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Saturday, January 14, 2023

"Our Perception of Time is Distorted by the Internet - How Technology Affects our Sense of Time"

Time is a funny thing. 

It can seem to drag on endlessly when you're stuck in a boring meeting or stuck in traffic, but when you're having fun, it can fly by in the blink of an eye. And when it comes to the internet, time seems to warp in ways we can't even begin to comprehend.

As a writer, I spend a lot of time online researching, promoting my work, and connecting with readers. And like many of you, I've found myself sucked into the vortex of social media and online gaming, losing track of time in ways that have left me feeling disoriented and disconnected from the world around me.

The truth is, our perception of time is heavily influenced by the internet. Studies have shown that we vastly underestimate the amount of time we spend on our screens, with some estimates suggesting that we may be off by as much as 20%. And when we're engaged in repetitive or routine activities, like scrolling through our social media feeds or playing the same level of a game over and over again, time seems to pass quickly.

But it's not just the repetition that's affecting our perception of time. The internet is also a constant source of novelty, with new posts, updates, and notifications coming in every second. And when we're exposed to something new and exciting, time seems to slow down.

This is a phenomenon that cognitive neuroscientists have been studying for years, and the results are intriguing. Researchers have found that the brain processes information differently when we're exposed to something new, and that this heightened state of attention can make time seem to stretch out.

It's like that feeling you get when you're in a car crash. Time seems to stand still as your brain processes all the information coming in, trying to make sense of the chaos. But the same thing happens when we're scrolling through our social media feeds, constantly bombarded with new and exciting information.

So what does this mean for our daily lives? Well, for starters, it means that we need to be more mindful of the time we spend online. As we spend more and more time in virtual worlds, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage our time in the real world. We start to miss out on building in-person relationships and on activities like exercising and spending time outdoors.

But it's not just about managing our time. It's also about managing our emotions. The internet is a constant source of stimulation, and the constant release of dopamine and other feel-good chemicals can make it difficult for us to disconnect and be present in the moment.

So what can we do to combat this?

One solution is to set limits on our internet use. Whether it's setting a timer for social media breaks or putting your phone on "Do Not Disturb" mode during certain hours of the day, it's important to give ourselves a break from the constant stimulation.

Another solution is to practice mindfulness and meditation. When we're present in the moment, we're less likely to get caught up in the distractions of the internet. And when we're able to disconnect from the virtual world, we're more likely to connect with the world around us.

Ultimately, it's up to each of us to find our own way of managing our relationship with the internet and our perception of time. But by being more mindful of the way technology affects our brains and our emotions, we can start to take back control of our time and start living in the present.

So, put down your phone, step away from the computer, and go outside. Take a walk, breathe in the fresh air, and be present in the world around you. You'll be amazed at how much time you have when you're not constantly


5-point summary:

  1. Our perception of time is distorted when we're on the internet.
  2. Researchers have found that we underestimate the amount of time we spend on screens.
  3. Time seems to pass quickly when we're engaged in repetitive or routine activities.
  4. Novelty and sudden experiences make time seem to pass slower.
  5. Spending too much time on virtual pursuits can make it harder to manage time in general and affect our relationships and daily activities.
If you're interested in learning more, email me to schedule a quick 2-Day class:

Two-day class description:

Day 1:

  • Introduce the concept of time perception and how it can be affected by technology.
  • Discuss the research on time perception and internet use, including studies on social media, videogames, and smartphone use.
  • Explore the impact of dopamine and other chemicals on our perception of time.
  • Group discussion and activities on time management strategies.

Day 2:

  • Review the previous day's information and continue the discussion on time management strategies.
  • Participants will set personal goals for managing their internet use and track their progress.
  • Participants will learn about mindfulness and meditation techniques for staying present and aware of time.
  • Group reflection and sharing of successes and challenges in managing internet use.
  • Conclusion and next steps for continued time management.

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