Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Time Famine

While I was on my way to work this morning I started thinking about all the things I have to do this week and I realized that there was not enough time to do them all. I have a friend (whom I do not see often) who titled this crisis "The Time Famine".

I am not sure when it became a crisis for everyone else, but sometime in the mid-1980's I realized that I didn't have enough time to do everything that there was to do. But, everyone seems to be suffering with it now. So as I was thinking about not having enough time, I spent some of that non-existent time thinking about why we are having a time famine.

Is it the advent of computers that has done it to us? Maybe it is because we expect things to be done so quickly and efficiently that we try to cram even more things into our schedules. I thought that computers were supposed to save time, (and typically they do from my experience) but all too often these days, I find that time runs out even faster than it did the year before. And, I find that more often than not, I am glued to a computer keyboard (as I sit here writing, yet again...) trying to beat deadlines and trying to cram more into the precious time that I have.

Is it because we rely on our private cars to get us from here to there in the fastest way possible? Maybe if we had to take more time to do things, we wouldn't try to schedule so much in one day. In taking the bus, I know exactly how long it is going to take to get from point A to point B, so I am better able to get a handle on my schedule. I don't try to do more than I can possibly fit into the day, because it would be silly (and slightly frowned upon by the bus company) to stand up next to the driver and say, "Couldn't you, like...speed...maybe just a little bit? I have so much to do and if you go just 2 miles per hour faster, I might get it all done."

For example, yesterday I went to the doctor. It takes one hour on the bus to get there, half an hour at the doctor's office and one hour to get home, for a grand total of two and a half hours. This same trip would have taken about one hour, total, if I had driven a car. But...I would have had to go to Wal-Mart, or the grocery store, and then run to the church to handle some paperwork, or run to pick up my daughter to take her to practice, or an appointment, or something. I would have been totally overscheduled and I would have been frantically trying to get it all done until 10 o'clock at night.

Is it because we just have too much to do? I have only two children. They are both teenagers, but what they do in a week staggers me. Currently, we have three dance practices, doctor's appointments, two choir practices, two youth groups, and various social activities, too. And that doesn't even count the things that my husband and I are involved in. If I had a car, it would be even busier. I can only imagine what it must be like for my friends that have 4 or 6 or even 10 kids! (Seriously, how do you do it??)

The fact is that we are all suffering from this time famine and at some point it will bite us, if it hasn't already. Maybe the trick is to know when to turn it off. There will always be demands for our time...we just have to figure out when to say "Enough!"

I think I may be about there.

Dali Melting Time Clock by Perpetual Kid - Yes, you can really buy it.

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