Running Out of Time

Are we really as time deficient as we think? We all seem to be constantly running out of time, or claiming we never have enough of it.

time1
Maybe both.

 

A quick Google search will reveal oodles of articles on time management and how to get more done in less time. (Hint: it involves turning off Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)

We all think that the modern world is super stressful and that we never have time for anything, but a look back through history tells us of twelve and fourteen hour work days. It tells us Saturday was long considered as much a work day as Monday. Only the Sabbath was taken off, and then it wasn’t a day of rest, but a day of prayer.

I know, sounds like some people’s jobs, especially with all of the connectivity, but it still doesn’t answer why are we feeling so particularly time-crunched now.

work1

I did some Google research, and I didn’t find a lot of articles out there. So I did a little introspection.

I can honestly say I didn’t feel the same level of stress and pressure before having children as I did after. They are a monumental task in our society, which many people from previous generations have told me was not always the case. I’m not entirely sure why the sudden pressure on parents to perfectly organize, arrange and educate their children, but I can tell you that it’s there.

The days of kids riding their bikes and hanging out have been replaced with soccer camps, computer programming classes, and “enrichment” activities.

drive
And it only gets worse.

I’ve also learned that commutation between parents and care-givers, whether kindergarten or formal pre-school, is difficult. This adds to confusion and makes everything take longer.

Yet, for me anyway, it’s more than this.

For me, the lack of time stems from me not being able to do all that I want to get done. Mainly, writing and the corresponding social media presence that entails. For a friend of mine, it means not getting to work on her jewelry making. For another, it means not getting to ride her horse.

This is why I feel time pressured. My choices for entertainment are greater than they’ve ever been, and most are instantly available, at the same time that so many other obligations have been added.

How many of us really want to chauffeur our kid to dance class and then watch a room of kindergartners try to master basic ballet steps before carting them home? I think we’d all rather be binge watching something on Netflix. Or reading. Or writing.

For me, the feeling of never having enough time started around the time I realized I had to be social to write books. I mostly love writing, but as you may have noticed, I’m a bit of an introvert. Okay, a lot of an introvert. Social media is hard for me. While writing felt like an unpaid part time job, the social media aspect made it feel like a full time job, on top of kids, a spouse, and a day job.

This is why I feel time crunched.

time2
About right.

What to do about it?

Well, the kids are non-negotiable. Most days. That means the day job to support them and everything that goes with them is non-negotiable.

Not entirely sure what to do about the writing. I should complete three first draft novels this year. Two are already done, and the third is halfway there. Not exactly the four most romance writers produce a year, so even with as much time as I’ve committed, I’m not quite at the romance author level. And, that doesn’t account for revisions. All of my work needs serious revision.

The logical answer would be to set aside writing, but I’m not willing to do that. I’ve been writing since I was a kid. I clearly want to do this thing, and I’ve already put it off too many decades.

So, back to feeling like I never have enough time.

 

How about you? How do you balance family commitments with you professional life and hobbies? When was the last time you binge watched on Netflix? Any real life tips for making a serious hobby work with family and work?

When Hollywood Gets It Wrong

I recently read this post by Eric Goebelbecker, and he links to an article where Hollywood attacks the movie rating site Rotten Tomatoes.

rotten_tomato.PNG
Too much truth here.

If you aren’t familiar with it, Rotten Tomatoes is an online site where they aggregate critic reviews and give a total rank. The NY Times article above goes into more detail as to how they choose who is and isn’t included in the reviews they aggregate, but it sounds to me like Rotten Tomatoes does a pretty good job. Especially as they try to include a more diverse group of reviews that the traditional middle-aged white male perspective.

Still, the whole things does reinforces the term “la la land” for Hollywood.

Because, rather than them taking a hard look at the movies they’re making and asking themselves why they’re flops, they’re blaming a rating agency for giving those who go to their site the truth as a wider array of critics, and eventually viewers themselves, sees it.

And this is what people want.

Rotten Tomatoes gets more than 13 million unique visitors every day.

If Hollywood were honest with themselves, they’d take a hard look at the competition. And I don’t mean just other movies.

They are competing with so many other forms of entertainment that they really have to bring their top game.

 

Entertainment.PNG
Too much truth here, too.

Let’s face it, our choices are more expansive that ever:

  • Reading books
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Snapchat
  • Instagram
  • Video Games – whether phone, console or PC
  • On Demand TV – Netflix, Amazon, Hulu etc.
  • Whatever the heck it is millennials do on their phones

Many of these forms of entertainment are “free”. Once I pay for my Netflix subscription, I can watch what I want when I wish.

