It was over this weekend while spending several days in polar opposite locations/environments (in Las Vegas attending the Consumer Electronics Show for Unplggd) and yesterday at the tranquil tide pools of Leo Carillo State Park), where one of life's quandaries was answered. For all intents and purposes, I have rediscovered the youthful ability to slow down time and improve my time management...
As I sit here madly trying to meet editorial deadlines, answering a Noah's ark of emails, all the while trying to squeeze in a lunch, it is no wonder that my life passes by quicker than I would hope. But yesterday at the tide pools, focused singularly on one thing (exploring), 2 hours at the coast felt at least twice as long, with time stretching to a relaxing pace, and as the sunset into the ocean yesterday, it felt like a day had begun, not ended.
Amusingly, it was also in Las Vegas where I experienced a similar youthful sense of time, as I played with my good friend's 2 year old son and 5 year old daughters and remembered that life's most enjoyable moments come to us when we allow ourselves to play. Time's perceptual quality depends mostly upon how we decide to use it. Multi-task, and time whizzes quickly by. Spend an hour playing like a child, and life reforms into a youthful sense of moment-specific leisurely speed.
No, most of us, including myself, cannot afford to singularly focus on one task all day. But what I'm trying to now reincorporate into my life (and most notably today, Monday) is to take the time to relax, play, explore, focus on one thing at a time, and move alongside time, rather than trying to outrace it. Like the slowly ebbing tide I enjoyed yesterday, time has a rhythm we normally fight against. But by allowing ourselves to embody the mantra of "living in the moment", we're not only rewarded by a more relaxed state, but also a physically recharge that pays off throughout the day in noticeable productivity.
Seems ridiculously simple, but as adults we often forget to allow ourselves to focus on one thing at a time, and thus we feel the strains of pressure to finish everything all at once. My advice is to set aside time this week, whether it be for an hour or for a whole day, and to let everything go and revert to living your life as you once did. Not slumped in front of a TV or even napping, but observing, exploring and living each minute as if it actually mattered beyond a work deadline or the desire to be somewhere else. Make it a New Year's resolution.