I think I’m getting old. A few weeks after ditching digital filing and to-do lists and returning to paper, I’m now going back to the Stone Age with a clock that has a face, three hands, and an audible ticker.

After years of relying on my computer’s digital clock to keep track of time, I finally realized that I had lost all sense of time’s passing. I couldn’t figure out where all the time was going each day. Hour would merge into hour, morning into afternoon into evening. Where is my time going? I’d sit down to work at 6am and a few minutes later it was 6pm. What happened there? The hours had passed, but how? and where did they go? 10am seemed the same as 1pm and 4pm.

I looked around my study and my eye landed on an old clock I’d been meaning to throw out. One of these ancient round things with numbers round the perimeter and three different arms anchored to the center. I’m going to try that, I thought. So, out with the screwdriver and rawlplugs, and up it went just above my screen, and always in the line of sight.

A tick-tock clock
As soon as it started ticking, my life changed. I had a new, deep, and profound sense of the passing of time. Every tick was unique and unrepeatable. The tocks marched onwards unstoppably and irreversibly.

And instead of a few pixels and 4mm high digits that barely changed in appearance throughout the day I now have a very visible foot-high reminder that time is passing. 10.05 looks very different to 10.25, the sweeping arms visualizing and emphasizing the sweeping tides of time. Internet activity can now be measured in inches as well as minutes.

These new sights and sounds demand accountability and productivity. They are my way of more sincerely praying, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Ps. 90:12).

  • http://philippians314.squarespace.com Kim Shay

    I started using my cellphone as a watch, and I decided to go back to a watch. I like the sound of it ticking.

  • http://nwbingham.com Nathan W. Bingham

    I’m sure there is an app for that…a ticking digital clock. :/

  • Sherry

    I like that the microcosm of a clock with hands mimics the planets orbiting the sun.

  • Elina

    I am really curious to hear what kind of difference your ‘Stone Age Time Management System’ (a very UN-Stone Age name)has made after you have given it more time (pun intended of course). A few weeks ago when we were in BC I noticed how many of the people we visited had huge round ‘real’ clocks on their walls in several rooms, like the living room, the kitchen, hall etc. Because they struck me as a people generally more relaxed and laid back than us here in GR. Maybe seeing a whole hour in front of you could also give you a sense of having MORE time instead of less?

  • David Murray

    Relaxed, laid back AND more time sounds great to me!

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