Update on Dezhi Wu’s Research #2

I’m still working through the first chapter of Dezhi Wu’s book “Temporal Structures in Individual Time Management,” but it’s already leading to some interesting places.

She used four criteria to characterize individual time management quality:

  • planning
  • meeting deadlines
  • sensing a lack of time control
  • engaging in procrastinating

She found great differences between good and bad time managers in terms of these characteristics, and the way they used “temporal structures.” These are essentially blocks of designated time set up by either society (public holidays,) groups (Happy Hour) or individuals (designated gym time.)

“Effective time managers demonstrate more skill in capturing and using their temporal structures than ineffective time managers.  Current information technologies do not provide much support…”

To that end, she has a chapter focused on the shortcomings of calendars and schedules:

“This chapter also discloses users’ difficulties with current electronic time management tools. In essence, users’ complaints can be transferred to a whole set of desired tool features, which are (1) better integration with other existing tools that they often need for their jobs, such as project management tools and organizational calendaring tools, (2) flexibility for scheduling more complicated activities, as there is no flexible template in the existing tools for setting up and modifying a series of events easily, (3) better synchronization with different devices, especially for travelers who often have to install different operating systems and calendar software for their mobile and their desktop calendar tools, (4) more user-friendly calendar interfaces (e.g. the stylus used in small devices is difficult for seniors and visually-impaired people), (5) truly built-in time management features (e.g., the ability to assess a person’s time management quality, and to advise how to enhance personal time management practices). In other words, the current electronic calendar tools do not behave intelligently enough to meet users’ time management needs, and (6) more convenient collaborative calendaring features for more effective team scheduling. ”

Wow.  This summary of Chapter 11 makes me want to jump straight to that chapter because these are some of the very issues we are tackling here at the 2Time Labs.  I hope that some software company out there is reading this book and planning for the next generation of scheduling tools.