Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Time - Using time - For yourself - To simply feel good.

Such a small word and yet a big word at the same time!
What is time? Is it infinite? Is it just the moment I experience?
Time is a constant. No, time is relative.

Many great minds have tried to define time. I will not try to do this here.
There is a good definition on Wikipedia:

But I do notice that a lot of proverbs use it and in the daily speech the term "time" is being used too. And often they are contradicting.
Some examples:
Take your time; there's no time to loose; find (enough) time (to do something); time is money; you have all the time of the world; spending quality time; it's a waste of time; time well spent; running out of time; time will heal; time will tell; (my) time is limited; time is endless; at the beginning of time (oh - this would be the beginning of a philosophic dispute like the beginning of the universe one).
It's as if time has a specific value; and actually different ones.
1) It can be measured. That's why we have calenders, clocks, timetables and such.
2) It has worth (i.e. "time is money"). But you can't buy time like you can buy bread.
3) It has quality (i.e. "time well spent"). Seems there is "bad" time and "good" time.
And then there is also the feeling of the passage of time. For one person time goes by fast, for the other the same amount of time is passing too slow.
The last are very subjective definitions of time. Everyone experiences these different and gives them different importance. These make time rather "relative", while the measurable time is a "constant". (If it is, I think, is still not as certain as scientists tell you - see "spacetime" and "quantumtime".)

These are just some thoughts about time.

Now let's move on to "using" your time:
Mostly people feel that they do not have enough time. They would like to do so many things and they feel their time is too limited. This is referring to the "free" time - time that is not already "blocked" by necessary and not changeable usage of time.

So let's look at what we know:
The day has 24 hours.
Of these around 8 are spent sleeping.
Then more time is used for eating, washing, cleaning up around you (some people omit this part), taking care of children or elderly in the household or what else is needed i.e. shopping.
Working to earn a living takes up quite a lot of time too (and getting there and back, including waiting times on the way); unless of course you are one of the few very fortunate persons that have gotten a lot of money to spent from others (like generous parents or a big inheritance or a win in a lottery with a big amount).
A survey on the usage of time was made for Europe (February 2005), that is available online:

Let's assume then that you have about 4 to 5 hours a day that are not "planned" for any of these tasks mentioned above. That is what I call "free" time. Now I know quite a lot of people that use this free time to watch TV or go out on parties (with lots of drinking and eating - that would reduce the time they need for it on the "fixed" parts, leaving them more for partying ;) ).

Some use this "free" time for further learning (I add this to "free" time when it is not learning for a job to earn a living). To broaden their horizon out of personal interest. Some (and this is getting a rather big part of the populace) use their free time to be online - either just serving the net or gaming or, like I do it too, to connect with others around the globe.

Whatever you do with that bit of "free" time you have, if you feel that you are "running out of time" and just don't have enough, maybe it's because you don't use your time well.
There are a lot of guidelines and helpful (or not so helpful aids) in book form or online about this. I don't think I will add more to that - no "should do's" and  "should not do's".
Just a few thoughts or questions that I ask myself when I feel I don't have enough time for the things I want to do:
a) Am I "wasting" my time during the necessary usage of the day time by not being as organized or not as fast as I could be? Maybe because I don't like doing those things?
b) Am I rested enough so I can concentrate well on what I want to do? From own experience I know that when not having regenerated (well) enough, I can't concentrate well and distract myself by doing other "easier" (sometimes even mindless) things instead of the "project" that I'm doing at the moment.
c) Did I choose to do this? Or did someone "suggest" it to me and out of "obligation" I do it - for them more than for me?
d) Do I truly want to do it? Is my heart fully behind this "project"?
e) Do I have the feeling that there are some other things that are more "worth" to do (right now or at all) and this "project" is actually a "waste of time"? Do I find it worthwhile doing or am I doing this just because there is nothing else to do (= feeling bored)?
f) Am I multitasking similar things that are better done one after the other? Is manual "work" slowing me down on "mind" work or vice versa?

As a summary, I can say that there is always enough time to do the things you really want to do, that you enjoy doing and that give you satisfaction. If you feel you need a workout - then just "take the time" and DO IT. Afterwards, having satisfied this "need" (or urge to do it) you will feel at peace with yourself and have the "power" to go on with what might not be as satisfactory to you right now or doing routine tasks.
If the persons around you think (and tell you) that you are wasting your time with what you are doing - it is their point of view (well, sometimes it could be yours as well - see above thoughts), let them have it. They just have different "values" of how to use time.
Time, used by you, is relative. Use it well.

For this entry I used quite a lot of my time - and I enjoyed it. It might not be complete.
If you have additional ideas about this topic (using your "free" time) feel free to add them as comment.

Finally a painting that to me resembles "time" rather well:
Salvador Dali - Die weichenn Uhren / Soft Watches


  1. Time is precious. Use it wisely :)

    Good article. Thank you

    Kay Murky