Accelerate life: Why can't time management software save you?

Accelerate life: Why can't time management software save you?

This article is from WeChat Public No. (ID:Guokr42).

time is money. Efficiency is life. In an era where the drama is twice as fast and the book is only listening to the elite version, this sentence has a history of nearly forty years and it seems to be out of date.

Regardless of the company or the individual, in order to use the time more scientifically and efficiently, time management software is used to plan the schedule. But have you found out that even if you fill up every square on the calendar, your work can't be done.

More paradoxically, technological progress has clearly saved us so much time - if you are a workaholic, you can rely on a few clicks on your mobile phone for food and clothing - but we feel that time is running out. Where's the time?

Just do it.

No matter which time management software you use, the basic function of the software is to record your daily schedule and to do list, remind you before the trip, and prepare you in advance.

The core idea behind all this software is "get it done" (Getting Things Done).

Management behavior training expert David Allen mentioned in the book "Despite the work - the art of stress-free work" published in 2001 that the brain's "reminder function" is not efficient enough and rarely correct. Time to make the right reminder. Therefore, an external reminder is necessary. A person should remove the tasks in his mind from the record, so that the brain does not remember several tasks at the same time, but concentrates on the work at hand.

Image source: pixabay

Cognitive psychologist Daniel Leviting (Daniel Levitin) agrees. He found that when the brain is thinking about something to do, it repeats it until you do it in order not to forget it. This is called the combined action of the retelling loop between the prefrontal cortex behind the eyeball and the hippocampal body in the central part of the brain.

Human beings have evolved a retelling loop in an age when there are no pens, paper and smartphones. In those days, the retelling circuit was effective. But now, retelling the loop will only prevent us from concentrating on our work.

Writing down the to-do list is equivalent to “moving out” some of your thinking from your body and allowing the paraphrase loop to relax.

Allen believes that GTD will make your behavior more planning, work more efficient, and turn heavy overload work into a stress-free and efficient way of working. Google’s Gmail originally added the “to do” and “project” features, which are derived from the concept of GTD.

Photo source: Giphy

No pressure is simply a fantasy, improving work efficiency. At present, there is no unified conclusion in academic circles.

Several Dutch scholars have statistically analyzed 32 empirical studies aimed at testing the effectiveness of time management. It is found that time management is effective for students coping with exams. Time management is weak for office workers dealing with work. Some studies even argue that time management is not related to job performance. In stressful environments, people who use time management methods have better control of time, higher job satisfaction, but also more fatigue, pain, and stress.

Photo from: Pixabay

Split time

Sociology professor Judy Wackman (Judy Wajcman) interviewed 20 engineers in time management software design in Silicon Valley. While designing new software, everyone is using existing time management software.

In addition to talking about the advantages of selling melons in Wang Po, engineers also admit that the time management software is not perfect. One big problem is that the time of software use is linear and mechanical, and it is more suitable for machines than living people.

A time Management Software usage Interface: App store screenshots

You can flip through the phone, whether it's using the calendar that the phone comes with, or using a special app, or the schedule management functions provided by mobile office systems such as nailing, all take half an hour / hour as the default node. As a result, most of the company's meetings / activities will be booked in the minimum unit of half an hour.

Everyone who has attended the meeting knows, especially for meetings such as brainstorming, when valuable content can be discussed at the meeting and the goal of the meeting can be achieved. It is difficult to say. Not to say that if enough time is spent, there will be an answer. An hour's meeting may take 10 minutes to discuss the plan, or 59 minutes to get to the point.

Image Source: GI PHY

It was time to rush to the next meeting. Too much mechanical division of time causes the state of work to be in a hurry rather than to complete the work. The accumulation of unfinished work is increasing anxiety.

Time not yours

Another problem with time management software is that your time belongs to the company and is no longer yours.

In order to speed up communication, the company will use time management software with Internet access or mobile office platform.

Stimulating the attack of a boss with "management phobia" | boss personal possession

If you are an ordinary screw in the company, your calendar will be made public to everyone in the company. Colleagues have the right to send you a meeting invitation and occupy a small space on your calendar. Some employees of the company went mad. It was clearly two people sitting face-to-face for a lunch together, all of whom were invited.

Individual time is completely open to the company, not only makes it easy for colleagues to take up your time, but also makes it easy for the company to monitor employees. Public, visible data is placed there. Just call up everyone's timetable, how many meetings you attended, and how many projects you participated in, the company knows. If the group meeting is lower than the average, the company will judge whether your work ability is problematic or your collaboration ability is poor.

In order to get the ideal data every month, no one will refuse the invitation of colleagues at will, and some will even arrange unnecessary meetings in order to increase their activity. Others, because there are too many meetings, will make up a fake meeting with their own participation on the agenda in order to get only their own time for an hour.

