There are and always will be (unless we change the way it is counted!) 60 seconds in a minute, 60 minutes in an hour and 24 hours in a day. We all have the same time to work with but use this very differently.
Work, socialising, family commitments, reading, travelling, creativity, life admin. We use our minutes very differently. And over time the precise balances and allocations of our time will change due to developments in our lives.
It has always fascinated me how the same portion of time can ‘feel’ so different. An hour, when spent with friends, can be gone almost immediately but spent in an exam hall facing an unknown question it can drag on…and on.
I think there are two interesting points about this. The first is routine. Most of us will have routines and habits that shape our days. When we always do the same thing, or do a thing in the same way, we start to switch off to it. We don’t notice anything on our commute to work any more, we stop tasting the same breakfast we always eat, we have the same conversations with the same people. Time goes by very quickly…unless we think about how much ‘time we have left’ on something and then it slows down!
The second interesting thing about this is awareness. Being aware of time slows it down. Either negatively (in the exam hall example) or positively (really savouring a moment in the sun, for example).
I think, to make the most of our lives, we need to stop ‘switching off’ to things and to become aware.
A great example is going away for a weekend. Isn’t it amazing how much you can do in one weekend when you are somewhere else? I think it’s because you are breaking your routine and becoming aware of everything around you…somehow you experience far more in that same portion of time.
It’s a good exercise to notice how your time is being spent. What are you ‘switched off’ to, when are you least aware…and can you try something different to make that time more fulfilling and to notice it more?
How does your time ‘feel’? We can’t realistically spend all of our time on things that we want to but small portions of richly-experienced time can enhance and uplift our lives. One way to start is by making some small changes to the necessary everyday routines. Something just different enough to make us notice them again and change how that time ‘feels’.