Time without clocks | Young Minimalist http://www.youngminimalist.uk/time-without-clocks/

Time without clocks

Can you imagine a day without time? No need to be here, or rush to get there. Just, here, now?

I recently got back from a rock climbing trip. Three days spent camping, climbing & contemplating. All spent between a cliff and the sea with 5 others, all friends from our University’s climbing society (apart from one, who’s an honorary member). From the moment we met till the moment we parted, there was never a mention of the time. We had spent three days together, and not once been concerned about it. It was a magical experience. Something we all noticed.

Changes come with spring

It’s that time of year again: the days are just getting longer, there’s a rainbow of blossom, the sun is higher in the sky, and everyone seems just a little bit happier. For those of us in the education system, this means one thing: exams & deadlines!! A time where we want to be outside, but force ourselves to be at a desk, trying to learn that equation off by heart (the one that you’ll never have to remember), or linking social theories together in order to create a somewhat coherent theoretical framework for an essay. Days getting longer generally means more time to revise.

Getting away

It was with this in mind that the 6 of us planned a trip away: the calm before the storm. We arrived at the Isle of Portland Monday afternoon, parked our cars and hit the crag. The sweet afternoon warmth touching our skin as we climbed on the limestone. Spending the afternoon climbing, and with the sun beginning to set, it was time to find a spot to camp. We wanted to be right by the crag when we woke up, and (as with most students) we don’t have much money, so we decided to wild camp.

Sun setting over the horizon from the Isle of Portland

We found a beautiful spot, protected from the wind by two boulders, looking out onto the sea, a safe distance away from the cliff. As the moon woke from its slumber, we had finished putting our tents up. We heated our pre-made pasta and had a few beers before hitting the hay. Happy to be resting our weary bodies. Eager for the next day.

Awaken by the sun, we crawled out, and were surprised by the awe of the view we had half seen the night before. Endless sea in front of us, beautiful rock to climb behind us! Unfazed by it being early or late; we had coffee, cereal bars and chocolate spread; packed our tents away and went for a full day’s climb. Only stopping once to satisfy our stomachs with a local pub lunch. The day seemed to last forever and it was the reddish hues in the sky that hinted to us that we are nearing the end. Not a clock, telling us the day is over. Nor the fact the library is closing due to the Easter break. This evening a camp fire was in order. The spot we had adopted as home, had obviously been someone else’s before. Stones indicating a fire place were already there, and we only had to add the wood.

There is something special about sitting with friends by a campfire. The warm glow in everyone’s face, seems to bring people closer together. Flames twist and dance in the darkness of the sky, unaware of themselves, completely free. The spectators of the dance are in turn engulfed by a blast of smoke – as if to wake them up from their trance. Time is lost in these moments.

The final day came, and what a glorious day it was. The wind had died down, the sun was turned up to 11. A few uni friends, who lived in the local area, joined us for (what I imagine was) the afternoon. We got another full day of climbing in, ate couscous for lunch, and, alas, it was time to head home. Loading up our gear, we made a quick trip to the pub for dinner again, and then headed homeward. A journey back, back to reality, back to responsibility, back to work. We had to un-press the pause button, and be controlled by time once more.

Timelessness in a timed world

Back home, the very next day, I was in front of my laptop, typing away at an application for a conference I want to attend. I was thinking about dates and deadlines. Where I have to be next weekend, when I’m going to go here and how to meet them, there. Catching up with everything I had left behind. I had completely lost the timelessness of the previous three days. Life, once again, was in hyper mode and my brain was loving the adrenaline and dopamine kick from it.

Simultaneously, I instantly missed the serenity I had felt sitting in a harness 20m up a cliff with the sun on my back and sea breeze in my hair. This was a sign. A sign to take back control. Finding the moments of timelessness in a day and cherishing them. Meditating in the mornings, when the air is fresh, the birds are chirping and my mind is clear. To be present in my work and in moments of joy.

