Time – it’s a funny concept.
Most people accept time – days, hours, minutes, and seconds – as they are.
But let us not forget that time is a man-made concept. It’s a way we organise your day-to-day lives as well communicate with each other. Just as words turn into meaning when spoken between people who share a common language, most people can understand the abstract concept of: 11:30 AM.
My latest fascination around time has been comparing activities in my life that take the same amount of time, but vary in terms of function, goals, achievement, consciousness, and physical energy. For instance, I can fill 30 minutes with quite a few distinct activities:
- A half-hour meeting at work
- A 3 mile run
- A long life drawing pose
Each of those is designed to take exactly half an hour, 30 minutes, or 1,800 seconds (and is timed in most instances). There are plenty of other activities that could take roughly 30-minutes, but not necessarily scheduled in:
- Cooking pancakes
- Reading a newspaper
- Walking around Urban Outfitters
The interesting thing about time is that it can be imposed as a metric for compartmentalizing life tasks, thereby making outcomes comparable. If two tasks took 30 minutes, then there can be an opportunity cost analysis (bit of economics terminology for you!) Opportunity cost by definition is: The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action.
Essentially, the benefits you could have received in the same amount of time investment. So to draw on my 30-minute example above, the opportunity cost of doing a half-hour figure drawing is burning 320 calories by running. There’s also a very similar quote by Ralph Waldo Emerson:
“For every minute you are angry you lose sixty seconds of happiness.”
How did I even get started on this tangent about time opportunities?
It all started during Figure Drawing class yesterday – when I was contemplating the shift from 5-minute gestures and longer half-hour poses. Each restrictive time frame sets different goals and expectations for the resulting sketch, and that’s precisely what makes some of these drawing so beautiful. I’ve always admired drawings under 10 minutes because of the RAW ENERGY that can be captured from a couple lines. In case you haven’t noticed from my previous posts, I absolutely love figure drawing:
The opportunity cost might be losing 3 hours of GMAT studying or burning 900 calories at the gym, but to me…. It’s time well spent.