Why can it feel like there’s never enough time in a day, and why are so many of us conditioned to believe that being more productive makes us better people? On How to Keep Time, co-hosts Becca Rashid and the Atlantic contributing writer Ian Bogost talk with social scientists, authors, philosophers, and theoretical physicists to learn more about time and how to reclaim it. How to Keep Time launches in December 2023.

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The following is a transcript:

Becca Rashid: Ian, I’ve been reading about this concept called the social clock, and it’s sort of this invisible timetable that tells us what we should be doing at different stages of our lives.

Ian Bogost: So, Becca: Are you on time? Are you on track on the social clock?

Rashid: I am off the social clock, and it’s not easy.

Bogost: I’m not sure if I was on or off the social clock when I was your age, but I think there’s a point at which, maybe, the social clock breaks down. The question I face isn’t whether I’m on time, but what should I do with my time?

Sarah Manguso: The diary really helped me suppress some of that: some of that worry, some of that anxiety.

Rashid: You know, given time is finite, it can feel almost impossible to not compulsively try to make every waking minute productive.

Oliver Burkman: The only real way to use time to actually find meaning in the present is, by some definition of the term, to waste it.

Bogost: Is this a uniquely American phenomenon? Are there other cultures where busyness has the same social status as it does in America?

Rashid: Ian, what’s the one thing you wish you had more time for?

Bogost: I wish I had more time to figure out how to use the limited time I have.

Rashid: Existential dread about our limited time is at the core of my curiosity. And I really want to know why so many of us are conditioned to believe that being efficient makes us better people.

This season, we’re going to get into our complex relationship with time and what makes us feel like we’re running against the clock.

Rashid: I’m Becca Rashid, producer and co-host of the How To series.

Bogost: And I’m Ian Bogost, co-host and contributing writer at The Atlantic.

Rashid: This is How to Keep Time. The season begins this December.

published November 6, 2023