by Niall Doherty

“Always, time is bearing down on us, urging us to hurry up, do more, get organized. The clock is a giant admonisher, constantly ticking us off.” – Tom Hodgkinson

I didn’t have an alarm set this morning. Last night I decided to let myself sleep for as long as I wanted. I’ve been dragging a bit all week, feeling like I needed more rest.

I woke up much later than normal.

Usually, after getting out of bed, I do twenty minutes of yoga, following along with a YouTube video. This morning I decided to forgo the video and just practice yoga however I wanted, for as long as I wanted. I’d say I still ended up spending about twenty minutes on the mat.

After yoga I usually do twenty minutes of meditation, setting a countdown timer to let me know when I’m done. Today I went without the timer, just sitting and meditating for as long as I wanted to. I felt I sat there for longer than usual, and was better able to calm my mind and let go.

And now here I sit at my computer, typing all this up. I usually do an hour or so of work before breakfast, but today I’m waiting until I actually feel hungry and no longer feel like working. I hid the clock on the top right of my screen, so I’m not quite sure what time it is, or for how long I’ve been writing.

My relationship with time

This is the main question I’ve been asking myself lately: Am I slave to time?

These past few weeks, in the name of productivity and effectiveness, I’ve been scheduling lots of things for myself, setting deadlines, using countdown timers. I’m self-employed and completely autonomous, or am I? I’m no longer a slave to an organization or a weekly paycheck, but have I simply replaced those things with a clock on the wall?

Not that I think this time-bound perception of reality is evil. I think it’s necessary and advantageous in many ways. Kind of like owning material things: You don’t want to own so much that you become a slave to your possessions, but you don’t want to go too far the other way either or you’ll end up naked in the woods foraging for berries.

I want to explore my relationship with time. Today is just a mini-experiment, but I intend to try living independent of time for longer when I move to Spain.

What if I spent several weeks paying no attention to time? Would I eventually lose track of what day it was? Would that matter? What if I sleep only when I feel tired, get up only when I feel rested, eat only when I feel hungry, work only when I feel like working?

How far could I take it? Where would I cross the line? What would I learn?

What’s your relationship to time?

Do you consider yourself a slave to time? Why or why not? As you can see, I have no answers or conclusions, just a bunch of questions. Your feedback is appreciated.

No rush though, take your time 😉