Sunday, December 6, 2009

A Matter of Time

Persistence of Memory, Salvador Dali
Time has become somewhat of an issue with me lately.  To put it bluntly, I've been very stressed out about it, or, more specifically, about a lack of it.  When I'm doing anything, particularly artwork, I feel guilty about the 400 other things I should be doing.  A lot of these things just don't get done.  For example:

Cleaning the house - I mean really, doesn't it just get dirty again almost immediately?  There's practically no reward in it whatsoever!  Yet it must be done- again and again and again.

Cooking - The same thing only worse.  It takes at least four times as long to cook something as it does to eat it.  Then you have to clean it up!  

Errands - Do I really need to go to the post office, get the car washed, or buy laundry detergent?  I'm willing to bet no one ever died from not doing any of those things.  Which reminds me-

Laundry - Ugh!  Can't I just throw the dirty clothes away and buy new ones?  No, wait, which takes less time, washing clothes or going shopping?  Maybe I could just order them online, yeh, that might work... but it would be awfully expensive.  I'd have to get a second job, but then I'd have even less time to do what I want.  Aaaaaaaaaghh!!

Of course, the things listed above are only the proverbial tip of the iceberg.  I think you can see my problem.  I just can't seem to find much time to make art.  It can literally take me days to do a blog post!   And the business side of it, well, forget it!  I have to choose- I can do art, or do the business, but not both.  Without the art, business is beside the point, and the art without trying to sell it is...well, not getting me any closer to doing it full time.

All of this results in me feeling pressured and nervous, always fretting about something I don't have time to do.  Not very Zen, eh?  So, since I can't get this time thing off my mind, I thought I'd use my blog to do a little exploration of time.  I mean, what is it, actually?  Why does time seem to zip by when we're doing something we enjoy, but crawl so slowly when we're, say, sitting through a boring class, or waiting in line?

Salvador Dali

Timothy Ferriss,  Four-Hour-A-Week Entrepreneur, states: "Conceptually, time is the framework that allows us to put experience on a continuum. Practically, time is a non-renewable resource that determines the redeemable value of almost all renewable resources on a personal level. Income, for example, cannot be traded for experience without the requisite hours or minutes. Time is the master limiting factor."  

Oh yeah, I hear that, Timothy!

 Nude Descending a Staircase,  Marcel Duchamp

"Time is the fourth dimension. The passage of time is an illusion."We have this illusion of a changing, three-dimensional world, even though nothing changes in the four-dimensional union of space and time of Einstein's relativity theory."If life were a movie, physical reality would be the entire DVD: Future and past frames exist just as much as the present one."   - Max Tegmark, Cosmologist. (MIT)

I like this idea better, but how do I make this work for me?  If all moments exist at once, why can't I just move to another spot on the DVD?   Maybe Carl Sagan can help me out:

Okay, I'm not so sure that was helpful, but I do love Carl Sagan!  I think I'll have to continue my time exploration later, because, yes...I'm out of time.


  1. well,... here is how I do it. I command time by saying time stretches as I need it to. I stopped complaining about not having enough and I also stopped worrying about the blasted dust bunnies! the other thing I do is try to release expectations...I do those things that are MOST important, and the others I said goodbye to long ago.
    I plan my days far more realistically and I have a lot more fun... ok ... blah blah blah!! any questions??? LOL!!!

  2. Love Dali's work!!
    Sharmon.... I can relate my friend. I haven't even bought one Christmas gift or put up decorations because I've got so many things on my plate.
    I like La Dolce Vita's plan.... I may have to do that!!

  3. I love this Sharmon !! and I smile at the TIME it took for you to put this entry's a fabulous post.
    Funny thing I JUST finished reading a very cool book by Jacob Needleman titled Time and the Soul.
    It has a most intriguing premise...check it out ...if you have the TIME :-)

  4. I'm right there with you Sharmon! Time can be your friend and your enemy. And those tasks....ugh.

    The only thing that has helped me lately is to make use of small increments of 15 - 20 minute segments. If I get longer stretches, I'm in heaven, but I don't count on those.

    You'll get a handle on it, I just know it! :)

  5. Hey Sharmon - I am continually amazed at your faithfulness to keep this blog current and as varied as it is. Of the fifty-some blogs I follow, this one is the most prolific and always interesting. Thanks also for this post/thread.

    One technique I've been excited about lately is the Pomodoro Technique (, which encourages you to break up you work sessions along the lines that Kathleen suggested above. There's a book there in PDF form that goes over the technique in detail, and I was intrigued how it teaches you to focus for brief periods (25 minutes). At first I was worried about putting my muse on a timeclock, but I have found that I get more creative, quality stuff done ("progress") when I can narrow my focus/worries to the task at hand, and make time work for me. Hope this helps.

  6. Thanks Kathleen, but I can't believe you struggle with time issues- you seem to get more done than any 12 other people I know! You must be a whirlwind of energy! I agree, though, with using all those little snippets of time as you can.

    Don, thanks for visiting, and for the lovely compliment about my blog. I have heard of the Pomodoro Technique; I'll have to explore it further.

  7.'ve enjoyed both posts on time, thanks Sharmon. I'm with you on the house chores issue .... again and again and again. I havn't really got a solution except to allot , say, 10 minutes to work in the kitchen and in that time I'm a whirling dervish doing as much as I possibly can as quickly as possible. When the 10 minutes is up I'm out of there!Quite amazing how much can be done...... and how quickly it can be undone by someone other than yourself.

  8. Not sure how got up there :-)


Thank you for taking the time to share your thoughts with me. I'm happy to reply here, but may not always have time for individual emails.