Compression of time

This is a thought provoking article about how people manage time, literally. It is reproduced in its entity from a network time systems provider http://www.symmetricom.com .

In the past 50 years, time compression has driven many of the changes people make to their lifestyles. Instead of planning things ahead of time, we often wait until the last minute to send an e-mail, ship an overnight package or eat dinner – simply because we know these things can be done faster than ever before.

Compression of time has constantly evolved in the last century with the help of technologies that accelerate how fast we do things and eliminate the barriers of distance between people. This includes communication technologies such as telephones, cell phones, fax machines, wireless devices and the Internet as well as transportation technologies such as cars and jet airplanes. And let’s not forget how much faster we can eat and drink thanks to microwave ovens, fast-food restaurants and coffee shops that seem to be on every city corner.

Economics is an area in which compression of time has perhaps had the most significant recent impact. Computers now closely watch stocks to ensure investors can buy or sell the moment a critical price level is reached. Investors react to financial and world news so fast that the stock market can take multiple wide swings within a single day. Trades involving millions of dollars now occur within milliseconds, and if your broker’s computer system can’t compress time as fast as the competition you might not get the best price on a major stock transaction.

Much of the way in which time has been compressed has generated positive outcomes, but time compression has also moved beyond our business lives so as to impact our personal lives – and not always for the better. Laptop computers, high-speed cable connections and wireless Internet compel us to work around the clock no matter where we are. We can be contacted by anyone at any time via our cell phone, pager or e-mail address. And even if we don’t personally yield to the technology, we get caught in the rush of other people that operate at a frenetic pace using the technology. They simply drag us along – sometimes to the point where, sadly, we work even during vacations.

Future lifestyles will likely continue to emphasize time and convenience, and the compression of time via new technologies will not slow down. It’s up to us to create breathing space within our own business and personal lives. The key is to not only practice time management but to also make time for yourself. It’s not important to be busy all the time, even though it can be an obsession that many of us feel compelled to follow.

To battle this trend, find some time each day for quiet time – even it’s for just 10 minutes. It helps recharge the batteries and clear the mind so you can deal with the external pressures that inevitably come from the compression of time in our day and age. It’s also gives you time to think, prioritize what matters most and put first things first. By taking this approach, in a sense you can actually decompress time, which might be the key to a long, healthy life.

Leave a Reply