A few years back I was involved in making lots of graphic tees for a few large well-known apparel brands. The projects required quite a bit of time in print shops. Graphics run the gamut of complexity from a simple one color print to 14 colors with special effects. No matter, the garments on which the graphics are printed all go through an oven with a conveyer belt — in one side and out the other, dried and cured. Depending on the print and ink type, the oven is adjusted for temperature and belt speed. Too little time on the belt and the print would not dry correctly. Too much time and the process was not efficient or the ink medium would burn.
The process is similar to drying fabric as well as baking almost anything in an industrial environment, like cookies, crackers, you name it. Whatever it is, the time the item spends in the oven is referred to as “dwell time.” Successful dwell time is dependent on correct calibration (of the oven).
Dwell time is simply a period of time something or someone remains in a given state. It makes sense that the longer we dwell in an environment or circumstance, the greater the chance that the circumstance will have a proportional effect on us.
A plunge into a body of ice cold water, the danger of hypothermia is relative to water temperature and dwell time.
We calculate how we dress when temperatures are extreme, depending on dwell time in the elements. At 110 degrees outside, we may dress differently if our commute is a 30 minute walk vs a drive in an air conditioned vehicle.
Online marketeers measure dwell time as the length of time a visitor spends on a page before clicking further. The longer the dwell time the better (absorption of content).
Recently I was told of a family living together in an emotionally toxic environment, the husband fearful of the wife. They both dislike their lives together, hanging on only for the children. Dwell time in that household is out of calibration and having damaging effects.
Thing is, every situation has its favorable amount of dwell time. Part of life’s fun is figuring out what those ideal dwell times are. We want to invest the right amount of time into projects, relationships, conditions, or situations to make sure they have time to hatch or cure correctly, without overstaying our welcome with undesirable outcomes.
From time-to-time our thoughts may float far too long (or not long enough) on a subject where dwell time wasn’t or isn’t given enough consideration. My thoughts keep coming back to my face and neck. I know dwell time on the subject has been well cured and over-baked. Our thoughts need the correct amount of calibration for successful dwell time on any subject.
The dwell time of my chopsticks holding noodles over a bowl of soup today exceeded it’s time as evidenced by broth splatter on my fresh white shirt. And right now, the dwell time thinking about dwell time may be better off spent dwelling on a post that’s not so half-baked.
How’s your dwell time?