How to Reduce “Time Famine” by Connecting with Others

Nowadays, the “time famine” is one of the greatest obstacles to social connection and expressions of love. We believe we are suffering from a “time famine.” We always have too much to do, never enough time to complete it, and never enough time to love and connect with others.

The perennial struggle for work-life balance frequently boils down to a single issue:

“I simply do not have enough time to excel at both work and home.”

70% of Americans either eat lunch at their desks or skip lunch altogether. Our perception of time constraints prevents us from connecting with others and showing our compassion to them.

Time is the resource that is most precious today. Our minds treat time as a factor determining how to spend time by expressing our love, helping others, and how generous we are willing to be.

However, it’s often not an objective lack of time but rather our subjective perception of a “time famine” that drives this mindset. Unfortunately, we have a natural tendency to overestimate the amount of time we need to help. And therefore, we prefer not to help at all. Therefore, our ability to connect rapidly with others must address and overcome this faulty perception.

How to Overcome a Time Famine

It is normal to be in a hurry, and it is not necessarily bad. Actually, a never-ending “time famine” diminishes our quality of life and causes us to miss paying attention to others who are around us and who need our love and help. important opportunities. 

How can we disrupt this mental script and make compassionate connections with others?

We cannot add more hours to the day, but we can create the mindset that we have time. At least we have it to make interpersonal connections and help others.

American researchers Cassie Mogilner, Zoë Chance, and Michael Norton investigated strategies to reduce the sense of time famine. These strategies are as follows:

  • Giving people time back in their day that had previously been committed to a task
  • Asking people to spend that same amount of time on a task helping others
  • Asking people to waste the time
  • Asking people to spend that time on themselves

“Time Affluence” Instead of “Time Famine”

The authors proposed the term “time affluence” for the mindset when people have the feeling of having time to spare.

“Results of four experiments reveal a counterintuitive solution to the common problem of feeling that one does not have enough time: Give some of it away.”

Mogilner, Chance, & Norton, 2012, p.1233

This study shows that people can increase their subjective sense of time affluence: “Giving Time Gives You Time.” When we do something to help others, even for just 15 or 30 minutes, we feel that we have added time to our day rather than lost time. In comparison, when we help ourselves, we do not feel this way.

How can we adopt this mindset?

It makes sense to challenge yourself and give yourself time to connect with others when you feel time pressure. Please reflect on this experience by noticing the increased sense of time affluence. Fight the “hurry worry.” It is precisely when we feel the least capable of assisting others that we can do the most good by helping others.

Even compassionate “small love” can be valuable to others!