WAITING FOR  SERVICE COSTS BILLIONS!      

Readers have seen that I’ve been writing a seven-part series on TIME LOSS: how almost everyone either lies or guesstimates ETA—estimated times of arrival—for trains, planes and automobiles.

Home service people do it, and dentists and government services, and…well almost everybody!

We can never get a handle on how long it will take to do anything, or get anywhere, or determine when the service people will come to repair our appliance or install a cable. 

The economic impact of waiting for in-home services among consumers and businesses has just been published in in international survey.

The survey is the third annual by the polling firm, Zogby International. The company asked people in the U.S., Britain, Brazil and Germany how long they usually had to wait for people to come to their homes and service appliances etc.


The respondents were furious because most of them had to:

  •        take time off busy work schedules
  •        lose pay
  •        take a vacation day
  •        take a sick day
  •        get stressed out, frustrated and angry
  •        often not see anybody show up at all!
  •        reschedule appointments

Often with the same results!

Fifty-eight % of Americans said they waited an average of more than four hours for service calls last year. That’s on each service call, not cumulatively over several calls!

It amounts to more than 2 days of lost work for every American worker.

Often, people used vacation and sick days waiting at home for cable installers, appliance repair people, and service reps of all kinds.   


Poor customer service regarding ETA has many ramifications:

  •        Financial penalties for clients
  •        Financial penalties for suppliers and service firms
  •        Loss of confidence in businesses by “fed-up” people 
  •        Loss of productivity for whole countries


Here’s a list of the countries and the biggest complaints:

  • USA–cable guys were the worst. More than a quarter of respondents reported lost wages and 50% wasted a sick day or vacation day to wait at home for a service or delivery.
  •  Britain–grocery delivery was the worst.
  • Germany–reported the longest wait time: more than six hours (an hour more than in 2010).
  • Brazil–reported the angriest “waiters.” They posted complaints on-line, and used social media to criticize the tardy service providers. 22% of Brazilians refused the late service; 40% of them left home in frustration and 36% rescheduled an appointment.

Not happy!


Yuval Brisker, a commentator for the Zogby survey firm, said of companies who are being complained about: “All they need to do is

  • respect the consumers time by reducing the ‘wait window’
  • keep their promises and arrive on time,
  • send the right person to do the job the first time and 
  • communicate effectively throughout the process using every available means.”


The report said that:

“It costs businesses $330. annually (based on respondent estimates) for every lost customer and can cost many times that to re-acquire them.

“On the other hand, improving customer service via advanced technology tools can cost less, help retain more customers and provide great rewards on brand value and overall reputation.

Of the respondents surveyed, 70% stated that they would recommend a company solely on the fact that an appointment was on time …

…while the skill of a service technician and their initiative to go above and beyond, were among the most important aspects that positively impact their opinion of a company.” 



So, when you get $#@&^%- off at service providers, or people who guesstimate how long it will take to do anything, or lie to you because they want to get your business, don’t play along with them.

Don’t buy into their fraudulent promises.

Choose suppliers who will keep their promises and arrive on time. If they can’t come on a particular day, ask them to tell you when they CAN come.

Then you can take THAT morning off to deal with the problem or installation or repair or whatever the hell it is instead of waiting around fuming and losing precious vacation time.

I know you’re upset about this. Everybody is.

Act on the information.

Don’t stand for it any more

Your time is too valuable.

If you  would like more information and help on time and time management, just sign in the box at the top right hand of this page.

You’ll get on my free email list and you can immediately download my complimentary 40 page book FOUR QUESTIONS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE.

I know, it sounds dramatic.

Well, it IS dramatic.

While it doesn’t directlty address the subject of time, it does so indirectly, and it touches on even more  fundamental questions.

It is free…sign up.

If you hate it you can  just tell it to stop.

It will. It’s good like that.



Part 1.  How we fool ourselves by believing false time “estimates.”

Part 2.  The Evil ETA System cost us time and Money!

Part 3.  8 Ways Colleges lie about instructional time.

Part 4.  Housekeeping Kills Time and Fosters False Expectations!

Part 5.    Work kills time and encourages phony time estimates.

Part 6:    Time problems and how to solve them(PART 1)

Part 7:    ETA Problems and Solutions (PART 2)


It's a gift. Don't waste it.



