Stuck in Long Lines? Mostly, Blame Yourself ⋆ Politicrossing
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Stuck in Long Lines? Mostly, Blame Yourself

Do masses of shoppers, who flood malls and scurry about, not know on what date holidays occurs each year?



Every year, following Thanksgiving, I find myself flummoxed at the shopping habits of the American populace. Do the great masses of shoppers who flood our shopping malls and scurry about not know on what date Christmas occurs? Does the date change from year to year?

Throughout the course of a year, do such shoppers not encounter gifts they know will be right for people on their shopping list? Are there no opportunities for them to procure these presents, wrap them in advance, store them in a closet, and then gift-wise have precious little to do at the year’s end?

Time is Money

I adopted a policy many years ago of buying items on the spot, like in Mid-July, when I knew they would fulfill part of my list. So, by the time late November and early December roll around, gift-wise I have very little to do.

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If only such shopping madness was confined to holiday shopping or cruise vacations. All around me I see people who could handle small issues in advance so that cumulatively, they are not beset by an array of tiny tasks that end up looming larger perceptually than otherwise. Are people wedded to dealing with the aftermath of having too much to do, instead of managing the before hand? Let’s explore the issue.

I’ve been on 36 cruises and fortunately each one was worthwhile in one respect or another. Curiously, on cruises, as the ship pulls up to another port, all passengers are requested to display their ship’s card, which is electronically scanned by security. The card must also be presented after leaving a port and returning to the ship.

No Clue abut the Queue

Time after time, one sees long lines of people who don’t have their cards ready to be scanned as they re-enter the ship. Queuing theory holds that if 15 people spend an extra 20 seconds extracting their cards from their wallets and pockets versus extracting their cruise card in advance, 300 seconds or five minutes will accrue. During that five minutes, another 15 people or more might get in line.

After a few minutes of such behavior, the waiting line to board the ship can stretch to 20 or 30 minutes or more. Conversely, if everyone held their card, ready to be scanned, they could proceed past the scanner, military style, in what would represent record time. Instead of 20 to 30 minute lines forming, to get back on board, wait times would drop to under three minutes, if that long.

After the first shore visit, is it a surprise to the 2000 or so passengers that they’ll have to have their card ready to be scanned when they depart and when they re-enter the ship? Are they unaware after the first day? Are they all clueless?

On Dry Land

During non-Covid times, visit a movie theater any Friday or Saturday evening and as lines begin to form for the popular movies. You’ll notice perhaps only one in three patrons has their money or their credit card out and ready as they near the front of the line. Most theater patrons, however, reach for a billfold, wallet, or purse as it’s time to pay. Unfortunately added those extra seconds create lines for everyone behind them, that don’t need to occur.

Am I being too harsh when it comes to lines? How much of a burden would it be for people, who are third in line, to be prepared to pay so as to benefit all other theater goers standing behind them? How much longer will it be before people figure out that wait times in lines could be a fraction of what we generally experience?

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®


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Smart Move in a Rough Economy: Help Your Boss to Shine

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives



Making your boss look good can only reflect favorably on you. Both your boss and his or her supervisors will appreciate this.

The best way to make your boss look good is to handle your work efficiently and thoroughly. If your boss is fair, he or she will give you credit for the work, increasing your chances of promotion.

If your boss is not doing his or her share of the work, leaning on you unfairly without giving you the credit, it’s still likely that you’ll be promoted when your boss is promoted. That person knows you’ve been doing more than your share, and he or she won’t be able to take a new position without your help.

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Becoming a Mentor to Others

Maybe you’re only 27 years old, or perhaps you’ve only been with your present firm for a year and a half. Yet, with your previous experience and achievements, you may already be in a position to serve as a mentor to junior members of your organization. This can be accomplished on an informal, ad hoc basis, and you can literally choose the amount of energy you’re willing to commit. Helping junior members always looks good to those above you, especially at performance review time.

Stay on top of your job, your department’s goals, and your company’s objectives. This three-way strategy includes reviewing your job description, deciding precisely what your department’s goals are, and determining your company’s objectives:

Your Job Description

First, knowing your job description and honoring it, or amending it if necessary, protect you from any misunderstandings. It will also give you an idea of the part you play in the total picture of the organization, an important factor in your work satisfaction and chance of promotion.

Your job description ideally contains all the important activities of your position, the knowledge you need to have or acquire to perform those activities, and some sense of your overall role. If your job description does not adequately detail the information you need to know and the responsibilities you have, now is the time to change it.

Company Goals

Second, learn and understand the goals of your part of the company. By whatever method your organization is broken into groups — department, division, project team — your group has objectives.

Goals are important to guide actions as well as to mark milestones. Knowing your group’s goals will help you to set priorities for your own work and make wise decisions concerning how jobs can best be done.

What is the Mission?

Finally, be aware of your organization’s mission. Any organization, from the smallest business to the multibillion-dollar corporation, has a mission. If you don’t already know it, find out. Your organization’s brochure, annual report, promotional literature, or employee handbook will have the mission spelled out.

The mission will unify and give meaning to all the division or department goals. Although conflicts among divisions will occur because of the nature of different responsibilities, a solid base can be produced when all employees realize the overall mission of the organization.

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Lessons of the 2020s: Unanticipated Events Happen

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being as well as on our time



By now, nearly everyone has mentally marked the first few years of this decade as strange and, for those on the right, entirely upsetting. While we can’t guard against the unknown, or anticipate radical moves emanating from Washington DC, we can seek to do our best with what we have and what we know.

Each day when you compose your to-do list and begin proceeding merrily down it, do you take into account what is likely to occur in the course of a day? No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling the products and tasks unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off.

How do you react when you are humming along, and all of a sudden, you get an assignment from out of left field? Perhaps your boss has asked you to jump on something immediately. Maybe a client calls. Maybe something gets returned to you that you thought was complete.

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To Be Flustered No More

If you are like most professionals, you immediately will become flustered. The intrusion on your time and your progress means that you are not going to accomplish all that you set out to before the end of the day. Is there a way to proceed and still feel good about all that you accomplish?

I believe there is, and it involves first making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately encapsulates the new task that you need to handle. Why create this supplemental to-do list? It gives you focus and direction, reduces anxiety, and increases the probability that you will remain buoyant at the time of its completion and be able to turn back to what you were doing before the task was assigned.

If you don’t compose such a list, and simply plow headlong into the unexpected challenge that has come your way, you might not proceed effectively, and you might never get back to the to-do list on which you were working.

Anticipating the Unexpected

Unforeseen tasks that arise represent more than intrusions on our time; they represent intrusions on our mental and emotional state of being. Some people are naturally good at handling unexpected situations. Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions on our workday take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting.

So… when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed ‘knowing’ that there will be an interruption of some sort. You don’t know when it is coming or how large it will be, but it will pull you off course. The key question for you is: can you develop the capacity to maintain balance and equanimity in the face of such disruptions?

The good news is that you can, and it all starts with acknowledging that the situation is likely to happen, devising a supplemental checklist to handle the new task, and as deftly as possible, returning to what you were doing.

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