I’m not a big fan of concepts like “time optimization” or “time management”. I’m terrible at both so I may be biased, but I don’t think you can manage time. At least not time as we know it, the one we measure in days, hours, minutes and seconds
What we can work on is our experience of time.
I believe it’s an essential difference because while days and hours are the same for everyone, its experience is unique.
So, what we are trying to optimize or manage is how we use the time.
Our energy, our attention, our presence are the ones on which we should focus. It’s an important distinction.
In their effort to understand how the brain processes space and time, a team led by Edward and May-Britt Moser discovered that our brain does not have an internal clock ticking measuring time in hours and minutes. Instead, our brain uses experiences and memories to track time. Our mind creates a subjective perception of time by organizing our continuous flow of experiences into a sequence of discrete memories.
Realizing this distinction between time and the experience of it has changed my way of working. Before I was trying to fit into existing models and technics for time management; dividing my day in chunks, creating structured todo list and plans, planning the whole day in advance and so on. It never worked, leaving me frustrated and with a great sense of failure.
How comes that so many people can do so much in a day while I feel I just waste most of my time?
One day, an incredibly productive friend wrote me a message. He asked me how I could do so many things at the same time?
It was a wake-up call; we all experience time differently.
I began to experiment, and I’m still doing it, with different ways to optimize my energy, attention, and presence during the day.