How does the science of time illusion affect our habits and goals

With ageing, time speeds up faster than when we were young. Friday night becomes sunday night so fast that we start hating monday even before it is actually monday. 24 hours of today runs faster than the 24 hours of our younger self. How can this affect our habits?

Lets do a quick experiment to understand this time illusion. Close your eyes and start counting the time in seconds until it is 120s. You can start the stopwatch the moment you started to count. When your mind ticks 120s, open your eyes and check the stopwatch. If the stopwatch shows >132s when you opened your eyes, the time has appeared to pass 120s to you while the real time was >132s (~10%). More the time in reality, less time it appears. It aggravates with age. Do this experiment with your grandparents, you will be amazed.

What does it say? If you procrastinate today, soon the time will reach tomorrow in reality. But your mind feels the procrastination isn’t over yet making you procrastinate for few more hours. 24 hours of procrastication as per your mind will be ~25.5 hours in reality. Just as you wake up early in the morning, you tell yourself to sleep for 30 more mins and you end up sleeping for more than an hour. Still you wouldn’t feel like you slept for an hour, and you convince yourself to sleep for few more minutes. Accomplishing a task in less time creates a mental reward that can motivate to perform the same task again and again. It can apply to both good and bad tasks, but most of the time bad reaction takes over. Less time it appears to engange in a video, more we watch them in loop. Less time it appears to finish a page in book, more we read successively. Being aware of this mental reward can help us to manipulate our habits progressively.

Break your goal into achievable tasks in %. To reach that %, estimate your time. If it will be 10 hours as per you, make a commitment to achieve that task in 11 hours taking the reality into account. This way you will always reach your commitment, rewarding you positively. Everytime you reach the goal, visualize yourself getting closer to the goal. Formulate ways to intensify the rewards on meeting the atomic goals (I dance for some random party song for 5 mins everytime I jump between tasks). Adjust your estimations to suit your reality. If you cannot delay the reality, have your estimations shortened. If you have 6 hours to complete, target to close in 5.5 hours. Never allow lazyness to kick in. Few hours of living in comfort zone will be more hours in reality.

“Few hours of your mind will be more hours in Reality. Act soon.”

Have this pasted in your mind. It has helped me in achieving my goals with reasonable timelines. Overtime we can see things getting done faster than the reality.

PS: Experiment was referred from Veritasium

2 thoughts on “How does the science of time illusion affect our habits and goals

Add yours

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: