Overworked and time-starved Canadians and Americans need to take time Tuesday to cancel an appointment, play with their children, go for a walk or plant a tree, says a group promoting Take Back Your Time Day.

A project of Cornell University's Center for Religion, Ethics and Social Policy and an alliance of academics called the Simplicity Forum, the group promotes Oct. 24 as a day to find a work-life balance and begin healing what it calls the "epidemic of overwork, overscheduling and time famine."

The group says time stress leads to mistakes in the workplace, reduces employment opportunities because people work longer days, gives them less time to spend with their families and cuts the time for spiritual growth and community involvement.

The group points out that Canadians work slightly fewer hours than Americans and have longer vacation time and paid family leave, but say the two countries face similar challenges.

They "worry about frenetic schedules, hurried children, couples with no time together, families who rarely eat meals together, and an onslaught of 'hidden work' from proliferating e-mails, junk mail and telemarketing calls," the group says on its website.

The group advises people on Tuesdayto cut one activity from their children's schedule, visit elderly relatives, cancelan appointment, plant a tree, meditate or go for a long walk.

'Get back to thetable,' says group

The fourth consecutive year for the event, this year's theme is "Let's get back to the table" and focuses on the importance of spending time with family friends and community by gathering at the table— whether it's the dinner, picnic or card table.

Children who eat dinner with their families do better at school while gathering with friends and families decreases feelings of isolation and community meetings help foster democracy, says the movement.

Too many people are eating fast-food takeout alone in their vehicles and sending text-messages to friends and colleagues, it says.

"Coming together with others brings us feelings of security, belonging, and self respect. We feel more cared for and we become more caring. And maybe we even have more wisdom," says the website.