New Terminology for Scheduling

Now and then I find that here on 2Time I am forced to craft a new word for a concept that doesn’t quite have the right definition.  For example, “time demand” is a phrase I had to coin in the absence of any other, to describe the basic unit of stuff that we deal with every day.

I need another term to describe a “booked” period of time in one’s schedule.

If you are new to this site, you may not know that a time demand is Captured and Emptied into one of several places.  A schedule is one possible destination for a newly Emptied time demand.

Once it gets placed in a schedule, it can either be “hard” or “soft” depending on what other time demands depends on its completion, and what consequences occur if the action fails to occur.  It gets transformed from it’s original status as a free-floating commitment, and now has the following characteristics:
– a clear description of the action to be taken (and hopefully a clear understanding of the outcome)
– a start-time
– and expected end-time (and therefore a duration)

These are the basics, but there are other important attributes that usually aren’t captured in one’s schedule, such as:
– dependencies in both directions
– other people who may be participating
– location
– importance
– dollar costs
– consequences if it’s not completed
– the degree to which the time estimate is unbiased
– the distribution of the estimate

The problem I have is I don’t have a name or word for a scheduled time demand.  Here are a few I have tried:

Appointment — this is OK for White Belts who only record meetings with others in their calendars, but it becomes a problem for Yellow and Orange Belts.  When they need to schedule a solo activity they are forced to talk about “appointments with themselves”… which simply sounds weird, if not a bit tacky.

Occasion — let’s see, where is my black tie?  This isn’t a bad one, but it sounds a little official, and doesn’t conjure up everyday time demands like doing the laundry, which definitely isn’t anything special.

Time-slot — a bit dry, I have used this term more frequently, even though it sounds as if some decision has been pre-determined to some degree.

Designated time / time period / time-gap — these all sound clunky and have a bit of the pre-determination that time-slot carries.

Space — sounds too much like something physical rather then temporal.

Segment — promising…  I am thinking of the term in radio or television terms, in which a certain period of time is used for a particular program.  The only part I don’t like is that the word “segment” seems to imply that the time-period it describes is being used for something particular, when in fact it might not be used at all.

The winner is… “segment.”  Unless someone can come up with a better term!  Let me know if you have a suggestion.

6 Replies to “New Terminology for Scheduling”

  1. How about ‘commitment‘?
    – Generally understood so if you say ‘I have a commitment at that time’ even to someone not familiar with the 2Time framework, they intuitively know what you mean. – Generic enough so no need to explain that it’s with yourself etc.
    – It has the firmness in its connotation of an appointment.
    – And even just in dictionary meaning, this is essentially what it is, once you’ve put it in your schedule, it is a commitment to do something based on the original time-demand.

  2. Hmm… I am liking “Commitment”…
    as in “I have a commitment in my schedule”
    I will “place a commitment in my schedule”

    It has a nice ring to it — thanks Bianca.

  3. Element. – I like the sound that.
    It can stand alone or be part of a larger grouping. It can be active or passive. Used or unused. For me it doesn’t carry any external connotations about what it is going to occur or not occur or who, if anyone, is involved.

  4. Commitment is good, although I would just say I was busy! If you have an open diary, try “private meeting”; or go elsewhere and put “meeting at….”. And call thinking time planning time – no one will question it !

  5. I’ve just spent enough time trying to close that subscription pop-over that I’ve forgotten the comment. I’m probably not going to spend time trying to comment on this site for a while.

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