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(3) It’s About Time

Students will explore concepts of time and the choices one makes about how to use time.


Video clip:
Start video after hearing: “Throughout the United States, I’ve found people like the Roys, who are trying to live more sustainably. But in one city, more than most, the frugal lifestyle is winning widespread respect.” Stop video after hearing: “My being involved with the volunteer side of things has been very fulfilling. We’ve got to get out of this rat race and get a real life.”

Currently, “work” to most people means trading their time--a piece of their life--for money. A generation ago, experts predicted that the high number of labor-saving devices would give Americans a 14-hour work week by the year 2000. Yet Americans work 15% more now than they did in 1973, and they have 37% less leisure time. Today’s parents spend 40% percent fewer hours with their children than did those of a generation ago.


(a) Do you have time to do the things you most like to do? What gets in the way of doing the things you most want to do? Do you ever feel stressed because you don’t have enough time?

(b) How many of you trade your time for money ? (After-school job, doing chores for allowance.)

(c) When is it more important to you to have time rather than money ? When is it more important to have money rather than time?

(d) What do you think of Ron Simons’ decision to give up a high-paying job so he could spend more of his time doing what he liked? Would you consider doing that? Why or why not?

(e) How much is your time worth ? What makes one person’s time (a doctor vs. a daycare worker or a teacher vs. a CEO) more valuable than another person’s time?

(f) In 1992, Michael Jordan was paid more money to endorse Nike shoes than Nike paid its entire Indonesian work force for the year. Why?

(g) Name some work people do that is “unpaid” (staying at home to care for children, volunteer work). Is this work less valuable to our society because it is unpaid?

(h) List several “time-saving” devices (washing machine, fax machine, computer). How did people get work done without these devices 100 years ago?

(i) Who controls how you spend your time now?

(j) What would your life be like if you chose how you spend your time? For instance, if you chose not to attend school or go to work, what things might you do to survive?

(k) For a look at “selling” yourself to a prospective employer, see Are you selling your “self”, your skills or your time?

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