, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 213-230

Group and Individual Time Management Tools: What You Get is Not What You Need

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Some studies of diaries and scheduling systems have considered how individuals use diaries with a view to proposing requirements for computerised time management tools. Others have focused on the criteria for success of group scheduling systems. Few have paid attention to how people use a battery of tools as an ensemble. This interview study reports how users exploit paper, personal digital assistants (PDAs) and a group scheduling system for their time management. As with earlier studies, we find many shortcomings of different technologies, but studying the ensemble rather than individual tools points towards a different conclusion: rather than aiming towards producing electronic time management tools that replace existing paper-based tools, we should be aiming to understand the relative strengths and weaknesses of each technology and look towards more seamless integration between tools. In particular, the requirements for scheduling and those for more responsive, fluid time management conflict in ways that demand different kinds of support.