Is it Time?

I was thinking about Time and how we think of it and use it. I guess most of us were brought up with the idea that it was linear and flows in one direction at a uniform speed very much like the hourglass that we used to use to measure it. Then clever people come along and tell us that it is relative to the position and speed of the observer. I’ll make no attempt to explain this as I don’t claim to understand it. All I gather is that even our brightest brains can’t really agree on its nature, but we may be able to reverse it and travel in it.

However, according to my entirely subjective experience it seems to move more like a river, and to move at different speeds at different times. Sometimes my time seems to be moving much slower than every one else’s around me especially when I get absorbed in something. There are periods when I can’t seem to stop and yet don’t seem to make a great deal of progress on a series of simple jobs that are waiting on a little gap to attend to them.

I have been on the Time Management courses, and am generally pretty disciplined about being ‘on time’, but my subjective experience of this ‘resource’ is very different from this rather pragmatic, western view of it as a business resource that we can trade and sell. If you think about plants and animals; they are just as subject to Time as we are, but they seem to do things when it is the ‘right time’. I have yet to see a robin with a tiny little watch or a buttercup with a clock! They just know that they are now ready to move forwards.

Despite our cleverness and our courses, I think we have much of this awareness within us and it then has to struggle against our wristwatch mentality as to which one controls when we move. When working with Change, I have no doubt that the natural clock is the one that controls us. So if it doesn’t feel like the right day to move forwards, chances are it isn’t! Try listening to yourself, and where possible arranging your diary round your inner sense of rhythm and time. I think you will find it is much less stressful!

“Take time to deliberate; but when the time for action arrives, stop thinking and go in.” Napoleon Bonaparte

“The only reason for time is so that everything doesn’t happen at once.” Albert Einstein

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7 Responses to “Is it Time?”

  1. Penny_WB says:

    I was once told that time is a measurement of the movement of your attention from one thing to another.
    I definitely agree that watching the clock is an ineffective way of managing time; it merely makes you feel hurried.
    As a natural ‘clock-watcher’ I have a mantra that I use when I feel stressed about the lack of time and it never fails to relax me: ‘I have all the time I need to do what I want to do’.

    Gosh – is that the time? I’ve got an appointment in an hour – must dash!

  2. Penny_WB says:

    Yes, I stopped wearing a watch when I decided it was ruling my life. Now I set my phone alarm to remind me when an appointment is due, or I need to change direction. In fact, no-one in my house wears a watch anymore – can be amusing sometimes!

    Penny ‘Posh Frocks’.
    Give a smile as you get a smile as on your way you pass for as you journey you will find that life’s a looking glass.’
    And always have a Posh Frock booked for that special occasion.

  3. clare_e says:

    ‘I have all the time I need to do what I want to do’ – very true Penny.

    Many people don’t realise this and it’s what they choose to do with that time that’s important. As a Time Management ‘expert’ – I don’t wear a watch. Haven’t done for years. This might surprise some people but I’m rarely late for anything (even I’m not perfect). There are plenty of alternate ways of telling the time – especially surrounded by technology.

    Time is very much relative and it’s also true that any given task will expand to fill the time available. For that reason it’s useful to become a clock-watcher when needed. If you set yourself a time limit – you’ll be more focused and less distracted.

    Time definitely speeds up when we don’t have enough of it and slows down when we have too much. Waiting for something to happen or for someone to arrive for a meeting seems to take ages. However, when we’re enjoying ourselves – time seems to be speed by – when we’re on holiday, we’ve only just relaxed and started to enjoy ourselves and it’s time to come home.

    While I’m helping others to manage their time more effectively one of the things that I often ask them to do is work at their own pace and often to slow down. Sometimes we’re full of energy and able to get more done, other times we’re sluggish and don’t have much energy and our productivity drops. Be aware of this and go with the flow.


  4. Thanks Penny, That feels right to me

  5. Clare,
    Are you saying this is an ‘objective’ phenomenon, or that is how it feels?

    Thanks for the tips and advice

  6. annieo says:

    When I was employed and working set hours I used to feel that the weekends went by very quickly as opposed to the working days, which often ‘dragged’.

    Now that I am self-employed and able to choose what I do and when I do it I find that there is no difference – all the days fly past. So I suppose that you could say that I am ‘in flow’ – just doing the things that feel right.

    I still achieve the things I set out to do in the time frame I have set myself but if I don’t feel like doing something (unless it involves someone else) then I do something else instead. Eg. Yesterday was a beautiful day and instead of designing my new leaflets I did some gardening. I’m supposed to be designing the new leaflets today instead but it doesn’t matter as long as they are done by Friday.

    I hope this makes sense.

    Annie O’Neill
    New Horizons Divorce Coaching
    ‘Don’t just GO through it, GROW through it’

  7. Annie,
    I think that is a very wise approach. Enjoy the sunshine and do the leaflets when your batteries are recharged

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