Earlier this year, Twitpic CEO Steven Corona spent 30 days without social media. Now, he's given up time. That's right — no clocks, no watches, nothing digital. He shares what life is like with the sun as his guide.
Image via 3D Stock (Shutterstock).
Time. When broken down into minutes, hours, days, such small units over a lifetime, they don't really seem to exist. It's almost like a reality that we all subscribe to — existing only because we agreed it should. On the other hand, time is always marching forward. Infinite. Abrupt when divided into years, decades, centuries.
The only unit of time that matters is heartbeats. Even if the world were totally silent, even in a dark room covered in five layers of foam, you'd be able to count your own heartbeats. (Paul Ford, 10 Timeframes)
The smallest units, insignificant over a lifetime, are also the most stressful. The most frustrating. I was sick of it.
I Unsubscribed to the Clock
I dropped my watch right into the garbage. Shut off the glowing green-blue digital clocks that seem to piggyback on every appliance known to man — microwave, stove, VCR. The one in the corner of my computer screen? Gone. On my iPhone, I changed it to a random timezone so, technically, it still has a clock, but at quick glance? Almost useless.
The effects were immediate. The first few days were so confusing. I worked on my laptop all day, totally devoured and consumed by creating things. I had no idea whether it was 11am or 7pm, and didn't care — it was beautiful! I was able to really lose myself in a project without having a clock to constantly distract.
I learned how to read the sun — a skill that adapted on its own, so it was surprising when I caught myself turning to the window to figure out if I was done working for the day. I've tested myself and I'm pretty accurate, even with the season change.
Three Months Later
Though I've gotten used to the mental freedom, three months into it, the bigger changes are still sticking around. I'm less stressed. I don't worry about how long things take or even bother considering how long they should take. Over a lifetime, an extra couple of minutes here or there is a rounding error and a worthy price to pay for the benefits.
I'm no longer chained to the clock. I measure my life in heartbeats and years, the only significant units to me.
Full disclosure: I used the calendar on my phone to notify me before an appointment.
Living without time [Steven Corona]
Steve Corona is the CTO at Twitpic and author of Scaling PHP Applications.