Since early history, humans have found countless means to measure and manage the dimension of time. Before clocks were invented, it was calculated by simply observing alternate periods of light and darkness. Today, smartphones’ time-tracking ability has nearly eliminated the need for wristwatches.
Throughout generations, time management has transformed from a pragmatic and fundamental need to track hours into a more proactive approach toward greater organization and efficiency.
Let’s explore how far we’ve come.
The History & Timeline of Time Management Tools
An ancient memory tool and counting device made from bones or wood, tally sticks are also the most basic method to measure the number of days.
The most popular Western calendars have been based off of sun and lunar astronomical cycles, as well as the rotation of the Earth on its axis. They are organized by year, month, and day.
Sundials depend on the sun to cast a shadow on a marked surface and at specific hour-lines. Time is determined by the position of the sun.
In addition to the time of day, astronomical clocks display astronomical details (e.g., relative position to the sun, major planets, and moon).
Water either flows at a constant rate inso or drains out of a container with markings inside. The water level indicates the passage of time.
Material — from sand to powdered eggshell — trickles from one vertical bulb to another. The size of the hourglass and funnel opening determines the amount of time measured. Inverting it restarts the clock.
As the agrarian economy shifts into an economy that is more time dependent, mechanical clocks are popularized and work using gears, mainsprings, and pendulums.
The wristwatch is initially developed for the military, as portability of timekeepiing technology becomes more important. It is later brought to the public market, where both men and women embrace it.
One of the most manual ways to manage time, task lists consist of priorities you need to accomplish in a given amount of time. The most common form is the daily to-do list.
Employee timesheets are inserted into time clocks, which leave a time stamp on the cards to record how many hours were worked.
The handheld device is designed to start measuring time when the piece is activated and immediately stops as soon as it’s deactivated.
The most accurate timekeeping devices, atomic clocks use the electronic frequency of atoms. Most clocks today are calibrated to this standard.
Quartz Clocks and Watches
Electric-powered quartz crystals serve as the clock’s oscillator, which moves the gears and keeps the time. These most-widely used devices are usually battery-powered.
Digital Clocks and Wristwatches
Digital clocks have numeric displays that indicate time on either a military time system or 12-hour AM/PM notation. They typically use an LCD, LED, or VFD display.
Typically containing a calendar, address book, and open pages of notes, daily organizer comprehensively map out someone’s personal and professional schedule.
Dentists and doctors send direct-mail postcards to their patients to remind them of upcoming appointments.
An old precursor to the smartphone and tablet, the PalmPilot and other mobile PDAs came and went as a means to manage time and information.
From Microsoft Outlook to the newest generation of Gmail, email providers have created a way for users to receive real-time reminders for upcoming meetings or appointments.
As cellphones are equipped with more time-management applications, people are discovering that their alarm clocks (and even watches) are becoming less necessary.
Google Calendar allows users to share their personal or work schedules amongst other members in a group. The calendar is accessible from any location with internet access.
Where there were once punchclocks or manual timesheets, now exist Web-based applications to track an employee’s work and project hours.
Online scheduler apps, embedded in social networks, help small businesses manage appointment confirmations and past-due reminders.
The Evolution of Time Management Tools [Infographic]
… via DemandForce.com in Partnership with Column Five