time to stop

Class 8:00-9:45. Email respondents 9:55-10:30. Haircut 11:00-12:00. Lunch with Riley 12:15-12:59. Arrive at work 1:00-…

“Time flies like an arrow; fruit flies like a banana.” -Groucho Marx

Do we lose a surplus of this valuable resource by tracking it so religiously?

In 1972, a game-changing piece of technology came into play that shifted the paradigm. Hamilton Watch Company presented the first iteration of Pulsar digital watches to a market that had worn only traditional (analog) clock faces. Before digital, we operated on a “flexible” system that incorporated time measurements like half-past five or quarter-to four rounding minutia. More laid-back business and social expectations characterized a western culture that was not yet defined by attitudes of the hustle, burn-out or “the rat race”.

A speaker I once heard challenged his audience to hold their phones, set their timers to one minute, and close their eyes when they started the timer. He asked us to try and preempt the timer going off by the lowest possible amount- using our internal clocks to get as close to 59.99 seconds as we could.

Nearly every person had undershot the minute by 15-25 seconds, believing a minute to be 20-35% shorter than it actually is.

When we track time, we lose it. When we live life, we gain it.

Author: Ben Fridge


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