Busy people have all remarked at one time or another that they need more than 24 hours in a day. Some say they need eight days in a week to accomplish all they have to do. Is this true for those people? The answer may fool you.
Homeostasis is a relatively new and obscure science. It is the study of the effect of time on man and on other living creatures. It is also the study of our perception and response to time. Some of the latest discoveries in this realm of science may not win a Nobel Prize, but they guarantee to fascinate even the dullest curiosity.
In one experiment people were placed deep in underground facilities where they had no way of knowing sunrise or sunset, and they had no clocks or any other means of telling time. After a brief period of disorientation, they all began to develop a routine of sleep, productivity, and recreation time that fell into a perfect twenty-four-hour period. Where did that come from? It seems that providence has placed a twenty-four-hour clock in the human psyche apart from external stimuli.
Another interesting fact has been uncovered through the science of homeostasis about our adaptations to time and climate. Put quite simply: man adapts to time first and always before any other natural influences. For example, man can live in extremes like cold or heat as long as the twenty-four-hour internal clock is working. Other species cannot do that. Some bears hibernate until winter has passed conversely there is a badger-like creature in the Northeast US that can’t stand the summer heat, so it hibernates until cooler weather returns.
When I was performing Celtic and American style folk music I loved a particular song called, You won’t Make Old Bones In it was one of the most intriguing lines I have ever heard. The young man sits and curses the time upon his hands the old man sits and curses times slipping sands Every time I sang this song I could hear echoes of my mother warning me about how time only seemed slow because I was young. She would always add that when I grew older time would fly so swiftly that I would be asking myself where it had gone. The line in the song is right, ma was right, and I’m still seeking answers to the reasons why this is true.
The feeling that time is short comes to me daily now, and I question whether I have time left to accomplish something worthwhile in my life. The Bible tells me that the days of our years are threescore years and ten. It says that should we make it over the seventy-year mark that it will still be filled with labor and sorrow. Psalm 90:10 I’m too old and well experienced to argue with the Bible at this point. I have plenty of proof to corroborate this scripture passage. Yet I see this fact as a very good thing, it is what gives me the ability to concentrate on what is good and differentiate more accurately about what is dross. Here is a key!
Perhaps the very best advice I have heard in my entire life about how to better handle time is this. Always make a distinction between the urgent and the important. The phone ringing, the knock on the door, three children all calling to you at the same time, this is urgent, but is it important?
This is not just another tip or piece of easy advice. If taken seriously you will see a positive effect immediately in your life. Whether you make mental notes about what you need to do daily or if you’re a corporate executive with a secretary to tell you what’s next, you need to take a hard look at your to-do list. With complete honesty sit down and remove every item that is only urgent and leave only those things that come under the heading of important, and you will feel a weight lifting as you do. The functional word here is honestly.
We are traveling through something we all recognize as time and space. In youth, we are mostly involved with the space aspect of life. Later in life, we all realize that our travels through time are far more important than we had ever thought. It is our consciousness of this traveling through time that raises some of life’s most important questions. Questions that have to do with quality of life, relationships, love, and true productivity.