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How To Make More Time By Changing Your Perception

Updated on October 10, 2014
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Yes, You Can Create Time

Is it possible to create more time? Yes, it is. Before you laugh and close this page, please read on.

What is time?

Time management must begin with considering what, exactly, is this thing called time. You can’t manage something unless you know what it is. Philosophers have been having a ball with the concept of time for a long, well, time. The Greek philosopher Parmenides believed that reality is timeless and never changes. Heraclitus, another Greek philosopher, believed that reality is a constant state of change.

Advantage Heraclitus. Here’s why. A working definition of time should be one that we can all live with. It can’t some theory that we cannot understand; rather, it should be grounded in a reality that we can easily conceive of. The issue, as a practical matter, is more a function of neurology or psychology than of metaphysics. So here is a common sense working definition: time is what we perceive as a constantly changing reality, where we remember what we perceived in the past, actually perceive what’s happening now, and imagine what will happen in the future based on our memories and perceptions.

To make the working definition even easier consider this: time is what we perceive it to be. That’s it; nothing really complicated. The main point is that we perceive time with our senses and mind, as a linear progression of events. So, is time perception? Yes, at least for this working definition.

Recently a group of scientists, using a particle accelerator, gave the scientific community a scare. They discovered that a subatomic particle called a neutrino can actually went faster than the speed of light. If this was correct it would mean that Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity encompassed in the formula E=MC² (energy = mass times the speed of light squared) was wrong, and if it’s wrong, all of our formulas describing the physical world for the last 100 years would have to be rewritten. It would have also meant that if the speed of light can be exceeded, then the possibility of going backward in time is possible, really screwing up our knowledge of this thing called time. Fortunately, subsequent experiments showed that the experiment was flawed, and E=MC² still rules the day. The scientific and philosophical debate is fascinating and fun, but it’s not going to help you to manage time.

Let’s stipulate that there are 365 days in a year, 24 hours in a day, and 60 minutes in an hour. That’s it; that’s all we get. Given the hard numbers, can we create more time? To do this you need to make the time longer, especially those minutes and hours. It’s all about perception.

If you’re heating something in the microwave for two minutes, it’s no big deal. The time flies by, and you’re ready to eat or drink what’s in the oven. On the other hand, the last minute of the Super Bowl, for both Giants and Patriots fans seemed to last an eternity. How about listening to a boring speaker for 20 minutes?

Think about these short increments of time and how your perception varies depending on your circumstances. You’re late for an important meeting, and the traffic light turns red. Although it may be red for only a minute, it seems to you like an hour. Perception. When you’re young, the summer seemed to go on forever. When you get older, it seems like you’re planting flowers one day and raking leaves the next. Time seems to go faster the older one gets. But does it really go faster? Remember 365 days a year, 24 hours in a day, and so on? It’s the same amount of time; we just perceive it differently depending on many different circumstances.

Manufacture Time by Changing Your Perception of it

No, you don’t have to buy into a new belief system; you don’t have to change your opinion of anything, including the concept of time; nor do you need to take anything on faith. What you need to do is take actions that will actually give you more time by shifting your perception . Now we’re talking time management. We can’t change the actual amount of time, but we can change how we perceive it. It’s not magic, maybe it is—but it works. You must identify those things that rob you of time—or screw up your perception of it, those things that make time management a never ending chore.

Time-Gnats© and How to Kill Them

Everybody hates gnats. They get in your hair, in your ear, fly up your nose, and the ones that miss you end up in your drink. At least mosquitoes let you know they’re coming. Gnats steal pleasure from you; they take a pleasant summer evening and turn you into a crazy person slapping your own face. Gnats are evil; they must die! Time-gnats must die, too. A time-gnat is a little beast that robs your time, just like regular gnats ruin your party. Let’s talk about time-gnats and learn how to kill them.

What is a time-gnat? A time-gnat is a sudden recollection of a chore that you need to do but have been putting off. It may be a phone call, a letter that needs writing, an e-mail that requires an answer, or any of those little things that we must do in life every day. Time-gnats don’t fly up your nose or into your ear—they enter your head directly. Often they are something unpleasant, something you put off because it’s disagreeable. But they can also be simple, mundane tasks that are easily deferred. Time gnats can make time management impossible.

