We don’t usually think about poverty in terms of time.  After all, each one of us has the same 24 hours every day, right?  How can one person be “time richer” or “time poorer” than another person?

And yet there is this notion of “time famine” that’s been around since the 1990’s.  It’s an epidemic, those guys who look at population trends tell us.

In this brave new post-modern fast-paced world, more and more of us are wandering around moaning about how we don’t have enough time to do all the everything we have to do.

One eye-opening YouTube video is “The Time You Have (In Jellybeans)” published in 2013 by zefrank, a funny-guy philosopher I like.

The video graphically illustrates the ways an average American uses time.  It also asks a very important question at the end.  This video has been viewed by millions of people since it was posted.


Time-starved people spend endless hours trying to tweak the inflexible, immutable time supply.  They live in a constant state of rolling personal crisis.

Over and over they try to squeeze just a little bit more productivity out of their daily time allotment. The result often is a mountain of paper charts, large collections of time-saving devices, systems and apps…and not much relief, it seems.

The symptoms of time starvation include the feeling of being rushed, of time “getting away” from us, of always playing catch-up, and of trying to “make do” and “do more” with our available time, an inherently finite and immutable resource-turned-commodity.

[Small pause for definitions.  “Resource” is something you use.  “Commodity” is something you sell.]

Researchers who study the “time-starved” say time-poor people report being more stressed and less satisfied with their lives than other folks.

They often feel overwhelmed by their everyday lives.  They report a constant feeling that they have no time for the things that matter most to them.

“Hurry” by Matthias Weinberger via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]
Somehow, they feel as though they are being squashed flat and are turning into extras in a zombie apocalypse movie.


Time starvation has very real physical and psychological effects.  It plays havoc on your state of well-being.

One groundbreaking national study of more than 10,000 employees in the United Kingdom found that employees with a sense of time poverty called in sick three times more often.

Even more disturbing, the study found that the mortality rate of those who felt chronically pressed for time was also three times higher at the same age.

Apparently, more money doesn’t seem to help.  In fact, according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2011, the more money you have, the more likely you are to suffer from time-starvation.  The poll concluded, “The more cash-rich working Americans are, the more time-poor they feel.”

“Take Your Time, Hurry Up” by Thomas Hawk via Flickr [CC BY-NC 2.0]


The thing is, all of the wise guys since ancient times have told us that “time” is actually an illusion.  Events happen — one after the other.  Period.

We see and experience these events.  We make up stories that help us make sense out of them.  Our feelings arise out of the stories we tell ourselves and each other.  And the stories we make are how we perceive time.

Time, like space, is just there.

How we feel about the whole megillah is what we use to build the world we make for ourselves.  The studies by smarty-pants dressed in lab coats keep on validating and confirming this.

The following YouTube video, “How To Have the Time of Your Life”, is a TEDxTotnes talk featuring Martin Boroson, the creator of One-Moment Meditation, which is a type of meditation training that helps people get to one moment of focused attention by “breaking through the time barrier” (it says here).

Boroson wrote a book about this meditation training he developed, ONE-MOMENT MEDITATION:  Stillness for People on the Go, that is now available in 12 languages and that Oprah featured as a thirty-day series on stress relief.

Boroson is an interesting man.  He studied philosophy at Yale and earned an MBA from the Yale School of Management as well.  A Zen practitioner, he’s worked as a psychotherapist and theater producer, among other things, applying ancient wisdoms to modern day life.


In 2008, the Pew Research Center, a nonpartisan American fact tank based in Washington, DC, asked middle-class Americans to prioritize what was important to them in their lives.

Sixty-eight percent of people responded that having free time was very important — outpacing the importance of having children (62 percent), a successful career (59 percent), being married (55 percent), or being wealthy (12 percent).  Upper- and lower-class respondents essentially gave the same answers, the Pew study noted.

There were a slew of studies done around this factoid too, of course.

