Why Effective Time Management Needs Albert Einstein
by Jonathon Keats
September 7, 2013, 12:00 AM
Time management is eternally popular. Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek is a bestseller. Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has sold more than 25 million copies. If Benjamin Franklin were alive today, he’d probably make a good living delivering keynote speeches. But time management has always really been a euphemism for discipline, whether imposed by corporate mandate or insinuated through the American work ethic. It’s a psychological trick. That’s why I’m developing new systems to manage time itself.
The essential scientific principles have been in place for a century, ever since Albert Einstein developed his theory of relativity. According to relativity, spacetime is the four-dimensional fabric of the universe, and that fabric is warped by gravity. The greater the warping by a massive object such as a star or planet, the more time dilates: A clock on Earth will run slow relative to a clock in the vacuum of space. The same is true of a clock subjected to centripetal force, which is mathematically equivalent to gravity. The faster it’s spun inside a centrifuge or on a merry-go-round, the slower the clock will run relative to one that isn’t being swiveled. These concepts are so fundamental that they’re now taught in high school physics classes, yet they’ve never been technologically applied to the realm where application is most obvious. You won’t read about relativity in Tim Ferriss’ books, nor has it been built into any of Franklin Covey’s time management tools.
Genuine time management leverages the rate that your clock is running relative to other clocks. And the best way to leverage relativity is as a community. If you build a city on an interconnected set of spinning hubs instead of solid ground, you can zone the fastest-spinning districts as residential neighborhoods and plant farms or build factories in districts that spin more slowly. That way crops will grow quickly and machinery will run efficiently from the perspective of all inhabitants.
In order to encourage this sort of relativistic time sharing, I have produced blueprints for several time-managed cities. All are available for licensing by governments and urban planners, though the technical means of rotating neighborhoods at velocities approaching the speed of light – and physically enduring the gravitational effects – will require refinement by engineers.
Given the technical challenges – and the difficulty of building consensus on anything in the United States – time-managed cities probably still belong to the realm of speculative architecture. That’s why I’ve also developed a product for personal use: a time ingot which can be placed on a desktop or bedstand for temporal micromanagement. The time ingot is gravitational ballast. In other words, the ingot is a high-density alloy that warps the four-dimensional fabric of the universe, dilating time in your immediate vicinity.
The effect is nearly imperceptible. Users can expect a relative time difference of less than one second every billion years, but the maintenance-free simplicity of time ingots should appeal to anyone who values efficiency. Using the same kind of gravitational ballast, I’m now developing relativistic clothing – including a time warp undershirt – that will let the wearer take control of aging. These garments are currently undergoing testing. I’m trying them out myself, and I’ve already noticed a beneficial side effect: The heaviness makes me move more slowly and deliberately.
Technology doesn’t have to make life more frenetic. Harnessing relativity, technology can even give us the time to live.
Jonathon Keats will exhibit his time management systems at Modernism Gallery, 685 Market St., San Francisco, CA. A special launch event will be held on Thursday, September 26th from 5:30 to 8:00 PM. Consultations will be available by appointment through October. More information: http://www.modernisminc.com.
What I Think of This Strategy
If we look into many job ads, they may read, “The successful applicant for this job must be able to multitask.” This inplies that all potential employees are supposed to be effective workers.
The essence of “employment”, in the most general sense, is that you give someone else the power to control a certain number of hours available to you. A given hour can be used productively or it can lie fallow. The employer who controls working hours will probably take certain steps to ensure that employees produce things of value to him. So, they may carefully prescribe activities that you pursue during that period to achieve this; on the other hand, only if they trusts you, they may allow employees to schedule activities.
“Time management” is simply a buzzword for packing as many value-generating activities as possible into that hour.
Obviously, your employer has a direct interest in your time management, since it’s in his interests that you generate as much value as possible during that hour. If it’s your own hour, it’s pretty much up to you what kind of value-generating activities you want to pack it full of, and how you define “value”.
There’s no question there is psychological time dilation, as any office worker watching the clock tick down toward 18:00 pm can tell you; the more you want something, the longer the wait to get it. On the other hand, sometimes the clock veritably roars toward a deadline, as the same person could tell you while juggle tasks around. I suspect that the psychological time dilation effect would be far more massive than any relativistic effect, unless we are in fact traveling at .9999 times the speed of light. Much of the psychological time dilation is a function of whether your time is owned by yourself or by someone else – again, watch the salarymen as 18:00 approaches.
The best possible time management is owning your own time and being able to select those activities that cause time to be positively dilated for you.
Anything else is simply something done to you for the benefit of someone else. I suspect that this accounts for the relatively low level of success for organizational implemented time management