Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Measure Of Time

Time is what happens before we believe something. Walking from one street corner to another takes a certain amount of steps. It takes a certain number of concrete slabs. It takes a certain amount of doorways. It takes a certain amount of body actions. Processing or perceiving all of these "items" takes a certain number of ticks on a watch. Even without all of the "items", we believe that walking the distance should take the number of ticks we established before.​

A child perceives time as a succession of events or occurrences. For example, for mommy and daddy to come home the following events have to occur: ​going to daycare, coming home, playing, eating, taking a nap, watching TV, taking a walk, and feeding the dog. The time each of those actions takes is irrelevant. However long each action takes to complete is inconsequential, it takes however long it takes, but those are the tasks to be completed. Once all of the tasks are completed, then by all rights mommy and daddy should be walking through the door at any moment.

Time is not a rigid measure. Time is not a constant entity. Time is a collection or group of events which we believe, or think, need to occur prior to a specific event we are placing chronologically. Past experience gives us an idea of how long this will take on a watch. The experience may come, and mostly does come, from others. How "long" it takes to do a task we've never done. How "long" it takes to create political change. How "long" it takes to travel a certain distance. How "long" it takes to get an education. How "long" we will live. All of these "longs" have their associated groups of events, and all of the events have their associated established time. Changing the events changes the time. Finding a way to remove an associated event from the group changes the time.​

While this would wreak havoc on a project manager's life, I would propose that the question "how long will this task take?" is not an appropriate one. The answer itself creates an expectation of time, and events will "magically" appear to validate the expectation. The truer measure may be the question "what needs to happen for this task to be complete?" or "what needs to happen for this task to be complete in a specific amount of time?" What needs to happen also has an associated number of ticks, but the question "how can we change what needs to happen?" should help.​

Time "needed" to achieve a goal is the events that "need" to happen to achieve a goal. Changing the events or removing them altogether, changes what "needs" to happen and changes the time "needed" to achieve a goal. Without "needs" and without goals, time is events. Events may be quick, events may take an entire life. Events may be linear, one after the other, or they may occur simultaneously. Some events have a specific order, while others do not. Our life-time is our life's events, all of the events that occur during our life. Time is not how long of a distance we travel, it is the events we experience.

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