As an introduction I want to talk about classical tools for time management. There are two major approaches out there. The first one is a schedule, in which the user writes down what he must do on a day, for example “12-14 o’clock: make lunch”. The other approach is a ABC priority list which is not scheduled to a certain time, but consists of a list of tasks, for example “C make lunch, A clean room”. The most important aspect in these kind of time management technique is, that they doesn’t work.
Now, let us research how time-management is done in business environment. The most dominant concept here is called “employee timetracking”. That means, the manager is creating a list of tasks what the employee has to do, and he matches the task to the individual day plan of an employee. And now, the employee has two choices. He can do what his boss wants, and he can follow the dayplan, or he can ignore the task list, which results into a talk with the manager why the employee isn’t working. The interesting feature of so called “employee tracking” is, that the technique works very well. It is used by nearly all companies worldwide.
What is the difference between self-management and employee tracking? It has to do with the contrast between planning and tracking. Tracking is, if the manager controls if his subordinate is doing what he should. Tracking can come to two conclusion: either, everything is great; or, something went wrong. The difference is, that in classical self-management there is no higher instance which tracks if a certain task is done or not. So the result is, that the user is writing down a wonderful plan in his time-book but he doesn’t make it come true.
The key feature in managing the time of themself or the time of others is tracking. It is not important what tasks have to be done, it is also not interesting in which timeslot the task has to be done, instead the difference between goal and reality has to be measured. That is the key factor in every time-management system. In classical business situation the timetracking is done by an external manager. He looks, if his employees are doing what they should. It has nothing do with productivity, because the manager can also track if the employee is eating lunch or playing games. The question is only, if the reality is equal to the plan. The same technique can be used for individuals who want to track their own time. They must simply observe themself, if they have done on a day what was on the list, and if yes they can give themself a score of 100%. 100% means, that the reality was equal to the plan, while 50% means that on the day the person has leave out important tasks.
The funny thing of timetrackiing is, that it works under all condition. Timetracking is not dependent if the person is doing the tasks. For example, on the dayplan of a person is noticed, that he must do “Clean the room”. But instead of cleaning the room, the person is watching TV because it makes no fun for using the brush, and the movie is so interesting. In classical time-management-technique this behaviour will break the plan. That means the user wasn’t motivated enough. In the concept of timetracking it makes no matter. The result is, that for this day, the person gets 0% on his daily scoring, because he doesn’t fulfil the plan. It is no longer breaking the system, instead the timetracker works autonomously.