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Fantastic Time Management

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Characters are often pressed for time. Maybe they overbook themselves for a specific time period, or maybe they just have a very busy life in general, what with having the Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World all the time. Perhaps they have a deadline that is just physically impossible to meet in the allotted time.

Well, not to worry: All they have to do is create more time, using Magic and Powers or Applied Phlebotinum.

Favorite methods include Time Travel (But be careful, San Dimas Time stops for nobody,) Year Inside, Hour Outside, and Narnia Time, but there can also be other ways of accomplishing this. This is often a form of Mundane Utility.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Negima! Magister Negi Magi, Negi Springfield uses both the Time Travel and the Year Inside, Hour Outside solution:
    • In order to be able to both do his school teaching duties and go through a special magic/combat training, Negi begins to use his mentor Evangeline's special resort located in a Pocket Dimension where one day is equivalent to one hour in our world.
    • In the Mahora Festival arc, due to being a Nice Guy and unable to say "no" to his students, Negi ends up majorly overbooking his schedule. He is given a Time Travel device by Chao in order to allow him to meet all his commitments, time jumping three times on the first day alone. Of course, because this deprives him of sleep, he then also uses the aforementioned Evangeline's resort to be able to rest from all these activities...which was exactly what Chao expected him to do.
  • Shiki and Shirou attempt this in Carnival Phantasm, it starts going wrong right from the start and eventually (literally) blows up in their faces.

    Comic Books 
  • In an issue of Love and Capes, superhero (and accountant) Crusader forgets to do his own taxes until 11:30 p.m. on April 15. He has to have them finished and in the mail by midnight. Even using his super-speed powers, he is unable to finish them until 2 a.m. the next day. This is no problem, since he lives in the Eastern time zone; He just flies at super speed to the west coast, and mails his taxes in before midnight Pacific time.

    Comic Strips 
  • In Calvin and Hobbes, Calvin travels two hours into the future to get his completed homework from his future self. Of course, it isn't done yet because two hours ago he went back in time to get it. The 6:30 Calvin and 8:30 Calvin then decide to gang up on the 7:30 Calvin and make him do the homework, but run into the same problem. In the midst of this Temporal Duplication, the 6:30 and 8:30 Hobbeses write about the mess the Calvins are getting into. Hobbes's story ends up getting an A+, though it does make Calvin look rightfully ridiculous.

    Card Games 

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Harry has a 26-hour sleep schedule. Professor McGonagall solves this by giving him a Time-Turner. Harry is quite unnerved by this...
    Say, Professor McGonagall, did you know that time-reversed ordinary matter looks just like antimatter? Why yes it does! Did you know that one kilogram of antimatter encountering one kilogram of matter will annihilate in an explosion equivalent to 43 million tons of TNT? Do you realize that I myself weigh 41 kilograms and that the resulting blast would leave A GIANT SMOKING CRATER WHERE THERE USED TO BE SCOTLAND?
...but eventually gets quite used to it, to the point where he has to be magically restricted from using it more often than the intended two turns per day.
  • In Harry Potter and the Breeding Darkness in order to attend school at Hogwarts, manage the Death Eaters, continue his independent studies, and spend time with Tom; Harry uses a Time Turner to live every day twice.
  • In Amends, or Truth and Reconciliation, Hermione's political enemies try to bury her in busywork and conflictingly scheduled meetings. It doesn't work. But somehow they never guess she has a time turner. She's experiencing about septuple time once the plot really gets moving.
  • In The Harem War, Harry Potter uses a special time turner to live every day 3 times. It's specifically said that it doesn't cause him to age faster. Herminone (and later Narcissa) manages his schedule. He needs this because he need to finish his magical education, train to fly (as in 'muggle combat aircraft'), take his part in governing Duchess of Charenwell (foreign policy issues ARE the Duke's responsibility and this includes dealing with Magical Britain. Charenwell is independent from Magical Britain but not fully independent from British Crown, up to the point that the Queen has a ranch here and the Royal Air Forces use it as a hidden base in WWII) and there is the small issue of his harem of 26 girls and it's expected that he WILL be sexually active with everybody except Gabriel Delacour. He doesn't want such a large harem. Hermione doesn't want it either but alternatives were much worse for girls.
  • The Rigel Black Chronicles: Harry is granted a Time Turner in her third year, just as Hermione was in canon. Being quite organised, she actually thrives with it, finding that she now has enough time for self-care (sleep, exercise, spending time with friends) as well as studying all her subjects. Until she realises that compressing time so much has caused her long-term Polyjuice Potion to wear off after just a few months (because it's been over a year in subjective time), and she has to abuse the Time Turner to the full in order to brew a new batch — which takes a month — in the few seconds before Professor Snape catches her out.

