Back in Medieval times, and presumably before, people did not think about time, Oliver Burkeman tells us in his book Four Thousand Weeks. They got up when they got up, presumably with the sun, and worked with the light at tasks related to the seasons. Time as something people thought about as a separate thing that you imposed on your life didn't exist. I have actually read this before, which suggests this is a generally held belief about how people lived in the past.
Keeping track of time didn't become necessary until you were dealing with multiple people. You wanted more than one person to arrive at a certain point at a more specific time than, say, 'when the sun is at its highest point.' The arrival of the Industrial Revolution meant a lot of people were wanted in mills and factories at specific times for the purpose of doing specific things for which they were paid specific amounts. People began being paid for their time, not for piece work completed. By the way, the Industrial Revolution is responsible for a lot of change in human existence. This is not to say the Industrial Revolution was a bad thing. I am not one of those people who wishes she could shear her own sheep and weave her own cloth. But it is to say that the Industrial Revolution is very important historically. Pay attention when you see or hear it being mentioned.
What About Our Brains?
If time was something humans weren't working with as recently as the Middle Ages, which is recent historically speaking, and didn't become part of our daily lives until the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, is it possible our brains didn't evolve to struggle with completing tasks within time frames? If we weren't doing it while we were evolving, way back when we were evolving, are we mentally just not wired for applying time to everything we now need to do in our lives?
I don't have an answer for that, by the way. I'm just saying that last week I wondered if the knowledge that death, the ultimate time killer, is coming up in our future may be why we try so desperately to manage our time so we can do more while we're not dead. And now I'm wondering if the reason managing time is so difficult for so many of us is that we don't have the physical/anatomical ability to do it.
I am hoping for more positive time management thoughts next week.