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If you've got a minute, quick, read this: It's about time-stress in American life

sleeping Chihuahua

There are two ways of looking at modern American life:

There are only 1,440 minutes in a day.

Or, relax, we've got 1,440 minutes until tomorrow.

Now comes a new Gallup Poll this morning revealing that these days less than three-out-of-ten working Americans feel stressed for time. No wonder so many jobs have gone overseas. Of course, there are millions fewer working adults in America now than there were on Jan. 19, 2009.

But given the ambitious American tradition of go-get-'em (see video below) and the number of times we hear people say how "crazy it's been" and how many things we carry over from each day's To-Do list, a mere 28% not having enough time to get a day's work done seems, well, rather decadent. Even European.

Still, the numbers are right there: 72% of working adults and 80% of non-working adults say, by golly, they have plenty of time to do what they need to do each day. How can this be in the 21st century? With Social Security set to run out of money in only a quarter-century? What's wrong with that 72%? Why is this? How can we fix it asap?

And only 28% of workers and 20% of non-workers say they feel strapped for time. That good old, OMG, there's-so-much-to-do-and-so-little-time-feeling.

For some reason women, parents and college graduates feel the most pressed for time, as if they have a lot to do and are driven to get more done in any given day than they possibly can.

While the young (age 18-29), the old (age 65+) and single people feel, hey, things are good and, look, there's plenty of time to do what needs doing. Seriously, what can happen that matters if a chore doesn't get done until after breakfast?

Being both a college graduate and a parent, when this Gallup news dropped into our mailbox earlier this morning, we felt the need to write and publish it immediately because, well, just because. It's already the middle of the week and we're so far behind and the world as he wants it is going to end on Aug. 2, according to Tim Geithner.

But then we thought, we're also old. What's the rush? Wait seven hours and publish it then.

Who'll know?

 -- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: Paul Guggenbuehl

 
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About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
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