Our concept of time may make us punctual. But is it making us happier?

Time is central to who we are. It’s so important to our daily lives. We look at time as a disciplining force, and our time discipline is a measure of our virtue. But “punctuality” is only a concept developed since the industrial revolution. It’s an invention. And it’s also cultural. Dawna Ballard’s research on chronemics at the University of Texas challenges the notion of time as an inherent need, and asks us to rethink how we view it as part of human communication.

About the speaker

Dawna Ballard is Associate Professor in the Moody College of Communication at The University of Texas at Austin. She is an expert in chronemics—the study of time as it is bound to human communication.

She researches what drives our pace of life and its impact on the communication practices and long-term vitality of organizations, communities, and individuals. This includes recent studies on attention/time management, multitasking, communication overload, social media use, and sustainable career practices.

Her research and commentary have been featured in a variety of mainstream venues including NPR, PBS MediaShift, Huffington Post, Medium, Ignite, and Women’s eNews and has a forthcoming book called Work Pressures. She teaches an original course called Time Matters and is particularly interested in how applying longer time scales to social problems reveals new approaches and solutions.

Dawna is a member of the International Society for the Study of Time and serves as Chief Time Minding Advisor at Mind Labs. A native Californian, she received her doctorate in organizational communication from the University of California at Santa Barbara.

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