Make each moment matter!
When I was a child each day seemed endless. Now in the blink of the eye, a year has passed. What changed? Our perception of time changes as we age as a result of how our brains function. Our brains encode new experiences to create memories. During childhood we are exposed to new experiences. We remember endless days because we are recalling the number of newly created memories. The greater the number of new memories, the longer time seems to be. Compare this to adulthood which revolves around routines and a limited number of new experiences. Because of this phenomenon, our autobiographical memory may over-represent our early years; the time when we were making new memories. Imagine if instead of becoming complacent, we began challenging ourselves to try new experiences, pushing out of our comfort zones and creating new memories.
Time is finite. Each year we have 8760 hours to use as we see fit. It is impossible to slow down time and it is important not to waste the time we have. As children our decisions were directed by our parents. Children are often forced into situations they might not select themselves. In hindsight, some of these new situations were exhilarating and amazing — but would we have chosen them? As adults, we tend to avoid situations that we think will be uncomfortable. However, this decision limits our exposure to new experiences. Having control of decision-making may cause adults to avoid making new memories.
The challenge is more difficult for women who may be juggling families, maintaining a home and working. Multiple responsibilities leaves them exhausted and overwhelmed. In addition, women delegate less than men. Delegation is a quality of effective leadership. However, studies found that women associate delegation with negative emotions. Women need to embrace delegation, using it to generate ideas, develop teamwork and provide new experiences.
Women work 10% harder than men, imagine the difference delegation can make! Offloading routine tasks creates opportunities for other pursuits.
Have you experienced the holiday paradox? Time flies when you’re having fun, but when you look back on fun events they seem to have lasted longer than mundane events. Why is going on vacation more exciting than working on a spreadsheet or writing a memo? On vacation you are doing new things, creating new memories, and you are actively involved. If you want to make the days last, do something different, or become invested in what you are doing. Imagine if you treated every day like a holiday?
One way to turn daily occurrences into new memories is to share your experiences. Sharing allows you to recall how you spend your day, recounting experiences as a story helps them grow in importance, which is how tall tales evolved. In each iteration the story is polished, becoming a little brighter and bigger. This is how our childhood memories continue to grow and become more pronounced.
Adults tend to forget routine activities causing these memories to fade or blend. The act of recounting each day allows you to find the uniqueness of activities, which ingrains them into your brain as new memories. The days when I found myself going through the motions were lackluster, and same-old-stuff different day; days flowed into weeks, and months until time had passed.
1. Sharing allowed me to focus on myself, as opposed to fixating on family and friends.
2. Discussing events inspired me to become more engaged.
My days felt longer and busier. By sharing my stories with a friend, I was able to appreciate what I had accomplished, and this helped slow down time, and added richness to my memories.
We can influence our perception of time. Being self-aware and intentional creates lasting memories which makes time seem longer. Are you devoting too much energy to tasks that can be delegated? If routine activities are filling your day, you are depriving yourself of new experiences. Are you problem-solving for other people in your life? Expanding your conversations to share your experiences, will create a uniqueness to your daily activities, making them memorable.
Time is a valuable commodity to treasure and spend wisely. Slow down time by creating new memories, pushing yourself to try new things and talking about your experiences. By continuing to build new memories you can create the endless days of summer like those from your childhood.