When it comes to time, there are two types of people in the world: those with a clock in their head (time watchers) and those without (time enjoyers). I am a time watcher. Which one are you?

Time Watchers

Time watchers are people who seem to have a clock in their head. They can tell you how long it takes to get from here to there, when you need to start a task and at what time during the day things happened. Time management comes naturally as they plan and measure their life in terms of time. Time watchers talk about the value of time and fear wasting it.

They can be a little annoying (not to themselves, but to others) because they tend to be chronically early and have trouble staying present in the moment as they are so focused on planning the future.

Time Enjoyers

Time enjoyers see life a little differently. There is no clock in their head. There is ‘now’, a precious moment to be enjoyed and treasured. Time enjoyers can learn time management, but it doesn’t come as naturally as for time watchers.

They frustrate others (but never themselves) with how chronically late they can be. For time watchers, this cavalier disregard for wasting other ‘people’s time’ is very annoying. It simply doesn’t occur to the time enjoyer that you wouldn’t have been enjoying your time as well. Time enjoyers take time to smell the flowers and enjoy the journey because that is what time is for.

When Time Enjoyers And Time Wasters Swap

Several years ago I enrolled in a hypnosis class. One of our first tasks was to hypnotise our training partner to be the opposite of their natural tendency in relation to time. What happens when time watchers are hypnotised to be time enjoyers and vice versa for the short span of a morning tea break?

Well, the time watchers got lost in the joy of the moment and forgot about keeping track of time. They would normally be seated five minutes before the break. This time when the break finished they were still chatting or looking at the view.

And the time enjoyers? They had the most stressful morning tea break of their lives. I overheard one of them discussing the fact they had never previously thought about how long it took to eat an apple or get a cup of coffee. The time enjoyers were seated early and getting frustrated with the people who were still outside looking at the view.

Which One Is Better?

What we learned was that we can learn from each other. Time watchers can learn to enjoy the moment more and be more understanding of when people are late. Time enjoyers can learn to be better planners with their time (while still enjoying the moment) and be more respectful of the way other people value time. They both have their upsides and downsides.

My suggestion is to work out which one you are and be aware that not everyone sees time the same way as you. Neither is right nor wrong, just different. When we can be tolerant and understanding of those differences, we make our lives and the lives of those around us better.