Can Setting Your Clock Fast on Purpose Actually Cure Your Lateness?

There’s a sneaky trick to scamming yourself.


It’s okay giving yourself ‘a bit of a talking to’ once in a while, right? It’s almost an act to be admired. The moment when a sentient human being realises that they are not happy with their lives and consequently has a word with themselves about what to do about it.

Like, respect, man.

But what about fibbing to yourself to make similar improvements in life? You’re still having a word, just not an entirely true one. Take the classic game of self-manipulation where you to set your clock 10, 15, even 20 minutes ahead — whatever it takes to get you to work on time.

Obviously, the flaw in this trick is that you’re responsible for inhabiting the role of both the magician and the audience. How then do you trick yourself into thinking your watch isn’t just running 20 minutes fast, when you’re the one who set it that way? Are you chuffin’ mad?!

According to Linda Sapadin, a psychologist who specialises in time management and the author of How to Beat Procrastination in the Digital Age, it’s possible to tinker with your understanding of time. After all, time is relative, right?

“Be sure to change all your clocks, including your watch, alarm clock, the timer on the oven and even your phone and computer,” says Sapadin. “Of course, after a while you’ll be on to yourself and just start deducting that 15 minutes or whatever it is. So change it up every week or so — make sure your clocks are 12 minutes off, then 16, then 24, you get the idea.”

The idea here is that if you’re constantly changing the time on your clocks, eventually, you won’t have a clue what time it really is. “It could take a while, but after a few weeks, you’ll just have to trust the time you see on your clocks,” she explains. “The actual time won’t be so obvious.”


Then all you’ll need is a cure for chronic disorientation.