Outgrowing Habits

teenager.jpgBuilt into the 2Time philosophy is the idea that a user can choose to evolve their habits over time. Once they determine which belt level they are currently at, they can change it when they know the new practices that they need to master.

But at the same time, there is a somewhat natural evolution that takes place for every professional. They get to the point where they are using a certain set of practices they feel comfortable with, say at the Yellow belt level. They are adequately dealing with a certain number of time demands, and are feeling no sense of being overwhelmed.

Then, a natural change occurs.

They get promoted, or take on a new project, or have a baby, or get married. All of a sudden, their habits become overwhelmed by any new number of time demands. Their system is unable to deal with the new volume, and all of a sudden they are missing appointments, forgetting to pay bills, not calling their Moms and gaining weight through lack of exercise.

Take the case of a 12 year old who can adequately remember everything they need to do. Their memories are young and agile, the number of time demands they have is small, plus they have their parents and siblings to help – they rarely forget anything they want to remember.

That is, until their homework becomes more complex, they join the soccer team, and decide to enter the science competition. They start using their computers in earnest, and that gives them access to all sorts of new information, plus email contact with many, many other people.

Their old systems are inadequate, and the old habit of remembering everything just fails them over and over again.

This is a natural progression, and it happens to people at all ages who are trying to cope with an increasing number of time demands completed successfully. Many adults long for the days when they were four years old and only needed to remember one or two simple things.

A user must therefore be prepared to throw away habits in order to increase their ability to handle more time demands. To hold on to any set of habits for too long is to block one’s own natural progression.

This is the challenge of learning any particular set of practices, especially those developed by time management gurus. As a set of practices, they are useful. But, as Wittgenstein said, they need to be thrown away at just the right time, and there might be a point at which they look back on the old practices wondering “How did I ever use just that to get by?”

In like manner, a retiree should be prepared to discard habits that were useful when they had a number of time demands coming at them each day. It might not be necessary to use the habits of a Green belt, when those of a Yellow belt are sufficient.