Time: The Real Final Frontier

Space is not the Final Frontier. It’s Time.

It’s come to my attention that there is something wrong with time.

We are obsessed with it – with being more productive and mindful – with keeping time, killing time, and wasting time.

While it’s been said by many that time is our most precious resource, why do most of the tools we have that deal with time so terrible?

If you really think about it, the only real management tool we need is a better one to manage time.

Startup founders take note: I smell multiple unicorns here.

I personally use Google Calendar to manage my time, but it is a very poor time manager: all I can do is allocate blocks of time manually. I have at least four calendars which I need to manage in one uber Google Calendar, which I update with all my meetings. But what about the stuff I must do between meetings? Those spaces are left open in my calendar, and I suppose I could allocate time to complete those items, but I have no idea how long I should allocate or how long they should take.

So, I also maintain an uber to-do list in Asana, which is great, but it doesn’t track a specific duration. It will tell me when something is due, which project it’s in, and who needs to do it, but it has no idea how long this task will take. Even if it did, I still can’t reconcile it with my calendars.

We seem to be playing around the edges of their problem, with tools like MixMax and Calendly allowing people to book things in our calendars, but I think we have yet to solve and focus on the true problem, that our time is really the only thing that should be managed, and managed minutely.

I wrote a blog post on productivity a long time ago and pointed at super busy/important people, like movie stars, politicians, famous writers, etc. The one thing these people have in common is a) a team of people to manage their schedules (most of them know exactly what they are going to be doing months and even years in advance to the minute) and b) a minute-by-minute schedule of what they need to and when. While the rich have teams of managers who can do this for them, the rest of us must wrestle with multiple calendars, to-do lists, notes, etc., to manage our time, which, as I said earlier, is our most important resource.

To properly manage our time, we need the right tools to manage it.

We need an über calendar that can be a complete, down-to-the-minute accounting of exactly what we need to do and when we can do it, considering time, place, people, and things that we need to gather to do them.

Imagine if we had this uber-global calendar, which mapped out our lives in supreme detail. Something which others (both bots and people) could poll to ask when we had free time to call or meet. Something which would be able to automatically call an Uber for us at the exact right moment for it to appear at the end of our last meeting at that location because the calendar would know where I am, where I’m going, when the meeting is ending, and how long it will take to get to my next one.

My calendar would also automatically present me with the tasks I can complete in down times, waiting periods, and currently empty spots in my day where I’d be otherwise surfing Facebook. My calendar will automatically insert downtime when I’m stressed, moments where I can take a second to breathe, meditate, to take a walk. My calendar would automatically give me time to exercise, making sure that I’m in a place where I can, with the equipment I need, for as long as I need it. My calendar would always ensure that I get enough sleep, enough time to eat, and enough time to relate.

In short, my uber calendar could make me a better human. I wonder why our time management tools are so poor when it is truly the absolute most important thing to manage.

If you are a startup founder, developing the ultimate über calendar, which can do all of the above and more, could even be a human’s highest calling, a way in which we can finally fully master time.