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The Zone
The Zone : The Time Zone

The Zone

The Time Zone

By Tom Evans

« The Learning Zone

Time is nowhere near fixed as is thought. In fact, the manner in which we think even affects the passage of time.

For starters, not many people realise that the normal human mind is only capable of having one thought at a time. Just think about what you are thinking right now and notice how the thought about what you are thinking replaces what you are thinking about. You may want to read that last sentence again!

This means that if you are worrying about something in the future or mulling over past events, you will lose focus on what is happening right now. This means that for much of their waking day most people are around 33% efficient.

I am sure you've heard the phrase, “If you want something done, give it to a busy person.” This works because ‘busy people' are often masters of focus.

On the other hand though being able to instantly recall past events, and to zoom ahead to events yet to pass, tells us something remarkable about ourselves. We all possess a powerful Time Machine called “our mind.” More specifically, it's called “our minds.”

In general, when we are in any of the Doing or Beings Zones, time often takes on a different quality where we can get two or more hours work done in less than an hour. It's almost like the task at hand gets done in whatever time is available. Woe betide anyone who breaks your concentration when you are in the bubble of your personal Time Zone.

Neuroscientists are discovering remarkable things about the brain and our neurology. Firstly, they can't readily find a clock in our bodies. It appears though that our left brain, rather than being the centre of logic, monitors the passage of time and holds the sequence of events. Our right brain seems to be 'everywhen' else. These discoveries can be made by anaesthetising areas of the brain in healthy patients while awake and then observing their perception of time.

What's more remarkable though is that other parts of our bodies seem to run to different time clocks completely. Our gut mind seems to produce a stimulus seconds ahead of an event occurring in real time. It seems to be running ahead of time by up to 10 seconds. It also appears to be a guide and alarm system for events we should be aware of to ensure our safety and well-being.

The speed of our breath too seems to regulate and interact with our perception of time. Breathe faster and time speeds up; slow your breathing down and time elongates almost in inverse proportion. It's even possible that the speed of your breath could affect your longevity. The giant tortoise breathes around 4 times every minute and lives to around 140 years. Elephants live for around 80 years and breathe around 8 times every minute. Most humans however breathe around 12-15 times a minute and our pre-industrial revolution life span was around 50 to 60 years.

So what seems remarkable about the Time Zone is that we have more control over it than we might first think. Using simple breathing techniques borrowed from yoga, we can slow down the perceived passage of time so we can get more done in less elapsed linear time. This even works in group environments.

By tuning into our gut mind, we can save hours by noticing coincidences, signs and serendipities. Our gut can also save us time by preventing us from making the wrong decisions.

What is perhaps even stranger still is that when we enter the Chillout Zone, we can even tune into ‘future memories.’ This allows us to take leaps forward in creativity that could take us days or weeks to otherwise deliver. Many scientific discoveries are made in this manner. Luminaries like Archimedes, da Vinci and Newton were adept at tuning into such moments of prescience.

Once we take ownership of the passage of time, we become timelords. While we may not be able to reverse the arrow of time, the flow and passage of time can be warped, bent and manipulated. We can change our relationship with it such that tasks fit easily into the time available. By being mindful of our thoughts and the manner in which we think, we can stretch our perception of elapsed time. Quite simply, we can get more done in less time.

When you take up permanent residence of the Magic Zone, described at the end of this series, you save even more time still. In this special zone, serendipity abounds and everything you need just seems to turn up with minimal effort, just at the time you need it.

This of course helps us save bags of time! •

Next: The Decision Zone »

Tom Evans Renaissance Man and Imagineer Tom Evans is the author of four books and counting about creativity. More »

Updated 1/18/15