Gift of Time Category Explained:

Our birthright time is an average of about 680,000 hours.

Efficiency does not save time.

Our hours are ours.

I have chosen articles for this section from writers who agree with me, such as:

“Then I go down the Steps and my wife calls, ‘Where are you going?’ ‘Well,” I say, ‘I’m going to buy an envelope.’ And she says, ‘You’re not a poor man. Why don’t you buy a thousand envelopes? They’ll deliver them, and you can put them in the closet.’ And I say, ‘Hush.’”

Kurt Vonnegut, Harpers Magazine
September 1996

Page 26

I work at home, and if I wanted to, I could have a computer right by my bed, and I’d never have to leave it. But I use a typewriter, and afterward I mark up the pages with a pencil.

Then I call up this woman named Carol out in Woodstock and say, “Are you still doing typing?” Sure she is, and her husband is trying to track bluebirds out there and not having much luck, and so we chitchat back and forth, and I say, “Okay, I’ll send you the pages.”

Then I go down the Steps and my wife calls, “Where are you going?” “Well,” I say, “I’m going to buy an envelope.” And she says, “You’re not a poor man. Why don’t you buy a thousand envelopes? They’ll deliver them, and you can put them in the closet.” And I say, “Hush.”

Michel, Quoist From Staffan Linder. The Increasing Scarcity of Time.
New York: Columbia University Press, 1970

Good-by Sir, excuse me, I haven’t time.

I’ll come back, I can’t wait, I haven’t time.
I must end this letter—I haven’t time.
I’d love to help you, but I haven’t time
I can’t accept, having no time.
I can’t think, I can’t read, I’m swamped, I haven’t time
I’d like to pray, but I haven’t time.

Tibor Scitovsky, The Joyless Economy
New York, 1976

ISBN 0195073460
Page 194

The 7.9 minutes a day we spend on average in walking, hiking, playing outdoors, and engaging in active is less than a third of the 28.5 minutes a day western Europeans devote to those activities, and the disparity is even greater in the time we (3.3 minutes) and they (16.8 minutes) devote to gardening and pets. Visits to cafes and pubs take up 2.7 minutes of our day, 7 minutes of theirs; we spend 0.6 minutes a day in theaters and museums, less than a half of the 1.4 minutes they spend.

Architecture Magazine December, 1999

The average American spends only 72 minutes outdoors each day.

The average American household watches 50 hours, 44 minutes of TV every week.
Amount of time the average American will spend watching TV commercials over a lifetime: 1 year
Ratio of humans to TVs: 4 to 1
Americans typically spend 6 hours per week shopping and 40 minutes playing with kids.
Percentage of employed Americans who feel the need to simplify their lives and create more time for family: 81 (Percent)

Nancy Gaubatz, “A Lesson for Efficient Living,”
The Christian Science Monitor, March 26, 2003
Pages 1-2

I was working for the most efficient man on earth.

He as a motivational speaker, and vice president of a large company. I was his assistant, which meant that when he needed to be efficient, I had to take up the slack. As it was, I would never have been able to practice the efficient way of living that he preached. I thought he did, and my work seemed really important. I woke from that illusion the day that he decided to get married—in the office.

Kahlil Gibran, The Prophet

Of time you would make a stream upon whose bank you would sit and watch its flowing.

Yet the timeless in you is aware of life’s timelessness,
And knows that yesterday is but today’s memory and tomorrow is today’s dream.
And that which sings and contemplates in you is still dwelling within the bounds of that first moment
which scattered the stars into space.

Cummings, E.E. Complete Poems, 1904 - 1962.
United States of America: 1991
ISBN 0871401525
Page 1034

there are so many tictoc

clocks everywhere telling people
what toctic time it is for
tictic instance five toc minutes toc past six tic

Spring is not regulated and does
not get out of order nor do
its hands a little jerking move
over numbers slowly

Davies, Robertson.  A Voice From the Attic
New York: 1990

ISBN 0140120815
Page 9

What is time? Let the philosophers and the physicists say what they will, time for most of us is the fleeting instant we call Now. Any enjoyment or profit we get from life, we get Now; to kill Now is to abridge our own lives.

Yet how many people there are who read as though some prize awaited them when they turned the last page! They do not wish to read a book; they want to have read it—no matter how. The prize they seek is to have done with the book in hand.

