Last fall, I started a new work schedule. I now work an extra hour a day and this extra hour accrues into a paid day off every other week. (I think this is a common government schedule because I first heard about it from friend who work for the city of San Diego, and people like my mother-in-law who worked for the county and my friend who works for the Federal government both understood this schedule immediately, while just about everyone else was baffled by it.) This new schedule was a way for Mr. WholeHog and me to have more time off together. He was able to get Sundays off and I (finally) got my work to agree to this different schedule. We went from having no days off together to having six days a month off together.

worksunsetsunset out the office window

I thought this would feel like a huge improvement in our lives, but I really struggled with my new schedule initially. I started working longer hours right around when daylight savings time ended and being at work when it was so dark made me feel like I was working far more than just one additional hour. My manager hadn’t told anyone else in the office about my new schedule, so I also felt uncomfortable about taking my days off, and I didn’t know what to say when people commented on how early I was coming to work or how late I was at my desk at night. I was also stressed about working the correct number of hours. Although I’d never even thought about how many hours I worked on my previous 9-5 schedule, now I’d skip lunch to make up for the time I took off for a doctor’s appointment.

It was physically hard for me, too. It was just one extra hour, but I felt like I spent all day sitting. I became one of those people who refuse to sit on transit. Even when I could take the J Church home and walk just three blocks home, I often chose to take BART and walk the 10-15 blocks home just to move my legs.

But eventually my new schedule became known in the office. Daylight savings time returned and I no longer felt like I was working a graveyard shift. I got used to working longer hours. And I began to really love having a weekday off.

steepravine-bridgeSteep Ravine trail on a weekday

It’s a day when I don’t have to worry very much about traffic or crowds or any of the other things that might convince me to stay home on a weekend. My weekdays off also seem deceptively longer than weekend days, perhaps because there are fewer demands on my time or because I don’t spend any time preparing for the work week.

Mr. WholeHog and I now purposefully save certain things to do for our weekdays off together. We chose to bike across the Golden Gate Bridge on one of our weekdays. (We’d assumed that the bridge would be less crowded, but I’m not sure that worked out; the bridge was pretty busy even on a Tuesday.)

On a sunny Tuesday last week, we decided around 2pm to head up to Mt. Tam for a hike. On weekend, this late start would have deterred us from going to Marin. On a sunny weekend afternoon, there’d be heavy traffic out to Stinson Beach, the main parking lots on Mt. Tam would already be full, and there’d likely be traffic on the bridge on our way back to the City.

steepravine-42103Steep Ravine trail on a weekday

But on a weekday, few people are heading to Stinson and the commuter traffic is all coming out of the City. When we arrived at the Pantoll parking lot, it was mostly empty. We were one of only four cars. The trails were empty, too. We walked down the Steep Ravine trail, which is normally a pretty popular trail, but this time around we saw almost no one.


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