sarahkeenihan

Tick tick tock

In February 2014 on February 28, 2014 at 1:39 pm

Kirsti Clock Earls37a Flickr

Kirsti: What does time mean to you?

Think about these questions:

Do you think about the past a lot, or are you focussed on the here and now?

Are you a fatalist, or do you believe that with planning and deliberate actions you can influence your future?

Do you make snap decisions when under time pressure, or take in and process information for as long as you’ve got?

I am here to confess that I am a little bit obsessed with the concept of time. So much so that one of my favourite things to do as a uni student was to tell people it was about 3 hours later than it actually was when we were out at the pub or elsewhere. Try it – people freak out if you advise them it’s midnight when it’s only 10pm. Or even worse, if they think it’s 3am when it’s only midnight. Wish I’d collected some data on that…..

Anyway, I am reading a recently published book at the moment called “WAIT: the art & science of delay”, and finding it a fascinating look at the importance of timing, from milliseconds through to years. It advises that delaying decisions and actions, often for as long as possible, is a desirable thing to do. The book also reinforces the concept of ‘clock time’ vs ‘event time’ for me. Most of us live on clock time (have to be at soccer at 10am). This is good if you want to be efficient, but it’s when you can use event time that you can be more effective.

Curious to know more?  I don’t blame you. It could change the way you organise yourself and your family.

Phillip Zimbardo agrees.  His book “The time paradox: the new psychology of time that will change your life” discusses his and John Boyd’s idea of time perspective; how our perspective on the past, present and future can influence the way we lead our lives every day.  There’s not one paradox, but a series that shape our lives and our destinies. To use his words, here’s an example:

Paradox 1
Time is one of the most powerful influences on our thoughts, feelings, and actions, yet we are usually totally unaware of the effect of time in our lives.

Paradox 2
Each specific attitude toward time—or time perspective—is associated with numerous benefits, yet in excess each is associated with even greater costs.

Paradox 3
Individual attitudes toward time are learned through personal experience, yet collectively attitudes toward time influence national destinies.

Now look at the clock. What’s your first thought? Late? Need to be somewhere?

Relax.

Wait.

[photo thanks to earls37a on flickr]

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