Oct. 7, 2020
Brigid Schulte was quoted in Behavioral Scientist about for coining the phrase "Time Confetti."
It’s true: we have more time for leisure than we did fifty years ago. But leisure has never been less relaxing, mostly because of the disintermediating effects of our screens. Technology saves us time, but it also takes it away. This is known as the autonomy paradox. We adopt mobile technologies to gain autonomy over when and how long we work, yet, ironically, we end up working all the time. Long blocks of free time we used to enjoy are now interrupted constantly by our smart watches, phones, tablets, and laptops.
This situation taxes us cognitively, and fragments our leisure time in a way that makes it hard to use this time for something that will relieve stress or make us happy. I (and other researchers) call this phenomenon time confetti (a term coined by Brigid Schulte), which amounts to little bits of seconds and minutes lost to unproductive multitasking. Each bit alone seems not very bad. Collectively, though, all that confetti adds up to something more pernicious than you might expect.