Time-gnats slow you down by causing you to be vaguely aware of them, while time speeds by, thereby giving you the perception that you are running out of time, that you don’t have enough of it. Time gnats don’t find their way into your appointment book or to-do list because they don’t seem to be that important. That is the problem. That is what turns “something to do” into a time-gnat. So, instead of scheduling a time to handle the chore, you allow the gnat to stay in your head, buzzing around and screwing with your mind. A bunch of time-gnats in your head slows you down, actually steals time from you, and you can’t even identify the little bastards, but they are there, in your head.

Collectively, the gnats give you a sluggish feeling, causing you to say, “I know there’s something I’m supposed to do, but I can’t remember what.” A wonderful dramatic example of a time-gnat is in the movie It’s a Wonderful Life. Remember how every time George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart) walked upstairs in his house, the banister post would come off in his hand? Jimmy Stewart’s facial expression told you that a time-gnat just flew into his head. His face said, “I have to fix this one of these days.”

Okay. Here’s a biodegradable, environmentally sound, humane, and guaranteed way to kill time-gnats: write them down. Done, voila, dead as a doornail. You kill a time-gnat by writing it down. Here is the procedure: take an index card and write this across the top: Dead Gnat File. Index card are good because it’s easily placed in an appointment book or wallet. If you’re totally digital, make an electronic file for the same purpose. Many prefer to scribble things down on paper, especially Baby-Boomers. Now that you’ve killed off those time gnats flying around in your head, time management becomes a simpler task.

Recognize that many time-gnats are not very important, and that’s one of the reasons you allow them to buzz around in your head instead of killing them by writing them down. Read your Dead Gnat File at least once a week and—this is important—transfer any dead gnat that becomes important from your Dead Gnat File to your to-do list, and schedule it for handling. As you transfer the gnat to your to-do list, cross it off the Dead Gnat File.This, you will find, is fun. Also cross out any dead gnats that are no longer of any importance. If it becomes important in the future, that means it has come alive, and you have to kill it again by writing it down again.

Kill time-gnats immediately. When one enters your head, write it down. Enjoy the vast amount of time you just created—just by altering your perception.

Copyright © 2012 by Russell F. Moran

This article is excerpted from The APT Principle: The Business Plan That You Carry in Your Head by Russell F. Moran

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    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 3 years ago from Long Island, New York

      You're so right. Being totally in the present does shift the way you experience time. Thanks for reminding me about this great observation.

    • stuff4kids profile image

      Amanda Littlejohn 3 years ago

      Great Hub. Very wise and useful.

      I practice Zazen which is a form of mindfulness meditation. The formal practice involves sitting very still and quiet doing nothing - but the idea is that one should practice 'mindfulness' all the time as you go about your daily affairs. What that means is simply being totally present in the moment and concentrating simply and wholly on what you are doing. It does lead to a sense of timelessness. There is only now.

      Thanks for sharing. :D

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Ken. Kill those gnats!

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 4 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Even better reading it the second time around. Going to share it...

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Stephanie. Killing time gnats is a lifelong task for all of us.

    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 4 years ago from USA

      I always seem to have a flock of time gnats flying around in my head! I'm a notorious time waster, and I can see that writing them down would help immensely. Maybe I'd even put them on my to-do list and get them out of my life forever! Great article, voted up and shared with followers.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      This really does work Linda. Thanks for stopping by.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 4 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Danson. Hopefully this will free up some time for you to write more of your excellent hubs!

    • lindacee profile image

      lindacee 4 years ago from Arizona

      Ha! Russ, thank you for identifying time-gnats. I waste way too much time thinking about them. Can't wait to jot them down and reap the benefits of more productive time in the day!

    • dwachira profile image

      [ Danson Wachira ] 4 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Hi rfmoran,

      I had to hold my breath and sigh later about that subatomic particle discovery. I can't imagine human going backward in time. Interesting and useful. Voted up.

    • vespawoolf profile image

      vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

      I like your example of time gnats. I agree that procrastination makes it seem that we have less time. And it's true that "time flies when you're having fun". Hopefully, a perception of more time will make one feel less stressed, too! Well written Hub. Thanks!

