Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Time-Deepening' Takes Toll in No Time at All

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

`Time-Deepening' Takes Toll in No Time at All

Article excerpt

A snapshot of Americans on any given day would show them at work, of course, but also at ballgames, golf courses, resorts, the movies, the beach, the mountains and slouched before their TV sets.

These are the same folks who claim they have no free time and who, in an attempt to compensate, eat at fast-food outlets or defrost prepared meals, bring the computer on vacations and claim they are sleep-deprived.

Time pressure, it seems, is more common than back pain among modern Americans. And their sense of having too little time presents problems for business because it shows up as lost work hours and insistence on benefits such as paid personal days, health maintenance programs and child-care facilities.

But in a strange commentary on life today, people who say they feel deprived of leisure time actually have a hour more per day than did people 35 years ago.

Who says so? Well, the people themselves, through personal "time diaries" maintained during the past four decades and described by professors John P. Robinson and Geoffrey Godbey in their book Time for Life, published by the Pennsylvania State University Press.

This isn't a dull exposition for scholars only. In fact, you can learn a lot about yourself and how to make constructive use of all that time you never knew you had.

As an example, the professors conclude that what makes you think you're in a time famine is something called "time-deepening." As applied to leisure time, it means you're trying to get more "yield" out of every minute, which means you're speeding up your participation by combining several activities. Do it too much, and it makes leisure feel like work.

Robinson and Godbey explain that "time-deepening assumes that, under pressure of expanded interest and compulsion, people are capable of higher rates of `doing,'" such as visiting a national park without getting out of the car. …

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