2Time Labs
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2Time Labs

Part 1 — Why “Time Demands” Aren’t the Same as Tasks

Keep the two separate and you’ll increase your task management diagnostic skills

The Problem

Like most people, you probably use the words “time”, “productivity”, and “task” every single day. But you probably know that if you dig deeper into everyday words, you discover nuances that can make a difference.

The word “task” is a great example.

According to popular usage, a task is not only a noun, but an action you can take to delegate an action to another person. The Meriam-Webster Dictionary agrees:

task: a piece of work that has been given to someone: a job for someone to do

In these situations, the exact ownership of a task can be confused. Who has agency, exactly, when someone tasks another with an action item?

To avoid the problem, at 2Time Labs we focus only on a subset of tasks we call “time demands”.

A time demand is an internal, individual commitment to complete an action in the future.

A few things are worth point out about time demands.

  1. they are psychological objects.
  2. they are uniquely personal.
  3. they come alive once they have been created.
  4. they disappear/die once the action has been completed.

A deeper discussion is provided in my book, Perfect Time-Based Productivity which delves into the science of time demands. Their existence is supported by the Zeigarnik Effect.

Why is this important?

All functional human beings create time demands. We started doing so a few years after someone taught us the meaning of time, and how to read a clock. This opened up the doorway for us to get our goals accomplished not only using the present moment, but also moments lying in the future.

We learned that when we created a time demand, we could keep it alive until the specific action was taken. Doing so repeatedly would increase the odds of success, especially for complex projects.

What’s the Link to the Rapid Assessment Program?

When someone makes “The Switch” to effective self-diagnosis they need to become crystal clear on where they should direct their attention. The answer? On their time demands.

Find out more about the MyTimeDesign Rapid Assessment Program in this webinar. This is the first article in a series of 16.



Research-driven ideas in Time-Based Productivity

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Francis Wade

Founder of 2Time Labs, ScheduleU.org and author of Perfect Time-Based Productivity. You can connect with me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram.