Friday, May 24, 2013

How the Smartphone Killed the Three-Day Weekend... and made everyone a slave

Memorial Day weekend marks the beginning of summer and all it evokes: vacations, slower workweeks, casual dress codes, getting the pool ready and pulling out the outdoor furniture.

It would seem an ideal time to take a break, but our ability to unplug and relax is under assault. A three-day weekend? We can barely get through three waking hours without working, new research shows. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 150 times per day, or about once every six minutes. Meanwhile, government data from 2011 says 35 percent of us work on weekends, and those who do average five hours of labor, often without compensation—or even a thank you. The other 65 percent were probably too busy to answer surveyors' questions.

There's plenty of debate among economists and psychologists whether the economy is to blame, or we do this to ourselves. There's little arguing that the concept of a Sabbath is in serious danger.

"It's like an arms race … everything is an emergency," said Tanya Schevitz, spokeswoman for Reboot, an organization trying help people unplug more often. "We have created an expectation in society that people will respond immediately to everything with no delay. It's unhealthy, and it's unproductive, and we can't keep going on like this."