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What Even Is Time? An Explainer

Our perception of time is changing constantly. Here’s why—and how to harness the power for good.

Pocket Collections

Read when you’ve got time to spare.

Wondering where the time went? Or why it seems to be moving at a snail’s pace on this fine Thursday (er, Friday? December?) We’ve rounded up some of the top explanations and explorations of how time functions—and the brilliant and pesky things that distort it. From digital clocks to the internet, having fun to getting older, and well, a global pandemic. Take a minute (or an hour? Who’s counting?) and dive in.

What We Get Wrong About Time

Claudia Hammond
BBC

Most of us tend to think of time as linear, absolute and constantly “running out”—but is that really true? And how can we change our perceptions to feel better about its passing?

How Mindfulness Shifts Our Perception of Time

Sharon Begley
Mindful

The passage of time seems to speed up as we get older—but research finds this unnerving phenomenon may be allayed by learning to more attentively savor all the familiar details of our lives.

How Mindfulness Shifts Our Perception of Time

Sharon Begley
Mindful

The passage of time seems to speed up as we get older—but research finds this unnerving phenomenon may be allayed by learning to more attentively savor all the familiar details of our lives.

“7 Reasons Why You Need Analog Clocks”

Mareen Dennis
ADDitude

Analog clocks are not outdated; they are powerful productivity tools for adults with ADHD who struggle with time blindness, deadlines, time estimation. Here’s how analog clocks help ADHD brains.

Bonus Activity: A Test of Time

Feilding Cage
Reuters

Some days seem to pass very slowly while some weeks, and even months, fly by. A set of simple perception tests illustrate some factors that can distort our sense of time.