HOW WE SPEND TIME

How do we use time from the morning when we get up till bedtime?

The question is simple in its response by tallying all the activities from daily routine to daily grind with occasional or regular breaks of recreation and entertainment. Work, study, walk and exercise, eat and sleep, and the everyday chores, etc., make a sequence that confirms the logistic of the schedule.

Laundering, washing, cleaning, surfing the internet or the waves, travelling, trekking, etc., are all time-consuming hustles.

These constitute physical activities linked to our health, families, friends, society’s needs, interests, obligations, and imperatives.

Promod Puri: the author

Time is a valuable but limited resource, only 24 hours. Out of it, we reserve a big chunk, 33 percent, on sleep during our lifespans.

Time-use in the real sense is a commitment toward social, economic, and other issues and affairs.

But “doing nothing,” an expression we often hear, also gets a cut from time.

Perhaps, some bliss in this leisure non-act. “There is never enough time to do all the nothings” carries some ideology as time, if one enjoys wasting, is not a wasted time.  

Time for “doing nothing” differs from “killing time.”

The latter is a tool to slay time by doing an aimless or dull activity like waiting at the airport when the flight gets delayed. Here, the time does not fly but seems quite stretched out.

 Still, time flows with activity.

When there is no physical activity, time grabs something from the thoughts generated in our mental faculties. It gets itself wrapped in all kinds of thinking originating from the realm of our cognitive senses. Mental productivity presents logical or illogical ideas or opinions, taking our time or wasting our time.

The topics of thought are varied, from old memories to relations with family, friends and foes, concerns or worries, bliss and joys, or just the simple pleasure of gossiping. Talking about other people’s lives, behaviour, and temperament, good and evil (in their absence) offers the social indulgence that people find the time to get pleasure from it.

Also, in the time-consuming non-physical exercise are engagements and discussions on serious and trendy topics that are political, economic, social, or religious.

Altogether, time moves in the company of both physical and mental doings. To be precise, time gets divided between the two.  

The physical body can take a break when shifting from one activity to another. But the brain does not, being busy all the time. It invariably works. If it rests, it is dead. Close to 100 billion neuron cells are active in receiving and delivering messages, communicating with each other, creating and dispensing thoughts that the cerebral part of the body is a nonstop multi-tasking workshop triggering actions in the time module.

The brainwork goes while “doing nothing” or in the physical sense of dictating to do something in the environmental world.

Physical activities get considered obligatory as per our demands and urgencies. The mental deliveries of thoughts, ideas, opinions, reflections, or reasonings get channelized as how we use time or waste time in useful or wasteful thinking.

Meditation also takes time. But here, it does not bind itself with thought. The meditator tries to empty the brain without thought, retain a mantra or just an object of focus. The exercise seeks routes to halt thought production. Or it simply ignores the traffic of thinking to let it flow in and out smoothly.

Thought, task and time go together.

Thought itself is a task to devote or spend meaningful time in the personal company of self. After all, studying self or knowing the psychology of ‘I’ is worth spending some time.

by Promod Puri

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