Image source: giphy

The two major problems of time management software prove the point of the science and technology philosopher Lewis Mumford: not so much humans let the machine serve themselves, but rather the abstract mechanical logic that humans have to adapt to the machine.

Subordinate to the clock

Mountford believed that the most important machine for human beings to enter the industrial society is not the steam engine, but the clock. With the clock, time, not personal feelings, it has become a reference point for people to act and think.

People naturally have no clear idea of time. On the day of not going to work, except for individual time management maniacs, the average person will not eat regularly or set himself an hour of eating time when he is hungry.

Graphic and text source: Giphy

Hungry to eat, sleepy, tired, sitting on the ground and taking a break. This is the most comfortable state for people.

On work days, your biological clock should be subservient to the software schedule, regularizing and modularizing your time. Even dying of hunger, I had to rush to the next big boss meeting.

Going to work on time, getting work done on time, and ensuring work efficiency is an essential quality for a qualified screw in the working society. The clock makes it possible to measure the above indicators, making it possible to promote standardized production methods everywhere. Mumford believes that technology is not just technology, technology has profoundly changed humanity. This change is sometimes even compulsive.

Workers on the assembly line do not like mechanical repetition. But they can only work a dozen hours a day, even if tired can only listen to the bell off. In previous years Foxconn workers who had jumped for relief had been trapped on the assembly line and under the clock.

Image Source: GI PHY

Professor Wackman observed an interesting phenomenon in Silicon Valley: no matter in any conference room, attendees' mobile phones frequently prompted two: X: 20 X: 50. It was time management software to remind everyone that it was time to attend the next meeting. As a result, the hourly node is Silicon Valley's largest movement of people at the moment.

The mobile phone's prompt tone is the same as the line's ringing tone.

Accelerate life

What time management software does is to “machine” people as much as possible to maximize work efficiency. Whether you are pursuing the initiative to use time management software, or being forced to cope with the company's pressure, the sad reality is that work can't be done.

The sociologist Professor Hartmut Rosa believes that this is because our entire modern society is accelerating.

First of all, due to the progress of science and technology, the time for production, communication and transportation of commodities has been greatly reduced and the circulation of commodities has been greatly accelerated. Everyone involved in the process had to cooperate with the speed of science and technology to speed up work.

Second, social change is accelerating and society is increasingly accepting new technologies. From being invented to having 50 million users, the radio has been used for 38 years. The TV set has accumulated 50 million users in only 13 years. The Internet took only four short years. The society's acceptance and application of innovation is speeding up, forcing young people to study continuously to ensure that they do not lag behind.

Image source: giphy

Recording the evolution of time tools can reflect the change of life rhythm.

In the days of their parents, they used one calendar a month. Make a circle on an important day and write a few words as a reminder. Usually only a few circles are drawn a month.

In the future, it becomes a schedule book/handbook for one day. Record the work of the day, the progress of the project, the place to do well, the lessons to be learned, etc. on one page.

Until now, time management software has become mainstream.

No longer use old calendars and agendas, the reason is simple: product performance is out of date. In the white-collar workers who work in a company with fast running meetings, the blank on the old calendar will not be able to write his/her day's itinerary; without the schedule of interactive adjustment and interactive functions, unnecessary communication costs will be added.

Image source: giphy

Therefore, I can't blame today's young people for complaining about their tired hearts every day. They work much faster than their parents. In the age of telephone contact, Party A will not have the opportunity to change the plan three times a day. It used to take a week to mail the design drawings, but now it takes a week for the products to be produced.

The time saved by scientific and technological products is far less than the increase in work brought about by the acceleration of society. This is the reason why you are too busy to finish your work.

The whole society is accelerating forward. For everyone in society, want not to be left behind, can only live an accelerated life. This is what the Queen of Hearts said to Alice: "in our place, you must run all the time to stay where you are."


1,Allen, D. (2015). Getting things done: The art of stress-free productivity. Penguin.

2,Levitin, D. J. (2014). The organized mind: Thinking straight in the age of information overload. Penguin.

3,Mumford, L. (2010). Technics and civilization. University of Chicago Press.

4,Rosa, H. (2013). Social acceleration: A new theory of modernity. Columbia University Press.

5, Wajcman, J. (2018). The digital architecture of time management. Science, Technology, & Human Values, 0162243918795041.

6,Claessens, B. J., Van Eerde, W., Rutte, C. G., & Roe, R. A. (2007). A review of the time management literature. Personnel review, 36(2), 255-276.

This article from the micro-channel public number: Nutshell (ID: Guokr42), Author: snow bamboo.

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