Friday, April 07, 2006

2358 What are you doing with your free time?

Did you know that on the average, today's worker has roughly eight to ten weeks more of leisure time per year than we did 40 years ago? That is reported in the April Kiplinger's Personal Finance in an interview with Erik Hurst, a professor of economics at the University of Chicago. I've checked the on-line version, but this interview wasn't available. But here's a link to the author at his college's website discussing the same topic. Here's a link to The Economist with additional information on the study. The time saving has come primarily through changes in household chores and labor saving appliances, and these have been tracked meticulously since 1965 by economists, so the information is different than what the government statistics show about time on the job.

So why do people feel so rushed and harried? This is my opinion, not the study's:
  • I believe multi-tasking is counter productive in the long run. You may be saving time, driving to work while listening to a conference report, and picking up your knitting on the exit ramp and applying your make-up while munching an egg-mcmuffin, but I think it makes you feel rushed, or that you aren't doing anything really well.
  • Also, the media is constantly telling you how busy you are and should buy this one additional product or toy to "save time." You may not buy it or believe it will, but you internalize that "I'm so busy," message.
  • Third, one of the activities Americans are doing less is attending church. 30 minutes less a week than in 1965. That nagging feeling you're overwhelmed? Might be guilt.
  • Fourth, being wired (or unwired) like a trussed up goose for Christmas dinner really isn't good for you. It gives you no peace. Turn off the cell phone, take the ear buds out, and don't take your laptop on vacation or to the coffee shop.


Melzie said...

Good post!! I multi-task, but nothing as "severe" as what you give examples of. I listen to the news while piacking our lunches and making breakfast. That's as talented as I get. LOL!

Anvilcloud said...

I think that a lot of jobs are highher stress with more pressure now. Teaching was more demanding in 2000 than in 1970.