A Bittersweet Day

It’s been a bittersweet day.

I have been listening to Steven Levy’s book: “In the Plex” and am finding it a fascinating and inspiring read. A part of what has inspired me is the clarity and simplicity of their purpose: “Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.”

I felt challenged by it, and how big it is, and I was reminded of the days when I started writing about time management back in 2006. I actually called my first WordPress.com blog an “open-source” site for ideas and thinking about time management as my goal was to find others who were willing to do more than superficial thinking, and share some breakthrough ideas with them. I never intended to earn any revenue, or even teach a class.

I  naively thought it would easy to find others who were thinking along the same lines, and that we’d have fun making time management better. Strangely enough, it’s been easier to find the revenue than find the others who are willing to collaborate!

Yes, there are authors out there, but none has seemed to be willing to engage in questioning  the core ideas that underly their thinking. Some go so far as to say that nothing can be done to improve the systems described in their book!

So, I just kept writing and developing, driven by the idea that something was wrong about the limited options that were available to working people who wanted to get better. I was pissed at the one-size-fits-all credo, fueled to no small degree by the fact that I had recently moved to Jamaica, and become acutely aware of the cultural assumptions that were built into the materials I had read.

It’s all too easy to write a book that you think is for everyone, but is actually only for people just like you, in circumstances that mirror your own. Instead, there are huge differences in the way we manage our time depending on our:

  • profession
  • training
  • experience
  • national culture
  • environment
  • age and stage of life

I was appalled that after doing critical work on my own time management skills back in 1999-2003, that the field had made little or no progress, and offered no assistance to people like me who needed custom help. This emotion got me writing with a vengeance, but I realize looking back that I was actually on a mission, motivated by the kind of help I thought everyone should be able to access.

Now, a few years later, I am more clear on what that is:

To make time management improvements easy for people everywhere, forever.

Discovering this mission made up the sweet part of the day!

The bitter part came when I heard that Eli Goldratt had passed away that morning. He is best known for his Theory of Constraints, and his book: The Goal, which I read as a graduate student at Cornell, during my first summer at AT&T Bell Labs.

I literally could not put the book down, as it offered a compelling glimpse of the real world of manufacturing that my professors had been unable to approximate, in spite of numerous opportunities. I got more from reading that book than most of what I had learned in class.  In fact, I re-read The Goal recently in preparation for writing my own book – using his powerful business fable as my inspiration and role model.

And now he’s gone, but he left behind a host of admirers who helped make his books some of the most popular in the business-world. I can only hope that my book does something similar, and makes a contribution to accomplishing the mission I have set for the work here at 2Time.

To that end, today I set some big, hairy audacious goals:

  1. To offer the very best on-line time management training made possible by the latest technology.
  2. To enable coaches and trainers anywhere in the world to use Time Management 2.0 principles in their work with clients
  3. To give every working professional the idea that they can upgrade the way they manage their time whenever they want, regardless of changes in work, personal life or technology.
  4. To develop the 2Time site be the best single source for time management research, ideas and breakthrough thinking gleaned from all corners of the world.
  5. To find and work with the best minds in time management, and have fun coming up with new stuff!

As I read the tributes to his live and work, I suspect that Eli Goldratt would support these wholeheartedly.