Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

If time doesn’t stretch, what does?

As I was designing my day, there was so much I wanted to accomplish this week and I don’t know how to fit it all. I wanted time to stretch, but how could I do it without defying the second law of thermodynamics?

“What stands in the way becomes the way.” (Marcus Aurelius)

The second law of thermodynamics says that entropy in a closed system increases over time. And, in the microscopic context, you can think of entropy as the amount of disorder in a system. Because of this, all processes transferring energy produce entropy, which means irreversibilities. And if processes move forward, time moves forward.

Time doesn’t shrink or stretch. Our perception of time does.

That is what stands in our way when the time isn’t enough for what we want to do. We often have a misleading perception of the time we need to do our tasks. But, with the right perception, we can improve our day-design. The challenge is finding the right perception.

I’m trying two things.

First, cease being afraid to let things unfinished.

”The best way is always to stop when you are going good and when you know what will happen next. If you do that every day (…) you will never be stuck.” (Ernest Hemingway)

Second, stretch the time assigned to tasks with uncertain outcomes demanding some creative thinking.

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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