I've always found this pretty useful. I can see the positions between events and intuitively judge their distance. I can see how recurring events are 'pinned' through multiple years. I see time periods - like months, or vacation times, as segments of the coil that are somehow 'different' (like being a different colour, except not). If I'm trying to remember when something happened, or is going to happen, I mentally flip through the slinky layers.
Does anyone else think this way? How do people regularly visualise time? I've always thought it'd be a pretty fantastic digital calendar UI, since it seems so intuitive to me - how does it sound to others?
Edit: Here's an article I just found. There are some people with similar visualizations to mine, and someone who perceives a year as a giant numeral '7'! Interestingly, the article talks about this perception underlying unusually good memory - but my memory of the past is actually pretty atrocious.
At the time I had the "insight", it was incredibly sad to me. I felt like we have a beautiful stretch of time laying out in front of us, and instead of enjoying every unique moment, we entangle it with spirals and walk through similar lives, week after week, month after month, year after year.
I also view numbers in general in a similar fashion. For example, I see 0-10 as points on a line that is about a 45 degree angle. 11-100 are the same but they are at a 135 degree angle. 101-1000 goes back to 45 degrees. This keeps going in a sort of logarithmic fashion... each turn between 45 and 135 is smaller/"zoomed out" as the numbers get larger. When I think of a number, it's almost like pointing to it (except all in my mind). Kind of hard to describe, but maybe this makeshift diagram will help.
I wonder how many other things vary between people but never get noticed because we consider them so fundamental?
Talking about what it's like to be in our brains and not assume that we should all function the same way can lead us to so much insight about ourselves, about our limitations, about how we can improve our lives. Thanks for sharing your experience and the article.
It's rather amazing how many life-long concepts come out of kindergarten.
I remember being stumped by the same problem of wanting a better overview over periods of time, and so came up with a scrollable-zoomable-timeline visualization called LineTime (http://www.linetimeapp.com). Smooth pinch-to-zoom and it displays days, weeks, months, years, decades, centuries.
At this point, LineTime isn't a productivity app but a history timeline. But actually I like this idea almost better for a productivity tool, since it enables you to "compartmentalize" a bit better than with a flowing timeline like LineTime.
This one would be tricky - it looks like this needs continuous re-scaling. This would probably need a system of movable paper parts - labels, post-its or whatever. There's a serious danger you'd spend more energy tweaking those than thinking about the actual tasks :)
You'd have current month large, then scale down through future 3 months, remainder of year, future years. Post-its / whiteboard marker / magnetic markers for various events.
The advantage of software is of course that you can have scaled views but infinite (or at least very large) storage capacity.
Lighten up man.
Getting upvotes and supportive comments like "Please do, I'd like to see that" would make the follow-through posting more likely. Critical complaints like yours make the follow-through posting less likely.