For my husband and I to go to the movies to see a single movie costs more than my monthly Netflix subscription. Add to that the cost of a babysitter, and the fact if I wait a few months, I can rent it or buy it for less than the cost of going to the theater, and we just don’t go. Especially as home theater systems and big screen TVs have become a whole lot more affordable.

Movie
Way too much truth.

And while Hollywood is bemoaning their “plight” with Rotten Tomatoes, HBO was laughing all the way to the bank as they cashed in on Game of Thrones.

So yes, people are watching “TV”, although the seventy-plus minute final episode of season 7 bordered on movie-length.

Yet, people were lining up to watch it. Waiting in eager anticipation. Talking about it all week before and after the episode. Building enough anticipation that the show has only gotten more popular, despite the gap of a year or more between seasons.

Yes, Game of Thrones has Drogon, and that’s hard to beat.

giphy (2)

But there’s a lot more to the show than Drogon. There’s a list of characters pages long that viewers have come to care about. Come to love. That we tune in to see what happens to them even they aren’t fire-breathing reptiles.

And yes, HBO spent a lot of money of those special effects. But it wasn’t all about special effects. How many of us were right there with Tyrion as he cursed Jamie for being an idiot as he charges Dany?

Perhaps if Hollywood could distill that and give it to us, they could make movies we want to see.

All in, I hope places like Rotten Tomatoes stick around. They give us what we want. If Hollywood would do the same, they wouldn’t have such an issue.

 

How about you? Do you go to movies? Ever used Rotten Tomatoes guides?

 

 

Adulting. It’s Hard.

For those of us late Gen-Xers or millennials, we’ve learned that adulting is hard.

Putting aside the Great Recession and the resulting under-employment for many new college grads, there are a lot of other reasons why our lawns look the way they do. Besides many of us not wanting to use weed killer on the same grass our kids play on.

adulting1

Here are the top four reasons I came up with for why adulting is so hard.

 

  1. Video Games –  Pick your flavor. Whether you play MMORPGs like World of Warcraft, console games like Skyrim or Fallout 4, or Angry Birds on your phone, this is not an option that even existed for my dad when I was a kid. The Nintendo came out when I was in elementary school. I didn’t think much of it. We eventually got one, and while I loved Tetris and Super Mario Brothers, it was really easy to put down. I didn’t fully understand the possibility of the system until Legend of Zelda. Now, you have the option for a fun little time-waster like Candy Crush while you wait in line at the grocery store to the black hole of time games like World of Warcraft and Fallout 4 are.

 

  1. Wanna Watch Some TV? – When I was a kid, there were three television stations. Even if you were lucky and your parents sprang for cable, there was still less than thirty stations. You actually had to be sitting in front of the TV at a designated time (7pm Monday nights for MacGyver!) to get to watch a show. You couldn’t just watch whatever you want whenever you were feeling lazy or like procrastinating. I remember on certain nights the only thing on was bowling. Going out and “leveling up” your lawn or cleaning out the towel closet was infinitely more fun than that. I have no idea how many thousand channels are even available now (we gave up cable in 2009), but I do know you can stream TV shows through Amazon and Netflix. You can binge-watch an entire series on a Saturday.

adulting2

 

  1. Movies – We had a VHS player when I was a kid, but movies were expensive (like $75 in 1980s money). Most of the time, we rented them. It took forever for new movies to come out, and then there was a long wait until your name came up and you could rent the “new” releases. Going to the movies was an expensive endeavor with kids, and frankly, my parents didn’t want to pay theater prices for them to sit bored through a kid’s movie. Not only are dvds relatively inexpensive today, you expect them to come out within six months or so of the movie. You no longer go to the VHS aisle of your local grocery store and hope they have something decent. Now, there’s On Demand, Redbox, Netflix, and Amazon. The video rental places of my youth are all gone. Of course they are. Why would they exist when I can own anything in Amazon’s vast army of movies with two clicks? There were some benefits to a VHS, though.

adulting3

 

  1. The Internet – Whether surfing it, using social media, watching YouTube, or buying your groceries, the internet has changed the way we spend our time. Sure, some call it a time waster, and it can be, but it’s also become a vehicle of our leisure time. Why would you be chasing dandelions off your lawn when you could be watching funny cat videos? Reading blogs? Or literally doing anything else?

 

adulting4

 

How about you? Do think today’s plethora of entertainment options has made it harder to be an adult? Or at least acting like the adults of the past? Do you find it harder to do lawn work or other boring chores when there are so many other fun things to do? Anything I missed that you find to be a distraction to the work of adulthood?