Time matters.

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“We must use time wisely and forever realize that the time is always ripe to do right.” Nelson Mandela

In my twenties, I gave up wearing a watch. It was my first attempt to cure my obsession with time. Being a week tracker, month stalker and quarter relay runner while key to my productivity has a way of stressing me out. The absence of the physical marker has only served to make me even more time conscious but in different ways.

As my concept and knowledge of time continues to grow I’ve learned to get time on my side (so to speak). My recent obsessions with it revolve around new ways to hold onto it, capture it, extend it and manipulate it beyond its conventional boundaries.

Today I am more acutely aware of the quality and length of seconds and minutes and the moments that exist in between. As a result of this awareness, I’ve created some tricks with my perception of time that help keep my stress at bay and in good accord with my ambitions. Here are three I’d like to share.

Observe the quality of 60 seconds.

While minutes may seem in short commodity when you’re in a rush, they can feel mighty long under uncomfortable or unfavorable conditions. First time meditators will relate to this. Think of 60 seconds in plank position, 60 seconds in traffic, 60 seconds waiting in a doctor’s office for any type of results. You get the point. How you choose to enjoy 60 seconds can mean just as much as the many ways in which we’re often put in a position not to enjoy them. Acknowledging that even 60 seconds can add to your quality of life can help you begin the process of mentally re-categorizing how to spend them and how to think about them.

Slow The World Down.

When it comes to time, perception is reality. Think about someone you know who is chronically late – they are running on their own perception of time. You can do the same (only maybe not so inconsiderately). Try taking something you do in a rush always against the clock and slow it down to a leisurely pace that’s probably not only more effective, but maybe even enjoyable.

Think Outside of Conventional Cycles

While we can’t change the structure of an hour, a week or a quarter, we can change the conventional perception of how they should be managed. For example, the year I realized that while I loved seeing my family during the holidays, the time spent during travel made me feel anti-thankful and un-merry. Once I acknowledged that the important part was the visit and the quality time vs. the exact timing of the holiday, I freed myself to go earlier in the season avoid the rush and the fare hikes.

Regardless of whether you reinvent the holidays or spend more moments watching snowflakes fall, the point of this is to consider how you can make a second feel like a minute and a minute feel like an hour more often. That’s how you trick time. You twist it into a half nelson and make it do your bidding. Just kidding. Pay more attention to your minutes; squeeze more joy out of your seconds and color outside of the lines more often.

TIP: For some additional information on getting a handle on your time, consider reading Elizabeth Saunders book The 3 Secrets to Effective Time Investment.

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