When I was a teenager growing up in Kingston, the idea of building your own car, a hot-rod, was an exciting one.
(This was long before there were video games.)
I remember when I attempted to re-build the carburetor on my 1984 Toyota Corolla in an inspired attempt to fix an issue my car was having. The problem of only having a shop manual and a kit to help me didn’t stop me.
Half-way through, I realized that I was in over my head, and that I’d need some special tools to get the job done. When I struggled to put the carb back together I confirmed that I didn’t know what the heck I was doing, and that the 2 extra parts left over should probably have been included at some point.
Designing a car, I learned was a much more complex undertaking than I thought. Without a knowledge of the fundamentals, I was more than a little dangerous and shouldn’t be found anywhere near a carburetor or a hot-rod.
I gained a new respect for those who successfully build their own hot-rods after this experience. It looked easier than it
The same applies to time management systems. At first glance, they look simple — after all everyone is using some kind of
system that they put together themselves.
The fact that they are doing it without knowing what they are doing makes things difficult, however. In general, people’s
feelings towards their time are decidedly disappointing. Most believe that they are not using their time well, don’t have
enough time and readily call themselves procrastinators. Their time management systems don’t produce the peace of mind that most people want.
They are well intended, but lacking the basic information that makes all the difference in well-executed design.
When someone knows the fundamentals of building a car, it’s not too hard to build any hot-rod. Professionals who design time management systems with this understanding simply design better systems that give them more of what they want. They achieve a peace of mind that comes from having their time demands well organized. They achieve a level of productivity that lets them feel efficient, but doesn’t turn them into a machine.
Elegant design meets the needs of users with a minimum investment of time, energy and money. The point of building a hot-rod was not to spend a lot of money, but instead to meet a personal need to exercise one’s creativity and ingenuity. Plus there was the benefit of having your own car to drive.
A good time management system can be just as much fun to invent and to use in one’s day to day life, And the fun doesn’t end there…. a time management system isn’t static, as it can be upgraded, fixed, tinkered with, improved and reshaped for the rest of one’s career.
Just like a good hot-rod.