Finding the time

This morning, as the Sony agents fixed our TV to the wall, I gathered up all the unread issues of The Spectator that had been scattered around the apartment over the past few weeks and wondered for the umpteenth time why I can never find enough time for reading. It’s not just reading that suffers; writing, photography and many other things I’d like to do all suffer the same fate.

My best time for reading was rather perversely when my job was the busiest because although I was very busy it demanded extreme amounts of travel and the Blackberry had not been invented yet. The photo below is a sample of the cards that came with this travel habit, these particular ones from 1995-1998 being the stragglers left over at the end of a very busy few years, the ones I gave Zosia to play with. A photo of them a few years earlier would have seen double the amount of cards and all of them “gold” or “senator”.


This amount of travel was ridiculous but it did allow me to get a lot of time to myself and therefore get a lot of reading done. Nowadays, I’m very happy to have reduced the travel significantly, but do miss the uninterrupted time.

There’s no question in my mind that the majority of people today live lives not considerably better than robots – work, chores, work, chores and so on with an incredibly small amount of time for either family or self. Changing this, giving people more free time, will almost certainly reap rewards not just for the individuals but for society as a whole and yet we seem to stuck in this headless chicken rut of 9-5 for 5 days every week and trying to cram 3-4 days of personal stuff into just two.

One day. Perhaps…..


8 thoughts on “Finding the time

  1. Scatts

    Now come on – there are 24 hours in one day x 7 days per week. That is a total of 168 hours. You indicate that you work 8 hours per day x 5 days that = 40, I’ll be generous and give you 45! plus 1 hour travel so you have 50 hours at work/car (listen to a book in the car). You sleep 8 hours x 7 = 56. So now we are at 106. 2 hours playing with Zosia each work day = 10 hours (116), 2 hours playing with Mrs Scatts (heavy on the play = 126) = 12 hours lazing around at the weekend = 138. So you still have 30 hours per week (just over 4 per day) so get away from that Sony TV. or limit to 1 hour per day, limit blogging to 1 hour per day and hey you still have 2 hours each day to read (or go to the gym and do something with the waistline to help the play with Mrs Scatts:-)

    Take care and stop procrastinating!

  2. Isn’t it interesting how we modern parents expect quality time with our families. It is great to aspire to but let’s think of when we were young. My father worked odd hours so he was home in the afternoon but asleep! That was on a Saturday too. Mum didn’t work but was always cooking cleaning or we were in town shopping.Family time was Sunday only – even then the roast took most of the morning to prepare. I had quite a few mates who had dads in the services – they seemed to see them about once a year. I maybe wrong.

    I think we are generally better off or no worse off with family quality time.

    Personal time for my parents was pretty much non existant. My mum reads a lot but she said she never did when we were children because there was a distinct drought of own time and people with children didn’t really expect any. We do have more expectations now. I think it good so long as we don’t beat ourselves up when it doesn’t go to plan.

  3. Colin, nice theory but just take a look at yesterday to see how flawed it is – hang around while the Sony man fixes TV to wall (1.5 hours), take Zosia to ballet (3.5 hours), visit friends place for their sons 8th birthday party (the rest of the day and evening).

    Or today – visit Indian furniture shop out of town (3.5 hours), visit doctor to remove this evil snot-virus (2 hours), things my wife will remember that I have to do (rest of the day) ……..

    Not that I’m reluctant to do all of these things, just that they all conspire to remove any free time you think you might have by your rather simplified calculation! :)

    I did actually read something yesterday because I knew I would have an hour or so waiting for Zosia to have her lesson!

    Kerry, I’m sure parents of old had it no better. Even as we invent ways to give us more time versus them, we invent other things that take that time away again!

  4. Scatts – glad you read something yesterday. I counted that I bought 85 books last year and read all but one (Black Swan an economic book, although I started it yesterday so will have finished it within this week). I enjoy reading and as we decided not to have a TV it’s a great way of relaxing and helps my Scrabble scores:-)

    Have a healthy and prosperous 2009

  5. yeah, i’m with colin. Starting the post with ‘the flatscreen tv’ and then wishing you had more time… seems kinda obvious. make monday a ‘no-tv at all day’ and see how it feels.

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