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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?

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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 www.BreathingSpace.com 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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Bite-Sized Motivation

The insights or wisdom we need to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words

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I’ve spoken to 1075 audiences at conventions, conferences, and meetings, and have had the opportunity to hear probably 800 other speakers as well.

The insights, perspectives, or wisdom we need, to get us going often don’t have to be more than a few words. Here are 52 of my own six word “speeches,” drawn from my keynotes and breakout session on the topic of work-life balance. Some of these likely will resonate with you:

Choose from what you already have.
Everyone needs breathing space, especially you.
Information overload obscures meaning and relevance.
Deep breathes are essential for well-being.

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Make every day an organized day.
Allow your natural rhythms to rule.
Stay confident and in control daily.
Manage your time, manage your life.

Slow down to plot your course.
Look for the best in others.
Make yourself indispensable on the job.
Compete with yourself, not with others.

Learn to take control of today.
Manage your time to make time.
Take control of your desk clutter.
You’re the best when you’re fresh.

Do something to take control now.
Major projects often require a jumpstart.
Methodically pare down your paper piles.
Don’t attempt too much at once.

Evaluate your situation and what’s important.
Narrow your priorities to stay focused.
Avoid making promises you can’t keep.
Learn to embrace your many talents.

Take the time to become organized.
Become aware of how you react.
Arrange your space; help isn’t coming.
Manage the flat surfaces in life.

Periodically challenge yourself to perform better.
Take long, deep breaths as needed.
Reclaim your places, spaces, and graces.
Start big projects well in advance.

Don’t rush the truly important things.
Make the best use of today.
Schedule accordingly: plan for your future.
Be kind, cut yourself some slack.

Opportunity knocks, but are you answering?
Conventional wisdom has diminishing value.
When practical, substitute time for money.
The market for top talent lives.

The self-reliant survive and thrive.
Leadership requires forethought and super-vision.
Learn from and capitalize on mistakes.
Firmly face the future with confidence.

“Now” holds a lot of opportunity.
Control but don’t curb your enthusiasm.
Treading water won’t propel you forward.
Have you ever really tested yourself?

Life goes on; do your best.
Continually seek out the higher ground.
Luck is distributed evenly, but disguised.
You must be doing something right.

 


 

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Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

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1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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