June 30, 2011

On vacation, I measure time in days. During the week, the resolution shrinks down to half-hour segments. On the weekend, it grows back to two or three hour chunks. The amount of time I view as a “long time”, changes depending on how fast I feel like I have to pedal to stay on top of my obligations.

A few years ago, on a very long, stressful project, I measured time in single minutes. The schedule was so tight that every minute counted, or so I thought.

It lead to constant, unjustifiable anger. Microwaves were too slow. Stoplights were bitter enemies. There was no time for friends or family. Life became robotic. Measuring time in minutes sucks.  

There wasn’t even time for a spare thought, which meant I couldn’t realize just how unhealthy the situation was. And it meant I didn’t have the time to think strategically about what I was doing. So many of those minutes were wasted on the wrong stuff.

Since then I’ve used this as a metric to judge the productivity of individuals and companies. When you see someone staring at a coffee pot, growling “Brew faster, goddammit.”, that’s a bad sign. (That’s borrowed from somewhere, anybody know the source?)


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