As we have moved from examining macro issues like Generational Thinking and Time, our focus now shifts to aspects of our daily life.
There have been profound shifts over the last twenty years in how we spend our time, and this issue is dedicated to exploring those changes. We look at diverse and inter-related aspects of how we are spending our time, how we measure our happiness and output, how technology is changing the way we interact with each other, and how work (the corollary of leisure) is changing as a source of meaningfulness in our lives.
If we live until we are 80 years old, we will have about 700,000 hours to live. If we subtract the time we sleep (assuming an average of eight hours a day), we have about 465,000 waking hours of life. Assuming a 40-hour workweek and a 45-year working career, we spend around 90,000 hours working. This means that we have 375,000 hours of non-work/non-sleep time – almost half the time we have on this planet – in free time. Given that infancy and old age are not the most productive periods, the reality remains that the gross majority of our lives are in our hands to do with what we will. We hope this issue stimulates reflection and re-examination on how we want to spend that time.
A major reason why technology exists and why we constantly strive to advance it is, quite simply, to increase the amount of time we have to ourselves.
Over time, many innovations have helped in different facets of our daily lives. Washing machines, microwaves and dishwashers have reduced the amount of time we spend on domestic chores at home. Computers, telephony, copiers and fax machines have increased the efficiency of time we spend at work. Robotics, automation and mass production have reduced the amount of time dedicated to manufacturing.
As we move to less conventional working arrangements - from the rise of the free agent to the new culture of entrepreneurialism - the nature of how we spend time interacting with others will change in fundamentally new ways.
Dr. Michael Wesch, a professor of cultural anthropology at Kansas State University has recently run a brilliant experiment culminating in a series of videos with his students. You can read more about Dr. Wesch and the program here .
“We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it, than to consume wealth without producing it.” -- George Bernard Shaw
It has been said many times, but the latest global financial crisis, and the increasing pace of the boom and bust cycle, has popularly exposed the shortcomings of our current economic model.
It’s not that the current model of capitalism is necessarily evil or corrupt, it is simply that it has run its course; it has attained it’s goal of increasing the average quality of life for most of it’
It is difficult to explore the facets of leisure without understanding the notion of work. Alain de Botton, the Swiss philosopher, has recently written a book entitled The Pleasures and Sorrows of Work in which he examines our changing relationship to work. His lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in London summarizes some of his key reflections.
Naturally, there is a significant focus on the dynamic between home life and work life.