Every day we are tormenting ourselves with questions about how we are spending our time. It seems like our world has become so busy and so saturated with ideas, places to visit, and people to meet, that the burden of choice took control over the modern human. The constant chase for the best option forces us to concentrate on the details that at the end of the day are not that important. We want to pick the best movie to watch, the best restaurant to visit and the best phone to buy; we spend so much time fantasising and so little time actually doing that we sometimes forget to experience life.
The scarcity of time and a seemingly impossible burden of choice have drastically changed our relation with time. Although today we are more free than ever to pursue any vector of possibilities, it seems like distractions have hijacked the majority of our lives and stand in our way towards uncovering our true potential. Can we change this?
Clues From The Past
Humans have been given the ability to think intertemporally ever since we gained consciousness, but first records suggest that we really started keeping track of time around 9000 to 8000 BC to count lunar phases. Without a doubt this scarce resource is tightly integrated into our lives and even our internal system has adapted to take into account time as a factor in all kinds of biological processes. The life of a typical forager had few distractions which meant that it was not common to be caught in your thoughts and focusing on the task at hand was not as difficult as it can be today. The typical life has changed dramatically in the last decades, instant gratification has become the norm, and we are constantly looking for the best options here and now. The fear of missing out and the constant pursuit of making the right decision shows how unprepared we are to deal with the constant availability of choice. The time we are given to allocate daily has remained constant, we only get 86,400 seconds to spend each day, but the choices of what we can spend the time on have grown exponentially. Unless we can learn to manipulate time and make it more abundant, this gap will become even greater in the near future. In order to help us cope with ever increasing choice, we need to combine decision making and time into a single variable.
Hacking Time — The Tesserometer
Currently we use hours, minuted and seconds to quantify time. What if we found a new form of measurement that could not only quantify time, but also measure the quality of time. Thus far time has had numerical values attached to it, what if we need to have a system that could label it categorically as well. We have ways of measure the quality of air, water, food, perhaps its time to put our technological progress to use and start measuring the quality of our time as well. Imagine a device that could measure how well your are currently spending your time — a Tesserometer. This wearable gadget would be worn by the individual and adapt to personal tastes. From the outside it would seem like a minimalist bracelet that would glow green if you were spending quality time and red if your time could be spent elsewhere. However, internally, the Tesserometer would be a complex device that would adapt to the daily patterns of individuals and personal preferences. It would continuously analyse personal data of the individual creating models and applying machine learning to learn how to best make use of time. It would be able to suggest what activity your time would be best spent on in the current moment depending on your mood, your desires, your future goals. This device would be like a map that guided your through your life, your trusted, silent and efficient companion. A simple reminder or a gentle tap on the wrist would make you aware of your current actions. The end goal of the Tesserometer would be to merge time and choice into a single variable that flows in an organic form allowing us to forget about our watches and enjoy the present moment.