Time keeps on slippin' slippin' slippin' into the Future...

I am fascinated by the discussion and study on people's belief about time. There are basically two types of people, Monochrones and Polychrones. Monochromes see that time is a fixed entity, polychrones view time as fluid. I am a definite polychrone and have always been.

Martha Beck from O Magazine has a great article about it here.

And as writers, knowing which type of person you are can help you meet your deadlines and achieve your goals better.

Here's the big breakdown between Monochrone & Polychrone personalities...


Do one thing at a time.
View time commitments as critical.
Are committed to jobs (projects and tasks).
Adhere religiously to plans.
Emphasize promptness, always.
Are accustomed to short-term relationships.


Do many things at once and are highly distractible.
View time commitments as objectives.
Are committed to people and relationships.
Change plans often.
Base promptness on the significance of the relationship.
Have a strong tendency to build lifelong relationships.

****While you may have some characteristics from the other group (for example, I like to be on time especially if I have a plans with someone but I do follow this guideline "Base promptness on the significance of the relationship" - certain relationships or plans get more importance-- good friends and things that relate to my daughter's education get higher priority when it comes to being on time.) But knowing myself as well as I do, I find I have to plan to be to somewhere extra early just so I know I will be there on time (to the outside observer, I look to be prompt, but it's just special planning when it comes to things important to me...)

America is a Monochrome society. So the Beck wonders how us polychrome-tendency people get by--

The solution to this problem isn't to do away with polychronic tendencies altogether. That would leave the world a poor place indeed—we'd have to eliminate all 2-year-olds, not to mention poets and snowboarders. I personally think our whole society could use a more laid-back approach, but a massive cultural shift doesn't appear to be imminent, so we polychrones have to find some way to be ourselves without losing our jobs, offending our associates and yammering a constant stream of half-baked apologies...

The poet/snowboarder comment amused me very much-- and maybe the majority of artists are polychrome people. I know at night I have a hard time winding down especially if I'm writing because I don't want to leave that situation (or it's hard for me to leave) that situation and move into the next situation which is sleep.

A few years ago my husband said the most eye-opening phrase to me and I remind myself about it daily-- "Everything takes longer than I think..." If I think I'm going to take a 30 minute walk, give myself 45 in case I run into a friend or decide to hike past the "No Trespassing" sign to explore the forest path. If I want to leave at 2:45, I plan to leave at 2:30 because I will spend 15 minutes making sure all the animals have food and water, checking to make sure my space heater is off and that the lights are off, and that I have my sunglasses and my book.

There are a lot of benefits though with being a polychrome... I will hang out with you all night if you want me to. I have no problem spending hours anywhere and then if someone wants to go get milkshakes, I'm right there. If left to focus on my writing, I can do it for hours and hours and hours without feeling as if I need to switch to another task. I have many interests. And am loyal.

My biggest thing to work on is changing from one thing another. While I'm organized, I have to remind myself that I cannot use a snooze alarm as I will just always press it. Once I'm doing the thing I'm supposed to be doing, I stay on task pretty much (well, unless I get distracted...Squirrel!) But it is that moment of transition, of disengaging from an activity. I was always the little girl that didn't want to leave a friend's house or want a friend to go home. I never wanted the end to a book or a movie. I would play outside until 10 because I didn't want the moment or cul-de-sac kickball game to end. And still now, so many years later, it's hard for me to disengage as yes, I tend to linger...

still here.

just trying to decide

if I'm done...



  1. hi Kelli,
    I,ve read some of your beautiful poems online AND i like very much "Neruda's Hat"
    best wishes...
    Libra Larki

  2. Libra,

    Thank you for your note. I'll link you up to my blog too.


  3. I definitely lean toward the second group. I'm always reading three or four books at once (alternating between one and another), I'm always working on several poems at once, I can write in all kinds of surroundings (busy noisy places as easily as quiet solitude, I've even written poems while I was sitting talking with someone).

    I have many friends I've known for more than 20 years, and a few that I've known for more than 40 years. I'm not sure I would describe time commitments as "objectives," I think of them more as open-ended. I also don't usually think of myself as easily distracted, but I definitely have times when I can shift mental gears from one thing to another really quickly.

    I was interested in what you were saying about everything taking longer than you think. I'm the opposite of chronically late, I'm chronically early or on time. I set my alarm for a half hour earlier than I really want to get up, and I set the time on the alarm clock to a half hour earlier than real time, so the alarm actually goes off an hour before I want to get up. Typically the alarm goes off, I shut it off (no snooze alarm, just the one), then I doze off back to sleep for 45 minutes or an hour, and I wake up more or less when I really want to. I rarely oversleep.

    When I have a day off from work, if I don't have something specific I want to do, I often leave the day totally unplanned, so I can just go and wander and let the day take shape as it goes along. I say, why waste a good vacation day with plans?


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