Replied to The Chronovirus

For those of us lucky and healthy enough to stay home and isolate, what the virus really destroys is our sense of time. Days feel like weeks. Months feel like seconds.

I love how Ben Folds captures the current situation:

“It used to be ‘that song is so 2008’. Now it’s ‘ugh, that song is so 10am. What are you thinking? With that old song you old man?”

Virginia Trioli asked the question, what have you learned from living in lockdown? I have learnt that it is very difficult to do ‘deep work’ without a wife, especially when you are trying to work in a shared space. It can be easy to say you do not have the time, but I have found finding physical and mental space a bigger challenge.
Bookmarked What we get wrong about time (bbc.com)

Of course, although some physicists propose that time does not exist, time perception – our sense of time – does. This is why the evidence from physics is at odds with how life feels. Our shared idea of what the concept of “future” or “past” mean may not apply to everything everywhere in the Universe, but it does reflect the reality of our lives here on Earth.


Like the Newtonian idea of absolute time, however, our belief in how time works for humans can also be misleading. And there may be a better approach.

Claudia Hammond, the author of Time Warped: Unlocking The Secrets Of Time Perception, explores ideas of memory and time. It is often felt that memory is a library we can call upon whenever we like, however Hammond explains that we “forget far more than we remember”, instead every time we call upon a memory, we:

reconstruct the events in our mind and even change them to fit in with any new information that might have come to light.

The problems of memory is something Clive Thompson discusses this in his book Smarter Than You Think.

This continual revision of the past allows us to imagine the future.

The experience of time is actively created by our minds. Various factors are crucial to this construction of the perception of time – memory, concentration, emotion and the sense we have that time is somehow located in space. Our time perception roots us in our mental reality. Time is not only at the heart of the way we organise life, but the way we experience it … Instead of considering the past, present and future to be in a straight line, we can look on our memories as a resource to allow us to think of the future.

In regards to our sense of time going faster and slower, this comes back to questions of routine and novelty.

Some routine, of course, is unavoidable. But if you can create a life which feels both novel and entertaining in the present, the weeks and years will feel long in retrospect. Even varying your route to work can make a difference. The more memories you can create for yourself in everyday life, the longer your life will feel when you look back.

Liked T+S+R=W The necessary equation | John T. Unger (John T. Unger)

If you’re going to work in the arts, there are three things you must
have—Time, Space & Resources (Resources meaning materials and
tools, or the money to get them). You absolutely need all three and you
must have them simultaneously. In fact, this is probably true
regardless of what you’re trying to accomplish. Let’s do the math:

Time+Space+Resources=Work.

via Austin Kleon
Bookmarked It’s about time we inquired into time…. by Kath Murdoch

YOU HAVE 6 HOURS. A TYPICAL SCHOOL DAY. NOW IMAGINE THAT YOU CAN DECIDE HOW YOU WILL USE THAT TIME. NO SET CURRICULUM, NO BELLS, NO ‘MUST DOS’. YOUR ONLY GOAL IS TO DESIGN THE DAY IN A WAY THAT YOU THINK WILL PROVIDE A REALLY RICH, POWERFUL DAY OF LEARNING. WHAT MIGHT THAT DAY LOOK LIKE?

Kath Murdoch reflects on the challenge of time and priority. She provides a number of suggestions to support this process, including being mindful, being consiously calm, remember we all have 24 hours in a day, resist the urge to plan too much and know your curriculum. This reminded me of Seth Godin’s statement

“I didn’t have time.” This actually means, “it wasn’t important enough.” It wasn’t a high priority, fun, distracting, profitable or urgent enough to make it to the top of the list.

I was also left thinking about Tom Barrett’s discussion of innovation compression:

We need to lead with a deep appreciation for what is on people’s plates. We need to avoid innovation compression by clearing the way, closing existing programmes and providing people the resources they need to make things work.

I think that hexagonal planning can be useful in helping with this process.