It’s a gift. Don’t waste it.

This is the seventh and final post a series of why we get fooled (or fool ourselves) into believing people’s false expectations and promises regarding how long it will take to do anything. 


Part 1.  How we fool ourselves by believing false time “estimates.”

Part 2.   The evil ETA system costs us time and money!

Part 3.    8 ways Colleges lie about instructional time.

Part 4.    Housekeeping kills time and fosters false expectations!

Part 5.    Work kills time and encourages phony time estimates.

Part 6:    Time problems and how to solve them. (PART 1)


 Why are we constantly frustrated when people tell us that:

  • It  will take only “4 hours to get here from there,” or
  • It’ll take only “2 hours to ‘do this job”
  • It will be “only a few minutes” wait.
  • I’ll be with you in a sec!”
  • Your time is important to us? (Gag!)


What does this actually mean?  Because we know they’re wrong (or lying!)

            It means you cannot believe a college calendar that says you have 45 hours of instruction. You really have 20 or 22.  It means.


  •  it will take you 5 1/2 hours to drive from here to there, not 4.
  • it will take you 4 hours to do the job, not 2.
  • the wait will be 40 minutes, not “a few.”
  • they will not be “with you in a sec..” It’ll be more like 20 minutes. Maybe.
  • “Do you have a minute” means a half hour (if you’re lucky).
  • when people say “I’ll be right over,” they won’t.
  • when the hotel says your room will be ready at three o’clock, it means six.
  • the PR lady who said “Your time is important to us” is BS’ing you or else they’d    hire more telephone operators.

     Your time is important to them, but not exactly. Sort of.

 Certainly, it’s not more important than their time.

               That’s what it means.

                  Tempus fugit. We don’t have enough of it.  Demand full commitment from your service providers.  



           When you realize that the time allotted for classes in the college calendar is fraudulent, you will adapt immediately and not get faked out by false promises like the ones the guy on the right with the charming smile is offering. 



  • Doctors overbook, patients are often late, and cases take more time than expected.
  • Remember that this stuff happens! You know it does. It’s happened to you 60 times! 
  • Change your expectations.
  • Don’t book your next appointment thinking all will go well at the doctor’s (or bill payment office)
  • Sometimes it might  pay to pray for a doctor.
     Jesus saves.


  •       Anticipate arrival and departure delays.
  •       Be aware of weather forecast problems
  •       Expect problems with staff shortage, equipment problems, etc



Everybody loses with this one!

The restaurant has over-booked.  Patrons get annoyed (I’m being polite), leave grumpy and never return.

Restaurant owners lose money (because they lose the time/opportunity to serve meals and the money that goes with it.) 



Restaurants must adhere to good policies. If your bistro is full at regular meal hours, offer less expensive meals before and after the rush.

Patrons can do one or more of the following:

  • Change restaurants. 
  • Learn when the place is not busy and go then. 
  • Go early and hope someone leaves early. 
  • Bring a book.
  • Have a drink at the bar.
  • Put up with the wait because you are so trendy and smart. 

Or,  well, you get the picture.

That’s it. 

People steal time from us because they don’t know or don’t care how long a thing will take to do and they tell us lies or guess and make promises because they WANT it to be true. 

They want to do things properly, give you good information about their services and how long they will take. But they also want to please you and they know you want to hear that everything will be great. 

         We believe them for the same reasons.

  • We want to believe them because we don’t want to waste time. But if you are older than 8, you know that what they tell you is a (false) promise, a guess, or a wish. It isn’t the truth, it ain’t reality! 


(Would you believe a promise from this guy?)

  • If we know how this comes about, if we know that it this mythology operates in our lives, then we have a fighting chance of changing it or at least adapting to it.
  • f we do we’ll save frustration, stress and money.


As you have seen here, you can make headway in one day! The real benefit is that once you know this stuff you can save time daily for the rest of your life.

If you would like to be better at time management (which really means self-management) visit  http://www.thedaleypost.com and take advantage of our coming free articles on time, time management, procrastination, productivity and self-knowledge.


I have helped more than 500 people improve their lives in as little as three months.


I will be offering a full course on these matters, on  Self-Knowledge, really, on-line soon.


If you would like to be on the advance list for information about the course, please send me a note at skcollege@rogers.com.


