People worked harder 100 years ago — so why can’t you manage your time? – Inverse

People worked harder 100 years ago — so why can’t you manage your time? – Inverse

Many of us feel like time management is getting tougher. But why? Is it because we now work more than ever, or maybe because life, in general, has sped up so much?

It’s unlikely. Overall, people work less today than they did 100 years ago. And there is no clear evidence that the pace of life has accelerated.

So if it’s not more hours or a faster pace, what’s changed? The answer is that the institutions that used to regulate our time have all but vanished.

Think about it. In the 1950s, what did the average American or Canadian do on Sunday morning? They didn’t spend much time wondering whether they should watch Netflix in bed or go to brunch. The only option for many was to go to church.

And of course, Netflix didn’t exist. People had to plan when they were going to watch their favorite shows, meaning television networks provided us with the impetus to manage our time. You couldn’t just watch whatever you wanted whenever you felt like it.

The same goes for dinner: you had to be at the dinner table on time, or else there would be consequences. Today, family dinners have all but disappeared.

Family dinners like these are increasingly a thing of the past.Shutterstock

While you may sometimes worry about when’s the best time to do your laundry, a few decades ago the answer was clear: Monday was laundry day. That was the norm back then.

And you could only do your shopping during business hours whereas today, thanks to Amazon and other online retailers, you can buy anything you want around the clock, year-round.

Free to manage our own time

You get the picture — people’s time used to be regulated by society, the authorities, religion, family, and many other institutions.

And not just institutions, but biology as well: condoms and other contraceptives have existed for a long time, but they haven’t been widely used until recently.

If you’re not sure how contraceptives affect our time management, I highly recommend you watch the MTV show 16 and Pregnant. It shows how parenthood can increase our sense of time pressure and reduce autonomy, especially for mothers; unplanned parenthood can drastically compound that feeling.

Today, we have more freedom than ever to manage our time in ways that best suit us. For that, you can thank technological advances and an unprecedented loosening of social norms. What a time to be alive!

Technology gives us the tools to manage our time in ways that best suit our lives.Shutterstock

But freedom also means responsibility: we’re now responsible for managing our own time instead of following rules set by institutions like family or religion that tell us how to spend our days.

This is one reason why most people now have calendars, to-do lists, and other personal time management tools. In the 1920s, personal time management tools were much rarer.

Time management was easier decades …….

Source: https://www.inverse.com/culture/time-management-harder

Time management