How is Time Working for You?
September 2010

“Hurry, hurry!” Never has there been so much time management training and yet, we seem to be running out of time now more than ever. Not surprising that so many authors are addressing issue. And their conclusions are basically the same: They advocate for a healthier lifestyle and recommend a more moderate consumption of … technology. Yes, technology, and more specifically information technology. Although technology has served us extremely well, it is taking up too much of our time. Worse yet, technology would have dangerously perverted effects when used too hastily. Here’s how.

When we’re connected for an extended length of time to the TV, the computer, the telephone or the latest i-something or other, our brain is literally inundated with electronic stimuli. Thus, when the brain is submitted to long hours of receiving-transmitting fragments of information, it remains in a state of continuous alert, which results in a feeling of mental agitation and an urgency to react. We have to take our emails in real time, add a comment to our Facebook page, keep up with current events through endless videos to be sure we’re not missing out on anything… The brain basically becomes besieged with a bombardment of electronic stimuli. However, this info-frenzy does have its consequences.  

In last month’s Business Week there was an article discussing the insidious effects of the Internet on our brain. The human brain’s neuron architecture develops according to use. And the said architecture, they say, slowly takes on a different look: Nerve endings appear to leave the areas required for concentration, memory and the development of extended thinking, which makes for a great future for Ritalin! We must admit that in terms of advancing evolution, humankind has known better eras. Such is the concern expressed, with reason, by Jean-Claude Guillebaud in his book Le principe d’humanité, technology is now developing faster than humankind’s capacity to think… “ 

According to Claudio Magris, author, one of the main issues of our time is that we are always living for tomorrow. We are in a permanent state of waiting for answers, for analysis results, for election results, for the end of an economic crisis…. Little by little, too much information – often irrelevant – generates exhaustion and depletes well-being. “The constantly increasing speed of our social organization, he says, is pulling our present, like a carpet, from under our feet! But the present is all we have, now is when we can see, touch, taste, love…” Must we re-learn how to live?

There was a piece written in Philosophie magazine that stated the existence of three distinct times: nature’s time, collective time, and conscious time. It is said that proper balance between all three allows a person to live well. That’s just common sense. No excesses and all is well! From this angle, agriculture appears to be an excellent choice of lifestyle. Nature takes its own time - no explanation required - farmers know it and live it better than anyone else. Collective time, which the author defines as time in a community, is the time individuals spend together to synchronize themselves, to set reference points and create a certain unity, a certain permanence within the collective. I dare to think that cooperatives are among these reassuring reference points providing farmers with quality time in the collective. In short, once they’ve lived with nature’s time and collective time, all that remains is to manage their conscious time. And that is their business. But, between us, I’m not worried: Aren’t farmers’ known for their common sense?


Colette Lebel, agr.
Director Cooperative Affairs
and Board Secretary Assistant
La Coop fédérée
Fax: 514 850-2567


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