In any case, you’ll still get an abundance of free information.  


Thanks for taking the time to read this.  


Frank Daley



Next: Part 8:   Special Edition! Waiting for Cable Cost Billions! 


1267995339j9iHeDblue special

TIME LOSS part 6:(1/2)  3 COMMON


This is the sixth in a series of seven posts on how we fool ourselves (and let others fool us) with ridiculously overstated time estimates to do anything–deliver a pizza, get the car fixed, get the washer repaired or get across town in a car.


Part 1.  How we fool ourselves by believing false time “estimates.”

Part 2.   The evil ETA system costs us time and money!

Part 3.   8 ways Colleges lie about instructional time.

Part 4.   Housekeeping kills time and fosters false expectations!

PART 5. Work kills time and encourages phony time estimates.


Let’s return to three common examples of false expectations and the problems they cause in the normal activities of day-to-day life.


This is the service person who fails to shows up late or fails to show at all to fix your stsove (for which meeting you have arranged to take time off work and are not being paid) GRRRRR!

 Let’s look at what can go wrong, does go wrong, to spoil your day. These are possible reasons. There are others.

  • The company overbooked the repairman’s day. Inexperience? Probably not. Inattention and failure to track how these things go? Probably.
  • The householder did not know the exact nature of the problem with the stove, making it tough for the company to guess how long it will take to make a repair.
  • Frequently, the problem is larger than even the repairman can see at first glance. If this happens on the first call of the day, time is lost and he’s late the whole day.
  • Traffic, unreliable repair people, truck break-downs, illness are all other causes.


  1. The company or repair person can/should call the homeowner. Does it happen? Not often. Not under your control anyway. You can teach them to do it but you might not have six weeks of vacation time to devote to it. (Not good.)
  2. You call them?  Wait 5 minutes  after the ETA has passed then call the dispatcher.
  3. Be aware of all this and make sure you deal only with super reliable repair people.  Of course, you say,but it’s not always possible. OK then,
  4. Assume problems. Ask them to come between 8-12 or 2-5 or book evening appointments (as many smart companies are offering these days).


  • The Dr. has more patients than she can handle.
  • The Dr. overbooks, counting on no-shows and minor cases.
  • Emergency patients show up bumping others.
  • Some appointments uncover more serious questions than expected. 

SOLUTIONS: You KNOW this is going to happen. It’s happened before, yes? Only 60 times in your life!

  1. Prepare for it by assuming it will take longer than you thought.
  2. Talk to the nursing or admin staff and ask what is the BEST time to make an appointment. (The least busy.) Probably not Monday morning or Fridays.
  3. Book appointments on days when you know (or think) you’ll have more time.

3. THE AIRLINE TIME SNAFU  You miss your connecting flight in London or sit on a tarmac for four hours waiting for..who knows?… since nobody tells you anything!

Problems and Solutions:

  • Weather. Except for things like that Icelandic volcano, not much you can do about these. But you can detect snowstorms in Europe or hurricanes in the Caribbean easily enough by weather reports. At least you can anticipate them, plan for them.
  • Equipment failure. Use airlines with good frequency of on-time arrival records.
  • Staffing problems: Strikes. Learn the countries where the airlines have the most strike problems. Pay attention to the news. Ask a travel agent.
  • Traffic. Sometimes in certain countries or big cities there are difficulties for the airline staff to arrive in time to manage their flights (parades, civil disobedience etc.). This causes delays. Not much you can do about this if you go to big cities! But you can keep up with the news.


  • Read this series of posts! Send it to your friends!
  • Think about time from the college’s point of view and you’ll see the restrictions they are under to make them schedule the way they do. They have only so many buildings and labs and classrooms and (usually) too many students. Something has to go–it’s class time!
  • Be aware of all the things we’re raised, some legitimate, some not, but all REAL! If we do that we may rail at the stupidity of time in life but at least we’ll understand it and be able to plan better. And that will reduce stress, frustration, disappointment, and resentment. You’ll feel better! You will!




YOU DO KNOW MURPHY’S LAW (If anything can go wrong, it will!)

You have experience, you have intelligence, you have information, you have imagination. You have to use them all.

BE AWARE. Budget more time.

Get all the Intel you can before you decide your course of action.