From  The Importance of Loafing by Lin Yutang, 1938

If men fail to enjoy this earthly existence we have, it is because they do not love life sufficiently and allow it to be turned into a humdrum routine existence.... Our quarrel with efficiency is not that it gets things done, but that it is a thief of time when it leaves us no leisure sure to enjoy ourselves and that it frays our nerves in trying to get things done perfectly.

An American editor worries his hair gray to see that no typographical mistakes appear on the pages of his magazine.

The Chinese editor is wiser than that. He wants to leave his readers the supreme satisfaction of discovering a few typographical mistakes for themselves.

Laura Ingalls Wilder, excerpted from Little House in the Ozarks: The Rediscovered Writings
edited by Stephen W. Hines. Published by C. K. Hall and Company.

A few days ago, with several others, I attended the meeting of a woman’s club in a neighboring town. We went in a motor car, taking less than an hour for the trip on which we used to spend three hours before the days of motor cars; but we did not arrive at the time appointed nor were we the latest comers by any means. Nearly everyone was I late, and all seemed in a hurry. We hurried through the proceedings; we hurried in our friendly exchanges of conversation; we hurried away; and we hurried all the way home where we arrived late as usual.

Thomas Moore. The Care of the Soul—A guide for cultivating depth and sacredness in everyday life New York
Harper Collins, 1992
Page 274

Why does our culture seem so angry at things? Why do we take out our frustrations upon the very things that could potentially make our world into a satisfying and comforting home? One answer may be that when we are cut off from soul and its sensitivity to great spans of time and even timeless elements, we long painfully for an ideal future and for immortality. Old buildings remind us of a past we were not a part of. If we are identified with the ego, then those past times are an affront to our desire for immortality.

R. Alec Mackenzie, The Time Trap
New York, 1972


When long-range objectives become obscured it is easy to replace them with much shorter-range and even hopelessly misplaced goals, such as efficiency. This is not to argue against being efficient in the right things at the right time. But efficiency, as an end in itself, is futile.

Rechtschaffen, Stephan, Timeshifting
New York: 1996

ISBN 0385478496
Pages 54 and 139

There is such a significant difference in our lives when we are able to slow down, expand the moment, and become fully present for life around us. Then a walk in the woods, a game with our children, or a symphony by Beethoven can bring us to the same peak as parachuting. Smelling a flower, spending time in meditation, even doing household chores or eating a meal can be intensely pleasurable. Since most of our lives are not lived with the extensity of an Indy 500, think how much more rewarding it is to get most of our highs from everyday events....

Kundera, Milan, Slowness
New York: 1995

ISBN 0060173696
Pages 2 and 3

Speed is the form of ecstasy the technical revolution has bestowed on man. As opposed to a motorcyclist, the runner is always present in his body, forever required to think about his blisters, his exhaustion; when he runs he feels his weight, his age, more conscious than ever of himself and of his time of life.

This all changes when man delegates the faculty of speed to a machine: from then on, his own body is outside the process, and he gives over to a speed that is noncorporeal, nonmaterial, pure speed, speed itself, ecstasy speed. A curious alliance: the cold impersonality of technology with the flames of ecstasy.

Rajesh Shah, “In Praise Of Inefficiency And Disorganization
Haas Week Home, 1996

XXIII:4
Page 1

But something about spending some time rambling, beyond smelling the roses, although they do smell nice, appeals to me.

You know, waiting for things to hit you, waiting for events to happen.

Giving up control, slowing down, doing only one thing at a time—these all seem like alien ideas at Haas (please don’t let any recruiter see this piece).

Blaise Pascal, Pensees,

“I have discovered that all human evil stems from one fact alone: Man’s inability to sit still.”

Margaret Mead, Cultural Patterns and Technical Change
New York, 1955

Page 241

When she worked at home, she followed her own rhythm, and ended an operation when she felt—by the resistance against the pounding mallet or the feel between her fingers—that the process was complete. In the factory she is asked to adjust her rhythm to that of the rhythm prescribed by the factory; to do things according to externally set time limits.

Robert M. Pirsig,  Lila
New York: November, 1991

ISBN 0553077376
Page 7

Phaedrus had met Rigel and Capella when rain from a September hurricane caused floods to break through canal walls and submerge buoys and jam locks with debris so that the entire canal had to be closed for two weeks.

Boats heading south from the Great Lakes were tied up and their crewmen had nothing to do.


Suddenly a space was created in everyone’s lives. An unexpected gap of time had opened up.

W.H. Davies, Leisure

What is this life, if, full of care,

We have no lime to stand and stare, No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows --
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.

No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.