2Time – a System versus a Framework

tinkertoy.jpgFrom the very beginning of writing about time management, I have struggled with how to describe something new using language that is not quite up to the task.

For example, while I know that there is no such thing as “time management,” I find myself forced to use the phrase because it’s the best one that exists.  All the substitutes sound quite strange, in comparison.

The same applies to the description of 2Time as a “system.”   While my intention in this blog has not been to create another system, I have found that there are not too many words that I can use instead of the word “system.”

When I pulled 2Time together I thought of it as a set of insights that could be useful to all professionals.  It would assist them in growing their time management system from what they currently have, to what they want it to be. The starting and ending points would be up to them, defined and created for their own use.

The worse thing that would happen would be for someone to say that they went from using Covey, to GTD® to 2Time.

I don’t want to present another system for people to follow, as if they were following the recipe in a book.  Instead, I am more interested in inspiring professionals to design for themselves, with any assistance that I can provide with the 2Time  framework.

But first, they must become committed to taking charge of their time management systems, and be willing to spend time to understand why it works and doesn’t work.  (I am simply not qualified to tell them that any system is better than the one they are using!)

In that sense, I prefer to think of 2Time (and the NewHabits-NewGoals and MyTimeDesign by-products) as a framework that can include all time management systems, whether they are developed by the user or not, or sold commercially or not.  This framework is really comprised of a set of design rules that can be used in a variety of ways:

– Diagnosis:  2Time can be used to understand where a time management system is  lacking in some way

– Design:  2Time can be used to  put together a new system

– Planning: 2Time can be used to create a plan for changing one’s approach to time management over a period of years

In this sense, it brings some structure to an activity that most professionals have already been doing, contrary to the conventional wisdom of how people use time management systems.

Conventional  wisdom: a professional takes a time management class, learns a system of practices to start doing and then tries to start following them each day… against the odds

 New wisdom:  a professional takes ownership of their time management system, and is always on the lookout for ways to enhance it by borrowing ideas, practices  and techniques from whatever source might offer them.  They monitor its effectiveness and make changes as needed.

As I have said in prior posts, the “new wisdom” is simply a truer description of what MOST people have already been doing, without saying so explicitly.  It’s just too hard to follow a time management system designed for someone else, no matter how smart or productive they are.  Our habits and idiosyncrasies won’t allow it.

My goal for 2Time is that it helps professionals see this fact, and make the shift from “following a system” to “owning a system.”  This would be putting it to its proper use.

The trick is that that’s more than a mere “framework” is supposed to do, and sounds more like something that a “system” accomplishes.  Hence the dilemma — should I call 2Time a framework, a system, or something else entirely?

I welcome your comments!