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Time famine

Time famine, a term that first emerged in the scientific literature around 1999, refers to the universal feeling of having too much to do but not enough time to deal with those demands. 

When our finances are stretched to the limit, we wouldn't be willing to spend even a small amount of money on anything that doesn't already fall into our financial obligations. Whereas if we had a little more disposable income than we had financial obligations (rent, utilities, etc), then we'd be willing to spend that if we comes across an interesting product or experience. 

We behave the same way with our time. When we are fully occupied with no time to spare, we don't pay much attention to anything at all outside of our committed tasks on which we are hyper focused on. 

Darley and Baston conducted a study to help illustrate this point. 

They recruited some religious studies students for the experiment. Their task was to walk over to a building ten minutes away and talk about the Good Samaritan story from the Bible which describes how several people walk past an injured man lying on the ground, while one stops to help him and that good samaritan is the one who goes to heaven. 

Darley and Baston told some students that they had plenty of time to go to the other building, told some others that they didn't have much time, but they would make it if they were quick, and told a third group that they were already running late. 

And they had staged an injured man on the way to the other building that these students would have to walk past on their way. 

They observed that from the first group, 63% students stopped to help the injured man, 45% from the second group and only 10% from the third group. 

When they were told they are already late, only 10% of the students who were going to give a talk on how everyone ought to be a good samaritan, actually stoped to be a good samaritan. 

When we are stretched for time, we block out everything else and are hyper focused on the task at hand. 

But with slack in our schedules, we are more open to noticing what's around us and more willing to take on new experiences. 


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