Before the Sony Walkman or Sony Trinitron, Japanese manufacturers embraced a concept named Just-in-Time-Manufacturing. Instead of building large warehouses to stock the components necessary for production, they orchestrated planes, trains, and trucks to arrive with the exact components just before the parts were needed at the production line. (Today, just-in-time-manufacturing is named lean manufacturing.)
The manufacturer no longer had to carry the costs and risks of inventory. This was eventually extended throughout our culture. Just-in-time is used for retail, fast-food, and now even in computing.
Suppose though, the steering wheels don't arrive on time - then the production line stops. So it is a risk. But we no longer evaluate cost-reward, it is standard practice. Just-in-time has infiltrated our culture where our personal lives are just-in-time.
Graphic licensed through Shutterstock.
The converse to just-in-time is margin - extra space, time, money, instead of sharpening the point of the pencil to its finest possible mark. We have lost that throughout culture, including our lives.
Curiously researchers at Georgia Tech have published More Workers Working Might Not Get More Work Done, Ants (and Robots) Show. They studied ants and discovered that ants schedule idleness, with perhaps 30% idle while others are fully engaged. It isn't that 30% of the ant population is lazy - depending upon the environment, the slackers might start working and others idle themselves.
Our culture needs to rediscover the benefits of margin.