Timeful is a time management app that has recently been acquired by Google. What sets Timeful apart (depending of course on what Google does with them) from the dozens of other time management apps in the mobileverse is that it recognizes that we never seem to get around to those activities that we want to do but can’t fit into our schedules. For some of us, that might be some personal time with the family. For others it is time to exercise. There are many possibilities. But where do we put it?
Timeful allows you to list these activities and have the app recommend one when there is enough of a gap in your formal schedule to squeeze it in. I learned about this from Monica Joshi at BigThink. Whenever an hour of free time turns up, Timeful will suggest squeezing in that workout. A similar function allows the user to add in recommended breaks whenever the user is doing one activity for an extended amount of time. This could be a mental break when the user is mentally fatigued or a walk around the office when the user has been sitting for too long.
The idea behind Timeful is that it not only plugs into your calendar meetings and appointments, but also encourages you to indulge in a little wishful thinking, about the way you’d ideally be spending your time. You can put in, for example, something that you’d like to do when you have free time once a week, like fitting in a quick workout.
There are several challenges to this approach. First, does your calendar ever have an hour free? And if you did, wouldn’t you realize it yourself? Couldn’t you decide for yourself which hour is best for that workout? How does Timeful know what hours are good for workouts? I suspect that this is why Google is interested in the app. They want to know what your unrealized goals are, perhaps for better Adsense targeting. Their business model is to know everything about everything and this seems to fit.
Second, it could make the user feel more overwhelmed than empowered. Instead of feeling “free and autonomous” to do my workout, perhaps I feel “pressured and controlled” to do it and guilty if I don’t. Just having all of these personal activities added to the calendar is going to make it look even more jam-packed, making the user feel even more busy than she does now.
Are these additions you would want for your calendar? Would it make you feel more empowered or more overwhelmed?
Image Credit: photosteve101