work in social services, for the sake of confidentiality and all that. And I like my job, I really and truly do.

But I’m not unaware that the workplace is not a democracy. If we’re told we have to do something which we all know is just going to be a waste of time, we can’t vote on it. And I think that affects us on a pretty fundamental level.

EVAN: I feel you on that one, and also feel tired, because it’s just past midnight and our time is up.

Our conversation really shifted away from time, which is what our topic of naps turned into, but I think we’re onto some really great stuff about work, and think we could continue it next week.

GORDON: I agree. Which isn’t to say that you, oh readers, shouldn’t leave comments with more topic suggestions.

EVAN: Definitely leave comments, you guys, they mean a lot to us and help us to get through our too-short days.

Thanks for reading, and the two of us will be back next Wednesday for another E&GT.


3 responses to “Evan and Gordon Talk: Naps [And Also the Hours in a Day]

  1. I’m a little confused by the assertion that our free time is the only time we have to be ourselves, or to grow. Certainly, it’s time for each and every one of us to take more control over where and how we grow, but if we’re not taking the opportunity to grow as professionals and individuals at our jobs, I’d say that’s a very unnecessary waste. I have a feeling you agree, I just thought it’d be worth drawing that distinction.

  2. It’s thinking about this that makes me want to drop everything and just work on self-improvement. I’m an all or nothing kind of guy (okay, maybe all or pittance). As a Christian I agree with the thought Ecology-Man brings up, that I should try to spend -all- of my time on growing as a person, regardless of what task I find myself doing.
    But I think there’s a fundamental knot in human nature that stops up that kind of behavior. An essential stubbornness. I don’t know if that’s just me. So, going off that.
    What do you guys think about stubbornness in Western culture, and in others? Is extreme stubbornness simply a human trait? Have we exaggerated it in our culture? Do we look for outlets for our own will?
    I’ll stop there because it just gets more philosophical going forward. God bless!

  3. Pingback: Evan and Gordon Talk: Work |

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