    Films — Animation 
  • Done in Megamind. During some hero-villain banter with Megamind, Metro Man realizes that he has been doing the same thing for years. He uses his super speed to go out, think to himself, and read SEVERAL self-help books. All this time, he's moving so fast that time appears frozen to him. It's done to ridiculous extents, but it makes sense seeing as how it IS a parody.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey, Bill and Ted exploit their time machine to get a few extra years' guitar practice in before the Battle of the Bands. This despite the previous film having explicitly established that this was impossible... Obviously, they finally figured out they could just call a date that used to be a few years earlier, which would now have also moved forward to the correct date after they spent those few years learning to actually play well.

  • In Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban, Hermione Granger uses daily time travel to take more classes than would be otherwise possible. At the end she decides it's too much of a hassle and drops the extra subjects to have a more normal schedule. Specifically, Muggle Studies, which is useless as she's a muggle-born, and Divination, which is taught by a Professor who Hermione firmly believes a quack.
  • Time Machine story "The Time Machine Twins the Jamboree." Bob Tucker (who is a Boy Scout) needs to be at Jamboree West and Jamboree East, but they're being held at the same time. "Brains" Baines comes up with the idea of using the Time Machine to move him from one event to the other, and taking him to a deserted beach in the 40th century to sleep between appearances.
  • The Dragonriders of Pern books have several examples of people using their dragons' time-jumping ability to do this.
    • Jaxom does it a few times throughout The White Dragon, mostly for relatively trivial reasons.
    • In Moreta, Dragonlady of Pern, Moreta does it repeatedly, to the point of exhaustion and eventual death, to deliver a plague cure to everyone who needs it.
    • In All The Skies Of Pern, pretty much every dragon-rider does it after a meteorite causes a massive tidal wave threatens all of the coastal regions: they time-jump to hours before the event to begin the evacuations. It works: they lose a lot of infrastructure but practically no people.
  • In the Discworld novel Thief of Time, the title character can make time flow faster or slower for himself relative to the world around him. He regularly uses this ability for mundane everyday schedule management.
    • Mr. Soak, the milkman, does this. Somehow, the milk is always on your doorstep at exactly 7 am. For everyone. Turns out Soak is actually Kaos, and can stop time as well.
  • This is the central plot of the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel Borrowed Time, in which very busy people are given watches that allow them to literally borrow time so they can fit more things into the day. The problems come when they're expected to pay it back. With compound interest.
  • Used in a farcical novel by Harry Harrison called The Technicolor Time Machine, where a desperate movie director, lacking a budget for a historical film about Vikings, hires a crackpot inventor, who actually builds a working time machine, to film the whole thing in the past, saving money on sets and actors. Since they have to deliver in a short time frame, they hire a scriptwriter and send him to an island in the past for a month to write the script. After a few such trips, they get the script and start filming, at which point they use the time machine to skip forward and back (setting up Stable Time Loops). All nearly seems lost when the director is forced to go to his boss's office empty-handed, only for his future self to appear with the film all done and tell him to keep working (also giving him a piece of paper with a diagram of what to do to get to that point). In the end, the film is done and is a big hit, and the director realizes that the Vikings only created their first settlement in the New World because a film director wanted to make a movie.
  • The Belgariad: When Garion says he'll "make time" to do something, Belgarath warns him against using his sorcery to create time, because there's no way to predict what the results would be if he tries.
  • This is a tactic used quite frequently by Hannibal Fortune, Agent of T.E.R.R.A (Temporal Entropy Restructure and Repair Agency) by Larry Maddox. Fortune wanders through history to investigate and fix problems caused by the bad guys. Several times he is in the middle of a battle when he jumps into his temporal transporter and immediately jumps 20 or so years away from the action. He then very often takes a nap, followed by a leisurely shower and lunch, knowing he can jump back into the action the instant he left, after spending as long as he needs (days or even years) to plan his actions and gather anything he needs to fix the problem and win the battle, with absolutely nothing happening in the battle from when he left to when he returns.
  • Wiz Biz: In the past, a wizard invented a spell that would increase the number of hours in his wedding night... only to discover that his reach rather exceeded his grasp. When the programmers find out about it, they immediately start using it at crunch time.
    Bal-Simba: But people cannot work at night.
    Mike: These aren't people, they're programmers!

