Time Management: An Easy Way to Stay on Track


How often have you been relaxing at home and lost track of time, then … oops, you’re off schedule or late for a meeting? You could have looked at your wristwatch, computer screen or any clock in your house that is, if you had remembered to check. You could also have set your alarm clock or timer, but maybe you didn’t want to bother or don’t like buzzers and beepers.

Is there a simple solution to keeping track of time at home? Here’s something to think about: have your eyes ever fallen effortlessly on an object in your environment and its image reminded you of something that you needed to do? That object could have been anything: a shoe, a notebook, a box of cookies, etc. . If an image can stir your memory, then what might happen if the image is a clock? It’s an easy guess, you’d know what time it is without exerting any effort or interrupting what you’re doing.

In the field of cognitive psychology there’s a term for this passive information-gathering, it’s called pre-attentive processing. There’s also a term for the kind of clock that our eyes happen to stumble upon, and it’s called ambient, ambient because it’s in our immediate or close surroundings.

You might ask: I already have a cuckoo clock and mantel clock in my house, so what’s the difference between those and an ambient clock? The answer is: there is no difference. Your clocks are ambient; it’s only a matter of where they’re placed that makes them more or less effective as ambient clocks. Here are a few simple guidelines to apply for this simple strategy of passive time management at home.

Choose the right place

First, step into a room in which you spend a lot of your time. Take two minutes to look around. Then pick a prominent location where your line of vision naturally falls. That place could be a table top in front of your favorite chair, or on a bookshelf; it could even be on a wall directly facing the entryway of that room. Any of these locations could be a good choice for an ambient clock. If a room has no eye-catching spots, you can create one using the right kind of clock.

Choose the right clock

Any analog clock with a large enough dial that’s easy to read can work well as an ambient clock. Digital clocks can also be used, but they’re generally not as eye-catching and are less aesthetic than the analog type. You can also choose a clock with a moving pendulum, since motion works well as an attention-getter. Another approach is to select a timepiece based on size, color or style, which would make it the focal point of the room and an ambient timepiece. For details on using clocks as focal points see our article: Decorating with Clocks.

So, if you’re looking for a quiet way to keep track of time at home without buzzing alarms or beeping timers, try the ambient clock method. Is it foolproof?  No, but with one or more of these timepieces strategically located in your home, loosing track of time is likely to occur less often, and you’ll have enhanced your decor at the same time.

Photo Credits:

1. String on a finger as a reminder -imgkid.com

2. Pre-attentive processing – medium.com

3. Wall clock as focal point – placesinthehome.com


Clocks Point to More than Time


Why are clocks so fascinating? What is our connection with them? The mystery of time is surely a broad topic and plenty of blog articles could be written about it from many different viewpoints, such as science, philosophy, theology, first-hand experience, etc. In this article, we’ll look at two of them. Taking a view from plain old experience and from a bit of science, we can find out something more about the allure of time and clocks.

Experience tells us that the relationship we have with clocks is deeper than what we see on the surface. Yes, clocks keep us organized; order, flow and continuity come from their reliability, enjoyment comes from their aesthetics. Point-2-thriftyartist.blogspot.com-handBut there’s more. And it has to do with rhythm and pattern. Rhythm is found in any recurrent sound, movement, arrangement or condition in any sphere of life, including clocks.

Let’s look first at the hands of an analog clock. They follow a circular pattern and always arrive back at the place where they started, only to begin again as so many patterns and rhythms of nature do. Accompanying that continuum of movement is the delightfully ordered and rhythmic tick-tock of the clock’s mechanism. A swinging pendulum yet adds another layer of rhythm.

So if you’ve ever sensed a certain connection when you looked at a clock, or listened to its ticking, or watched its pendulum swing, there is a reason. In its simple and unassuming way, a clock mirrors the order and rhythm of nature and reminds us that we’re connected to that rhythm. Rhythm is an integral part of our being, so much so that we can even say that we’re “rhythmic beings,” and because we are, we have a natural affinity to the presence and workings of rhythm all around us in the patterns of the seasons, galaxies, mathematics, music, sports, poetry and so on…and in the patterns of the clocks.

