Unless you’re Tom Sherman.
The final straw for this Milford, Delaware, resident was a frustrating missed bank payment. When a bank rep told him they counted Saturday as a business day, Sherman pulled his 2017 wall calendar down and started divvying up a new understanding of time.
“Time is a system we should be able to reuse and view in a permanent sort of way, versus this temporary gross calendar we all hate,” he said.
Sherman built The New Calendar, a reusable time tracker that went viral and sparked the passion of TikTok users about an age-old topic. Sherman’s system divides time into five seasons, 10 months and nine-day weeks named after planets.
Sherman was well poised for this venture, as someone who had abandoned his finance degree to become a standup comedian and rogue inventor.
Indeed: “It’s an interesting idea, it’s an absurd idea, it’s a bit tongue-in-cheek,” he told Technical.ly.
Still, Sherman and his social media manager Tommy Lynch poke the bear with “we’re right, you’re wrong” rhetoric which invokes curiosity, and sometimes hilarious furiosity with his challenge to the status quo.
What’s wrong with our calendar today?
People today use the Gregorian calendar, which has 365 days (except in leap years when it has 366) divided into 12 months.
Why does Sherman see that as a problem? First off, it’s old — “Galileo hadn’t even developed the field of physics the last time it updated,” he said.
But one of the biggest problems he sees with the Gregorian calendar is that it doesn’t have standardized units, meaning seasons and months don’t have exactly the same number of days. September has 30 days, but October has 31, for instance.
“There’s this constant shift of this year versus next year,” Sherman said. This impacts recurring meetings, birthdays, holidays, you name it.
Since The New Calendar system is fixed, it’s also predictable. What we currently call the 2nd of September will always land on 22nd of early fall, a Mars day.
“It’s a floating measure,” Sherman said. “If I wanted to start measuring a year out, one unit is fully comparable to the next one.”
But really, how do people use The New Calendar today?
“I’m not completely crazy,” Sherman said. “I still have a foot in the Gregorian calendar.”
The New Calendar can be used in conjunction with the Gregorian calendar. According to the inventor, it’s more of a readjustment of how we’re viewing time rather than a fight between the two systems.
“I’m more of just offering a way to view your time and structure your time so that you can capitalize and create routines,” he said. “You know, hit these frequencies in a logical manner.”
The New Calendar is already used by science and math enthusiasts, wellness coaches and outdoorsy types who enjoy its predictable seasons, according to Sherman. He also sees a target market of accountants, farmers and business owners.
Imagine assessing data year-over-year with Cyber Week falling on the exact same days. It’s a data analyst’s dream.
“Having five seasons in a year rather than four quarters, you’re actually going to be processing information a lot quicker, and you’ll be able to see those trends sooner and you’ll be able to make those decisions at a little bit quicker pace than if you were observing four quarters in a year,” Sherman said.
How would this actually get adopted?
This isn’t the first time a new calendar has been proposed, but it’s a steep trek. Once, the International Fixed Calendar was adopted by the Kodak corporation, and a 52/53 week calendar is the only other calendar recognized by the IRS, made popular by retailers wanting to compare sales accurately.
For The New Calendar to be officially adopted, Sherman said, “it would need to be a groundswell of independent businesses that kind of come together and say, hey, we’re using this calendar system and we’d like the IRS to recognize it.”
Until then, we’re stuck in a gamble of hoping holidays hit midweek and relishing when our birthdays fall on a Saturday.
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