I recently found myself sitting in my office in a daze. I had the intention of starting a project, but somewhere along the line I just checked out and lost time. I’m not even sure how long I was in a fugue state before I somehow returned to awareness.
Sometimes you feel like you’ve lived too long-Bruce Cockburn
Days drip slowly on the page
You catch yourself
Pacing the cage
Time is one of the most interesting thinking puzzles in the universe. You could go into a dazzling bottomless dive watching videos about the physics of time. It will give you tired-head. It would seem to me that the days of Corona have somehow changed our time equation. I think we have lost some of our time value. We just seem to float along like we are riding a lazy river.
The Effect of Time
The brain has no sense organ for time. We smell, taste, touch, see, hear, but nothing really exists to track the 23 hours, 56 minutes, and 4 seconds that make up the passing of a day. We have broad circadian rhythms that give us a macro sense of day and night, but nothing that helps us with a firm biological tracking of time.
It exists mostly in our perception of things. Root canals seem to last forever and a great new movie seems to be over in minutes. This means our emotions are our time meters. High stress moments, like an accident move in slow motion while we lose time doing the things we love. Think about that YouTube rabbit hole.
How We Spend Time
- You’ll spend over 100,000 hours at work, or about 35% of your life.
- We spend 26 years sleeping (ahhhhh sleep).
- You’ll hang in front of your TV for about 11 years watching Big Bang re-runs (not that there’s anything wrong with that).
- Depending on where you live, you will be hanging in traffic about 40-50 hours every year. Unless you never leave your house which, strangely enough seems to be a viable option nowadays.
- You’ll go to lots of meetings. Most managers have 23 hours of meetings a week! Meetings are like an addiction.
It might be time to step back a re-evaluate how we are using this precious gift.
An Idea to Manage Your Time
Here is one simple idea, not 10 or 20, just one to help, one I use all the time. Think breakup. I need to break up the flow of my time.
It starts with awareness. I set my phone/computer clock to remind me every 60 minutes to stand up, take a break, play a song on the guitar, do something fun and joyful. There is another formula that says you need this break every 25 minutes. Same idea, different timeframe. For me, 60 minutes works. Take about 5/10 minutes. I was amazed that this simple reminder made me more productive.
People will tell you that when you take breaks from working, it can take a while to get back to the flow. I agree. If I am headlong into a productive streak, I may choose to ignore the time break. Especially in my high energy mornings. Heck, it’s not a commandment, it’s an idea!
Find What Works for You
Different things work for different people, but friendly reminders have done it for me.
I recently learned the Susan Werner song – May I Suggest to You. I heard it on singer-songwriter Vance Gilbert’s weekly Pajama Party Concerts (Well worth a listen on Monday nights.). The closing line sums the issue of time and our need to appreciate it better than anything I could close with.
I come with a request for you, To see how very short the endless days will run, And when they’re gone, And when the dark descends, Oh’ we’d give anything for one more hour of light, So I suggest to you this is the best part of your life.May I Suggest – Susan Werner