Anybody who’s old enough to spend time working for somebody else has probably noticed that some people have more control over their own 24 hours than others.  A bunch of them even have control over YOUR time.  Some of the researchers locked in on that.

It turns out that it’s not how much “free time” away from work or other obligations we have that affects our psychological and physical health.  It’s the amount of control we perceive over our own time that counts.

Anybody who says, “Other people make the decisions about when I work,” and “I can’t decide for myself when I take a break” is likely to consider themselves time-poor.

A fairly new concept, “time affluence,” has risen up as a result of these studies, and a new category of lab-coat dudes and dudettes was born.

Tim Kasser, the researcher credited with coining the name, is the author of a book, THE HIGH PRICE OF MATERIALISM, which details how various studies say our well-being is adversely impacted when we organize our lives around material results.

The book goes on to propose assorted changes we can make in ourselves, our families and our society that could correct that.

Kasser also published a separate paper on the results of four empirical studies that documented the positive effects of feeling time-rich.

In it Kasser pointed out that these four studies showed that time affluence relieves stress, improves physical health and leads to greater involvement in the community, more positive ecological behavior and increased well-being, including job and family satisfaction – all at rates significantly higher than just making more money and getting more stuff.

My favorite thought on all this comes from Woody Tasch, the author of INQUIRIES INTO THE NATURE OF SLOW MONEY.  He says,

The economics of time are changing. I don’t think we need a new generation of economists who study time. I think we just need a bunch of people who come to their senses. Coming to our senses would be something like this: recognizing that we have a choice. We need the gumption to slow down with a portion of our lives and do what we know we need to do.”

“Walking In Heaven” by moonjazz via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
One of the best bits of advice about it all comes from science writer Stefan Klein, in his book, THE SECRET PULSE OF TIME:  Making Sense of Life’s Scarcest CommodityKlein says, “We can stop seeing calendar dates and times as a corset we have to squeeze into and consider them simply resources for organizing our lives within the larger community.”


I tend to agree.  The one-size-fits-all model of time doesn’t make sense.  Each person has their own natural rhythm and their own sense of inner time.

Whenever a bunch of us humans get together, we do need to sort of all move in the same direction in order to accomplish major things together, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that we’ve got to walk in lock-step to somebody else’s drum.

(Myself, I prefer thinking about Mardi Gras, Rose Bowl, and Aloha Festival parades rather than the ones displaying military might — everybody walking in lockstep with heads and eyes all front-and-center.)

“Aloha Festivals Floral Parade” by Thomas Tunsch; via Flickr [CC BY-SA 2.0]
As social change-maker and facilitator Shilpa Jain said, when she was the Education and Outreach Coordinator for Other Worlds (a non-profit organization affiliated with the United Nations):

I think a core aspect of being able to be affluent with our time has to do with having a sense that our time is our own, and our stuff—and our limits around our stuff—is also our own. We can actually get a clear sense of how much I need, how much you need, and what is it we really can share together, and how we can pool our resources to be able to live the life we want.”

That one makes sense to me.


This YouTube video, “Life Is Ticking Away – Time to Smile” featuring Sadhguru was published in 2016.  It sure does make me smile.  Enjoy!

Here’s a poem:


I have mine to do.

I’m not doing it and

It gets me riled at me.


I tell myself

I refuse to be

Some replaceable clog

In someone else’s clockworks.

I tell myself

I want to make mine.


I want to be

Building my worlds

That invite and entice,

Casting out lures to the Creative,

Making beauty,

Shining up the place.


Come, come, come.

Be peace.

Be joy.

Let go of struggle, of strife.



There it is,

In a pile all over the floor.


It needs to be sorted out.

It needs to be worked and re-worked.

It needs to be dreamed on and refined.

It sits.



I am called to play.

I am called to help other people play.

That doesn’t seem so hard….

And yet,

I keep getting side-tracked.

I keep getting distracted.


This one’s imperative,

That one’s over-amping needy,

They tug at me,

Pulling me away from mine.


Mine only whispers at me.

