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
– 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.