The other day, my daughter made an astute observation about what she referred to as “time perception”. You know how time seems to slow when you’re doing something you don’t love, but the weekends just seem to fly by? 

When I probed on the phrase, she responded: “Well, it’s like depth perception, but time-related. Depending on which angle we take when we look at something, we can perceive the same thing differently.”

Something clicked. For instance, I find running on a treadmill to be boring and often tire after half an hour. But if I’m running outside, I can easily run for over an hour and love the entire experience! It’s because when I’m outside, I set different milestones. “ Sprint to that large tree and then reward yourself with a slower jog”. “Hold this pace until the next bridge.” Turns out, I’m improving my exercise experience by managing time perception.

How can we take this concept into the workplace?

On a Micro Level: When grinding through tasks that we don’t prefer, and let’s be honest – we all have those from time to time… 

1. Share the experience. Find someone doing something similar and work together. 

2. Establish mini-milestones along the way, gamifying the process. 

On a Macro Level: Place yourself in the future one year from now, and then five years from now. Look backward and re-calibrate how the current situation will fit into the larger story of your life. 

Something that keeps you awake at night, or feels insurmountable, may only be a blip in the bigger picture. We may look back and reflect, “That was a slower start than expected, but we got there in the end”. So, maybe what feels like today’s failure is simply a slow start. 

It’s all a matter of time perception.

I should note, time perception IS actually a scientific thing- I did a little research.

Here’s a cool article if you’d like to read further:

And I do love outdoor exercise! Here’s a list of my fav (free!) workouts.

And while on the topic, here’s what I’ve learned from yoga.