Time: Friend or Enemy?

Published July 30, 2015

I’d rather regret the things I’ve done than regret the things I haven’t done.”  Lucille Ball

Sounds just like Lucy, doesn’t it? But what about the rest of us? How do we want to look back over the way we spent the time allotted to us?

Time’s a funny thing. It’s way beyond our ability to create, modify, speed up or slow down. Yet, there is very little that happens that isn’t affected by it. That’s true whether we’re talking about the present moment, a day, a year, a lifetime or even eternity. So, when you think about time, how do you characterize it --- friend or enemy? Is it something that you work with in a way that makes life better or do you find yourself constantly waging a losing battle?

There will be lots of answers to the “friend or enemy” question, and the same person may respond in a totally different way, depending on what day you ask. That last part may be the key to our query. Time doesn’t change. Oh, if we’d had the chance to sit down over coffee with Einstein and discuss theoretical time, we might have to qualify that. But it would probably be way over our heads, so let’s just go with time being something that we may be able to measure but not change. That said, how we perceive time can vary greatly depending upon what we’re experiencing.

For example, I just had the great fortune to spend a week on the coast of Maine with a group of friends. Each morning, as I stood on the porch of our cabin watching the fishermen check their lobster traps in the bay, I could feel time come to a stop for a moment as I soaked in the beauty all around me. But, then the realization that our time here was limited would hit, and the experience would change as time whizzed past me like a freight train!

How we judge time always depends on our own individual perceptions. When we look back over a vacation or a lifetime, our experience of time will depend on whether we made the most of it or let ourselves simply be carried along by it.

Understanding, managing and, basically, learning to make time our friend is what we do here at Time Timer. For youngsters, that “aha” moment, when the concept of elapsed time makes sense to them, is a real game changer. The earlier that happens for them, the easier life will become, and we honestly believe our disappearing red disk gets them there faster than any other tool we know of. For adults, Time Timers may not be able to actually add more hours to the day, but they can certainly help manage tasks and projects in a way that makes it feel like it.

We can count on Time Timer to be here to help all of us better understand and manage time. But how each of us experiences the benefits of that is totally up to us. Maybe Lucy had the right idea. Maybe it really isn’t any more complicated than living life in such a way as to have no regrets.

Play it safe or go for it all --- which sounds like more fun to you?

Tags: time management, time teaching tool, concept of time, einstein, lucille ball

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Encourage Children in the Personal Art

Published July 24, 2015


“Call me Ishmael.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...”

“Who is John Galt?”

Do you recognize these opening lines? Most of us probably do. The second, from A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens, and the third, from Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand, spark memories of well-written and entertaining novels. “Call me Ishmael” may, actually, be the most easily recognizable, but I suspect that has more to do with a shared experience of remembering how much we disliked it. I’m even willing to bet that most of you, like me, were never even able to finish it!

No, Moby Dick was never my favorite book. But I do love to read! It’s one of my most favorite things to do and has been since I was a kid. Some of the credit for that goes to my teachers. I will always be grateful for the afternoon periods in grade school when Mr. Englebright would read out loud to us from books he believed were important for us to be introduced to. Like Les Misérables and The Count of Monte Cristo. Today, that would undoubtedly be considered a waste of teaching time. But, it not only instilled in us the power of books to transport us around the world and through time, it inspired in me the desire to someday become a writer.

My mom also had a large part in my learning to love to read. I’ve never met a more voracious reader than she was. And she would be so proud to know that I use words like “voracious”! Even though we really didn’t have a whole lot of other interests in common, books and reading brought us close and created a bond that we always shared.

Studies have shown for years that the better a child is able to read the more successful he will be in all areas of his education and throughout life. It’s also known that the best way to become a better reader is to spend time reading. That may seem obvious, but so many children shy away from reading, either due to poor skills or because they are forced to read things they find boring or uninteresting. It’s a vicious cycle --- no one likes to read unless they are good at it and they can’t get good at it without spending time doing it, which they won’t do if they don’t like it!

Educational programs like the Center for Teaching and Learning (CTL), located in Edgecomb, Maine and nationally recognized for its award-winning teaching and research-based methods, believe it is essential “for every child to become a skilled, passionate, habitual, critical reader”. Or, in the words of novelist Robertson Davies, “learn how to make of reading a personal art.”

How do we do this?  How do we instill in children such a love of reading that they will choose a book over TV or a video game? The folks at CTL are convinced of the importance of structuring schedules to include time for reading and that “the only sure-fire way to induce a love of books is to invite students to select their own.” This is something they have devoted a lot of effort to and have lists of books that their students have created as recommendations for others. These are divided by grade level and are available to anyone on their website.

Choosing books that your kids want to read is half the battle. The rest is consistently structuring their time so that reading is a part of their day. There’s no better way to do this than with your Time Timer. In the beginning, it may seem like the disappearing red disk is counting down the minutes until they are “free” to go do something more fun. But, somewhere along the way, things will change and they will use their Time Timer just like I use mine --- to carve out a special segment of time when I get to do something I dearly love. Read a book!

Tags: time timer for reading, reading timer, educational timer, school timer, homework timer

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Was Einstein Wrong?

Published July 16, 2015

Recently, Discover Magazine published an article entitled, “Why the Quest to prove Einstein wrong?” That caught my attention. But, I have to confess, I immediately assumed it had something to do with the fame and prestige that would result from being the one to do that. After reading it, though, I probably owe the physicist community an apology because it seems that their true objective is nothing less than ironing out the contradictions in widely-accepted theories that explain the basic operation of the universe!

I should probably offer a quick disclaimer here about my not really understanding everything they were talking about in this article and that I may have nodded off briefly before the end…

The gist of it all appears to be that we have two fundamental theories of how everything works --- the two pillars of modern physics. There’s Albert Einstein’s theory of general relativity, which is all about gravity, and then there is particle physics, which is pretty much about everything else. Both theories work and are considered extremely successful. The problem is that they don’t work with each other and sometimes one even contradicts the other.

This has resulted in a mission to find some tiny flaw in Einstein’s reasoning in order to arrive at one unified theory that explains how the universe works. To do this, they have gone to great lengths to try and observe some incredibly minute variation. There are scientists who have focused their entire careers on this. We are celebrating the 100 year anniversary of Einstein’s discovery and, so far, no one has been able to find a crack in it.

I’m sure this must be important. There may well be breakthroughs just waiting on our solving this riddle. It’s quite possible that I missed why it’s so critical to figure this out when I dozed off. But, it seems to me that if a measurement is so teensy that you have to go to outer space to try and detect it, maybe all that effort could be better spent on something else.

But, then again, physics was not my best subject. I’m happy that there are people who do understand this stuff and are passionate about getting to the bottom of things. Actually, Einstein, himself, would most likely approve. He was the one who said, “Live for today, hope for tomorrow. The important thing is to not stop questioning.”

We see that a lot here at Time Timer. Our customers tell us all the time about how the youngsters in their households, the ones who are destined to be the genius discoverers of tomorrow, never stop asking questions. Constant, non-stop questions. Maybe they don’t ask about how time and mass and velocity interact, but many of those questions are about time.

Who knows if anyone will ever find the flaw in Einstein’s theory? Maybe there isn’t one. Maybe it’s the other one that needs tweaking. But you can bet that there are boys and girls out there, right now, with the potential to unlock even greater secrets --- and there’s an awfully good chance that they are getting a head start by having their questions about time answered with the help of a disappearing red disk!

Tags: einstein, time theories, timers, learn time, red disk timer

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