The heartfelt shouts,

The moans and groans,

The fascinating puzzles

Begging to be unraveled and resolved

Pull me away from mine,

Drown out the whispers.


It’s a different kind of play, that,

Playing with other people.

I am good at it.

I like it when it works.

But, mine is languishing,

Piled up, all aglay, in heaps,

Begging for me to hear.


Wise guys say

You have to give up the good

In order to reach for the better.

So here I sit,

Looking at the stacks

Of mine still piled up

In the corners of my life.


I wonder if there’s a 12-step program for this stuff….

Maybe I need to de-clutter or something?

by Netta Kanoho

Header Photo credit:  “Where’s the Pot of Gold?” by Beckywithasmile via Flickr [CC BY-NC-ND 2.0]



(Click on each of the post titles below and see where it takes you…)


Thanks for your visit.  I’d appreciate it if you would drop a note or comment below and tell me your thoughts.

28 thoughts on “GET TIME-RICH

  1. The very first sentence in your article made a light come on in my head and it occurred to me that I am also time impoverished or afflicted with time deficiency.

    The concepts discussed here came to mind as they were inspired by the first sentence as well. Some people seem to have more time in the same way that some people seem to have more money. In as much as someone is living on borrowed money, so goes their time.

    People who seem to have more time are simply delegating their lost time to me in exchange for a meager wage, but that’s okay because I don’t have time to spend what  little money I have. Perhaps if I work overtime, I can afford to order out and save time from cooking, right?

    Just as we do our money, a person who finds a loose pile of time will squander it.

    I watch too much TV. I know this. What excuse have I for incomplete tasks, even those that I have assigned to myself? I have none. And when this TV series expires, maybe I will finally exercise. That, or I will find a new series to follow.

    Probably the latter.

    Thanks for the article and the book references!

    I found the poem very interesting, too!

    Great job!

    1. John, thanks for your visit.   The thoughts you share are most insightful.  Thank you.

      I agree that one strategy for getting more time is to delegate what you are not willing (or able) to do to somebody else, who, of course, is probably dealing with their own time issues.  Often, it is the only way to expand the scope and impact of your own actions.

      In my day job, I am a residential property manager and I handle about 40 units in my inventory.  I am good at it and I do like it.  (I like to say that it’s the only “grown-up” job I could find that matches what a theatrical Stage Manager does.  I get to build worlds where other people can live and play in their own stories.  I find that to be very cool.)

      Pragmatically, what it means is that I have a multiplicity of bosses.  Some of the property owners who use my services have more than one unit.  All of them have their own parameters and needs.  My principal broker (my Boss-boss) lets me run.   (He’s too busy doing his own to bother with mine.)

      I have found that it’s a lot easier to do your own when you’ve got lots of bosses than when you’ve only got one.  They all understand that you are doing your best to make room for them in your world and they expect that you’re going to get side-tracked sometimes and things will all go kerflooey at others.  They are way more forgiving than one boss with just one mission.

      At the start of our relationship, I will always tell a new owner, “You can do a better job at managing your own property than me.  You just have one property to focus on.  I have many.”  They hire me anyway.

      The best thing about all that is that if you can learn how to give other people who report to you the room to do their own, then you’ll be able to find the spaces when you can do your own projects a little bit at a time until you make a whole new thing that is massively satisfying.  (In my case, the people who “report” to me include tenants, repair people and, yes, even the owners.)

      It is a complex dance, that.  But, even the complexity can be satisfying when you make your overriding goal one of making things “pono” — what Hawaiians call being straight with other people and righteous.  

      The real is, you have to fashion your storyline so that you feel you can maintain and impact whatever worlds you encounter in a good way.  I know it keeps me going….

      I do appreciate your giving me a springboard to tell my story, John.

      Please do come again.

  2. Shubhangi says:

    Hey Netta,

    I must say a good read on time management, from a totally different perspective.  We always tend to look at time management as a must for co-ordination of different tasks or in our day to day life schedules.

