Some people are extremely adept at telling when intervals of time have passed or what time of day it is, while others find themselves losing track of entire hours. But if you weren't born with a finely honed sense of time, you can develop it. With the help of a handy tutorial at WikiHow and some free time you too can become a better judge of time. There are over half a dozen great tips in the tutorial, the following are tips that I inadvertently stumbled on while working the graveyard shift, a notorious time distorter:
Every time you think of it, guess to yourself what time it is. Check a clock or watch. Make a point of correcting yourself. Think or say to yourself something like "I thought it was 10:20, but it's actually 10:34. I was 14 minutes slow." This is your time sense gap.
When you work for 12 hours alone in a big building, you have a lot of time to play with the above guessing game. It sounds elementary but just like developing a gauge for anything else in life: distance walked, temperature outside, etc. having a measuring stick to gauge yourself against is critical.
When you start a task that has a specified time frame (like when cooking), set a timer for the upper end of the range given. For example, if you're to cook oatmeal for 3-5 minutes, set a timer for 5 minutes. Assign yourself the task of guessing when 3 or 4 minutes have passed. If you make a mistake, the timer will save you from having burnt oatmeal. But with practice, you'll develop a sense for how long to leave the oatmeal cooking, as many chefs learn to do with various dishes they cook often.
My graveyard shift was at a printer, which was filled with all sorts of things that had set intervals of time associated with them. The length of warm up, cool down, spool up, spool down, print time, finishing time, and so forth of all the machines became a constant reminder of time. It wasn't long before I'd find myself standing beside a machine mere seconds before it finished its run. Find things in your environment that have set intervals or use a timer to create your own intervals. Over a period of practice you'll find you can almost subconsciously determine the incremental spans of time. If you've got a handy trick for keeping track of time sans a stopwatch, share it in the comments below. Photo by laffy4k.