The Dead-End of Most Time Management Systems

dead-end.jpgI have been doing some research into other systems of “time management” ideas, and once again I am thinking that most of them (indeed, all I have ever seen) get themselves into all sorts of trouble.

Here is the common sequence of events:

1) A Bright Person invents a method of personal productivity that works for them, and does so powerfully.

2) The same Bright Person, being productive, packages their method into a system that they then sell in programmes.

3) In the programme, they run into real users with real habits. Those users whose habits are already close to those of the Bright Person adopt the system. The investment on their part is small. Other, who are less lucky, try for a week or two to make a massive change in habits before failing. They revert to their old habit patterns in a week or two.

4) The Bright Person develops a following of people who more or less follow their approach, but over time begin to look for more – after all, no single system is perfect or complete.

5) The Bright Person responds by delving into greater detail about their approach, and encouraging their adherents to follow them further and further into increasingly detailed habits. In other words, they become increasingly prescriptive, in a wholehearted attempt to keep helping users

6) Only a handful of users are able to keep up. The vast majority of users resign themselves to never being as organized as the Bright Person. The system becomes a dead-end, as the Bright Person continues to use more of the method that brought them their success, but at the same time becomes less relevant to more and more users.

I know a productivity system, for example, that attempts to redefine words like “Now” and “Occasion”. Only a handful are able to maintain the new language that comes with that system, and they have a devilishly difficult time communicating with people who don’t follow the system.

The irony of writing this post, of course, is that I might just be another Bright Person! Yet, I want to think that a central message of 2Time is “Don’t follow anyone’s system. Instead, create your own.”

2Time gives a user – in fact, any user of any system – insight into how they can effectively learn several approaches from one or more Bright Persons, in order to craft their own. Also, they develop a plan of evolution to take themselves from wherever their starting point is, to wherever they desire to be.

Undoubtedly, there will be more Bright Persons coming up with new time management systems, but they can be understood for what they are – collections of habits that work for one person. Given that each person is different, a 2Time user who learns about a new system will cherry-pick habits that seem to be useful, and incorporate them into their own time management system.

Then, both the Bright Person and the user can benefit.