Where does time go when we lose track of it? You know, when we sit down “for a couple of minutes” and get so absorbed that when we glance up, an hour – or more – has passed without our noticing? And who puts on the brakes when time drags in the face of a mountain of postponed paperwork? The minutes don’t speed up or slow down, but we get the feeling they do.
This perception is what we at CereCore® Institute call emotional time. It doesn’t adhere neatly to seconds, minutes and hours. But it exerts extraordinary influence over our productivity, our creativity and the joy we find in our work.
Put Time on Your Side
The beauty in this fact of subjective perception is that it makes time an ally rather than an adversary. By acknowledging the power of emotional time – and where it comes from – we can begin to use that power to our advantage. Instead of fighting against time, trying to find more minutes, more hours, we can begin to invest our emotional energy creatively – and make the most of the time we have.
For example, one of the first things that playing with emotional time does is to change the perception that time is linear. The fact is we don’t always have to follow a set sequence.
The next time you’re working on a project, do the one or two obviously critical things first. But then bring emotional time into the equation. Decide the remaining sequence of events and tasks based on what you feel like doing next, and how much time each task requires. And then watch what happens – to your energy levels, to your productivity and to your time.
Sometimes our fight with time is really a fight with our To Do list. It may not be in the order that our brain likes. So change the emotional stakes. Change the order. You still get the tasks done – without feeling like you’re tied to the To Do list.
At the Institute we find that emotional engagement cannot be overestimated for nonlinear thinkers. The truth is, if we want action, we need emotion. Curiously, the secret to becoming emotionally engaged is to understand and leverage how we think.