“Im Zeitkrieg. Und der ganze Krieg war zeitlich begrenzt. Wie in einer Blase eingeschlossen. Es ist keine Blase, aber denken Sie nur an eine Blase.” - Martin Heidegger after his third flagon of Gutedel.
The narrative of the 2010s was the optimization of everything. Including our experience of time. In hustle culture, if you weren’t up at 4am meditating or heading down the gym then you were a loser. What everyone needed was another list of the "top seven productivity hacks of billionaires”. All this was assisted by what Foucault might have tweeted out as the “technologies of the chrono-self”. The calendar linked to the smart watch giving you real time feedback like disapproving, bitter parent rendered in silicon.
COVID changed that. All of sudden, many of us found ourselves with too much time and too little space and connection. We are only just starting to process those changes.
The productivity preachers are provoking a range of responses:
Oliver Burkeman’s Four Thousand Weeks
Jenny Odell’s Saving Time
Joseph Reagle’s Hacking Life
Brad Aeon’s research into time management
[Feel free to add your fave source here]
There is a revolt against optimization.
Doing a couple of sessions with EQ Labs (slides here) highlighted me for the shift that we are hearing in our public discussions of time and its discontents. Whose time is it? How best can we experience it? What should we do next?
Couldn’t get into 4000 weeks, I toughed it out for about 80 pages then decided that I didn’t have to finish it. I understood that I can’t do everything before I started so it felt like a book that would have been a really great blog post. What I want to know is two things; how to figure out what the right amount of time to commit to something is - sort of like applied optimal stopping theory, and how to be organised and organise things, I think everything we need is in those.