What are we measuring when we measure time?
Time is what we make of it. We can spend our time doing things that matter to us, whatever that may be (work, being with friends/family, writing, reading, etc), or we can spend our time doing nothing, or doing useless things--things that don’t get us anywhere. I’m not arguing that there are objectively useful and useless activities in the world— not at all. In fact, I’d say that someone’s useful activity (like working or learning the guitar) may be someone else’s useless activity (they’re happier writing or reading, for example). The point is: what do you value?
Our vision at Capparsa is to build products that get people their time back. What do we mean by that? For us, it means that we want people to spend less time fiddling with our software and more time doing what matters to them. If our app only takes them a minute to use every day but they earn back five minutes of their life (because they no longer have to track their time manually, for example), then that’s a win for us!
Recently though, I’ve read some interesting articles that argue that this is a fruitless goal— that you never really have that time back at all. It really challenged my view of what we’re working on, and what we believe. It made me want to amend our vision just a little bit. I still think it’s important to help people get their time back, and to build software that is easy to use, friendly and empowering— that definitely shouldn't change. What does change though is trying to get people to use that time to get somewhere...to achieve their goals. To spend the time in the way they value most so that they can get where they want to be.
Time is just this permanent ongoing cycle— the minutes and hours and days tick by with or without us doing anything. How we spend that time is ultimately what defines us as people—whether that’s spent working, being with our family, being an artist or musician, or anything else imaginable. We spend our time the way we do because we (ideally) have a goal in mind. A place we want to be. If you’re a painter, maybe it’s painting a powerful, moving scene that changes the art scene forever. If you’re a teacher, maybe it’s reaching out to a student who others have given up on, and setting him on a path to success. If you’re an app developer, maybe it’s breaking into those Top 10 charts in the App Store and getting hundreds of thousands of downloads. These are all goals that we carry with us every day— goals that define why we spend our time the way we do.
Adding Meaning to Time Measuring
Ultimately, managing and tracking your time is a way to organize everything. It’s a way to put meaning the minutes, and a way to set a direction to help us achieve our goals. In recent months, with this new view point, I’ve seen time tracking as kind of a map that shows me where I’m going by pointing out where I’ve been. With my goal in mind (my compass) and my TimeTag app (my map/journal), I have everything in place to set out on my journey.
Each of these items on their own aren’t objectively useful. A map or a compass just sitting on my shelf aren’t helping. It’s when I have a destination that they become indispensable tools— tools to help direct and guide me to where I want to go.
With every step taken, I am getting a step closer. Some journeys are minutes long, while others might be years long. The point is that the map & compass keeps me going the right way.
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If you're looking for the best way to measure your time, be sure to check out TimeTag, our time management and tracking tool. It's free to download today!