This Time-Management Trick Changed My Whole Relationship With Time – The New York Times
By Dean Kissick
We waste hours keeping on going when our concentration’s long gone, caught in drowsy, drawn-out moments staring glumly at a screen, and not only when we’re supposed to be doing our jobs. Leisure time has also taken on a timeless, hypnotic quality lately. Everything our culture produces feels at once never-ending and meaningless — or perhaps meaningless because it’s never-ending. Movies explode into cinematic universes; series are designed to be binge-watched; every video, song, or podcast tips over and auto-plays another; social media scrolls toward infinity, and the news never stops broadcasting. An everlasting present expands around us in all directions, and it’s easy to get lost in there — all the more reason to set some boundaries.
Now that my breaks are short and fleeting, I think more carefully about what I’d like to do with them, and I’ve found it’s quite different from the unimaginative temptations I would otherwise default to (flopping on the sofa, scrolling on my phone, becoming annoyed). Instead, I’ll make a sandwich, do a quick French lesson, reply to a few texts, have a shower, go to the laundromat; and such humdrum activities, now that they’re restricted, have become sources of great pleasure.
During the lockdown, we were encouraged not to feel pressured into being productive. My alternative approach was to descend into a Pomodoro-fueled delirium of work, creativity, household chores, tasks I’ve been avoiding for years, self-betterment, and random undertakings from morning to night. I’ve found that tackling a range of tasks in short bursts keeps things interesting and provides a more rounded life. Variety is the sugar that helps the medicine go down; not the mirage of variety conjured by infinite scrolling content, by nearly a hundred different flavors of Oreos, but the genuine variety of pursuing different sorts of interests every day.
Last summer I took some mushrooms with a friend in her living room in Ridgewood, Queens, and she sat there in her white frock and kept saying, “It doesn’t matter, none of this matters,” then bursting into laughter. You could say that about pretty much anything, but I do accept her point. As mushrooms are for her, time-management techniques are for me a way of better understanding which things matter and which don’t. Psychedelics can make your surroundings look and feel strange, allowing you to encounter them anew again. They bring life’s absurdity and wonder to the fore. Similarly, time management makes time uncanny by revealing how it speeds up and slows down throughout the day, and how many different ways 25 minutes can feel; how one Pomodoro can be a clearheaded, lucid rapture that makes all activities gratifying, and another, a slow, monotonous drag crying out for a break, for a reviving stroll around the block.
The Pomodoro technique showed me how much of my experience of reality is tied up with my subjective perception of it. And it’s not an exaggeration to say that, by changing my relationship with and appreciation of time, the technique has brought me to some profound existential questions about whether I’m wasting my life — my fragile, fleeting life — on activities I neither care about nor enjoy. It has forced me to think about what I’d most like to be doing every day instead. It has made me see time afresh — as something we really don’t have enough of, as something precious precisely because it’s ephemeral.
This content was originally published here.