    Live-Action TV 
  • Occasionally in Charmed (1998), where Piper's power to freeze time triggers when she's making an audition recipe for a restaurant job and the chef is about to taste it before she's finished, allowing her to add the special ingredient. It's however later established that using magic for personal gain will come with backfires, so she avoids actively doing it outside of demon battles.
  • Doctor Who uses this surprisingly infrequently:
    • One notable exception is the episode "A Christmas Carol", in which the Doctor has roughly an hour to save a crashing space ship. His solution takes years to execute.
    • A variation appears in "The Day of the Doctor", in which a centuries-long calculation to disintegrate a door with the sonic screwdriver is carried out instantly by having an earlier incarnation of the Doctor program it in and a later incarnation read out the result from a centuries-older version of the device. Then they realize the door was unlocked the whole time. The same technique is used on a larger scale to enable all the Doctor's incarnations working in concert to isolate Gallifrey from the timestream, removing it from the Time War without destroying it.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch:
    • One episode has Sabrina panicking before a test with a Sadist Teacher, so she magically freezes time in the hallway to check the textbook and calm down before the test.
    • An episode of the college years has Sabrina spend too long at a party when she's supposed to be doing assignments, and she sleeps in. Rather than conjuring up a finished paper, she instead casts a spell that gives her Super-Speed so that she can do the work in an instant. This backfires when it turns out she sucked the extra time out of her housemates, who move in slow motion until she can reverse the spell.
  • In the The Twilight Zone (1985) episode "A Little Peace and Quiet", a harried housewife finds a magic sundial that allows her to stop and restart time. She uses it to literally make time for herself, enjoying a peaceful breakfast or leisurely shopping for groceries while time is stopped for everyone else. Everything is perfect until nuclear war breaks out and she stops time while a missile is 10 feet above her head. She will have to choose between dying with everyone else and living her life forever trapped between two instants of time.

  • In Egyptian Mythology, Ra heard a prophecy from Thoth that one of Nut and Geb's children would replace him as divine ruler. To prevent this, he forbade Nut from giving birth on any of the 360 days of the year. Thoth felt bad about this, since he made the prophecy in the first place, so to prevent Nut being cursed with the Longest Pregnancy Ever, he came up with a plan using Loophole Abuse. Thoth played the board game senet with the Moon God Khonsu, gaining a small amount of moonlight each time he won. Eventually, he had enough light to make up five extra days, which didn't count as part of the year. By the time Ra found out and added the days to the year, Nut's children were already born.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Touhou Project, Sakuya often use her time manipulation power to speed up housework.
  • A more "mundane" application than usual in Professor Layton vs. Ace Attorney. In the game's world of Labyrinthia, magic is elaborately faked, and part of this trickery involves getting its effects to look instantaneous to observers. This is accomplished by the Shades ringing small silver bells to briefly dull the citizens' perception to the machines and props being implemented to create an instance of magic. It helps that Labyrinthia as a setting is a Medieval Stasis, preventing any citizen from getting an accurate measure of how much time has passed.
  • In Tick Tock Isle the unintentional time traveller utterly fails at that (since he doesn't really control the time machine). Which is lampshaded by one of the characters:
    Pen: For a time traveller you're rarely on time.
    Pen: You should make punctuality part of your Ktesibiotic Oath.


    Western Animation 
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In "Morning Stretch", Dexter oversleeps and has only one minute before the school bus arrives, and he hasn't done his homework yet, so he uses a time-extending helmet to turn 30 seconds into 30 minutes to get everything done. It turns out to be in vain as that day it snowed and school was canceled.
  • In the season 1 finale of Rick and Morty, Rick throws a massively destructive party while Beth and Jerry are away, ending up with them storming in the sidewalk to flip out at him. To avoid upsetting them, he freezes time, allowing him, Morty, and Summer to clean up the house before Beth and Jerry reach the front door. In the season 2 premier, it's revealed that they kept time frozen for several months, apparently just to relax.