We’ve all heard the anecdote about the woodcutter who was fell behind in his wood-cutting trade because his saw was too dull to cut wood well. When asked why he didn’t take time out to sharpen his saw, the wood-cutter, sweaty and stressed out, muttered that he was too damn busy to waste time sharpening the saw.
There is, in my opinion, a strong corollary to this story: The if-it-ain’t-broke-don’t-fix-it maxim, and when you apply these two views to your trade, you are seriously FITA. No matter where I’ve worked in my tech life, no matter what level I was employed at, a significant portion of the tech people I worked with fell into this very trap. They were too busy to do something and never looked at something that wasn’t throwing errors. And they would go blithely on until the next Techpocalypse occurs:
I just don’t get it. Really, I don’t. Time management is never that difficult. I can assure that I attend more meetings and deal with more distractions in the course of a day than the vast majority of my peers, but I never say “I’m too busy,” because “I’m too busy” is just a euphanism for “I’m not interested in helping you to do whatever it is you’re asking me to do.” It may be less polite to say to the requestor that you don’t want to (or shouldn’t have to) do something for them, but it’s more honest.
This isn’t to say that there aren’t times when I truly am too busy, but typically when that happens I’m not available to answer questions anyway, and I’ve coordinated with my team and my manager to pick up the slack, that way I don’t need to expend time and energy telling people how busy I am.
There are a few million time management methodologies and frameworks out there, and they probably all work to varying degrees, but I have become convinced that, for most people in most situations, the real issue is sloth:
So take it from ol’ one-armed Victor: Sloth is bad, perhaps the most eogtistical of all mortal sins (save suicide). I work a full time job, where I put in never less than 45 hours/week, teach a college class and consult in my spare time. Please don’t tell me that you’re too damn busy to replace a printer, or to take a wee gander at an event log, for crying out loud. Just a quick glance is all it took me to figure out that we might have a small problem here:
The (email) response to my pointing this out was: “I do not go around just looking at the Event Viewer System Log as a matter of fact…”
Wait…let me guess! You’re too busy, right?
Well, I used to be polite with people, but I’m not feeling very polite at the moment. Catch up or ship out. Really. The world needs ditch-diggers too…