I realized it was time for me to post another blog and I had not prepared anything. Where did the time go? I ran out of time! Those are phrases that are frequently heard from people everywhere. It made me think, how is it in this time of modern technology that we are constantly running short on time. Of all generations, we should have more free time available to us than our ancestors ever did. Those are phrases I rarely heard people say when I was growing up in the 1960’s and 1970’s. I really don’t remember them being said very often as little as 25-30 years ago when my children were young.
Running Out of Time
One thing that has not changed is that we still have the same 24-hour time frame per day. Going back in history people had to endure more time consuming chores on a daily basis. They had to care for livestock, cook on wood burning stoves, travel by horse-drawn carriage or on horseback, wash dishes by hand, sew and mend their own clothes, and although wardrobes were smaller then, washing was done on a washboard and hung out to dry. When they arrived home from a destination they couldn’t simply hop out of the car and run into the home. It didn’t matter what kind of weather they were traveling in, warm and sunny, pouring rain, or snow storm, they had to take their horses to the barn and groom, feed and water the animal before walking from barn to house.
Once inside the home they couldn’t pull frozen food from the freezer and throw it in the oven or microwave. They had to prepare it from scratch, light a fire in the stove for cooking and/or in the fireplace for heat. Once done eating they couldn’t just throw the dishes into the dishwasher, they had to be washed and dried by hand. If it got late there were no electrical lights to flip on, kerosene lanterns had to be lit. Once all this was done the women could relax by the fire to mend socks/clothing or other similar tasks while the men could possibly play a little music by hand for entertainment. This was after a day spent laboring in fields with horse-drawn plows, harvesting crops, cooking, cleaning, or other such labor intensive tasks.
When I was growing up some women worked outside the home, some did not. While there were more modern conveniences such as automatic washers and dryers, most homes had a wash line in the backyard for hanging clothes out to dry rather than using the automatic dryer. The fresh scent of air dried clothing is wonderful. By the 1970’s most families had two cars. People socialized with all their neighbors on the block, women gathering during the day and couples/families in the evenings. Many women purchased patterns and fabric to make home-sewn clothing for themselves and children. The microwave was invented, people enjoyed the convenience of having a deep freeze in their home for food storage, and although the convenience of packaged food was available the majority of meals at home were prepared from scratch. Children were sometimes involved in an extracurricular activity such as band, theater or sports, but for the most part children were home after school unless they were of an age where they might hold an after school job. Families had a TV, but only one. I don’t recall hearing our parents complain about a lack of time to get things done, life seemed more relaxed.
Now we have far more conveniences to make our lives easy, but at the same time we seem to have complicated our lives to the point where people are more stressed and complain about a lack of time. Our children’s lives are scheduled with a multitude of extracurricular activities, both parents often work outside the home and there are many more single-parent families. Grocery stores carry a wide variety of selections, in the summer farmers markets can be found in abundance, and yet people eat more fast-food, restaurant food, or frozen/processed food at home then in the past. We drive vehicles that allow us to do quick-stop oil changes, automatic car washes and other maintenance that requires very little time. We have microwaves, automatic dishwashers, washers and dryers, and permanent press wrinkle free clothing for easy maintenance, not to mention larger wardrobes than any of our ancestors ever did. People still socialize, but not to the level that they did in the past. We have numerous modern conveniences to free our time and yet we are constantly complaining that we are unable to get things done. Why?
While we have many modern conveniences designed to save us time, we also have many that cause us to waste great amounts of time, easily several hours on a daily basis. If you are stressed to get things done analyze how you are spending your time. How much time do you spend in front of the TV? Check the time you spend online surfing the web or on social networking sights. Hours can easily be lost as the interaction with online friends is constant. Even when out of the home many people now carry smart phones that allow them to constantly check their social networking sights, do email, and play games while out and about. We are at the immediate beck and call of anyone who wants to reach us because of our cell phones. Then there are the video and/or internet games. You can become attached to one or many of those and also loose valuable time trying to achieve the next level or outscore your friends.
Something I haven’t done but could prove interesting would be to to keep track of time wasted sitting in front of the TV and time spent on the computer in non-productive activities such as social networking or game playing during a one week period. My assumption is I would be shocked at the amount of time I spend participating in those activities. That is a challenge to any of you who hear yourself constantly saying you have run out of time, have no time, and don’t know where the time went. Log the time you spend per week on such time-wasting activities and see if you can find some additional time that can be regained into more productive tasks.
If you take part in my challenge to analyze your wasted time, I would love to have you come back to this blog and share your findings. It will be interesting to see if my thoughts are correct. I look forward to hearing from all of you in the near future.