Time Demands

The basic element that every professional has to deal with is what we in the 2Time Management system call a Time Demand.

A Time Demand is born when someone decides to use some, as yet unspecified, amount of time to accomplish some task no matter how small. Most Time Demands are meant to be dealt with in the future, as it is usually impossible to drop everything to complete it immediately.

Time Demands include 2 parts, a prompt plus a commitment. Some examples include:

  • a request that someone else makes that we agree to fulfill
  • a decision to start exercising on Monday
  • a project that we are going to start working on next month
  • a bill that must be paid by check at the end of the month
  • a call to our mother tonight
  • time to rest, recover or recuperate
  • the time we spend in the car to get from Chaguanas to Port of Spain for a wedding
  • an email that needs to be returned
  • checking voice-mail
  • reading the newspaper in the morning

These all take time to be fulfilled, from short times to very long times.

Many professionals are stressed by the number and weight of the time demands that they have committed to fulfill. They walk around with what feels like a burden of having too much to do, and not enough time to do it in.

In a sense, their observation is correct. If they are creative and committed people, then the chances are good that they will die without completing each and every time demand.

In other words, they will never get to the point where they finish every time demand, as experience shows that time demands are created at the instant that others are completed.

The problem that many Novices in time management face is that they attempt to use their memory to manage their time demands, instead of a trusted system. The result, as mentioned in a prior entry, is chaos and unreliability.

The response of many Novices is to try limit their commitments, and this works for a while, until they find something they are really interested in (such as having children) and their lives return to chaos once again.

The real solution is to knowingly and skilfully create a time management system that can grow with an increasing number of time demands. With this commitment in hand, a professional can take new assignments, accept promotions and add new hobbies and interests. They have an inner confidence that they are actively expanding their time management system, and with practice, they can gauge how quickly they can evolve their structure to accomplish more.

This is the essence of what makes 2Time very different from other time management systems.

Every other system that I have found presents an ideal and perfect method that must be followed to be successful. A new user must immediately and comprehensively change their habits to fit into the new system, in order to meet the new ideal. Obviously, those new users who are more disciplined, or have habits that are already close to the ideal are more likely to make the switch.

Most users fail after a few days or weeks, as the force of their habit pushes them back to where they were before.

That is like asking a first-time visitor to a martial arts studio to merely follow the practices of a black belt, and after 2-3 days of drills, expecting them to be able to follow them thereafter.

Instead, 2Time starts with a user at whatever point they happen to be. While the ideal is discussed and presented, the user is encouraged to plan a migration path for themselves that involves a gradual change in habits, allowing them to move from one belt level to another at a pace that suits them. There is an implicit recognition that each person is different, and that a single, one-shot approach to changing long-ingrained habits is not the best way for everyone to learn a new system.