The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Expectations, hopes, and definitions

There is a strange fantasy around time and the possibility to manage it. It’s called time management.

A good reason to think in terms of time management is that it allows us to say that we ran out of time. Which is very convenient whenever there is a need to move a challenging subject to another date.

It also is a human way to avoid thinking about the end, that is death. The subtle idea being, that as long as we manage the time we’ll be able to delay what is coming.

In both cases, people are dealing with their desire to control what is happening, while finding themselves confronted with their inability to do so.

What people actually do, when they describe their time management, is explaining what they will do within the available time. What they are seeking to plan is how much content they will be able to address in a given time range.

It is a difficult task, as it implies assessing how long things will take. It means to define how much time we’ll allocate for them based on our ability to manage the process. And do so while staying focused on reaching a satisfying outcome.

What often makes it disagreeable, is that the person planning is regularly made responsible for achieving the result. It is assuming that he’ll do so independently from how the other people in the group contribute to the process.

It seems that a realization is missing.

Creative work done by a group of people or individuals can only be assessed retrospectively for satisfaction which then contrasts with hopes, which we may call expectations.

Whereas tasks that have been repeated often enough to be deterministically repeatable allow for predictable outcomes, that is defined expectations.

It’s managing very different content.


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