Feeling Time Crunch While Slow Living

I’m sitting at the breakfast table. I’m watching MJ coax Banana to eat applesauce, the Bear is whining that she doesn’t want to eat the crusts on her toast, and MJ is explaining that he won’t be home for dinner. My mind is also occupied with the shopping list that I can’t seem to find and I’m wondering if there’s a remote chance of a shower before MJ leaves for work. Then I’m making a mental note to put the diapers in the dryer before we leave to playschool and wondering if the Bear has appropriate clean pants for cool weather. Then there is the Father’s Day card we still need to make, dinner to prepare, the garden that needs weeding… and… and…and…

The radio in the background broadcasts one of their top stories – More Canadians Pressed for Time.

‘Heck, yeah,’ I think.

Wait a minute; aren’t we trying to slow down as a family? Then why do I feel so much pressure on my time?

According to a report released on June 15, 2010 by the Canadian Index of Wellbeing, Canadians are feeling an increasing amount of pressure to achieve balance in their lives. The report examined 15-20 years of statistics that evaluated how Canadians use their time. As a nation, time pressure has not abated.

Not surprisingly, groups who felt the most pressure were single parents of young children, those who had eldercare responsibilities, and women. The report points to the rise in technology as one of the key factors contributing to blurring the lines between work and home life.

The more pressure on our time means a reduction in Canadians participating in social leisure time, attending arts performances, and spending time with family. One notable finding was the fact that teens who had a meal each day with their parents has dropped from 64 per cent in 1992 to 35 per cent in 2005.

So, is feeling a time crunch compatible with slow living?

As we seek to slow down our life, I interpret our efforts as a sort of ‘getting back to the basics.’ We’re growing a garden, we’ve cut ourselves off from TV, we’re trying to live on less money, we only have one car, and we’re cooking and baking almost all of our own food. We may call this slow living, but it also takes a lot of work and therefore, time.

What the Canadian Index of Wellbeing report didn’t specify was how people construct their ideas about time. The report suggests that Canadians are working differently and therefore have less time for leisure, the arts or family. This insinuates that the authors interpret time as linear – work, or other activities, are contained within a finite block of time therefore keeping that block from being used for other things. (you may recall a previous post on the topic of heterochrony)

I believe that slow living isn’t about finite blocks of time. For example, the time it takes us to grow food in our garden is not a project that requires scheduling in a digital calendar. Some days we get around to watering, other days we don’t. Then again, it might rain.

Living slow allows us to be more flexible. My to-do list is generally not filled with specific deadlines that are attached to a schedule. We are not parents who cart our children around to 101 activities. We aim to not micro-manage our children’s play. Our time is busy but unconfined.

And this is the difference. We are pressed for time by living slowly. But it is nothing that we can’t re-arrange or delegate. Time in the slow lane is more indirect.

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5 Responses to “Feeling Time Crunch While Slow Living”


  1. 1 ženske torbice February 3, 2014 at 8:53 am

    Excellent post. I am facing some of these issues as well..

  2. 2 koranindonesia.com September 29, 2013 at 1:37 pm

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  3. 3 Susana September 20, 2013 at 4:26 am

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  1. 1 Best TV for Sports & Gaming 2016 Trackback on December 2, 2016 at 4:58 am
  2. 2 I’m Just Busy Slowing Down « Tortoise on the Loose Trackback on April 19, 2011 at 5:54 am

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