February 21, 2016

Think about the future in terms of days, even when the time frame is years.

So if, for example, there's something you want to achieve in 5 years, multiply it by 365, and think of it as 1825 days.

This seems intuitively right to me, as I read about a study described here: "Framing Time in Days, Not Years, Could Spur Action Toward Goals."

I stumbled across that researching the expression, which I wanted to claim as my own: We live in days. Meade insisted that it was a famous line in a poem. I found the poem. The poem "Days," by Philip Larkin reads, in pertinent part:
What are days for?
Days are where we live....
Where can we live but days?
Here's Philip Larkin, reading the entire poem, which, I'd like to point out, does not contain the word sequence "We live in days." The poem has a punchline, the answer to the question "Where can we live but days?"

In light of the answer to the question, you might think about how much longer you picture yourself living. Well, what did you think? Did you put it in years? Multiply by 365! Don't say, for example, 25 years. Say 9,125 days (or 9,131 days, to add the leap days). See the enhanced urgency? Now, get out there and achieve some goals... or plan to live in the day 9,131 times...


Terry said...

This makes sense.
I mean, suppose you have an enemy you want to kill. You might think "I have 3 years to kill my enemy. No hurry!"
But if you think of it in days, you would think "Hmm. I have 1095 days to kill my enemy. I better get moving!"

sane_voter said...

The Moody Blues sang 22,000 days

22,000 days, 22,000 days it's not a lot,
It's all you got 22,000 days
22,000 nights, 22,000 nights, it's all you know
So start the show and this time
Feel the flow and get it right

coupe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...


I'm gone then.

Rob said...

So . . . create goals! Create enhanced urgency by seeing them in the context of days left! Get out there and achieve some goals! It all seems so Type A, so, well, goal-oriented. Perhaps one of our more immediate goals should be to take a moment and consider why goals are so damned important. Perhaps experiencing life, devoid of goals and urgency and the measuring of achievement against aspirations, should be how we spend our remaining days. Or should I say, our goal?

sane_voter said...

For the members of the Moody Blues, their life expectancy was in the low 60's by the actuarial tables for male Brits born in the mid-to-late 1940's. So 22,000 days is not far off.

Sebastian said...

On days, Larkin is a step or two ahead. Not that you'd necessarily want to follow him, or that he saw himself leading anyone anywhere. Even people who don't like poetry might appreciate this.

T J Sawyer said...

I think a similar rule needs to be applied to all discussion of government spending. Only millions are permitted. No more $3.4 billion dollar bridges. That will be a $3,400 million dollar bridge, thank you.

Owen said...

Government spending requests should be accompanied by high-definition pictures of the tower of pennies they will take. With video of the tower collapsing to form a sea of coins like the one in which Scrooge McDuck was wont to swim.

Make it tangible. Only then will it hurt.

traditionalguy said...

In scripture, God is always talking about the Days of our lives. He is big on telling people that their blessings and punishments would be for all of their days.

Thank God for the particular three Days starting Good Friday.

Fritz said...

T J Sawyer said...
I think a similar rule needs to be applied to all discussion of government spending. Only millions are permitted. No more $3.4 billion dollar bridges. That will be a $3,400 million dollar bridge, thank you.

That makes discussion of a trillion dollar deficit a little clunky. A million million dollars.

Sammy Finkelman said...

What about months?

Christy said...

I disagree. Larger numbers overwhelm. A thousand days? I have plenty of time to get started.

David said...

3000--4000 max. Better get cracking.

David said...


I'm gone then."

You won't be blogging? What will we do?

halojones-fan said...

I've often found that describing something in a smaller unit makes it seem more significant. 60 minutes is not a lot of time, but "one hour" is like a REALLY long time.

I think it's because humans have this sense that smaller units imply greater precision. If I say "60 minutes" I probably don't mean 62, or 57, or 75; I'd have said those numbers if I meant that. But "an hour" is more often used to mean "about an hour", anything from 45 to 80 minutes. Generally if you want to mean 60 minutes specifically, you say exactly an hour".

Charlie Currie said...

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes how do you measure a year in the life?

Owen said...

Charlie Currie: "
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes how do you measure a year in the life?"

I like what you did there. No more Arabic numbers! Write everything out. And do it long-hand.

So my budget request idea would require the desired sum to be spelled out as the sum of the pennies. A request for, say, $10 would be expressed as "An amount equal to a penny plus another penny plus another penny plus..." A thousand such phrases strung together. Submitted in triplicate on hand-laid paper or possibly vellum from locally raised animals.

The submissions would be decided by Congress after hearing the petition of the head of the relevant government department (live; in person). If the submission were rejected, the petitioner's life would be forfeit.

THAT'S how to get government spending down from $4 Trillion.

Joe said...

This makes no sense to me; it's just mumbo jumbo masquerading as psychology.

EDH said...

"Like Sands through an hourglass... these are the days of our lives."

Notice Ed Prentice quotes MacDonald Carey as saying "sands" rather than sand, seeking to be more granular in the manner Althouse suggests using days rather than years.

RigelDog said...

"I wish that life should not be cheap, but sacred. I wish the days to be as centuries, loaded, fragrant." -----Ralph Waldo Emerson

Bill Peschel said...

I cannot do this. I will not do this.

Bad enough I have spent my life thinking about my eventual demise. Every. Dam. Day. I do not need a method to squick up my anxiety even further.

Peter said...

The only SI units of time are seconds. And where do we live if not in the here-and-now?

If you need larger time units, use megaseconds (~11.6 days). 1825 days is a little over 157 megaseconds; three-score-and-ten years weighs in at about 2.2 gigaseconds.

Rockport Conservative said...

Years ago, before computers, I worked in the classified section of a newspaper. We had to circle the days the ad would run. I came to feel I was circling away the days of my life. I am old enough I really don't want to use that anymore. Time passes way too fast.

JamesB.BKK said...

"What the Minutes Say" http://anextractofreflection.blogspot.com/2014/02/what-minutes-say.html

We are but minutes, little things --
Each one furnished with sixty wings,
With which we fly on our unseen track;
And not a minute ever comes back.

We are but minutes; each one bears
A little burden of joys and cares;
Take patiently the minutes of pain;
The worst of minutes cannot remain.

We are but minutes. When we bring
A few drops from pleasure's spring,
Taste their sweetness while ye may;
It takes but a minute to fly away.

We are but minutes. Use us well;
For how we are used we must one day tell.
Who uses minutes, has hours to use;
Who loses minutes, whole years must lose.

Credits at the link.

JamesB.BKK said...

"How far away is it?"

"About two hours."