Time fascinates me. Everything we do is tied to it: ’see you in 5′, ’that happened 2 years ago’, ‘this film is 185 minutes long’. We created this structure for our lives and whether it’s right or wrong we’re stuck with it now. Most of us in the western world working in studios or offices will have calendars controlling our days and meetings in which amusingly, minutes are taken.
Its also very interesting to see how differently humans use time compared to machines. For computational purposes time iscausal. For humans it is a reference, a guide. And as the current (cognitive science) thinking goes, while our brains count seconds (subconsciously) very effectively during tasks or sleep our memories see time very differently, corrupting accurate portrayals of time within events to allow for better narratives in recall. Anyway. I was mainly curious in this endeavor about my relationship to time and task management.
Human beings love repetition. It’s how young children progress their understanding of the world and it’s how as adults we offload our choices to other people or to the patterns we follow everyday, saving our cognitive powers for the more important tasks the day holds in front of us.
These patterns are all tied to time and I began to wonder if I could pay less attention to the numerical values time presents. What if I didn’t leave my apartment at 9am, what if I left when something else happened, a different kind of indicator. Could colors represent activities instead of numbers? Rather than think about this for weeks I simply hacked a simple 24hr clock and removed all the hands except the hour hand.
These colors didn't work, so I tried something else.
The black is sleep time the yellow is making things time and the green is work time. The blue is my commute and I started leaving the house when the black hand hit the blue commute marker. I had to put tape over the the top right corner of my Mac and on the cooker as you can see.
By now you will realize this is a stupid idea and it’s also pretty tricky to not look at the time on your phone even subconsciously. But I was still curious how it might make me feel to remove my numerical constraints during the week (while at home) and I was sure I could learn something however damaged (and contaminated) the testing environment was.
This clock has been on my wall for sometime now and despite me being away quite a bit for work, it is actually quite nice looking at color instead of numbers. This whole thing is a bit rigged though as obviously I know east is 6am and west is 9pm. But its staying on the wall, so some success perhaps. I've also thought that creating a tablet clock that had horizontal bars would solve this problem.
Something like this:
But it might be worth seeing if anyone else has done that before I go too far.
So no one I found had made a product like this and I began to wonder if there was any point. It would be a pretty redundant use of my iPad, which is much better being used as it is now as an ongoing Tumblr slideshow. I look at the chuck time clock every day and do find it pretty useful. We'll see if that changes.
Using color for time does seem to be less stressful than using numbers, I'm pretty sure of that. But that's probably because of what our society does with numbers as apposed to color. I suppose that's a whole different project though.
I've been living with this little clock for ages now and I love it. I thought it would silly and pretty non functional, but's it's amazingly pleasant to engage with. I find myself looking at it and thinking, Im still in the yellow, I'm OK. So is yellow turning into a relaxed color for me where I have freedom to play and explore? Maybe, that'd be amazing. Time will tell, or maybe color will tell...