This is the general refrain that one regularly hears from a modern-day harried person. Everybody is pressed for time. Has time really shrunk? The physical time is going at its regular pace as it always has since eternity, but it is our perception that time seems to have shrunk.
I think it is our insecurity that gives us the feeling that we are not achieving enough and hence the perception of shrinkage of time. We sometimes seem to be following the maxim "we are running all the time but going nowhere".
The more choices we have, the more insecure we feel, since missing out is a constant threat and fear at the back of our mind. One of the outcomes of this insecurity is the multitasking behaviour that lots of people exhibit. For fear of losing out, they would like to do many things at the same time with the result that nothing is done properly. This insecurity results in a feeling of emptiness since we always feel that we could have achieved more. Thus anxiety and worry is a sign of perception that there is not enough time.
A powerful brain that can evaluate all the choices can give us peace of mind. Such a brain is developed through Sanyam, which is a combination of concentration, contemplation and meditation on a single thought. However, right from childhood, children are bombarded with innumerable choices, which creates attention deficit behaviour and do not help them improve their concentration.
All great people manage their time well. They do their work by being totally immersed in the work at hand. They do not fret or worry about what could or should have been. With passage of time their body of work adds up to a considerable amount and shows up as a part of their achievements.
Gandhiji was a great manager of his time. To him every small thing had a value and hence he devoted all his attention and energies to the work at hand. Whether it was charkha spinning or launching a major national movement; all things were equally important to him, and endowed with a powerful brain, he focused on them one at a time with tremendous concentration.
Similarly Einstein, the high priest of time, was never flustered nor did he complain about time wastage. Once a famous European scientist came to meet Einstein by a train that was late. The scientist apologised profusely to Einstein for having to wait for him at the station. Einstein calmly replied that there was no problem since he used the opportunity to think about a physics problem he was working on.
Einstein once jokingly explained the relativistic nature of time; "If you are with a beautiful girl in a park the hours appear to be minutes while if you are sitting on a hot plate then even a minute is like an hour." Inadvertently, he gave a very good explanation of the perception of time.
Thus when we enjoy our work then the sense of time simply vanishes and we are completely immersed in the work. All of us have experienced this feeling sometime in our lives. That enjoyable feeling comes from the power of concentration and internal security. Somehow we do not teach or inculcate this habit in our children.
The increasing power of concentration also gives us a perspective in life since it allows us to evaluate a large number of choices. This helps us differentiate between the important and trivial issues allowing us to focus on the important ones, which give us the luxury of doing things at a leisurely pace without hurry.
Thus to create better and well-balanced citizens, we need to inculcate in our children the power of concentration and focus on work at hand. They will then have all the time in the world to do great and wonderful things.