    I personally feel, time management is a skill and one must master it.  I am very bad at it.  

    You discussed some really new concepts like time rich, time poor and time affluent, really not clear on time affluent:).  Also I never thought that time management can effect us on physical and psychological plane.

    Some new concepts for thinking.


    1. Thanks for the visit, Shubhangi, and for sharing your thoughts.

      It is a bit lowering to realize that the fancy time-management stuff we’re all encouraged and browbeaten into doing may be the cause of a lot of our problems when we’re wrestling with time.

      It may be more productive (when you’re as bad as I am at wrestling) to just look for ways to regain our sense of our power of choice.  We can choose to do the one, two, or three things that matter most to us FIRST, before we do anything else with our day.  That helps some, I notice.

      Please do come again….

  3. Hi, I enjoyed reading this brilliant post.  

    Time is money  and the most important asset in our lives. How we spend our time determines every thing we  will have or not have in our future.  

    As I get older I appreciate my time more.  I now get up at 5am 7 days per week.  Between my business and guitar,  I  have big goals and I enjoy it enough to be passionate about it.  

    When I am with family I am fully present and try to forgive the past.

    1. Jake, thank you for your visit and for sharing your time-hacks.  I agree with you that time is the most important asset in our lives.  (Actually, when you think about it, that’s all our lives are — fooling around with time.)

      Please do come again.

  4. Cathy Allen says:

    It looks like I’m one of those, apparently rare, individuals who have plenty of time to do things. Maybe this is because I work from home. 

    I do know people who complain about a lack of time to get things done, especially people who work night shifts. It’s usually stay-at-home-moms and career-oriented people. 

    I agree with your experts that a minute or two of meditation may be helpful for many. If a person can spare even 15 minutes a day for meditation, this would work wonders for them. Thank you for the informative article and videos.

    1. Cathy, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  Good on ya!  Sounds like you’ve got a handle on your time.

      Please do come again.

  5. A very thought-provoking post that had me thinking that this feels a lot like my life. I am always busy but never have enough hours in the day for everything on my list. 

    I think I have too many hobbies and I need to declutter and try not to do so many of them at once, or not beat myself up when I haven’t done one of them for a long time.

    Reading this post also made me realise that I need to actually schedule some free time into my day where nothing is planned. I think that this will make a huge difference to my total outlook on how I spend my time.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Michel.  I’m glad the post was a help for you.

      Your strategies sound most reasonable to me.

      Please do come again.

  6. BlueMoon UniqueFashion says:

    Great topic. You really made me think of a time-rich notion. 

    I have all the symptoms of “time hunger”. It really shocks me that I won’t finish things on time. I realized that money couldn’t help. 

    You have listed several books that can help me look at things differently. I can’t wait to start reading them.

    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, BlueMoon.  I am glad the post has got you thinking.

      Please do come again.

  7. Anastazja says:

    This is a very interesting and challenging article.  

    I have documented in my life the cyclical feelings that I did not have enough time for things.  When I do this I try to adjust and …. you’re right, my time is finite.  

    What I have discovered about me is that I am not time starved, but satisfaction starved.  When my day is completely full doing things I want to do I have plenty of time.  When my day is 1/2 full doing things I hate, I feel like I have no time.  

    I have developed a way to approach things I do in life in 3 categories – 1. things I have to do to live 2.  things I can’t avoid doing and 3. things I that bring me joy.  

    I practice using one tool only to moderate the second category to control my time.  I have practiced saying “No.”  It upsets people, but it gives me time.  

    Many people are overwhelmed legitimately by number 1.  This is where $$ comes in.  

    Very stimulating article. Thanks.

    1. Anastazja, thanks for your visit and for sharing your time hack.  I love it!

      Please do come again….

  8. Thanks for your thoughts on time!

    I think that there is another aspect of time, regarding its perception.

