November 11, 2013

Time Poverty

How would you like to have to work only 15 hours a week to cover your basic expenses?

Sixty years ago economists were optimistically predicting that by this point in time we would all be enjoying the fruits of our labour and increased productivity. Everyone would have enough, and we would only be working a fraction of the 40-60 hours we do now.

The times in my life that I had the most money, I had the least amount of time to enjoy it. During these moments of time-poverty I felt trapped. It made the money feel less valuable, and the work I had to do to get it more futile.

Early on in my work life I decided I would rather work less, spend less, and become time-rich. I didn't want to miss any precious moments doing the things I love.

Time is what gives us the freedom to work at our priorities instead of someone else's. Our own agenda and space to manifest our dreams.

Money provides no freedom if you don't have the time to enjoy it.

Eliminating Time-Poverty

It is possible to eliminate time-poverty from your life.

  • Practice mindfulness. Nothing can turn ordinary moments into precious moments better than being present in whatever you are doing. Pay close attention to your perceptions and sensations as you do simple, every day activities. Go slowly, focus on each step.
  • Change your language. Think "choose to" instead of "have to" when faced with seemingly unpleasant yet necessary tasks.
  • Say no more often. I have found that "I don't think that is going to work for me" is better than an outright "NO".
  • Stay on task. When you have to work, really work. 
  • Plan some alone time. Schedule regular bits of time for yourself to do whatever you want. Even 30 minutes can make a difference.
  • Live more simply. Spend less, work less, have more time.
  • Try new things. Taking risks and trying new things makes us feel alive and vital.


  1. I never knew that; how sad - I think as a society we just keep working more, and more, and more!

    When I originally went to college I was a pre-med student. Then I went to work as an organ transplant coordinator and saw all of the doctors I worked with working day after day of long hours, never seeing their families, and never enjoying the huge homes and all of the toys they owned. I just didn't get the point! Needless to say I graduated instead with an art degree.

    All of the points you made above are excellent, but I think living simply truly makes the most impact.


    1. Marie,

      I love doctors, and nurses, and a good dentist is invaluable. But I do realize the sacrifices that they make on my behalf to do their important work.

      Congratulations on the art degree. I sometimes wish I had gone that way myself. As it was, I took a few art classes as part of my liberal arts undergraduate degree and enjoyed them all.

  2. we didnt watch tv for 2 weeks now and its great !!! more time to do what we want to do , even nothing is oke !! , thank you, we make babysteps and learn loads, im knitting now again, love from Holland , marion anderson

    1. Marion,

      You are a wise and brave person. I think it takes a very special person to do nothing, and often doing nothing is better than more expensive pursuits.

      Hand made is the way to go. One of our favourite blankets was knitted by my aunt. Good job on picking up the needles again. The old skills are making a comeback as we learn to do things for ourselves again.


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