Continuing to look at how we view the time we are given, Step #3 is about controlling your perception of time. In Step #1, we discussed how to measure time correctly; and in Step #2, we looked at circumstances that affect our perception of time. So now, we need to identify ways that we can control our perception of time. That is – how can we speed it up or slow it down? So, the saying of “Time flies when you’re having fun” may not be true in all cases because we all have a different interpretation of “fun.” Scientists have already determined there are ways that we can manipulate our perception of time…to the extent of even conducting research on a new drug that will be able to alter our minds and our perception of time. I am not certain that I am ready or willing to go as far as popping a pill to modify my perception of time, but there are other ways I believe you may be able to accomplish the same goal without the induction of drugs into your system. So, take a look at these ideas:
- Do Something Outside – Taking a walk, going for a hike, swimming, etc. These allow you to breathe some fresh air (which is good for you too, by the way) and helps you escape from watching the clock. Being relaxed and focused on the scenery and environment around you will often tend to make time tick by rapidly.
- Talk on the Phone – Getting enthralled in a discussion with a family member or close friend will also make time go by quicker than you think.
- Read a Book or Watch Television – Depending on how focused you are on the book or television show, your perception of time could go either way here. The more in-depth and involved you are, the faster time will fly by; otherwise, it could slow to a snail’s pace.
- Listen to Music – Sometimes, listening to music will slow down the pace of time and allow you to truly relax and enjoy a moment. This activity tends to slow the pace of time down somewhat.
- Regulate Your Emotions – Research indicates that whenever we put forth an effort to try to suppress or enhance our emotions, then our perception of time is stretched out. This self-regulation of our emotions is one form of manipulation that can impact your perception of time.
All in all, we must remember that time is relative. Albert Einstein explained it best when he said, “Put your hand on a hot stove for a minute, and it seems like an hour. Sit with a pretty girl for an hour, and it seems like a minute. That’s relativity.” As a manager, if you can master the art of manipulating the perception of time – then a whole new paradigm will evolve related to productivity and organizational effectiveness. Check back later for the last step related to time management – learning how to expand our awareness of time. Have a great day!