Hello! I first learned about “Time Well Spent” a few months ago and am excited to join this community.
I’ve been doing a personal experiment for the past couple of months where I check in with myself every day and journal how I spent my time. I have four simple categories:
- Time I spent doing something I loved (AKA time well spent
- Wasted time
Since doing this, I’ve observed interesting trends about my own technology use, but more broadly I’ve been able to start orienting the time I spend to better match what I actually value doing. And I think raising awareness of the value of this sort of self-reflection could have broader social implications, both in terms of others individually reaping similar benefits, and also in the political sphere, where the polarized environment in the US is a prime manifestation of how there isn’t a shared vision of what success for our society looks like.
Consider, for instance, if similar to how one might individually view their own time, the shared vision of success involved maximizing the amount of time people are able to collectively spend doing what they love. Through a well-designed survey (similar to the American Time Survey that the Bureau of Labor Statistics already does), we could study what gets in the way of people achieving that goal. For example, if the way social media is currently designed significantly interferes with well-being, the results of such a survey could be the impetus for more effective regulation.
Going beyond measuring the value of “screen time” though, this sort of survey could provide us a tool with which to measure and help us mitigate the impact of other technologies on the horizon like AI. The automation of work might collectively bring down time we spend on a particular obligation, but the benefits of who gets to truly enjoy the time that is saved may not be fairly distributed. Aligning our policy-making with the goal of maximizing time that is well spent could help us see our way to a more equitable outcome.
Finally, the potential of time well spent being a relatable common denominator could help realign our political discourse from the realm of -isms and single-issue distractions to having an easier way to focus on, understand, debate, and prioritize complex issues.
I hope to draft an open letter to the new Congress over the next few months detailing this proposal. Is anyone here aware of similar initiatives or interested in working on something like this together? Would love to hear some constructive criticism to give this proposal the maximum possibility of success!