    • Victoria Lynn profile image

      Victoria Lynn 4 years ago from Arkansas, USA

      This is a great idea! I have way too many time gnats, and perhaps using this method will help me utilize my time better. I love it! Many votes, including funny! Time-gnats!

    • suzzycue profile image

      Susan Britton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

      Great idea rfmoran to change our perception of time. I love to slow down time and the way I do it is to stop doing anything. I love when time goes slow on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks G. To the extent I put this into practice is the extent to which it works.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks LL. This stuff works.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      It's all perspective beingwell

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Alocsin. I think I'll try the sundae idea. If it works I'll add it to my hub!

    • GlstngRosePetals profile image

      GlstngRosePetals 5 years ago from Wouldn't You Like To Know

      Great hub and I have to say I'm definitely a procrastinator and some of the things said like I really need to get this or that fixed sounds like me. I think I'll take the advice in your article and use it. Thanks for sharing, very useful and I voted you up.

    • L.L. Woodard profile image

      L.L. Woodard 5 years ago from Oklahoma City

      Hmmm, I think you've got something here. For me, just the act of putting that irritating time gnat down on paper frees up my mind. And there's no sin in converting that gnat into a "to do," do it and get it done. No more feeling lazy or guilty about procrastinating.

      Great hub; voted up and Shared.

    • beingwell profile image

      beingwell 5 years ago from Bangkok

      Voted up and shared. Yes, yes... I do believe we can make time IF we want to. It depends on our perspectives and priorities in life. That's all. Right? :)

    • alocsin profile image

      alocsin 5 years ago from Orange County, CA

      What a novel take on the lack of time that everyone is so worried about. My solution on the time crunch is to eat a hot fudge sundae. It doesn't solve anything but does taste food! Voting this Up and Interesting.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Tamara. Here on Long Island there's nothing like a hurricane to cut down on one's TV time!

    • tamarawilhite profile image

      Tamara Wilhite 5 years ago from Fort Worth, Texas

      Good article, voted up. I've found more time by putting strict limits on activities like watching TV in the family, saying "Only for these two hours on the weekend."

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Ken. "Mr. Goodwrench" - I like that.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Ken. "Mr. Goodwrench" - I like that.

    • Kenja profile image

      Ken Taub 5 years ago from Long Island, NY

      Russ has become the master of eclectic, good-to-know info. He's the Mr. Goodwrench of the Hub. And he's the person who got me on to these Hub Pages, for which I am grateful... Kenja

    • kittykfree profile image

      Kitty K. Free 5 years ago

      Love the idea of killing the time gnats! I have a huge problem w/wasting time when I should be productive. I have many time gnats. Write them down then SMASH 'EM! Thanks for the perspective.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for your comments Judi

    • Judi Bee profile image

      Judith Hancock 5 years ago from UK

      Time gnats - must remember that! May be my head will be less busy when I strike them down with a pen.

    • Millionaire Tips profile image

      Shasta Matova 5 years ago from USA

      You know, this sounds like it will actually work! It is those time-gnats that make us feel that there is so much to do and not enough time to do it. Voted up.

    • watergeek profile image

      watergeek 5 years ago from Pasadena CA

      Too many time gnats give me a cold. Yup. A real, honest-to-goodness cold. A couple of years ago I recognized the connection and started watching for the symptoms. The minute I get that rundown feeling and anxiety about time, I stop all the important things I'm doing and set up a day to do the time gnats. Voila! Haven't had a cold since then.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Dan

    • profile image

      Dan 5 years ago

      Very illuminating! It would also be important to note that changing perception can completely alter and improve your reality. There is a complete article about it here: http://www.wonderfulsoul.com/blogs/18

    • JoanCA profile image

      JoanCA 5 years ago

      This is such a good hub. Time-gnats are a big problem for me. I keep putting off and thinking about so many things I have to do.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments

    • Surecome profile image

      Surecome 5 years ago

      What you wrote here is actually the truth. Everything is just a matter of perception and action. The result is our attitude in our interactions with worldwide.

      Great info here rfmoran

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thank you Beata.

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Great informative article:) Read it again...like to come back to good articles from time to time:)

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Jules.

    • Jools99 profile image

      Jools99 5 years ago from North-East UK

      rfmoran, what an interesting article - but of course, you're right - we can't manufacture more time but we can change our own perceptions of time to make it seem like we have more of it. I also like 'time gnats' - interesting concept!

