Monday, April 5, 2010

The Metabolism of Time

As we each have bodies that consume food at different rates i.e. our bodily metabolisms, we too also have unique time-apportioned metabolisms. We “consume” time at different rates. And like the metabolic rate of diet, this metabolism of time can be fine-tuned and adjusted by virtue of our use of it.

I was struck recently to think that I’m a quick user of time; I tend to achieve results quickly but then also expect things to happen quicker than they might—you might relate. I tend to force the pace of life. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. I often have to restrain myself from extending into the bad.

If I don’t get feedback on something quickly, for instance, I’ve learned I often need to manually make allowances for this, otherwise I can appear impatient. By the time I get certain slower-in-coming feedback I’m usually “over” it. In the words of Australian vocalist, James Reyne, my ‘motor’s running way too fast’ a lot of the time.

It has literally bemused me for years that people tend to take their time with things I get right onto; this might also categorise me as an extrovert, a Type “A” personality, and even perhaps “foolish” in the biblical sense. But for the mistakes extroverts make in their boldness, they’re also action-oriented and they don’t suffer a lot from procrastination—if their nature forces itself on their mode of action.

The opposite rate of burning up time is the person who plods along, achieving less, but is overall demanding less of life (and hence too of others). For these, the peace default is at hand, supposedly. They achieve less, are less driven and are probably more stable.

These rates of metabolism probably explain the jobs and teams we get into in the workplace; we end up falling into a line of roughly-same time-apportioned people with metabolisms very similar to ours—if not, we both would become easily frustrated.

And what intrigues me most about this metabolism of time is time seems to be measured differently from one person to the next—the perception of time.

As each minute or hour passes we each might find different things to do with that time. I’m amazed, for instance, that the current Federal Opposition Leader has the time to train for an Ironman Triathlon, do his vast community work, and attend to his ‘day job.’ The fact that I marvel at someone who has extreme levels of fast time metabolism is poignant for me because that’s my focus.

How do you consume your time? Are you a go-getter or a take-your-time sort of person? There are, of course, advantages and disadvantages of each i.e. no right or wrong answer or approach. What would you like to be?

If there is a gap between your current and desired time metabolisms, how will you address it?

© 2010 S. J. Wickham.

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