Analytical 17: Time

28 July, 2017


There never seems to be enough time to get through everything that needs to be done. Or is there actually enough time and you’re just looking at it wrong?

Transcript available
[Music] Everything can be improved, iterated and refined. And if you don't think that's true, maybe you haven't analyzed it enough. Calculator choices carefully considered. Absolutely analytical. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network. And to support our shows, including this one, head over to our Patreon page. And for other great shows, visit today. time. If only I had more time, said Marty. What am I talking about? I've got a time machine. Seriously though, and back to the future movie references to one side, how often have you heard, I don't have enough time? Or have you actually said that yourself? If we accept that our day must contain several things such as sleep, some downtime, which we we talked about a couple episodes ago, you know, to down time for ourselves, to preserve our own sanity, then after all that, it's up to us how we want to spend the rest of our time. Caring about other people and other things is perfectly natural, but if those people or things start to demand a lot of time, how do you manage that? I think most people say they don't have time more out of frustration than that they just don't do or don't want to help. It's sort of being time poor and they feel like they can't and they're frustrated that they can't. But when people are put in that situation, I do wonder whether or not they actually try and have an honest assessment of whether they could actually shuffle their priorities, at least half the time anyway. Then again, sometimes they say it out of disinterest. This isn't something anyone can cover in 10 minutes. There are people that spend hours, days, weeks lecturing, teaching and moaning and droning on and on and on about the right and best way to organise yourself. Well, I'm not going to do that, at least not here, because I care more about your time than to do something like that to you. There's plenty of books, believe me. I don't even have to tell you where to go to find them. You'll find them. They're out there. Get things done. Sure, that'll help. Anyway, beyond becoming personally involved with a base set of activities that you consider to be essential. They usually planned and accepted responsibilities like cleaning a house, going to work, taking kids to sport, well having kids, you know, is another choice. We accept these up front. Whether or not we know what we're getting ourselves in for, that's open for debate but you cannot deny the fact that there is an acceptance that If you make certain choices, there will be consequences of those choices and there will be a time commitment, will be some of that. So, if we do accept them up front, then it's more of a question of maintaining your own self-subscription to tasks. If you think about subscribing to a newspaper or a newsletter, you can only read so many in a day. So if you're over-subscribed, you can't possibly ever maintain that. Some people say they listen to hundreds of podcasts and then of course what they've done, they've oversubscribed themselves. They don't have enough time in a day to listen to all the podcasts that they are subscribed to. The solution, rather comically for some of these people in dire need of cutting back the podcasts they listen to, is to listen to them at high speed. So then everyone sounds like a chipmunk. Well, that's good. Well, if you like Alvin and the Chipmunks, it's good. That's really irritating. I can't, I can't do it. And if you're listening to me as a chipmunk then I hope I sound okay. Never mind that, moving on. So if you are over subscribing yourself to known tasks and this is just known tasks, not unknown, random, you know, we get sidetracked every now and then, things go wrong, life happens, that's fine but I'm talking about known tasks. Tasks that you are consciously aware of, you consciously understand that you're going to need to do. So if you're If you're oversubscribing yourself to those known tasks and such that you exceed your time capacity, slap yourself just once or twice. That'd be too hard, but think it over, you know? You're probably not gonna succeed. You need a bit of buffer in there. Rather than go down that path, I'm gonna assume that all of you have got that bit under control. You've got a little bit of buffer in there, so you're not fully subscribed. You're slightly undersubscribed, and that gives you a bit of buffer in there. So now, let's think about interruptions, and that's the stuff that's gonna chew up that buffer. Random requests for your time that you cannot plan, that you do not see coming forward. Now this might get a bit brutal, but let's try this anyway. I'm gonna suggest a couple of really simple ideas for when someone asks you to do something. Number one, if I do nothing about it, Will anything or anyone I care about, presumably including myself, be impacted negatively by my lack of action? Following on from that number two, if not, has the requester demonstrated a history of requests coupled with a lack of acknowledgement or a lack of assistance and their time in return? And then thirdly, if not, by helping the requester, will my time benefit anyone, including myself, by helping them? Now of course, we care about some things more than others and maybe we should, maybe we shouldn't. I suppose we must evaluate that on a case by case basis. But when it comes to making time, even with the criteria above, Sometimes you just have to make a judgment call on each case in how much you care about things beyond those guidelines. But if the decision is to spend time on something that you hadn't planned and it matters, then accept that there is never a good time to have your plans interrupted. That's life, that's reality. Things go wrong and you can't prevent it. So conversely, thinking about it, If you tell me that you don't have time, I understand. It's not necessarily that you don't have time, it's just that my request doesn't rank high enough on your list of priorities, and you know what? That's fine. If I need someone else's time, I try hard to set realistic expectations, or at least as realistic expectations as I possibly can, and I don't nearly get, well, I don't get anywhere near as upset as I used to when people would say that they don't have time. Maybe another way of thinking about it is like this. Make time for the things that matter the most to you. Spend some time helping those you care about and care about you. Take some time out for yourself sometimes. And if someone needs your time and their request doesn't quite fit, don't feel bad. There's only so many hours in a day. So these days, when I hear someone say they don't have time, when I need help, I'm not offended. it, but I know where I stand with them. If you're enjoying Analytical and want to support the show, you can. Like some of our backers, Ivan, Daniel Dudley and Chris Stone. They and many others are patrons of the show via Patreon and you can find it at or one word. So if you'd like to contribute something, anything at all, it's all very much appreciated. Analytical is part of the Engineered Network and you can find it at and you can follow me on Mastodon at [email protected] or for our shows on Twitter @engineered_net. Accept nothing, question everything. It's always a good time to analyze something. I'm John Chigi. Thanks for listening. [Music]
Duration 9 minutes and 25 seconds Direct Download

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John Chidgey

John Chidgey

John is an Electrical, Instrumentation and Control Systems Engineer, software developer, podcaster, vocal actor and runs TechDistortion and the Engineered Network. John is a Chartered Professional Engineer in both Electrical Engineering and Information, Telecommunications and Electronics Engineering (ITEE) and a semi-regular conference speaker.

John has produced and appeared on many podcasts including Pragmatic and Causality and is available for hire for Vocal Acting or advertising. He has experience and interest in HMI Design, Alarm Management, Cyber-security and Root Cause Analysis.

You can find him on the Fediverse and on Twitter.