On other people’s wrists, on clock towers, outside the jewellers, inside shops, at the station, on the scrolling news, from the position of the sun. Ask someone or make do not knowing, leaving plenty of time not to worry.

Here’s the challenge. Spend a day getting by without checking the time on any device of your own. Of course the more analogue way is to use a watch, but the aim of the challenge here is to sharpen a range of other analogue skills that will make you more comfortable with be more self-sufficient and less reliant on devices to get you through the day.

Noticing landmarks

clocks adorn buildings. Buildings guide our way through cities and therefore help us create our mental maps of where we are. A greater awareness of the landmarks of our city will help us become less dependent on digital navigation tools to get around. Looking for clocks on buildings is a good way to pay greater attention to the landmarks that shape our cities. 

Public transport runs on time. The invention of the railways gave us unified time in the UK. Bus stops and stations are your friends when looking for the time. They are also great places to find maps to help guide you through the city. 

Tuning in to the environment

The sun and the moon are the original clocks. They by no means offer us to-the-minute accuracy, but sunset at least offers a reasonably accurate reference point at which we know what time it is. That is of course if keep an eye on the times of sun set and sun rise in the paper, another analogue skill. 

Ask someone

Rather than consulting a digital device, asking someone face-to-face is an analogue skill. Like asking for directions, asking someone the time is the chance to speak to another human being, a chance to engage in the face-to-face human interaction that we have evolved to understand. I can’t think of a time when someone has been unwilling to help. 

Be happy not knowing

See analogue skill 008. Being happy not knowing is about relinquishing control in order to let in delight, creativity and resilience. Dealing with not knowing the time is an exercise in stretching your comfort zone.

Leave plenty of time

You can’t live a to-the-minute schedule if you don’t have a watch, so you need to leave plenty of time. But the paradox is, the more we look at our watches it seems, the more we try to fit in and so the less time we have. That is the tyranny of time, made all the more oppressive by always being made aware of the time whenever we look at our digital devices. 

Spend a day not checking your watch or the time on your phone and see what analogue skills you can sharpen. 

What is the Analogue Skills project?

The Analogue Skills Project is my attempt to gather together and keep safe less digital ways of doing things in case we need them again. My aim is to discover/redicover ways of being, feeling and acting that might serve us better.

Read more about the project here and check out my latest posts: