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It’s About Time

The cliche phrase "time is money" needs to be subverted by better metaphors, according to Odell
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Artist and writer Jenny Odell, author of the new book Saving Time: Discovering a Life Beyond the Clock, was recently interviewed by Wired. Odell’s 2019 book is called How to Do Nothing. In the interview, Odell discussed how the invention of the clock has altered the way people think about time, labor, and productivity. The cliche phrase “time is money” needs to be subverted by better metaphors, according to Odell, ones that emphasize meaning instead of mere activity. When she was asked how she avoided productivity “burnout” in her own writing life, Odell responded,

If you’re not thinking of time as money, the other thing that you could be trying to find is meaning. That’s ultimately what I want out of life. There is meaning in writing a book, and I’ve had really meaningful interactions with readers and people I’ve met through doing this. But I’m always cognizant that it is not the only source of meaning for me. I try to really keep my focus on that because it can so easily tip over into wanting to start to optimize for exposure or for clout. Which is something that social media really encourages, where you start to forget why you did it in the first place.

Jenny Odell Can Stretch Time and So Can You | WIRED

Odell was also asked what she thought of the “life extension” project, and while she acknowledged that it made sense for humans to want to live longer, she again appealed to living a life of meaning and being “fully alive.”

The point isn’t to live more but to be more alive in any given moment. By “more alive,” I mean more attentive to other forms of life, human and nonhuman, with an attitude of mutual regard rather than control and optimization. 

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It’s About Time