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There is a proverb that says: " All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy. All play and no work makes Jack a toy."

Check out the stats provided by the Canadian Index of Well-Being that shows that we are not using our time wisely. Twenty-five percent are working around the clock, thanks to longer hours at our work site. Because of instant communication we find ourselves more stressed, less rested and have little time for our children.

Rotating shift work schedules of 7-3, 3-11 and the dreaded 11-7 night shift often referred to by the ‘grave yard’ plays havoc with our health and well-being. Hard to get a good ‘nights’ sleep after working eight hours at the job in the middle of the afternoon. Eating lunch at three in the morning plays havoc with our stomach and bowels.

Here is the time crunch that many of us are faced with. We sleep 34%, paid/unpaid work 33%, TV etc 10%, social and sports 12% which leaves 11% for eating and caring for your basic needs.

About one in four of us cares for an elderly dependant and one in five finds themselves as part of the ‘sandwich generation’ caught between a rock and hard place trying to care both for a senior and a child. That means less time for leisure; more personal days at work which could mean higher levels of illness leading to depression.

Most families find that they are constantly running. More than 80% of 6-9 year olds are taking part in organized extracurricular activities. At the same time less time with parents means more time in front of the computer/television screens. Two thirds of our teens spend more than five hours a day with their computer, cell phone, television. Making the time to plan and sit down with our children for a home made meal is a rare event for many families.

Mix in the concern over divorced families where the children are obligated to spend Monday/Wednesdays with dad, Tuesday and Thursdays with mom and every second week-end the children switch sure can complicate family living.

We find ourselves spending less time on social activities and only 5% of us engage in arts and cultural activities. The report shows that trips to our national parks are at their lowest point in 15 years.

We have to ask ourselves how we can take the time to prioritize our needs vs our wants. I regard time as sand in my hand that continues to run through my fingers.

Yesterday is history, to-morrow is a mystery and to-morrow we call the present because it a gift that quickly disappears. Time is an unrenewable resource that we should all cherish.

Len Lesser

Len Lesser posts a report every week

You can email Len at lenlesser@hotmail.com