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 is causal. 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. 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.


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 my tablet and 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.

I’ll write some more in a few weeks when I’ve lived with the clock for a while and can see what it does well and what it does badly.