Time Warped

Time keeps on slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future

Steve Miller – Fly Like an Eagle

Time Warped is a fascinating and fun little book and the author, Claudia Hammond, an enthusiastic guide to Unlocking the Mysteries of Time Perception as the subtitle promises. Hammond is a BBC broadcaster and psychology lecturer, and her specialty is “sharing the ways that psychological and medical research can help people in our everyday lives.” Chapter 6 in Time Warped is called Changing Your Relationship with Time and it does just that – offers practical advice for common time-related issues such as wanting it to speed up or slow down, or feeling like you have too little time.

Time is the essence

Time is the season

Time ain’t no reason

Got no time to slow

Time everlasting

Time to play b-sides

Time ain’t on my side

Time I’ll never know

Blue Oyster Cult – Burning for You

Time puzzles and vexes us. Some people dismiss it altogether – don’t we all know someone who can always be counted on to comment ‘time is a social construct’ when the subject comes up? (And that’s when I always think to myself, that may be true but presumably you still need to occasionally get somewhere on time, social construct or not. So hush.) But it is a collective thing we all experience, like the weather. We’ve all been lost in a task, the hours passing by unnoticed. Alternatively, there are times when we slog through something, constantly checking the clock, the minutes dragging forward.

Oh man, I think the clock is slow.

Van Halen – Hot for Teacher

Hammond is the kind of writer who exudes a geeky excitement and passion. Her book is packed with anecdotes about experiments and medical cases as well as activities for the reader. Even her chapter titles are colorful:

  1. The Time Illusion
  2. Mind Clocks
  3. Monday is Red
  4. Why Time Speeds Up When You Get Older
  5. Remembering the Future
  6. Changing Your Relationship with Time

Time Warped is definitely the type of book you can open up to any page and dive in. I started with Chapter 6 and it didn’t disappoint. For the problem of time speeding up Hammond recommends adding variety and memorable activities to our days. Abolishing the routine whenever possible prevents living on auto-pilot which can make time pass by without us knowing it.

For the opposite problem, wanting time to go by more quickly, being mindful is the answer. Notice everything you can about your surroundings and use all your senses. When you become absorbed, time flies.

For people who worry about the future, laying in bed at night ruminating, Hammond has two suggestions. One is a “worry box” you imagine into existence under your bed. You mentally place your worries into the box and shut the lid. I sleep like a baby, so I don’t need this tip, but still, the idea of a box directly underneath me ready to burst open with worries isn’t soothing at all. But her other suggestion is better: picture a color then imagine a cloud that color. Mentally place your troubles into the cloud and watch it float up and away from you until it disappears.

Hammond published her book in 2013 when the psychology of time was an emerging field of study. It’s entertaining and enlightening and I recommend it. But if you’re not sure you want to commit the time 🙂 here’s a link to a 2019 article/interview with her that hits many of the highlights:


One last lyric, from the band Chicago who asked and answered:

Does anybody really know what time it is?

Does anybody really care?

If so, I can’t imagine why

We’ve all got time enough to cry

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