Never Underestimate Time

We’re notoriously bad at ‘doing time’. Memory plays tricks on us.  We remember several years ago like it was yesterday. Yet it’s hard to remember what dinner was four days ago. The last time you saw a good friend felt like months ago, but it was less than two weeks back according to your diary.  Then, when you meet up again, it’s like you’d hardly been apart!

Yes, time is weird.

photo by TW Collins

photo by TW Collins

How much time do you think is available?

Whatever the event, whatever the deadline, it’ll feel like a long way away at first. Say you’ve got a month to complete some coursework. You don’t think it’s worth starting so soon. Anyway, it shouldn’t take more than a few hours of your time.

But it’s bound to take longer than you imagine.  Maybe a few extra hours tidying up and formatting, maybe a couple of extra days researching.  The deadline of one month slips away without you realising and it’s hard to recover without a solid plan of action.  What seemed like long into the future is now a race against time.

Don’t underestimate how long you’ve got. Life has a tendency to get overcrowded. A lack of clear goals will only make matters worse.  Get timetabling, Get organised, and start early.

Time shifts.  When is your time?

The 24 hours in each day are not equal in terms of your productivity. For a start, you probably sleep between 5 and 10 hours of every 24.

What about the remaining hours?  Well, it’s a simple goal, but crucial…find the right time of day for you.

It might sound like common sense, but another thing we’re bad at is listening to our bodies. If you’re a night owl, your body will hold you back if you try making an early morning start on your work. So try to get the work done in the evening. While you may prefer to have fun at the times you’re most awake, you must devote some of your most alert moments on work too. Having fun doesn’t usually need as much brainpower as hard work and research.  Depends on what the ‘having fun’ involves!

Got a lot of time on your hands? Is that actually a good thing?

Having too much time is just as bad as not having enough.  The combination of too much time on your hands and a low willpower (which can often go together) leads to a damp squib.

Fill some of that time up.  Do some volunteering in your field, join a society, make some cash with a part-time job, do something you’re interested in.

Don’t fill the time up with pointless exercises or just act busy.  The secret is having a select number of focused goals and interests.  They don’t have to be full-on passions, so feel free to experiment!  You’ll know when the right thing hits you.

With less free time on your hands and a greater focus, you’ll feel more energised than if you were just bumming around half the time.  The renewed energy should have a knock-on effect with everything else you do.  What have you got to lose?

Why can’t time be simple?

While we’re on Earth, we live through every second of every day of every week of every year.  We use time everywhere.  We look at the time.  We wait for the right time.  We set timers and alarms and reminders.  Yet time controls us.  It just has to be a strange relationship.

Every second counts.  That’s why the better we work with time, the more we get out of it.  Plan your time in advance, know when the time is right, and use the time wisely.

When you do this, you respect time.  And time may well nod in your direction and respect you back.