Someone asked me what was the best way of becoming aware of time. Some people have internal clocks – they can tell you what time it is even without a watch, they know exactly when to leave to get to a meeting without physical reminders and no matter what they are doing, they can remember appointments.
Most people aren’t wired that way. Becoming conscious of time takes a more physical approach.
Here are three ways to train yourself in becoming more aware of time, time intervals, and the amount of time it takes to accomplish tasks:
1. During the day, set your computer to remind you with sound of everything you do in a day. For instance, on your computer calendar, put in some recurring instances as well as current day’s tasks. This works for most people because it is tactile, audible and visual – the computer pops up a box telling you what to do at what time. It is one of the most effective ways to become conscious of time and time intervals and, now with PDAs, it works even better because at meetings or in other places or situations in which you find yourself during the day, your PDA will at least vibrate to let you know what time it is and a visual of the reminder.
Recurring tasks could include: 8:30 am – start work/answer emails; 9 am make calls; 10 am coffee break; 10:15 am project work; 12 noon lunch; 1 pm resume work/emails; 2:30 pm coffee break; 3:00 pm clear desk; 3:30 pm project work; 5 pm workout
2. Get a watch with an alarm on it and set it go off every 15 minutes or half hour until you can start predicting when the watch will go off and your internal clock has been established. This idea works for some people and for others, it just becomes a nuissance. Either way, a person becomes aware of minutes ticking away and what a time span feels like.
3. Set up time a series of small clocks in front of your computer or on your desk somewhere with a second hand or an electronic clock which reads hours, minutes and, if you can, seconds. Set each clock to a time in another country. For instance, if it is 3 pm in New York City where you live, then set one of the clocks to Los Angeles time which would be 6 pm. This is of course very useful if you are working for a multi-national corporation but it is also an interesting way to become conscious of time. It’s like a game in awareness. The added bonus with this one is that it can give you a mental break for a few seconds. For instance, let’s say you’d love to holiday in Switzerland, the Bahamas and China. Set the clocks for those time zones, put a label on each clock and you get to have a mini-vacation every day throughout the day when you look at them – a goal reminder perhaps and an incentive to keep looking at them instead of their fading into the background of everything else on your desk.
Try one of these ways for time awareness, time consumption, and to help build an internal clock when it comes to time. It just might help. Let me know how it works out for you.