Set a stopwatch not a timer


To be on time you must live in time

“If the government wanted people to drive safely, they’d mandate a spike in the middle of each steering wheel.”
–Gordon Tullock

A timer is a useful tool. A tripwire to slice an uncultivated field of time into patches of productive gardens. But they have a failing. In the gap between setting a timer and hearing it sound, it’s possible to lose your connection with the present moment. This is because a machine lets you abdicate a kind of awareness of time. To maintain deep presence try a stopwatch instead of timer.

When I’m cooking, or drawing, and (especially) writing, I use a stopwatch. There is no alarm to snap me out of my reverie. I must continually glance at an ever-ticking clock, and this Time Awareness keeps me in flow.

This flavor of awareness is the feeling when your connection is in two hours and your airplane is still in the clouds. Or when you’re obscenely early for an appointment, and there’s no place to sit. Your awareness of time thickens like mucus in your throat and it becomes the totality of your experience. It turns you into a Time Being.

“I think it’s important to have clearly defined goals in life, don’t you? Especially if you don’t have a lot of life left. Because if you don’t have clear goals, you might run out of time, and when the day comes, you’ll find yourself standing on the parapet of a tall building, or sitting on your bed with a bottle of pills in your hand, thinking, Shit! I blew it.”
A Tale for the Time Being

Instead of watching time pass from the passenger side window, Time Beings feel the pedals beneath their feet and can expand and contract any journey at will. No longer do the markers of time surprise you like rumble strips on a drowsy drive. On the contrary, time becomes an ever-present dagger in the center of your steering wheel, aimed at the source of your universe.