The Perception Disconnection

Written by on November 1, 2015

Daylight Saving Time is done for 2015. Let the complaints begin.

Those of you who are the self-proclaimed late nighters among us hate this time of year. “Falling back” shifts that one hour of malleable American time back into morning, instead of evening, daylight. This makes me happy. Trying to get my day started in what still looks like the black of night is super-hard. I’d much rather have birds singing and rays peeking through my bedroom windows at 5am rather than 5pm, but I know I’m a vocal minority. And I also realize that my tendency toward procrastination has been doing me a grave disservice.

This past Saturday was the first time in forever when I had absolutely nothing on my schedule, which seemed like an awesome time to absorb an “extra hour.” My puppy and I had all the time in the world to play and nap, and extend our daily walk for several more blocks. I did housework. I watched TV. I even snuck out for a few hours to go see a movie and avoid trick-or-treaters. It was lovely. And I was able to process how phony and inefficient my usual frenzied mindstate makes me feel. One hour really isn’t enough to create that big of a difference in how I perceive my time and my productivity. Clearly, I’m doing my mind and body a huge disservice in the way that I plan and execute my usual schedule.

I have a friend named Nicole who is a dervish of productive activity, for which she is deeply admired by me and a bunch of other cool Penn-related people. She is gifted in several visual media. She sings and arranges. She dances salsa. She practices archery. She crochets. She is a martial artist. I can’t think of a single thing that she’s set her mind to learning in which she hasn’t developed some superior level of competency. It’s damned impressive. And we mere mortals are often prompted to say, “There aren’t enough hours in the day,” for us to be similarly accomplished. While I concede that Nicole is far more talented than most, the reality is that more of us could accomplish much more than we do if we just applied our time more productively. We think we can’t, so we don’t. We think we’re too busy, so we rarely reassess our mindset or our calendars to evaluate what distracts us from our higher selves. Perception is keeping us from having a more vivid reality.

This weekend has taught me a lot about what I want to do, and should be doing, with the time I have. Hours of daylight and travel time notwithstanding, I have much more time to attack my To Do list and hone new hobbies than I’ve given myself credit for. Nothing to it but to do it.

Not The Little Engine That Could, but The Little Engine Who Does.


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