My realisation is that we need time to forget about time, from time to time.Click To Tweet

So find moments in your day when you can loose track of time.

Add more time to your day | Young Minimalist http://www.youngminimalist.uk/add-time-life/

Add more time to your life

How does doing more of what you want to do sound? Need more time? All you got to do is find those things that add value to your life! Simple.

Deciding to live my life was the first big hurdle I had to get over when changing my lifestyle. It doesn’t sound difficult, but it does mean taking on a lot of responsibility. We tend to live on auto-pilot. We do things because we see other people doing them. Simple things like, having coffee in the morning. I mean if you think about it morning is the last point in the day we should drink coffee. We’ve just been sleeping. We should be rested and awake! But we do these things because they’ve become habits and it is incredibly difficult to break a habit, especially if it has a little buzz attached to it. These things are a waste of time, changing them will give you more!
So in wanting more time, I was forced to change my life. To become aware of my life. I basically had to analyse every part of my life to understand why I was doing things and if those activities were adding value to my life. In every day there are things we have to do and things we do. These are two very different sections and it is important to make a distinction between these.

Things we have to do

This is a pretty self-explanatory section, and I’m sure that I could give a reason for everything in this section within a second. Here are some examples:
  • Brushing my teeth every morning & evening – because I want to keep my teeth in my mouth.
  • Eating lunch – otherwise I will be hungry, malnourished, and have no energy for the rest of the day.
  • Do my daily exercise – so that I can keep to my goal of becoming a stronger rock climber. (This is actually a reminder to me now. Be right back!)
Right, where were we?
Oh yeah, the things we have to do are not always easy, happy, good things: ‘I have to go to work in order to pay the bills’. And there may be other similar non-exciting ones, if you do not enjoy cooking then that would come under this section.

Things we do

This section is a lot more difficult to pinpoint. The earlier coffee example fits under here. Everything in this section is something we do habitually. Our brains are designed to make life easier for ourselves, habits are one of those ways we make life easier:
  • Having your morning coffee
  • Turning on the radio in your car on the way to work
  • Checking Facebook after your alarm goes off
  • Putting the TV on whilst eating dinner
These activities don’t seem that bizarre, and their not, but why you do them may reveal something you did not realise. These are habits we’ve picked up from other people, the films we’ve watched and some may even be our own creations. What the issue is, is that they are taking up time in your day when you could be doing something you want to do!
How many people have said, ‘oh I wish I had more time in the day to do that thing I really want to do’ ?

Want more time? Do less!

To analyse my life, the first thing I did was to record my daily activities at the end of each day. I did this for a week. This can be split in many ways – you choose – I chose to log every time there was a significant change in either my location or a change in my purpose: I logged my morning routine, the journey into university, my lecture chunks, the breaks I had, lunch, any afternoon activities, sport, travel back home, dinner, pre-bed activities. Note the time spent doing them and the value those activities gave your day (scale of 1 – 10, 10 being high). ‘Value’ is either enjoyment or purpose, thus going to work would probably have a high score, but spending 20 minutes in the shower may not.
Once you’ve done this, give yourself some time (an hour should do) to go through your log and find all the activities that you did the previous week that scored 5 or lower. All these things are in the Things we do sector. There should be nothing scored 5 or below that we have to do, as everything we have to do should be adding value to our lives.
Now the hard part. Spend the next 2 weeks, not doing those things that scored 5 or below.
Be strict with yourself, but know that it doesn’t matter if you accidentally do do some of those things. You probably will, I know I did! The point of the activity is to bring awareness to your actions during the day. I would advise recording this time as well. It will allow you to see how much time you save. I was spending 90 minutes every weekday doing things I didn’t need to do! That’s a lot of time!
After this second week, relax a bit and see if any of those activities creep back in to your life? My guess is some might, but the majority will not. At the end of the month, you will have loads of time to start doing that thing you wanted to! But most importantly, you will have a significantly greater awareness of your day and the things you are doing. You’re on track to living your life!