Your own little time stopper
“…by equating ‘real’ with ‘efficient’, we mistakenly perpetuate the idea that acceleration is the principal goal not only of performance, but of life itself.” –Jessica Helfand, “The Myth of Real Time”
When was the last time you were in the zone — when you weren’t thinking about time or the next deadline? It seems that our modern sources of distraction have made it increasingly difficult to maintain focus on a single task, making these moments of Flow, which is an important concept in positive psychology, harder to come by. We asked ourselves how could we make these rare but golden moments occur more often?
The Timestamp is a self-inking analog clock stamp that allows you to physically and consciously mark the start and end times of each task, giving you a sense of structure and accomplishment throughout the day. What’s interesting is what happens in the background: When used to start a task, it shuts down all modern sources of distraction – social networks, email, instant messaging, mobile phones, and even your computer – allowing you to work in much-needed peace. At the end of each task, the stamp is used to lift the freeze, bringing everything back to normal. The stamp emits a red glow when busy and green when not, alerting those in the physical world of your current status.
The Timestamp system is comprised of the stamp and a desktop and mobile application that controls which “distractions” to affect. After doing some body storming, we saw the need to set up custom profile settings based on different tasks.
This was a project for Fundamentals of Interaction Design taught by Carla Diana, who asked us to design something around the concept of time. Done with classmates Minseung Song and Shanshan Gao. My roles included concept design, product design, wireframing, research, illustration, personas, storyboarding. This project was mentioned by web anthropologist and futurist, Stowe Boyd, on the technology blog GigaOm.