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Time, Space, Objects, and Interrelationships. Plus: FastCompany.TV Goodies


I stumbled across the FastCompany.TV interview IBM's "brain" guy: Dharmendra Modha with Robert Scoble. While I didn't finish it (mainly due to the terrible interviewer) an idea jumped out: An Ontology for perceiving the world: Time, Space, Objects, and Interrelationships. Since I love categories, what's the translation to time management? Let's play with it.

  • Time: Well that seems clear; it's the fixed currency to which we are budgeted. I and my commenters explored this in What Are The Laws Of Work?, especially time's special qualities (expensive, precious, perishable, etc.) What else can we say about time? Clocks count it, calendars represent it linearly, task lists capture intentions to use it (as does the calendar), and "someday" lists represent the opposite (things I'm not doing).

  • Space: For workplaces, physical space is what we occupy, including desks, files, shelves, etc. It's where we put ourselves and our things (next). And according to The Power of Place, it has a big influence on our thoughts, emotions, and actions. Mental space is required to do creative thinking (and by creative, I mean all jobs), and it's where we hear the voices of intuition and direction. It's also where genuine listening takes place, and where we begin to break habits, such as multitasking and procrastination.

  • Objects: The things we manipulate to get our work done. Inboxes capture and files organize them. Also, this is the category of tool.

  • Interrelationships: I loved it when Modha included this one. Of course! The people we work with, the connections between projects and tasks, the flow of work between us, they all follow channels, mostly communicative ones, I'd argue.

Just for fun, below is a table in which I mapped the GTD organizing categories to these four "universal" ones. Also, here are a few FastCompany.TV videos you might like:

I'm curious: What are your ideas of this perspective? How do you interpret time management from this high level? Any "big impact" videos you'd like to share?


Reader Comments (2)

I watched this interview to the end -- fascinating stuff. I'd love to learn more about neural vs. synaptic networks. Thanks for recommending it.

I also watched the Tim Ferris and David Allen segments. You're right about Scoble -- ham-handed, foot-in-mouth every step of the way. This is a good example of the problem with DIY. These guests have to work hard to convey their ideas; it should be the other way around. I just finished Robert Capps' piece "Good Enough Revolution" in the September Wired. He quotes Clay Shirky saying to producers, "Don't believe the myth of quality." Clearly, quality has a long tail too, and lots of people are willing to suffer through the shortcomings of a product to get at the components that meet a need, but Scoble isn't Good Enough at this. I would assume it's cheap content for Fast Company's online presence though, but you really have to wonder whether something this unsophisticated helps their brand.

November 1, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDan Owen

Hey - thanks a bunch for the pointer to [ The Good Enough Revolution: When Cheap and Simple Is Just Fine | http://www.wired.com/gadgets/miscellaneous/magazine/17-09/ff_goodenough?currentPage=all ], Dan. Just what the doctor ordered.

December 18, 2009 | Unregistered Commentermatthewcornell

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