Monday, May 30, 2011

Awareness

Ben Casnocha links to Steven Johnson's post about deciding to move to the Bay Area:
And then there's the passage of time. Another old friend -- my oldest, in fact -- wrote an email to me after I told him the news of our move. We've both been in New York for two decades, and we are both watching our kids growing up at lightning speed. "Change like this slows down time," he wrote. When you're in your routine, frequenting the same old haunts, time seems to accelerate -- was it just four years ago that our youngest son was born? But all the complexities of moving -- figuring out where to live, getting there, and then navigating all the new realities of the changed environment -- means that the minutes and hours that once passed as a kind of background process, the rote memory of knowing your place, suddenly are thrust into your conscious awareness. You have to figure it out, and figuring things out makes you aware of the passing days and months more acutely. You get disoriented, or at least you have to think for a while before you can be properly oriented again.
I notice the same thing while traveling - perhaps it's also because you're acutely aware of how long you've been gone and how long until you go back.
Two weeks ago I mentioned the book 168 Hours - one of the things the author suggests is creating a log of how your time is spent over the course of a week. I've noticed (and others have too) that the simple exercise of recording the time, never mind any analysis of it, immediately makes you improve the way you're spending your time. Similarly, when people are tyring to lose weight, they're encouraged to write down everything they eat - which also on its own makes people eat less and healthier.
Justin Wehr writes about converting years into days:
It's interesting to me how a simple transformation (e.g. from years to days) can change my perspective. For example, if you are lucky enough to live until your 82nd birthday, you live not quite 30,000 days (10,000 of which are spent sleeping). Somehow '30,000 days' (or '4,286 weeks' or '984 months') makes time feel more precious than '82 years'.
I noticed the same thing converting my age.

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Here is another post about a previous attempt at recording all my time.

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