Now to throw in some science, biology, at that. It’s well known in the fields of science that rhythm is an inseparable and intrinsic part of our physical bodies; our brain is a “master clock” that coordinates all of our body clocks. Our brain controls our internal timekeeper, called a “circadian rhythm,” so that all parts of our body work in sync with one another–all moving together like the precise gears and mechanisms of a finely tuned clock.

Children naturally experience, over and over again in different ways, just what we’re talking about–the beats, rhythms, and patterns, when they sing, clap, dance, laugh to music…and listen to the steady tick of a clock.

So we feel this connection with clocks because they’re closer to us than we might realize. When we look at and listen to a clock something inside us resonates, something that speaks of the rhythm that moves in us and all around us, and is perhaps the most basic pattern in nature. It’s our plain old experience that confirms it; clocks are just fascinating.

Photo Credits:

Photo # 1 – Clock face – we-are-star-stuff.tumblr.com

Photo # 2 –  Pointing hand – thriftyartist.blogspot.com

5 Good Reasons Why Clock Enthusiasts Are Enthusiastic


BLOG#2rh8367_289x433Ah, the difference between a digital clock and an analog clock. Where are the animated dancers, the finely crafted wood carvings, the deep sonorous gongs and the dumpling eaters? Think about it. They’re seen and heard on the analog clocks. I’d rather get the time from a beautiful grandfather clock or a charming cuckoo clock than from the digital icon on my computer screen or iPad. Wouldn’t you? Maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a clock, but aren’t convinced yet that it’s a good idea.

Here are 5 reasons why clock enthusiasts are enthusiastic:

1. Tradition

Blog-tradition-polls_tradition_2258_517561_pollYes, analog clocks are passed down from generation to generation bringing with them their family history and the warmth of relationships. And, by the way, clock lovers, who have sometimes lost their family treasure, will purchase a clock today that is just like what their grandmother had. That reconnects them to their family heritage in a deep and personal way. And what if there isn’t a family heirloom to be passed down? You could start one today. It will be an heirloom in the making. Think of your children and their children who will remember you and enjoy the beauty of the clock you got started.

2. Decoration

BLOG-Hermle0803RoomSceneThis can be anything from filling that large wall with a chic over-sized clock or grouping a selection of smaller clocks to create a center of attention. Like a painting, a clock will beautify your decor. They’re works of art. You can bet they’ll add warmth, atmosphere and charm to your home. They’re versatile too, whether traditional or modern, large or small, for the table top or fireplace mantel, clocks bring movement and mirth to the air.

3. Relationship

BLOG#3relationship-300x225Here is where the fun is. Did you know how musical and moving a clock is? They’re almost like kinetic sculptures that you can interact with daily. They engage your senses and can fill your spirit. Listen to their sounds, feel the clicking in your fingers and hands as you wind them and admire the visual artistry of their craftsmanship. With their ticking, chiming, cuckoo-ing and swinging, they become a part of the hum of your home.

4. Expression

BLOG-#2-PaintBrushesWhat is your unique personality? Clocks let you express it with their variety of colors, shapes, textures, and sounds. There are fun clocks, bold clocks, stylish clocks, classic clocks, unusual clocks, chic and over-sized clocks–all with their own flavor and character.

 5. Conversation

BLOG-conversation#2-indexHaving friends or relatives over? The winsome characters, hand painting and woodwork, deep sonorous gongs and the intricate brass mechanisms seen through a clear casing, have been known to open many a conversation over a glass of sherry before the ring of the dinner bell, or with a cup of mint tea at dessert.

Convinced yet why clock enthusiasts are enthusiastic about clocks? If not, ask any clock lover and they’ll tell you–or even better, they’ll show you. And you just might catch the enthusiasm.

Photo Credits:

Cuckoo Clock: northcoastimports.com

Room Scene: hermleclock.com

Paint brushes: http://inspired2act.com