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thanks Angela. Give it a try!

    • Angela Brummer profile image

      Angela Brummer 5 years ago from Lincoln, Nebraska

      Great informative and encouraging hub! I like your attitude!

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Great comments James.

    • profile image

      james-raterman 5 years ago

      What. Here is how you create free time. Learn how to become more efficient. If you put something in the microwave there are a hundred thousand things you could be doing in that two minutes. Change a load of laundry make a drink or a salad. The point is don't waste time. And the last minute of the super bowl takes so long because of timeouts and extended commercials during the Super Bowl. And why would we want that time to go any faster in that case. Here is a simple answer on how you don't have to worry about time gnats. Get things done quickly and efficiently. Don't put things off. Get multiple things done simultaneosly. Anything that takes up negligible time and isn't very important can usually be done in concurrence with something else. But you know what, after that there is still something that you need to use your time for. What ever it may be and the one thing you can be certain of is it will take time. Whether it be playing with your children, taking a nap or staring at the wall. Time is unflinching. It will keep going with or without us. So whether you live fast or you live slow time will catch up to you it always does.

    • Hurry and Habit profile image

      Hurry and Habit 5 years ago

      Thank you for sharing your comments about time! I really enjoy it! Of the many things we do during the day, or better we wish to do, at the end of the day there is that sense of what I call 'FF' or futile frustration and I ask: Where did it go? Time is so precious that it hurts when you see people wasting it!

    • Beata Stasak profile image

      Beata Stasak 5 years ago from Western Australia

      Thanks my fellow hubber, very useful, as you said: 'everything is perception' even the passing time is...I tend to do what I can, straight away so I don't need to think about it anymore...living in the present, without thinking about past or the future is so hard, but it is the only way we can 'live in time' without wasting it:) B

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Go for it Donna. It works.

    • Donna Stebbins profile image

      Donna Stebbins 5 years ago from New England

      Thanks for your article. I was just thinking about how fast time is slipping by me, today. I like the idea of time gnats. If it slows things down a bit to get those little buggers out of my head I would like that. In my profession I have month end work. Month end comes up quick and gives me a perception of time,where months and years just fly past me. I do remember when I was younger I found summer to linger. I would get extremely bored, I have not been bored in years. I will give the dead gnat file a try to hope I have the time to fit the once a week cleaning into my weekly stuff. :)

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Thank you so much for your dead-on accurate comment. I had actually read about the discovery of the error and meant to change the article (talk about a time-gnat!). I have now changed it thanks to your input.

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      sgsamgise 5 years ago

      Very useful hub, I think everyone has time-gnats, and depending on how many of them you have, or how big they are, they get people distracted or irritable, and if you don't get them out of your head, they become a cronic frustration. The idea of writing them down is very useful, I'll start with it right now.

      Just one thing: You should correct the part where you say Einstein's General Theory of Relativity is wrong, because neutrinos DON'T travel faster than the speed of light. Scientists discovered that there was a malfunction with the device they used to measure the speed, and after correcting it and double checking, it turned out that actually neutrinos travel at the speed of light. So fortunately we don't have to change all of our formulas describing the physical world and travelling back in time is still theoretically impossible.

    • rfmoran profile image
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      Russ Moran 5 years ago from Long Island, New York

      Just keep killin 'em!

    • crochet48 profile image

      crochet48 5 years ago from Southern New Mexico

      Thank you - right now, I'm working on a tiny desk, so the index card, it is! (Or the calendar function on my Android.)

      Love the description, "time-gnat." It's very apt and one I will be using.

    • ripplemaker profile image

      Michelle Simtoco 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

      Wow this is a fantastic way of creating time. But you are right about writing things down. I have been doing this and it helps me a lot.

      Congratulations on your Hubnuggets nomination! Allow me to lead you to the Hubnuggets hub this week http://pattyinglishms.hubpages.com/hubnuggets6/hub... read and vote!

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      kelleyward 5 years ago

      Thanks for providing this great resource. I now know what to call it when I get those time-gnats in my head. I wrote about time-boxing as a strategy to help increase time management and productivity. I will link this to my article! Voted up and useful!