You Gotta Beat The Clock !

This 1979 hit was way ahead of its time, a prelude to our tortured relationship with time and the clock. On almost any day you can come across more and more books and articles on the subject of being more productive, getting more done, managing time, coping with the stress of a busy life etc. Here's a recent example from Forbes;

Forbes - 15 Surprising Things Productive people Do Differently

I don't think any of the ideas in the article were new to me - they've all appeared elsewhere in some form or other. However, one of the things that struck me was that some of them actually seem to contradict each other when seen from the perspective of whether the effective answer is to speed up or to slow down.

Point 1, for example, seems to me like a recipe for anxiety levels that will ensure very little productive and certainly even less that is creative. To become so rigid about every minute of the day is to set up expectations that will always fail when you come up against the influence of others, or even the natural creative flow of ideas and thinking.

In contrast, ideas 2 and 5 are examples that could have come straight from the 'Slow Movement'. So, big doubts about this list as it seems to pull the reader in two opposing directions at once.

I've been thinking more and more about the idea of how we relate to time after reading 'In Praise of Slowness' by Carl Honore. Here's a TED talk he did on the subject:

Here’s a link to his website; Carl Honore – Writer and Speaker

It’s fairly easy to find copies of the book in PDF form online for download and well worth the read. Like him, I can see the ‘fun and excitement’ in fast, in doing things at pace and getting the thrill of speed. But, I can also see that somewhere, for many people this has become so skewed as to have potentially debilitating effects and actually reduce their ability to do their best work or live their life in the most meaningful and effective way. I’m particularly interested by what he has to say about slowing down in education and schooling.

Having read this book, I’m now more determined to make evaluative decisions about when i choose to go fast and when to slow down.


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