The wait at the bus stop; in line at the airport; soccer practices that never end - You know them well: those day-to-day holdups that leave you idle when you'd rather be doing something more productive or enjoyable.
Outside of the time Americans spend commuting, working and carrying out other aspects of their daily routine, there are still other moments in the day where they unavoidably lose precious time. For at least 34% of Americans, these 'Time Holes' eat up 45 minutes or more every day. In a recent survey conducted by RoperASW on behalf of Verizon Wireless and MSN, RoperASW identified the most notorious Time Holes. Whether it's the feeling of being disconnected or unproductive, most Americans don't welcome these Time Holes. In fact, more than half feel stressed when they are not in touch.
"We conducted this survey to see if people were being as useful and efficient with their time as they want to be," said John Stratton, vice president and chief marketing officer of Verizon Wireless. "The results clearly indicate people resent these time holes as wasted time. Our newly launched Mobile Web by VZW with MSNR service, which enables consumers to easily access popular MSN services from any Web-enabled Verizon Wireless digital phone, can turn wasted time into productive time."
The survey indicates people are eager to stay connected. The majority of those surveyed expressed a desire to make their Time Holes more useful by staying in touch with people and information. An overwhelming majority (82%) of survey respondents either strongly agreed (53%) or somewhat agreed (29%) that the ability to stay in touch with people and information makes them less frustrated because it cures them of the feeling that they are missing something or are being unproductive.
The new Mobile Web service by VZW with MSN that launched in May is one way to alleviate Time Hole anxiety. By combining the superior wireless technology of Verizon Wireless' coast-to-coast network with favorite MSN services such as the MSN Messenger instant messaging service, the MSN HotmailR Web-based e-mail service, MicrosoftR .NET alerts, and MSN information, consumers can stay in touch and get timely access to personalized services and information easier than ever.
Most people experience the anxieties of the Friday afternoon commute as workers anticipate the weekend. In Los Angeles, that anxiety is particularly acute-more than 70% indicate the 405 on a Friday afternoon is their biggest Time Hole. And each part of the country has its favorite shopping and dining districts-because of their popularity, getting lucky with a prime parking spot in these areas takes patience. For 45% of San Francisco residents, looking for a parking spot in Union Square is their biggest Time Hole. Sports fans across the nation share in the same frustrations before and after sporting events: Almost 30% of Detroit's citizens resent the post-game traffic at Comerica Park; the traffic out of Veterans Stadium causes grief for 28% of Philadelphia fans; and 19% of New Yorkers grumble about the wait to get into Yankee and Shea Stadiums.
"Most Americans want to be in control of their daily lives," said Stratton. "This survey reveals that every day there are occasions where our time is taken away from us, which can be incredibly frustrating."
The Time Hole survey of more than 1,500 adults in nine American cities revealed that the time-management landscape is littered with booby traps. Given a list of options from which to choose, 22% identified the DMV as their choice for worst Time Hole, followed by the doctor's office waiting room (14%), and the Post Office (10%.)
What's the cost of all this time-drain? More than a third of respondents (35%) estimate that they lose up to 30 minutes a day to Time Holes, while nearly a third (28%) report losing 30-45 minutes a day. 18% of respondents said that they lose more than an hour a day to these dents in their routine.
"People are looking to be more productive and use their time wisely when they're away from home or the office," said Lisa Gurry, Product Manager, MSN. "The survey shows that what people actually want is the option to keep in touch and stay connected when they're sidelined by unforeseen or unavoidable delays in their day." Americans are an industrious bunch, and one day they may well achieve a perfectly efficient society. Until then, they'll have to look to those tools that are available to them as they seek to skirt the Time Holes that lie in wait for them -- whether it's the worst Time Hole in Chicago ("trapped at O'Hare"), the worst Time Hole in San Francisco ("looking for parking in Union Square" or the dozens of Time Holes lurking in between.
The Time Hole Survey was conducted from May 3rd to May 8th, 2002, involving 1,586 people and a 2.5% margin of error. Bruskin/RoperASW is a global marketing research and consulting firm. Its core competencies focus on consumer trend analysis, strategic marketing research, global power brands research, customer satisfaction, advertising/ communications research, public opinion and social/policy research.