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Watching the clock drags performance down, and optimism about the future does the opposite. Managers who understand this can help boost engagement.

Our personal, internal, and utterly subjective experience of time is pieced together by cooperative neural and perceptual systems that are no less intricate than a finely crafted watch. This internal construction is important. The way we think about the time we’re passing and how we orient ourselves in relationship to the future, present, and past have demonstrable impacts on our well-being, memory, cognition, attention, and engagement. And it probably goes without saying, it also impacts our performance at work.

Understanding how you and the people you work with see themselves in time is important because reams of research suggest that being optimistic about the future contributes to productivity.