A New Pace

Finding a New Pace

change and transition cultivating realistic hope series emotional intelligence - stress tolerence joy and the power of awe Jun 24, 2022

How has the pandemic affected your pace in your personal and professional life? How are you adapting to a new pace and showing up for your BEST self.

Even the best of the best are experiencing challenges in finding their new pace at work and in life. Focus and concentration have been more of a challenge for all of us no matter our role or status, our age, or where we work and live. I’m not surprised. Our sense of time has been distorted. Two factors explain this phenomenon:

  1. Feeling stuck
  2. Loss of flow

Our Perception of Time

The feeling of being stuck or being in a holding pattern is not unusual for those who remain at home or have yet to return to their previous work environment or social engagements. When we are unable to structure or manipulate our experience of time—when our temporal agency is deprived or when self-agency is hampered by external forceswe feel stuck in the present.

In an article published early in the pandemic 1Dr. Felix Ringel, an anthropologist of time, refers to this experience as "enforced presentism". This term was first defined by fellow anthropologist, Jane Guyer. During the pandemic, we felt stuck in the present and unable to plan ahead. We didn't know if or when we could see loved ones or whether or not we could ever travel again. For those who are uncertain about returning to the workplace, enforced presentism continues to alter their perception of time.

To add to the complexity of time, our relationship with the future has been distorted with significant impact on our optimism and our ability to accept and adapt to a new pace. In his article, Dr. Ringel refers to a coping strategy called "time tricking" in which we speed up, slow down, bend, and restructure time in many different ways. 

In a previous blog, I shared the idea of "time tripping" to cultivate awe in our lives 2. In a sense, time tripping works hand-in-hand with time tricking. Linking my positive emotions with memories helps me to cope. We all had our ways of coping with the abrupt distortion of time and structure in our lives.

Dr. Ringel followed up with an article about how endurance, maintenance, and tenacity got us through multiple lockdowns and will continue to help us as we come out of the pandemic 3. Apparently, the multiple lockdowns provided many opportunities to engage the strategy of time tripping in many areas of our lives.

Fear also alters our perception of time. According to Dr. Sylvie Droit-Volet, PsyD, who has conducted extensive research on emotions and time, threatening stimuli can distort our internal sense of the passage of time and flow. In "Subjective Time" 4,  Droit-Volet points to two significant contributors that distort our internal clock:

  1. Changes in internal states in response to the effects of drugs or external stimuli
    • external stimuli could include a crisis such as the pandemic or any other major life event (personal, professional, familial) (health, economical)
  2. Attentional processes
    • when we pay less attention to time, we experience a distortion in our perception of time through "temporal shortening" effect.

Resetting Our Internal Clock and Finding Our New Pace

When working with clients on the concepts of time, energy, and pace, the work is focused on a strategy for self-agency and self-management under situations of great pressure. We build emotional intelligence skills in Stress Management: Flexibility, Stress Tolerance, and Optimism. We focus on psychological skills to manage enforced presentism and loss of flow. I will expand on a selection of these skills in my next post.

In the meantime, I invite you to reflect on how the pandemic has affected your pace in your personal and professional life, your focus and concentration, and how you have attended to your emotional performance and well-being either intentionally or simply by instinct and observation of others.


  1. Coronavirus: how the pandemic has changed our perception of time, Dr. Felix Ringel, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, England, May 2020
  2. The Power of Awe: How to Cultivate Awe. Be Intentional, 4. Awesome time tripping! Encore Blog, February 25, 2022
  3. Endurance got us through multiple lockdowns, and it'll help us coming out of the pandemic too, Dr. Felix Ringel, Department of Anthropology, Durham University, England, June 2021
  4. Subjective Time: The Philosophy, Psychology, and Neuroscience of Temporality, Valtteri Arstila and Dan Lloyd (Editors). Various contributors including Sylvie Droit-Volet

Your Next Steps:

Are you ready to work with a qualified coach to help you develop skills, techniques, and strategies that work best for you? Start with your 90-Day EQ Mini-Plan or the mini workbook Emotions Drive Performance: Triggers from Thinking to Results - Predispositions, Self-Handicapping, Self-Sabotage 

Explore the connections I make with this topic and emotional intelligence. You can reach me on LinkedIn. Or click to Get in Touch


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