Why we Crave Time?

What sort of week have you just had? There is a good chance that you have had a busy week. I suspect that you also wonder where the year has gone, and you probably crave more time. Why we Crave Time A study by the ABS in 2006 (diagram shown below) found that most Australians in the 25 to 55 age bracket often or always felt rushed or pressed for time. These statistics may seem odd if we were to travel back to the 1970’s when ‘cultural commentators’ were suggesting we might be entering an era of excess leisure time ... where we could work less hours, have and can afford more leisure time. All this was to be possible by new technology and automation. Time pressure-ABS2006

Impact of technology

The cultural commentators were partly correct – technology has enabled the acceleration of just about everything, and enabled increased production efficiency. But according to Madeline Bunting, the author of “Willing Slaves – how the overwork culture is ruling our lives” (p37)- IT has been the “biggest single factor driving work intensification. IT enables greater use to be made of time and ‘fills up gaps that would otherwise be natural breaks in the pattern of work”

Time poverty

Of course, we can’t just blame big business or technology though ... We expect more and more. How long will you wait in a queue before getting annoyed? If you’re an average person (in a Western country), than about 5 minutes will do it. We live in an era we where we talk about “time poverty”, “time scarcity” and “time famine”. Previous generations use to be more concerned about other types of famines. Many of you no doubt experience ‘time bind’. Time bind happens when the boundaries between work and home life become blurred. Work becomes home, Home becomes work. Questions to consider:
  1. Have you been contacted by work outside of work hours this week?
  2. Do you checks your work emails while on holidays? (60% of workers in the UK do)
  3. Do you takes work home?
  4. Do you work from home?
If you said yes to any of these than you are probably experiencing ‘time bind’. Perhaps you have also experienced ‘time locked’? This is like a traffic grid-lock. Ralph Keyes the author of the term defines it as: “the condition that occurs when claims on our time grow so demanding that we find it impossible to wring one more second out of a crowded calendar”. Have you had this experience? I had this experience 5 years ago. A friend tried to arrange a meeting with me, and I discovered that I had already had every evening in the month of August booked out.

The cost of busyness

Time pressure comes at a cost on at least three levels :

(i) What it costs your personally

Personal costs include - hurry sickness and poorer health; poor decision making; lack of creativity, and missing out on the things that matter.

(ii) What it costs your family

These days, nearly all parents regret not spending more time with their children. Lots of studies (at least in Western societies) can show the decline in time for family activities. Apparently in the US, the average spouse spend less than 12 min a day in conversation, and fathers spend about half of that conversing with their children.

(iii) What it costs our community

A few years back a man name Robert Putnam put out a book called ‘Bowling Alone’ which generated a lot of interest in a term called “social capital” and the impact of it decline in modern society. After this there has been a lot of interest in social capital. The core idea of social capital is that social networks have value. Obvious ... right. What is interesting however, is what happens when social capital increases or decreases? What studies have found is that time pressure has lead in many circumstances to a decline to social capital. This has lead to – less volunteers, less participation in community events, less visiting of friends or hosting dinners.


Now all these time pressure costs lead to a craving for more time. That is, A craving of time to do the things that matter to you. A core purpose of the www.cravetime.com website is to help you find time to do what matters to you.