Monday, February 11, 2008

All it takes is 8.

A common complaint throughout North Americas is that there are not enough hours in the day to effectively complete our general daily tasks. Two things immediately come to mind each time we hear this statement.

1. than put more hours on your workday or
2. put more concerted focus on those hours.

Now we know the majority of people would look at us sideways if we proposed working longer hours – especially with North America’s renowned sweat shop reputation, so how about we meet you 9/10’s of the way and suggest doing what you are supposed to do during the hours you are supposed to work.

We know it’s a novel concept – sign a contract that says x and then be held accountable to doing x – but it seems to be working on almost every other economic powerhouse..... except ours.

We are too easily distracted and we have a skewed perception of what ‘hard work’ really is. Ever watch people on any given 9-5 work day under perform? It goes a little something like this.

9:20 am – roll into work “traffic was bad” or “you should have seen the line up at the coffee shop”
9:20-9:50 – check & reply to messages from 20 000 close friends on myspace, facebook, yahoo messenger, etc.
9:50 – 10:15 – take a peek at the work requirements for the day and start to prioritize them. get into a flow when…
10:15 – coffee break. Time to check in on Jack or Jill’s latest gossip.
10:35 – reply to a couple of returned messages from myspace, facebook, yahoo messenger, etc.
10:45 – back to making a few work related calls or completing work related requirements
11:45 – time to organize lunch: small office poll – “where are we heading & what are we eating?”
1:00 – return from lunch reply to a couple of returned messages from myspace, facebook, yahoo messenger, etc.
1:15 - feeling the crunch here work is piling up. Time to get started on making a few calls or getting some tasks done.
2:15 – coffee break – little chat by the cooler about how fricking busy we are today and the ‘just can’t seem to get enough time to get everything done”
2:30 – take a quick personal call ‘can’t talk right now honey – I’ve got to get something done here today”. scramble to make something happen.
2:50 – instant messenger – It’s Patrick or Patti – type in – “can’t talk right now – busy – is it important?”
3:00 – Someone’s coming to check in on what’s being done. Quickly half ass something together (which will only have to be redone at a later time – taking up more time) and present it to them. Feedback isn’t great – back to drawing board.
3:35 – quick call from significant other “what are we doing tonight & what’s for dinner”
3:40 – office gossip – did you hear about…..
3:55 – crap – you’ve only got an hour left before you have to get out of here and beat the traffic.
4:45 – gotta run and beat the line up out of the underground. get to this stuff tomorrow.
5:30 walk through the door completely exhausted from the days work yet supported from the significant other ‘honey, you have to take it easy – they don’t pay you enough to be this stressed!”

Think this is a stretch – come in on one of your days off and watch someone waste time in real time. You'll quickly come to appreciate the saying if you want something to get done – give it to someone who’s busy. legitimately busy.

1. we don’t have (or need) 20 000 friends
2. we don’t get paid for checking on 20 000 friends
3. while we are checking on our friends, messages and personal effects – there’s entire populations pumping out the same products we are supposed to be at a 5-1 ratio (proven).
4. so, very shortly, making your way into your sweatshop for 9:20 will no longer be a concern.

…..But you’ll still have 20 000 friends.

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