Judging by the responses, there’s a whole lot of our time being siphoned away for a lot of reasons
A big one is the evolution of customer service, to customer disservice, according to Shirley T….
The biggest time bandit, in my opinion, is doing the work of other people. Be it in doctors’ offices, banks, insurance companies, my internet provider, etc. I very frequently encounter people who don’t know what they are doing. Or are poorly trained. Or those who have attitudes which convey disdain & lack of caring. I must keep copious notes, place follow-up calls to see that people have done what they say they are going to do.
…and from customer disservice to customer self-service..
… If I wanted a career as a health navigator, at least I’d be paid
There were some very emphatic comments about being on standby to take care of grandkids…
… They think that, just because you are retired, you are a free sitter cum cook for them, as if you didn’t have a life of your own!! I love them, so I usually cave in, but I wish I had more time just for myself,
— Conceição B.
Reader Marilu offers some very practical advice in the comments, but it might get you taken off the holiday card list.
And sadly, even the most quotidian activities are now mind-numbingly, time-wastingly complex…
I mean, try to figure out toilet paper – there’s regular size, jumbo size and then a bigger one; one-ply, two-ply; “strong”, “soft”, “anticeptic”….
…even opening the packages when you get home.
…everything comes sealed into containers that would withstand earthquakes, hurricanes and forest fires..
Several readers mentioned the pressure that technology brings; Gene brings up spam and scam calls
I quit answering my phone due to the myriad of …scam/sales calls. And the ‘I want to buy your house’ phone calls & online ads are beyond annoying at the very least!! Go away salespeople!! I don’t have any $ except my social security anyway!
The wisest approach seems to be that of reader Sharon G.
…we don’t have to “stay on top” of anything. We just need to be “in there”. We can stop cramming for the A, getting a nice round average C in tech anyway, is fine these days!
Very sensible approach, thanks everyone! We’ll keep the comments open for a while, so feel free to add yours!
Original text below.
Sometimes I think aging is like having an unpaid second job. Being older takes a lot of time.
I used to go to the doctor once a year, maybe even every other year. I was lucky and rarely got sick.
…if I was a car (hopefully a vintage Ferrari!) with the mileage I have, I’d be in the shop a lot, too!
In the past few years, though, I’ve had surgeries, hospital stays and some really scary close shaves. Now I’ve got a schedule of medical checkups just about every month, and I don’t just have a doctor, I have an entourage. I keep reminding myself, if I was a car (hopefully a vintage Ferrari!) with the mileage I have, I’d be in the shop a lot, too!
Older people have more to handle. Besides healthcare, there’s Medicare or Medicaid, taxes (oh, those RMD’s!), insurance, finances and investments (watch that retirement nest egg!), retirement planning, estate planning…and of course, technology.
Tech helps, but sometimes adds to the chatter. OMG, 3G is ending. OMG, do I need to use facial recognition tech to file my taxes? OMG – another update? Another TOS change? Since seniors are the target of choice for scamsters there’s all that technology and security measures to stay on top of, too.
Then there’s the emails, texts, Facebook notifications and more. It’s not just spammers. I love my friends but I wish they’d get together and decide to stick to one distribution channel!
This “chatter” takes a toll on people’s wellbeing, and is a considerable stressor, as well. One author calls this accumulation ‘sludge.” Here’s what Cass Sunstein of the Harvard Law School, has said about it.
Time for a Time Out
When it starts to get to me, I know it’s time to step away from the desk, the phone and the gadgets and take a walk. It’s also time for me to get a handle on the “time bandits” and manage my time, priorities and incoming messages better.
In fact, I think that’s a wonderful way to mark Older Americans Month this month: Unplug!!
How about you? What ‘time bandits” irk you the most? What do you do about them? Let us know in the comments!
Virge Randall is Senior Planet’s Managing Editor. She is also a freelance culture reporter who seeks out hidden gems and unsung (or undersung) treasures for Straus Newspapers; her blog “Don’t Get Me Started” puts a quirky new spin on Old School New York City. Send Open Thread suggestions to email@example.com.