Viewing Time from a Slowness Mindset


Seiko musical wall clock, Jakarta.
Image via Wikipedia

“Man measures time, and time measures man” – Italian proverb 

There are people who view time as exact, measured – that would be the paradigm in which I grew up.  “If you are on time you’re late.” Honore ‘s book “In Praise of Slowness” shares other views of time – mostly ways to “govern the clock, not be governed by it.”

The book is not an effort to do away with calendars and clocks. Rather it promotes being in and appreciating the moment rather than counting the moments. It is quality over quantity.

As a musician, I know music occurs in time and is time ordered. I have also experienced how being in the music can alter perceptions of time. What an amazing feeling that can be!  I have experienced similar feelings when visiting with friends or reading a book, the pleasure and the emotions of the moment structure it rather than time.

The author recommends seeking balance in our views on time. We need time measurements to know when we can approximately expect to board a plane or other form of communal transportation, yet we need to not be so locked into the time we rage when we are a minute or two later than expected. We need to find moments when time has less importance in the structure of our life.

Many years ago I stopped wearing a watch on the weekends I wasn’t at work. Now with my cell phone, I wear no watch. Rather I set alarms to alert me of can’t miss deadlines.  I use timers for tasks like baking, or to limit my time in the sun weeding, or to put constraints to internet use.

Here are a few questions to consider:

  1. Do you have tasks in which you lose a sense of time?
  2. What are some periods in which you could limit your ties to clocks?
  3. How could those be structured for you so as to not negatively impact your relations and life?

My next entry will be on slow exercise. Until then, share your thoughts on time in the comments below. If you don’t already do so, I challenge you to take off your watch for a portion of a day and see how it affects your view of various tasks.

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3 Replies to “Viewing Time from a Slowness Mindset”

  1. I use a timer for working on certain tasks, like writing reports or articles. My problem is that the timer goes off and I think “I can finish if I just do a few more seconds of work” and end up hyperfocusing on it for hours. I’ll have to check out that book…

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