3, 2, 1, and You’re Dead

A new watch offers an ever-present reminder of life’s transience. Fredrik Colting, inventor of the death countdown watch un-imaginatively named Tikker, described the inspiration for his invention to NPR:

[Colting] wanted some sort of reminder to not sweat the small stuff and reach for what matters… A former gravedigger, figured imminent death was the best motivator there is. That’s why he calls Tikker “the happiness watch.” It’s his belief that watching your life slip away will remind you to savor life while you have it.

Reminds me of an idea I had back in 2009, to measure my days with a 24-hour clock, starting with 0:00 as the hour I woke up. As I described it:

Since I want to get my day started and get out of the house by 9:00 AM Eastern Standard Time (EST), that’s what I set as 0:00 on my watch. (We’ll call it Marc Standard Time, or MST.) So if I want eight hours of sleep, I need to be back in bed by 16:00 or so; sixteen hours of awake time!

After all, what does nine o’clock really mean, except that it’s early? What does seven o’clock mean except for dinner time?

It can be intimidating at first. (“Shit! I’ve been awake for three hours and all I’ve done is check email and scrub a bunch of dirty dishes!”) But now it’s the keen realization of a passing day that motivates me. I want to get stuff done so that by 4:00 MST I can feel accomplished, knowing I made full use of the first four hours of the day.

As for the death countdown watch, NPR has more with the inventor and the authors of relevant social science research here.