    When you are having fun, it goes by so quickly. But when you are in a lower emotional state like a depression: tick… tock… tick…

    Perhaps time is only important to those who are depressed, and makes absolutely no difference to those who are happy?

    The only other reason to use time becomes coordination with others.

    1. Mikhail, thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do agree that your perception of time really does affect how well you are able to use it.  Feelings do matter!

      You’re also correct, I think, when you point out that coordinating and collaborating with others does have an effect on your available time.


      Please do come again….

  9. In life you have to choose your priorities, so that the time is up to you. 

    There are employers who hope that a multi-tasking employee will give a better return. My opinion is that the employee will get tired faster and overall his performance will be lower.

    I have a trick to take my time: I wonder how relevant it will be for a certain thing over 5 years. The one thing that has no relevance over 5 years risks being no longer on my list of priorities.

    1. Carmen, thank you for your visit and for sharing your time-hack.  I agree!  Taking your time is a good antidote for time-poverty.

      Please do come again.

  10. Interesting article. It was only the other day I was complaining to my girlfriend about not having enough time in the day 😬 the video is so true, we are using more tech to free up more time but then we just fill it. 

    I guess it’s like a house, if you have a small house then you only have a little bit of room to store “junk” whereas if you have a big house then you’ll still manage to fill it with “junk”. 

    That relates to me very well, thanks for sharing it. 

    1. Robert, thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts.  I do like your analogy — small house, a little bit of stuff; big house, mondo-lots of stuff.  

      I’m glad the post resonated with you.

      Please do come again.

  11. Hi there, this is an excellent article about time. Yes, at least for the grumblers and complainers of the world, nobody will argue or deny the equally time opportunity that nature or God has given to every man under the sun. 

    No matter your time zone, everyone has a 24 hours gift and an equal amount of air to breathe each day where we live. The only difference lies in what or how each person uses his or opportunity of time. 

    This is quite a thought-provoking article about time management presented in a very creative time philosophic freely. One thing I have to come to realize is that success in life or business does not relate well with procrastination, with abuse of time by any means.

    There are many ways by which we waste our time and suffer time poverty. 

    Let me give you one or two examples here, for instance, if a person stays in a job that is not helping him or her to grow in any way, and he knows, it and refuse to make a change, it is going to lead time poverty as well as financial poverty. 

    Using sleep, or fatigue as an excuse for remaining in bed beyond the normal time will lead to time poverty. 

    Just as you said people when they mismanaged their time, will start rushing to meet deadlines and thereby meeting dead ends. I usually tell my daughter, to hurry at home and not on the road, if you don’t want to go late to school or work.

    A lot to learn, and digest from your article, I hope we all got the message.


    1. Thanks for your visit and for sharing your thoughts, Favorme.  I do appreciate it.

      You presented very concrete examples of how we tend to bring on time poverty on ourselves.  Thank you.  They are very good.

      I’m pleased the post was helpful to you.

      Please do come again.

  12. This is a very interesting way of viewing time. I feel this is one of the things we waste more easily so if we change our perspective about time, we would also change how we use it. 

    Thank you very much for this nice post.  It has enriched my day. It’s worth sharing. 

    1. Thanks for the visit and for sharing your thoughts, Ann.  I’m glad you found the post interesting.

      Please do come again….

  13. LineCowley says:

    Time is such an important commodity that no money in the world can buy. So it is so important that we spend out time wisely and do the things that are important to us. In this modern society that we live in, so many people complain that they do not have the time. I often wonder whether it is actually just an excuse not to do certain things, or a way of hiding away from what they should be doing. 

    I love the title of the video at the end, life is ticking away, time to smile. Thank you for sharing another beautiful poem and reminding me how important time is. 

    1. Ooh!  An interesting thought, that….hiding behind the “not-enough-time” thing as an excuse for NOT doing is a very common pastime.  You are right.

      Hmmm…something to think on.  Thanks, LineCowley.

      Please do come again.

    1. Thomas, thanks for your visit and for sharing your story. How exciting for you!

      Please do come again.

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