Remember the last you complained about how you didn’t have time to do all the things you wanted to do? That was about 5 minutes ago, wasn’t it? It’s a sad truth that, no matter who you are, you only have 24 hours in a day. And we all face the one central problem of needing to unlimited things with limited time.
But what if I told you that time does not exist. That you can speed it up or slow it down if you want to. That how you look at the time you have and make decisions based on it will affect how many things you can do in a day.
What I mean is you might find yourself able to do a thousand more things if you simply stopped thinking about time as a linear concept and started thinking that it was some sort of rubber band. In reality, time is something we define, based on how long it takes for a pendulum to swing to the other side, and for the earth to complete another revolution. Thing is, time, as we experience it, is really a different thing altogether.
Most of you would’ve experienced how quickly time passes when you’re doing something really absorbing or fun, like sleeping, gaming, or for those of you so inclined, doing maths. And you probably would’ve felt how slowly and painfully it can pass when you’re doing something less enjoyable, like running a 2.4, attending lectures, or for those of you who are normal, doing maths. It seems as if time, for all its supposedly constant nature, can actually bend and stretch depending on what you are doing.
Yes, I’m telling you things that you already know. The point of all this is really to tell you that you already know how to do it, but might not have realized how you can totally take advantage of this to make more time for yourself.
What you need to do
First you need to get a clear idea what exactly time is. A wise person described the difference between the concept of linear time and elastic time as the difference between analog and digital watches. On an analog watch, the hands tell you the time, and the rest of the day is laid out, set in stone. You can see the past and the future in equally spaced markings, and everything’s fixed. But on a digital watch, all you see is the present time. For all you know, the past may not even have existed. And the future is inexistent too. It is undefined, limitless.
Try to think of time as the digital watch tells you. The time you have to spend is not yet defined, and you can determine what you want to do with it. It can also be much faster or slower than you actually think it’ll be. Just because running a 2.4 felt like the most time-consuming thing you’ve done in your life doesn’t change the fact that most people will really spend less than 15 minutes on the actual running.
Now that you’ve stomached that revelation, start to plan your day based on what you need to do, rather than the time that you’ll take. Instead of thinking “I don’t have enough time to go running because it’ll take me 5 minutes to put on my gear…another 5 to get to the track….”, try “I need to go running, how much time can I spend on that? Oh geez I’ve only got 30 minutes, better get moving.”
Next, find out how much time it really takes for you to do something. Don’t base it on your impressions, because we all know that time as you perceive it is relative. It really only takes about half an hour for you to do most things. The reason why you think it takes longer than that is because most of that time is spent fighting inertia and thinking it can’t be done, because, when you allocated one hour for something like getting a life, you probably split it up into bits of:
First 15 minutes – mindless indecision. Next 15 minutes – getting off the sofa. And then – 15 minutes of realizing I don’t have enough time to get a life. And lastly – 15 minutes of ‘rest’ for that strenuous activity I just did.
In fact, you can cook a meal for yourself, read a few pages of a book, take a shower, run a mile and even stop mindlessly browsing youtube in the span of 15 minutes.
That’s the reason why successful people (and action movie heroes) seem to be able to do about three thousand things in two hours – because they know how to slow time down (by just moving faster and actually getting down to doing something). How is it possible that a guy could wake up at 6am, go to the gym for an hour and be at work by 8, then knock off at 5 and spend an hour travelling, an hour having dinner with his family, and still have two hours read and play Battlefield 3 and do whatever he wants? Well, because he doesn’t spend any time doing nothing. And this stems from realizing that time is up to you to control.
How it works
It all boils down to one concept that’s been preached to us for years now – time management. But this isn’t the kind of time management whereby you’re expected to just stop doing anything you want and instead do nothing but study all day. It’s the kind of time management that tells you can do still do things you want to do and achieve awesome things like enough sleep, great results and a muscular/slender body.
But enough about boring old time management, here’s something else you need to know about time – that it really is elastic (warning: advanced scientific theories imminent. For those of you who are not interested, there’s always the cake at the end.)
It’s something called time dilation, the idea that time actually slows down for you depending on how fast you are and how much gravity you experience. And it’s not even a theory, you know, because those people working on it probably realized it was too mind-blowing to be fake. Here are the first few lines of the wiki article on it:
“An accurate clock at rest with respect to one observer may be measured to tick at a different rate when compared to a second observer's own equally accurate clocks. This effect arises neither from technical aspects of the clocks nor from the fact that signals need time to propagate, but from the nature of spacetime itself.”
Wait, what? Well, basically…
“A case of time dilation in action is that astronauts return from missions on the International Space Station (ISS) having aged less than the mission control crew that remained on Earth. Such time dilation has been repeatedly demonstrated...for instance by small disparities in atomic clocks on Earth and in space, even though both clocks work perfectly (it is not a mechanical malfunction). The laws of nature are such that time itself (i.e. spacetime) will bend due to differences in either gravity or velocity—each of which affects time in different ways”
To put things simply, the closer you get to the speed of light, compared to someone else, the slower time is for you. This means you could literally travel on a rocket at close to the speed of light and you could come back to earth a year later (in your own time) and realize that about two million years actually passed there.
This is probably science’s way of telling us that if you are willing to move faster, time will slow down for you so you get to do more stuff. So if you’re interested in living longer and such, plan your days based on the digital watch. If you start to see time as an elastic concept, that’s when you realize you control time, and time doesn’t control you.
You can start to schedule more things into an already tight schedule, and get them done by slowing time down relative to you (read: moving faster). You’ll stop thinking you don’t have time for anything and wasting your life away on youtube and/or facebook.
You have more time and can do more things that you think or know you can do. So run along now, and start changing the world.
This week’s cake: