Thursday, May 17, 2012

Productivity and Time Awareness

Image by Jesus Presley
A major factor that can determine your success at managing your time is the “feeling” of time. 

When I was a kid, I used to like jumping my bike.    This one jump I built looked like all the others and consisted of a couple of bricks and a piece of plywood.  I had done this type of jump hundreds of times, but this one had a surprise in store for me.  Sensing that the jump was small, I got a very fast run at it. 
The problem was that the plywood for the ramp was that bendy type of plywood and when I hit the ramp it bent in a way that shot me straight up.  At the apex of my ascent, time stopped, or least my sensation of time altered to where it felt like time stopped.  I knew this would end badly.  I had gone almost vertical and it was going to hurt.  In my mind, everything slowed and I had time to think about the ground as it rushed upwards to meet me. That jump did hurt, but I walked away without anything broken. 
This is an illustration of our brain’s ability to process time differently based upon the situation.  According to Douglas Fox in his article "The illusion of time” in moments of pure fear, our brain is going crazy and things slow down because we are processing the visual images must faster.
I have experienced other events when time stopped: All four of my children’s births, proposing to my wife, being caught in a lie, having to ask forgiveness, having to answer a question where there was no painless option.  All of these moments cause our mind to race and time to stop. 
The problem is that other than these moments of heightened time awareness. According to Hebert Wray In his article "Looming Deadlines” our perception of time is not constant and can expand and contract with the situation.  Time drags through painful moments, while time flies when we are having fun. 
This inconsistency is why we fail to allocate enough time to work in our lives.  When you study, it will feel that you have studied much more than you have studied because time drags when you are doing work you don’t want to do.  Whatever time you allocate to study, push yourself to do that amount of time and no less.