Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

A simple tip to improve how your experience time

I don’t know about you, but most people I know complain about not having time.

They want to write but don’t have time. They would like to paint but don’t have time. They would like to go out and have fun but don’t have time. The words ”I don’t have time” seem to give a sense of responsibility to the things they must do, which demand the sacrifice of the things they would like to do. Also, frustration comes when people say ”I don’t have time” to the things they should do. We seem to have a problem with time.

About time…

If no one asks of me, I know; if I wish to explain to him who asks, I know not. (St. Augustine)

Time is not something we can explain, only experience. Many of us often experience Joker’s sentence in Tim Burton’s Batman, ”So much to do and so little time.” However, if we had the opposite – so much time and so little to do – we feel something is not right.

A sense of accomplishment comes from doing what we love in the time we have. There are things we must do, things we should do, and things we’d like to do. Doing what we love includes all of them, balanced in time, and that’s the challenge.

We don’t know what time is, but we experience time because of the flow of events in our life. Each event is connected to a past event and is the origin of the next. Experiencing the flow of time is experiencing the connections more than the events themselves. The problem is when we become distracted and miss the connections. The result is not knowing what is happening to our life, and everything seems a mess.

Focusing our attention in the present moment is being mindful of the connection between events. How can we improve this?

My experience started with designing my day. Each hour is a dot in time and what I have to work on, and do, connects these dots. It includes the three most important tasks of the day and all the things I must, should and like to do.

Designing my day, the day before, brings a greater awareness to the connection between today and tomorrow. And even if unexpected events change my day, I welcome them as novelty or contingency, because uncertainty is part of the flow of events connecting timely dots in our life.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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