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.

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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Running up Huge Deficits: Bad for Nations and for Individuals

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal



Joe Biden seeks to spend $6 trillion annually, for now. It could be higher thereafter, as our national debt climbs to staggering sums: $28.5 trillion, and $153.5 in unfunded liabilities. Has any nation in history that accumulated large deficits over a prolonged period of time and, lacking a concerted effort towards reducing them, sustained economic prosperity for its people?

Personal Deficits

Deficits are risky, whether global, national, regional, state, local, or personal. What are the deficits in your own life? For example, based on how many calories you’re consuming daily, are you running a deficit in the number of calories you need to burn to maintain a proper weight level? If so, you know that you face many health risks.

Do you have a financial deficit? For decades, tens of millions of Americans have accumulated personal debt via credit cards. Sustained deficit spending erodes one’s ability to prepare for the future and, worse, exploit current opportunities.

Is there a deficit in the time that you spend with relatives and loved ones? What about hobbies? Friends? Worthy causes?

Answers Appear

When you’re honest with yourself about your deficits, the answers to reducing them naturally appear:

* To reduce a weight deficit, plot your weight each morning for six months. Once you become vividly aware of the relationship between calories burned and weight reduction, watching your weight drop will further reinforce your ability to maintain balance in your caloric intake.

* To reduce a personal financial deficit, place a moratorium on spending – regardless of what items entice you – until all your credit cards have zero balances.

* If you have a deficit in the time spent with friends, on hobbies, or on worthy causes, devote one evening per week to such endeavors. Give up addictive news and information via web and TV that, in retrospect, might add little to your life while creating other time-related deficits. To spend more time with your children, involve them in activities you have traditionally done without them.

Here are two resources:

Debtors Anonymous:
Obsessive-Compulsive Anonymous:

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Your To-Do List: Unforeseen Events Will Arise

No matter how well we organize our lists and how productive we are in handling tasks, unexpected obligations and interruptions arise that could throw us off our plan.



Each day 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 tasks, invariably, unexpected obligations, interruptions, and other developments arise that are going to throw us off our plan.

How do you react when you are humming along and, suddenly, 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 felt was complete.

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?

A Supplemental To-do List

I believe there is, and it involves making a miniature, supplemental to-do list that accurately and completely encapsulates the new task you now 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.

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 and often work as public servants, such as police officers and firefighters, or in health care, as nurses and orderlies.

Most of us, however, are not wired like this. Interruptions and intrusions take us off the path that we wanted to follow, and tend to be at least momentarily upsetting. Hereafter, when executing the items on your to-do list, proceed with the mindset 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.

Equanimity Reigns

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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