How might we easily identify blocks of free time and make recommendations for busy individuals so that they can intentionally make time for activities that improve their wellbeing?
As one navigates adulthood, responsibilities quickly compound, forming a long list of tasks to be done. Days repeat with free time haphazardly scattered across rest, chores, errands, social activities, and personal life.
Not only this, in 2023, we live in the aftermath of a global pandemic and hustle culture. The importance of prioritizing mental and physical well-being has never been so clear. Yet, unstructured free time as a result of the pandemic in combination with dramatized ideals of hustling for success has fuelled numerous toxic habits and attitudes around free time and productivity, resulting in increased levels of burnout, depression, and anxiety.
As research shows, the answer to improving one’s subjective well-being may not be as simple as having more free time. Our user is a busy everyday professional or student, who has a finite amount of free time in their day. They struggle to find balance between productivity and well-being and are ready to make incremental changes to their daily routines to prioritize their well-being.
1) User attitude on well-being and free time
81% considered well-being to be Very Important or Important
While no one felt Very Good or Very Bad about their current use of free time, 55.3% indicated that they felt Neutral, Somewhat Bad, or Bad
2) Estimated free time and minimum time required for well-being activities
75.1% had more than 10 hours of free time in an average week
Of the list of activities ranked as the most important for one’s well-being
- Exercise was reported to take approximately 8 hours per week
- Relaxation was reported to take approximately 10 hours per week
- Socialization was reported to take approximately 3 hours per week
Compared to the amount of available free time and minimum time required for the well-being activities,
- 50% completed their well-being activity Most of the Time
- 37.6% completed their well-being activity Sometimes or Infrequently
User Pain Points
Self reports in the user survey found that individuals felt relaxed, accomplished, prepared/energized for the next day, and generally good when they were able to complete their well-being activity. In comparison, individuals felt regretful, lazy, not productive enough, isolated/lonely, and frustrated/bad when they were unable to complete their well-being activity.
The following reasons were also mentioned as why individuals were not able to make time for their well-being activities: prioritization of other activities (e.g., necessities, errands), mismatched routine and lifestyle, lack of motivation, lack of time, and lack of time management skills.
Based on the survey results, there is a clear disparity between the amount of free time an individual has throughout their week in comparison to the frequency and duration in which they successfully engage in activities that maximize their well-being. In combination with the self assessments when not completing a well-being activity, we know this is a problem area that has potential to be solved.
Landing on the Solution
Based on our users’ pain points, the following became our priority goals:
- Help individuals build more confidence and ownership over their time and schedules
- Help individuals prioritize spending time on activities that improve their well-being
- Help individuals build sustainable habits and attitudes around their well- being, so that they can maintain protected free time without the pressure of being productive
Explanation of Solution
DriverSeat identifies blocks of free time in the user’s existing web calendar and provides recommendations on how to best fit the user’s prioritized well-being activities around their schedule. Our product effectively removes the barrier for users in making time for activities that maximize their well-being, encouraging them to focus on actually engaging in the activities – rather than scheduling them.
MVP User Journey
- Insert baseline schedule to your Google Calendar
Block our primary responsibilities (e.g., work, studies, childcare, religious practice)
Block out additional required time (e.g., transit)
- Outline your preferences and routines
How many hours would you like to sleep?
When do you currently go to bed and wake up?
Select your most important well-being activity
- Identify current duration of activity per occurrence
- Identify desired duration of activity per occurrence
- Identify current frequency of activity per week
- Identify desired frequency of activity per week
- Identify preferred scheduling of activity on regular basis (e.g., before work, between breaks, N/A)
- Let DriverSeat visualize the following in your calendar
Based on your response, you have x hours of free time during your week for your well-being and secondary responsibilities (e.g., housework, errands)
Based on your response, here are the recommended ways to mobilize your free time
- Accept recommendation → block into calendar
- Reject recommendation → next recommendation
Based on your schedule, move or delete recommended time block
I am excited to create an MVP of DriverSeat as an extension to Google Calendar. Through continued user testing, I hope to ensure the app is designed to normalize and encourage unscheduled free time as well as prevent users from forming negative associations around engaging in well-being activities.
Product Manager Learnings:
The Product Management Sprint has taught me the importance of obtaining a deep understanding of the problem space. I have learnt that product development should not be centered around building solutions. Instead, by clearly defining our users’ pain points and desired outcomes, we may be able to build a solution that is fruitful and impactful to our users.
The spec writing exercise has also emphasized the importance of establishing quantitative metrics to assess the product fit and success.