Podcast Brunch Club

About Time Podcast Explores our Complicated Relationship with Time

by Jenna Spinelle on July 29, 2019.
An interview with Emily Hunt about About Time, a podcast that explores our complicated relationship with time

Time governs nearly everything that we do, but how much time do you really spend thinking about it? About Time, a new five-episode podcast from time tracking app Timely, explores our complex relationship with time through interviews with psychologists, linguists, and more.

Emily Hunt, the show’s producer and host, filled me in on the show’s background and what the Timely team hopes listeners take from it.

How did the idea for the show come about?

It was pretty organic. We really wanted to explore the concept that our company, Timely, is based on. We know time is synonymous with value, but the definition of “value” itself is extremely personal. It got us thinking about the sheer flexibility of time-–how different societies interpret and attach meaning to it. This podcast was borne out of wanting to explore that in greater depth; to better appreciate how we see ourselves in relation to time.

Time is such a big, abstract concept. How did you narrow it down to just a few episodes?

We wanted to be thorough without being overwhelming, so we started with the concepts of time that really engage people’s creative imagination. After a very diverse initial round of research, this naturally boiled down to a few core areas: objective truth, subjective perception, cultural placement, and the biology of being human.

There are whole universes of discussion within each of these topics, but we wanted to keep them as accessible and introductory as possible for About Time.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while working on the show?

Some of the neuropsychological research was fascinating-–particularly research relating to attention and autobiographical memory. It’s incredible to consider that we each only take on three or four pieces of information in any given moment, but confidently stitch these together to create what we believe to be a complete, fluid account of time. The entire basis for our “history of self” is so fleeting and incidental.

How does the podcast relate to the Timely app?

Timely is all about helping people get more from their time: from automating time tracking and timesheet admin, to showing you precisely where time goes. It’s about making people more conscious and accountable for their time, so they can accomplish something worthwhile each day. About Time echoes that self-awareness-–it brings into question the very structure we use to organize and bring meaning to our lives.

What do you hope people take away from the show?

Hopefully, people will come away from it with a greater appreciation of time’s flexibility, and perhaps a better idea of what it means for them. The concept of time is surrounded by a healthy plurality of thought. It can be approached by so many different angles without being pinned down to any one of them; it would be amazing if we were able to communicate our appreciation for such diversity in thinking and culture, too.

What other podcasts do you recommend listeners check out if they like About Time?

It’s technically a documentary, but Michio Kaku’s Time for the BBC is a great place to start.

Radiolab’s episode on time featuring Oliver Sacks is also an interesting listen.

To really blow your mind, listen to the audiobook of Carlo Rovelli’s latest book, The Order of Time (narrated by Benedict Cumberbatch).

The Timely team:
The Timely team


Jenna SpinelleAbout the author:
Jenna Spinelle is a writer and journalism instructor in State College, Pennsylvania. She is a leader of the PBC Virtual Chapter and hosts the Democracy Works podcast.


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