Friday, July 8, 2011

20% off - Did you take it yet?

No, I am not selling anything, but just asking you - Did you take your 20% time off of your hectic schedules to rejuvenate yourself? 

I came across the concept of "80/20 Innovative time off" which is employed in Google Inc. Now, first thing first, they are GOOGLE, they have loads of creative people, who have to work within the limits of competitiveness. They cannot be like the modern artists, whose works are sometimes beyond the reach of smaller people (like me).Their creativity has to sell to the mass public. So, how can you keep them motivated to get the best out of them, while not pushing them towards a situation similar to "writer's block"?
Answer is simple - Just let them do what they like, approximately for about 20% time of their work life. I specify "work life" here because weekends are not included in "work life". Yes, with the weekends you actually get somewhere closer to 30% time off, but then thats not helping the company anyways. Taking time off from office is not equal to honing your creativity. Weekends are meant for de-stressing, relaxing, unwinding, attending to family, friends, relatives etc. and not to think about work.

Majority of the companies will not do that, I know. Their reasons will vary from - How can we then meet deadlines?, The employees are not getting paid to do what they like!, Are you nuts? 20% is almost a day, we do not have time to waste a day, silly!!! etc. etc. But then who is asking them to do what they like? Still, since I am not working in Google, I would like to think of something that might work.
1. How about meeting once in a fortnight to discuss if anything can be changed from whatever was done in the fortnight? This might just take an hour but still, I am sure will help in a long way.

2. People across the company keep attending seminars, conferences etc... how many times have they shared whatever they learnt there? (you might take notes from those kinds of seminars or you might take pride that you are far ahead, but it will be good in both ways!)

I know that there can be many more such simple things that, when made a habit can really take you places. While they are not what I would call the 80/20 Innovative Time Off, but the results could be similar.

That was the organization level, but how can you apply this in your life? We are all running, running and running madly to satisfy the personal and professional goals, while trying to catch up with health, wealth, society. Not everyone can do that successfully, hence what they leave out from their life is - their passion! Now, if you are reading this blog in your early or mid 20s and thinking, no, I do not connect with what the author is saying, I am telling you, if you can keep up the same attention to your interests and passions after 10-15 years, you are incredible, but you cannot really predict that today right?

In a typically active weekday, my 9 hours are in office, the morning time is no good to me other than just rushing up to office, so when I come back home in the evening, I have approximately 5 6 hours left, which I have to juggle between cooking, relaxing, talking to family. I missed out doing what I used to like most - blogging and photography. And then, came a time when I read about this 20% off concept and I thought, I NEED IT! My 20% off means an hour in the evening (sadly that much only!) But, damn it works wonders. This one hour is when I cut off from the remaining world and live in my own. I read articles, plan my blogs (not that I am very active, but now it is better than ever before!), read a lot about photography or work on my photos..just do what I like, if it means on some days, to do nothing but just simply sit. Do you do that? If not, try it! Yes, there will be phases in life when even that much will be too much to ask for, but those phases will be like passing clouds... I do not think this is applicable to only office-goers, but even to homemakers. While we think homemakers have more time in hands to dispense, sometimes it is not so! Even if you do not go to office, you still have the rights to claim your 20% off! This is to do anything, which is not your daily chore or responsibilities!

Just one hour is all you need, this is when you are your employer and your employee! Some one argued with me that it would be selfish to think about your own interests especially when you got married or have a new born in your lap, but on a serious note, if taking an hour off in a day for yourself looks like an indulgence to you, I pity you!

PS - I do not really know how many of us take time to do things we like, but I have really seen my friends who after moving to different phases of life like being a wife or a mother, have actually become robots, mechanical people. Like in mentioned in my previous post, make the most of your life, when you have the energy to do so! Once again, thanks a lot dear Google, you have given me one more good thing, other than Google search, Google maps and Gmail!



  1. I am following this process when I started my professional career.After my office hours I am engaging myself with the physical activities which I like to do every day... Leave Work on Time. Huh? Yes, many of us stay at work late on a regular basis. If this is you, make it a point to leave work exactly on time at least once a week, if not more. And then enjoy that time! Leave work at work.I found the gym to do some strength training, or even work with a personal trainer.Some times I used to stay longer time at office then I will used to take some time for myself between hours...I am still enjoying this..

  2. @Krish - "I am still enjoying this"? Did you mean that you need not take any time off your life to rejuvenate yourself because you leave work at time? In case gymming or sports is the only activity that you like doing, then thats good.. but there are people (rather unfortunate ones) who do not have the luxury to really think about themselves every single day..
    I would also add a note here - I am only asking people to make time for themselves.. whether in office or off office.. just in my example, I take my time off in evening, but I have friends who make their time off in the office itself!

  3. @raji-- I will get more time for myself once a week by leaving office on time..some times it is not like that...

  4. a wonderful concept for healthy mental and physical maintenance!

  5. :) And Krishna will start taking more time out in a few months time!

  6. No sooner I read your two thoughts on bringing in crativity in the organizations with the help of sparing 20% time, my mind raced to similar exercises that we had experimented.
    We could not suatain these experiments long enough for us to be comforatble with the thought that creating a 'free' space was indeed a powerful tool to achieve many things, for which we were otherwise toiliing like galley slaves.
    Some or other 'unrgency' would crop and lo, everyone scurries upto 'immediately' handle that.
    This was [possibly] the path of least resistance that we used to resort, becuase at the bottom of our heart, we realized that to come up with some 'meaningful' in the time spared for that very purpose was quite demanding.
    We had tried the experimnet, then, with a good deal of informality thrown in.
    Again, we met serious resistance.This time from those who were indeed good at execution [hence, liked certainly across various strata of the teams] and those good at creativity [ who were treated by 'executioners' as 'theoriticians (!!??)'.
    The organizations where effiecincy is likely to commenad an edge over creativity [ well , this is more on account of nature of its activities and environment], such experements are bound to be a challenge - of overcoming inertia and then sustaining the momentum among [quite possibly] a smaller group.

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