Structure Sunday: The Structure of a Weekend

Did you know the the weekend as we know it is only about 100 years old ? I can't imagine life without the weekend. There is no natural correlate to the 7 day week. It is entirely man made and was probably designed in ancient Babylon. From there it was exported to the ancient Israelites and continued through the Jewish people through the idea of the Sabbath. 


However, it wasn't until 1908 in a car factory owned by Henry Ford, that Jewish and Christian cultures combined to give us the weekend. Before that time, workers would labor untold hours. Early labor rights were established after the French revolution, but even then their workweek was ten days on with one day off. Meanwhile in England, Sunday had evolved into the " Lord's Day" for rest and worship. 

In the late 1800s Europe was becoming more and more hostile to Jews. Immigration of Jews to America increased, and they entered the work force. Accordingly, the work force in Henry Ford's factory was composed of both Christians and Jews. The Christians took Sunday off, and the Jews observed Saturday as the Sabbath. To make everyone happy, the clever and diplomatic Mr. Ford created the two day weekend. Not only that, Mr. Ford popularized the weekend road trip... driving what ? You guessed it, his Model T. 

How did fewer working days effect commerce and productivity ? Somewhat paradoxically, research on the subject consistently shows that fewer work hours lead to greater productivity overall. Some say the sweet spot is a four day 8 hour work week, but that remains to be demonstrated. 



The Atlantic

American Public Media


Here is a rough version of what has been our ideal weekend routine: 


Friday evening: Dinner with family (with reference to the Jewish Sabbath)  something fun afterwards

Saturday morning: Catch up on sleep, brunch with family, outings, projects

Saturday evening: entertain 

Sunday Morning: brunch with family, clean house,  projects

Sunday evening: family dinner and get ready for the week


Here are some fantastic resources on having a great weekend: 


Reader's Digest

The Muse

Fast Company