The new book “The Time Paradox” by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd is worth checking out because of one simple premise. Instead of trying to “manage” time (which you can’t do anyway because time can’t be managed), we need to understand how each of us “perceive” time. It’s not about time management, but the “psychology” of time. This really caught my attention because I understand the concept of perception from my work in branding. The genius idea that Zimbardo and Boyd have figured out is that
time isn’t the issue – how we perceive it really is. For example – it’s amazing how much someone can do with the “lost minutes” during your day. For instance, you have 15 minutes before an important meeting. Do you waste it sitting around waiting? Or do you update your to-do list, make a phone call, or something else short but important? The only problem with this thinking is when people don’t have an accurate idea of what can be accomplished in those 15 minutes, so they try to cram in much more – and then realize they’re late for the meeting.
My wife and I have radically different perceptions of time, and as a result, it’s been an area of conflict in our marriage. But now I know that we just look at time in different ways. I’m not being a jerk and neither is she – we just perceive the value of a specific time period differently.
I think this concept could revolutionize your relationships in your family and your business. Read the book, then work at getting an accurate idea of how you perceive time in contrast to how your family members or co-workers perceive it. In my personal case, I’m discovering that the perception of my team is sometimes dramatically different from me when it comes to our calendar and scheduling my time. How much “recovery time” do I need after a trip before we schedule another one? How many client visits can be squeezed into one day? How long will it take to finish editing that TV segment?
You’ll find that many conflicts, deadlines, expectations, and scheduling problems can be solved once everyone’s perceptions of time become more aligned.