“Just as the standard five-day work week has been heavily eroded, so too have the time and place of work. Whereas the old industrial clock regulated our lives in discrete blocks of time and space, with the separate spheres of public and private life, the constant connectivity and global reach of mobile, digital technologies erase time zones and specific work places. The traditional time/space of the week and weekend and their characteristic social relations are now porous as people increasingly work, play, consume, and interact anywhere, anytime.” – Judy Wajcman, 2015.
Get this woman a drink. Judy Wajcman gets it. Constantly trying to balance my work and life, I simply do not have enough time. I must confess, my time management has been a fireball since highschool of balancing my own interests as a young person and submitting a paper. There’s a masochistic tendecy in my habits to wait until the final window, to produce high quality work with minimal planning. It stems from my problems as a creative and visual learner, where planning has to be colourful and visually satisfying – a problem of aesthetics, I know – or things in my mind become mathematical and immediately the NO VACANCY symbol burns. I’m well aware of my problem, but the thing is, I’m not the only one. I am overwhelmed with the amount of time I waste and consume, especially as a woman.
Wajcman suggests that computerisation, telecommunications and transport are linked to time poverty. We’re waiting in traffic longer, we’re constantly plugged into our screens, and we sure as hell are always communicating: just look at all these tweets and direct messages. “We live in an acceleration society in which technological acceleration produces an ever-faster pace of life” she notes, and I feel most readers are shaking their heads profusely.
Yup, it’s all true. Ain’t nobody got time for anything. Interestingly, it was in Wajcman’s own views as a woman that struct deeply home, where “[the] combination of paid and unpaid work that makes time poverty so widespread among working women“: the most common of all work-life articulation problems. In our gendered society, women are the nursing mothers; the beautifully done-up and heeled office workers; the happy housemakers; the cleaners; the decadent, oozy middle of work, family, and leisure.
Ladies and babes alike, I don’t have the answers. But I’m calling bullshit. Our work is worth money and bonuses and promotions – time poverty needs to be addressed. We are not quintessential time-space compression mechanisma who have spare time to consume or save to only be naturalised by taken-for-grantedness in media pracitse. We are game changers and advocates of new mediated intimacies, one where we mantle media and control our power. Contrary to hype, we have more time to talk and support one another, so let’s start.