Text about scarcity of time written for OP=OP publication.
Tic. Tic. Tic. The echoing sound of stress gets louder every second. Thousand of unhelpful questions rushing through your head; will I finish on time? Could I have started earlier? Will it ever be possible to split into four copies of yourself to handle all those tasks that are still on your list - including ordering that dog sweater your mum has been nagging you about for the last month because she is too scared of online shopping.
Why is it that we struggle with time? It cannot be poor time management skills. You have gone to those Friday seminars enough times to understand they are a waste of your time. And you know you are not the only one. The world has become this anxious, pulsating, greedy, cliffhanger just like the animated dots ‘…’ on your messages when someone is taking their sweet-ass time to answer your simple yes-or-no question. We grew up in a culture that is never satisfied because we are told that there is always something better out there. Just to clarify, millennials were raised into this distress before they could have an opinion of their own.
This greed is exponential - we want faster, they give us faster, yet it never becomes fast enough. Brands at this point can no longer fight over who makes a better physical product but rather switched to how efficient it is. Companies find ways for you to have more time, to end up spending more time on them. (Street) food became faster, we buy it more often. Products are more accessible being sold online, we buy more. Efficiency became key, and with this efficiency comes attention. Energy supplier Eneco is one of many examples. How could they make their product stand out from their competitors? They went for efficiency. Their apps Toon and Mijn Eneco allow their customers to manage the heating in their house using their phone - making it easier and faster. Reviews are mixed, but it certainly caught our attention back in 2012.
Marketing cannot be simplified to a single formula, especially with constantly changing society, culture and technology. The AIDA structure (Attention, Interest, Desire, Action) has drastically evolved over time. Additional factors of Satisfaction (AIDAS) or Confidence (AIDCAS) have been added. It even extended to a mouthful: AISDALSLove (Attention, Interest, Search, Desire, Action, Like/dislike, Share, and Love/hate). Sadly, this expansion of these broken down elements shows an evolution of finding stronger methods to gain clients. It’s obvious that brands are constantly on the search for new techniques to capture our attention, to stay afloat as a business. Marketing itself is an art, yet it disregards the effect it has on people. Why is it when we talk about this, it’s only seen from the positive marketing perspective? What about the consumers’ point of view? When have we stopped having a say? Have characters like Don Draper doomed us for eternity?
Power to freely talking about what matters to us! Social media is here to save us all - or so we think. Social media has many dimensions. The scariest is not the one with hours worth of cat entertainment. It’s the one dedicated to brands trying to lure us in. We all know technology consumes hours of our attention a day. Those first few minutes when we wake up, during our commute, lunch break, commute back home, and a few hours more. To no surprise. Social media developed from simply a platform to catch up with friends and a means for social acceptance, into a place for never-ending entertainment and a source for news. Over 36% of Dutch Facebook users rely on their daily news from their wall. If at this point there are over 1.6 billion Facebook users, it’s incredible to think that the company has that amount of power to censor content and news it doesn’t agree with - yet it will happily spam you with BAD clickbait. Bollocks, Attention seeking, Distracting clickbait. Unfortunately, it’s not just Facebook or social media. This applies to many entertainment sites that feed off of your curiosity.
No matter how much we try to manage our time better, we will not succeed. There are far too many factors in today's culture that stand in the way. Whether our greed for more, marketing constantly finding new methods to grasp our attention or social media flooding our feeds with secretive ads. This scarcity of time is simply driven due to the abundance of waste information. The best way to deal with it is ‘to separate the wheat from the chaff’ or to put it in a less old-fashioned way, ’decide when to swipe left or right’.