Unlocking the Secrets of Time: How to Create More of It
The concept of time is something that has fascinated humanity for thousands of years. From ancient civilizations to modern-day scientists, understanding and managing time has been a constant preoccupation. But where did the concept of time come from? And more importantly, how can we use this understanding to better manage our time in the present?
Linear Time - Short History
The earliest known civilization to have a concept of time was the ancient Egyptians. They were the first to divide the day into 24 hours, and they also had a calendar based on the cycles of the Nile river. However, their concept of time was closely tied to the cycles of nature and the gods, rather than the abstract, linear concept of time that we have today.
It wasn't until the ancient Greeks that the concept of time as we know it began to take shape. The Greek philosopher, Pythagoras, is credited with introducing the idea of time as a continuous, measurable quantity. He also introduced the concept of the "time cycle," which is the idea that time is cyclical and repeats itself. This idea was further developed by the Greek philosopher, Aristotle, who introduced the concept of "time as a number" and the idea that time is measurable and can be divided into smaller units.
The concept of time as a continuous, measurable quantity was further developed by the ancient Romans, who introduced the concept of hours, minutes, and seconds. However, it wasn't until the invention of the clock in the 14th century that the concept of time as we know it truly took shape. The clock, with its ability to measure time precisely and accurately, allowed for the development of industries and economies, as well as the organization of society as a whole.
Our Relationship With Time
But as our understanding of time has evolved, so too has our relationship with it. The fast pace of modern life and the constant demands of work and technology have made it increasingly difficult to manage our time effectively. We constantly wish that we could expand the 24h day so that we have more time to do stuff. We don’t have the healthiest relationship at the moment, as we keep trying to pressure & change what time is.
I’ve lured you in by saying in the title you are going to find out how to make more time, but you already knew that time is a limited resource. We can't create more time, but we can use it more efficiently if we improve our relationship with it.
Get better at using your time
Stop wishing the day was longer. Accept the way time works, and revise your agenda. Are you trying to do too much in a day or are you just not so good at prioritization? Today’s productivity culture makes us feel unworthy if we don’t accomplish a list of bullet points during the day, but we should step back from that guilt. Of course, you should prioritize your tasks and focus on the most important ones first, but don’t get too hung up if you don’t get to finish everything. Life happens, and just because it feels good to cross off some task from a list, doesn’t mean you’ve been productive.
Say “no” now and then, will you? Often, we find ourselves saying "yes" to every request or opportunity that comes our way, only to find ourselves overwhelmed and overbooked. By learning to say "no" to non-essential activities, we can free up time for the things that truly matter.
Work mindfully. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment and focusing on the task at hand, rather than getting lost in thoughts about the past or the future. Practice your focus and work without distractions. Give 100% no matter how dreadful the work is as long as you know it will get you where you need.
Walking-thinking-break. Taking regular breaks has been shown to increase productivity and reduce stress, but take it a step further and go out for a 10 min walk. At least once a day, after a task left you drained, or if you are at an impasse in your work go for a short walk. No phone, no music, no podcasts, or anything else. This is the time to get unfocused and let your thoughts get wild, which might make you find the answers to some of your problems.
The concept of time is something that has evolved over thousands of years, and our understanding of it continues to evolve in the present day. We will always try to master the time and do more than it allows, but we need to know when to stop as well. We are not machines, but beings who can both excel and be productive without burning up. You don’t need to plan every hour of your life, but you need to know where you want to get and how you want to feel. That will help you spend most of the time doing what matters to you.