Perception of Time Blog 1: How it affects you on the job

One of us recently read “The Time Paradox” by Philip Zimbardo and John Boyd. We wanted to know if your perception of time affects your ability to get to work every day and to be on time.


And the answer is YES.


We feel that the topic of time is so important we are writing a series of three blogs on the subject. In this first blog we will be giving a simple description of three time perspectives. Zimbardo and Boyd describe six time perspectives, but for our purposes we are going to use a simpler view and focus on three perspectives: past, present and future.


What do we mean by time perspective? Your time perspective is the time frame you “live in.”  Some people can change their time perspective while others are stuck in one time frame. For example:
People who live in the past focus on tradition and do not like change.
People who live in the present are less likely to make plans or consider the risks involved in an activity.
People who have a future time perspective are more likely to meet deadlines, weigh benefits and be on time.


You could benefit from a past orientation when talking about the contributions of a colleague who is retiring. You can use a present view of time when playing with a small child. A future orientation is most useful when planning a new project or being a dependable employee.


Our modern world is a future oriented world. Businesses expect workers to have at least some future orientation.
People who live in the past and want to maintain the status quo are not able to compete with all of the innovations in technology.
Workers who live in the present moment have the most challenges in our culture. People who are present oriented are more likely to belong to the lower class.
• Present oriented people who do not consider risks may find themselves in prison.
• Present oriented people who do not plan for the future may need welfare.
• Present oriented people who are not on time


Zimbardo and Boyd tell us that having some future orientation is a requirement for entering the middle class. Future oriented students earn the highest grades. Future oriented workers earn more money.


Before you decide to become completely future oriented we want you to know that this time perspective has some problems. Futures often feel crunched for time. They may sacrifice family or fun time to work longer hours. They can be angry and impatient when they have to wait on others.


We, at Smart Work Ethics, are striving for balance in our lives. One of our main focuses in our training classes is helping present oriented people become more future oriented so that they can enjoy success in the work place and raise their standard of living.


In the next blog we tell some success stories. In the third blog we talk about the how you can change a person’s time perspective. And yes, we believe it is possible.


If these ideas about time intrigue you, we highly recommend that you get a copy of “The Time Paradox.”  The authors have a short survey so that you can discover your own perception of time.

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