How To

Want time to go faster? Change the way you look at the clock

You know the old saying, “time flies when you’re having fun”?

It’s not always the case, and you know it.  Sometimes time just drags on and on — but it’s really just an issue of mind over matter.  Time itself doesn’t change, it’s just your perception of it.

Countdown Timer
Countdown Timer

There’s an old children’s joke where you teach your local 5-year-old that they have 11 fingers:

  • “How many fingers do you think you have?”  (they’ll usually say “10”)  “Put them all out for me, let’s take a look…”
  • Look at one hand and say, “you think this one is number 10, right?  Okay… then you have 10, 9, 8, 7, 6 on this hand.   How many do you have on the other hand?”
  • They’ll say “five” if they know their numbers.
  • Quickly add the “five fingers on one hand” with the “six” fingers on the other.  What do you get?  Eleven fingers!  It’s a counting miracle!

Again, it’s all about the perception.  So what can you do to CHANGE THE PERCEPTION OF TIME?

Instead of counting how many seconds are going by numerically, starting at the number 1 (ie 1, 2, 3, 4, 5…)… you should count how many seconds are left to go by counting down from a target number, such as 100 (100, 99, 98, 97, 96, etc)

Research shows that counting DOWN from a given number gives the perception of time moving much, much faster than counting UP to that number.  Counting down gives the appearance of speeding up time, while counting up can make time go slower.

For some, this is why counting sheep tends to be relaxing by slowing down that time perception.