There is no time without clocks. There are no clocks without mass. There is no mass above the temperature at which bosons acquire mass through spontaneous symmetry breaking. Massless particles travel at the speed of light. When traveling at the speed of light, all components of its motion are through space and none are through time. All events in the universe become space-like.
Wouldn’t these conditions of the early universe by themselves explain the homogeneous and isotropic qualities without needing cosmic inflation? If energy can radiate arbitrarily far in space without time passing, there is no need for esoteric explanations of how that happened so quickly.
[Paraphrasing Penrose: E=mc^2 combined with E=hf (and f=1/t) means that without mass there can be no clocks and therefore no time.]