Think outside the box and the concept of time

Working and studying full time obviously turned me into very busy bee… Extremely heavy work-load made me think more about how to use my time efficiently and the time in general. I’d like to talk a little about the different concepts of time and how they shape our lifestyle.

There is only this many hours in a day so I have to be productive, but I also need time to rest, be lazy and just recoup my energy. I’ve noticed that I do so many things simultaneously what made me think about the synchronic time perception. We believe in saying that when you’re doing too many things at once you end up not achieving anything. Indeed, it is true but only in certain cultures…

I was first introduced to different concepts of time over 15 years ago by one of my professors at University of Lodz in Poland. I was truly amazed by the fact that people in various cultures view time in so many different ways and how these approaches relate to human beings and their life.

There are three different approaches to time:

  1. Linear – monochromic view, people tend to preform one activity at the time, time is viewed as commodity which should not be wasted. People focus on the future and the schedules are very important. (common in Anglo-Saxon, Germanic and Scandinavian cultures).
  2. Flexible – synchronic view, where time is flexible, and people can control it. Multitasking is the rule in this approach.  People focus on the relationships, the present and they are not so strict about the time measurement (common among Southern Europeans and in Southern America).
  3. Cyclical – in contrast to the two described above this approach believes that human being is not able to control time and must adjust to it. This approach views time as cyclical and repetitive where the cycle of life controls people and they have to live in harmony with this cycle as well as the cycle of the nature. It focuses on the past and the connections. (common among Asian, African and Native-American cultures).

Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the time and I truly start understanding better the concept of cyclical time. I agree with the cycle of nature where we have seasons, the cycle of life where you believe in reincarnation, the repetitiveness of the day and night. In my opinion this approach is more positive where you focus on the continuum while according to the linear approach an order of things has its beginning and the end.

In fact, the end can be a beginning of something new and better. Chronos – god of sequential time may put some pressure on us but truly when we think about the time in a broader perspective we may find the approach which suits us better and with which we may identify ourselves better. Therefore, let’s think outside the box and figure out what is your approach to time?

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