August 15, 2009

Saving time or time to savor?

Saturday morning found me chopping vegetables and making homemade bread ... aka, "trying to use up everything in my CSA box before another one comes this week."

I probably spent about 2-3 hours total cooking away, knowing full well that the farmer's market sells the very bread I was making and that I could pick up a bag of chopped frozen vegetables anytime at the grocer's.

And I remember my first association job where four professionals with graduate degrees gathered around a small table every other week to label and stuff envelopes for a member mass mailing. Mundane work indeed, but the time together was filled with lots of laughs, informal brainstorming, and periodic deep dives on strategic questions we needed to address.

In their great book, The Experience Economy, authors B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore use the example of birthday cakes to explain how our economy has evolved from extracting commodities (flour, eggs, butter) … to making goods (using a pre-made cake mix) … to delivering services (buying a cake from the bakery) … to staging experiences (outsourcing the bday party to Chuck E. Cheese).

But we're starting to see numerous examples of people "regressing" from being spectators at staged experiences to becoming more involved in the creation process once again … some because of economic realities and some because of a desire to reconnect with the craft itself.

Perhaps the time-savers in our life might actually be depriving us from investing time in activities and relationships we can savor.

2 comments:

phil said...

I think you're hitting at a real issue here. Just as families gathering daily around the dinner table has gone by the wayside in most homes, the art of communication in relationship has drifted also.

Fiona Leonard said...

I've been teaching my daughter to knit. It occurred to me the other day that I could have bought a hat with the money it cost me to buy the needles. Wouldn't have been as much fun though, or the same sense of accomplishment.