We have five senses, and none of them is equipped to perceive time, so we do the best we can with the senses we have available. We saw last week how we organise time spatially – along lines, left and right, up or down.We use our vision to map the past, present and future, and orientate ourselves in that analogue space. Everyone does this a little bit differently, and some people even add extra features like colours.
There’s a drawback, though. We fool ourselves into thinking that we can actually manipulate time, and manage it, as if it really exists as a physical, external thing. So people focus on time-saving tips the same way as they do with space-saving tips. The key word is “organising” – in the same way you can go to Ikea and buy a nifty new “storage solution”, to get your stuff organised, you can buy an app or a technique that claims it will do the same thing for your time (without the Byzantine shopping rules).
Number one: buying storage solutions is dealing with the symptom, not the root cause. Instead of going to IKEA to find more ways to store and organise our stuff, we should get rid of it, or better still, not get the stuff in the first place. Similarly, the way you “de-clutter” your time demands isn’t by becoming a Zen master at organising them better. You have to throw stuff out – prune that to-do list so it only has three items. Prioritising is not having a long list of things to do and then putting them in the right order. It’s doing the necessary things, executing what you have to do, here and now.
Number two: time is a construct of our imagination. Time is psychological. It follows that the tools of choice should also be psychological; not an Allen key and self-assembly instructions. That’s why we talk about Time Intelligence – by which I mean training your mind to think smarter and treat time as a concept, rather than a thing. Then it becomes less of a struggle, you’re not battling against the clock. You’ve got time on your side.