Even as “Quiet Quitting” and other lifestyle trends challenge how people approach work, other trends relating to rest and off-work hours are beginning to surface.
The latest of these is TikTok’s #5to9 hashtag, which contains videos from users sharing what they’re doing from 5–9am or 5–9pm — basically the periods before and after work.
Most of this content flexes the mundane-like folding bedsheets in the morning or making breakfast aesthetically. Other videos are, suffice to say, more unrealistic.
Sounds harmless enough, but the values behind it and what it’s actually proposing are a little more subtle.
So, looking at the heart behind #5to9, here are two main reasons why emulating these examples might well see us falling for another productivity trap.
- #5to9 is just more stuff to do.
- #5to9 misses the point of work and rest.
#5to9 is just more stuff to do
When you see someone’s meal prep and pics at the gym, what is being sold there is the idea that you can perfectly optimise your life.
Routines, realistic or not, are what undergird this myth of control.
The takeaway from a 15-second snapshot of someone’s life thus usually becomes “I have to level up my downtime”.
It’s no longer enough to put in a day’s work (honest or not) — one has to strive to make their rest great as well. It’s not restful.
It’s a shadow of rest that promises you can hide in it if you just do a bit more stuff.
Consider the story of Jesus when He visited Martha and Mary’s home:
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”
“Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed—or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.” (Luke 10:38-42)
Martha was busy with a lot of stuff; she was “distracted”. It wasn’t good work.
Unlike her sister, Mary wasn’t following cultural norms or what the world was telling her. Prepare this. Work on that. Do more.
Mary focused on the one thing that was needful, sitting at the Lord’s feet and listening to what He was saying.
In the same way, our world has its conventional wisdoms and you-should-dos. Yardsticks for work and rest shift in the sand, and every new trend that surfaces is more complicated than the one before it.
Thankfully, the one thing that is truly needed hasn’t changed. Question is: Are we seeking it?
#5to9 misses the point of work and rest
Whether we swing to slacking or overwork, with each attempt to redefine work and/or rest, we drift further away from God’s original design.
Today, many see rest as paradisiacal and work as a necessary evil.
But the truth is, God worked in the beginning to create the world – and He delighted in it.
God then commissioned mankind to work, cultivating and caring for what He had made.
Work is part of God’s plan for creation, and brings us joy, dignity and fulfilment when we view our vocation and apply ourselves rightly.
Work is part of the ordained rhythm of human life that gives rest its place and fulfilment.
#5to9 or #9to5 pulls “rest” out of this rhythm and turns it into “little work” sandwiching “Work”.
But overwork will wear you out.
As someone who gets up at 6.15am most days for work, I can confirm it’s very tiring.
From where I am, 5am is a huge stretch – but not impossible.
If #5to9 proposed a routine that resulted in a deeper connection with God, I may well attempt it.
But from what I’ve seen, the trend focuses inwards (self-care, me time).
And even when it does have you looking outwards, it’s for the purposes of competition and comparison.
Time to look up, I guess. No need to re-invent the wheel.
- What are your thoughts on #5to9?
- Define work and rest.
- How do your definitions line up with what the Bible says on work and rest?
- What is one practical thing you can do to emulate biblical work and rest?