Friday, February 02, 2007

[lack of time] why schedules fail

This article is dedicated to Sempiternal Horizons.

# Work expands to fill the available time plus half an hour. [C. Northcote Parkinson, 1958]

# Which of us is to do the hard and dirty work for the rest – and for what pay? Who is to do the pleasant and clean work and far what pay? [John Ruskin, 1870]

# One of the symptoms of approaching nervous breakdown is the belief that one’s work is terribly important and that to take a holiday would bring all kinds of disaster. [Bertrand Russell, 1932]

Our work, yours and mine, might be different – salaried, entrepreneurial, creative or criminal – but there are certain truisms common to the majority. Here are some:

1] We are, all of us, up to our eyeballs in work and though we might moan, we all like to feel terribly busy and if our time wasn’t called upon half so much, we’d try to make it so. We all like playing the martyr to the cause a bit and the mantle ‘run off our feet’ sits comfortably with us. [Parkinson quote above]

2] The unit cost of goods is such that the average salary does not cover it. Market forces are responsible for this but it’s also those who drive those market forces in the first place who have created this situation. The result is that we’re always playing ‘catch-up-football’ – trying to cover the next increase in prices and never quite managing it, in fact going backwards. The further result, as you well know, is working two jobs, credit card debt and mortgaged up to the hilt. [Ruskin quote above]

3] We feel we don’t have time to sit down and make a schedule and even if we do, it sooner or later falls by the wayside due to a variety of factors, not least mental stress. [Russell quote above] And yet good scheduling will lift half that stress.

4] Anyone, no matter how close to us, places demands on our time. He or she always feels that his needs, his high prioritization of himself takes precedence over anyone else. If time is tight, he expects you to drop or reschedule someone else, not him. Lip service is paid to our drawn and haggard features: “You really must take a break, you know.” If we do, it must not include his time. He meant the others.

Continued here.

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