Realize the cost of NOT knowing all you can before you hand over your time to organizations, government agencies, companies, or people who just blithely tell you how long a thing will take.

(Either they don’t know or they don’t care what it costs you.)

But you do. You are now well armed!


TIME LOSS, Part 5: Work kills time and encourages phony time estimates.


Phony ETAs cause stress.

Here’s a list of the previous four posts and links.

Part 1.  How we fool ourselves by believing false time “estimates.”

Part 2.   The evil ETA system costs us time and money!

Part 3.   8 ways Colleges lie about instructional time.

Part 4.   Housekeeping kills time and fosters false expectations!


Part 5:  Work kills time and encourages phony time estimates.

In the preceding four articles we have been examining how we get fooled–and how we fool ourselves–by believing what people tell us about how long it will take to do a thing, or get anywhere or deliver anything.

We have all taken time off work to have someone fix an appliance. They give us an ETA (“He’ll be there between 10 and noon.”) and the guy is four hours late or he doesn’t come at all.

And we’ve all heard “the car’ll  be ready at 5” line, or “the doctor will be with you in a minute. “(Unless you die first.)

But the fault, dear Brutus, lies also within ourselves because we want to believe these products and service providers.


In the last two articles I’ve been showing how college calendars lie, obfuscate, dissimulate and deliberately mislead re instruction times.

Our time is valuable; we never have enough of it. We delude ourselves into thinking what can’t possibly work, will always work!


Today. I’m writing about how students jeopardize their college grades (and their year) by working too much at part-time or full time jobs outside of class.

Most college students work part-time. Many students work more than 20 hours per week. (Some work 30-40 hours per week!)

Student at work


I am not arguing  against that. Most students have to work to help pay for their education but it is often counterproductive.

(The literature suggests that more than 12 hours of work while going to school can have a negative effect on grades, even for A and B average students, but never mind).

If you work 20 hours a week, you are going to spend more time at your place of work in one week than you spend in the classroom on this subject for the whole semester!

That’s because, as you’ll see in an earlier article in this series,  (link) that the college calendar’s promise of 45 or 42 hours per course in a semester is simply wrong; it’s closer to 20-22 hours. That’s an enomous difference.

That lost instructional time means stress, disappointment and a loss of money (fail and you must retake the subject or the term).

But students, especially first-year students, take NONE of this into account.

They never think twice about it. It gives them a false sense of security. The course doesn’t feel like 45 hours to them.

(Well, yeah, because it’s closer to 20!)

By the middle of term, most students attribute their lack of time to–well,  just a lack of time! By then it’s too late to recover.

Moreover, it’s not just the 25 hours additional class they thought they had in THIS subject, but it is multiplied by the five subjects most students carry in college. That’s a total of 125 hours lost over the semester.

It’s three weeks of class time they THOUGHT THEY HAD that isn’t actually there! Students get frustrated, discouraged and drop out.

If they fail a couple of subjects, they join the almost 50% of students in college in North America who don’t pass their first term.

That’s a high price to pay for not governing your time well. They, and/or their parents, have lost all the tuition money ($5,000 – $50,000). and four months of their lives.

(It’s an example of how false hopes driven by wrong time estimates are causing us a lot of trouble.

And the students lose confidence and self-respect.

Costly? You bet.

Any way you want to look at it, wrong time estimates are robbing us.

And the worst thing about this is that is is based on some false assumptions, promises or expectations.


  • The first false assumption is that working 20 hours a week is not going to hurt my chances of getting good grades in college.

 The evidence is clearly against that.

Grades drop precipitously if a student works more than 12 hours a week. And that’s for A and B students.

C and D students haven’t got a prayer if they work 12 hours a week.

Is this an absolute rule? No. I have seen some students work a full 40 hour a week and still get good grades.

But these are well-prepared, mature, excellent students to start with. They are literate and numerate and know how to analyze material, write essays and reports and conduct research and they have a good grasp of study skills. They are also disciplined and are highly motivated.

Most college students don’t have anything near those resources. Most are ill-prepared for college academically and personally. Many do not even know why they are taking a particular program or course of study.


They lack self-knowledge and, frankly, they’re not going to get anywhere in or out of college without it. But in this instance they lack an appreciation of their own academic abilities or lack thereof and they fail to understand that the time they should be working on their class work should not be spent working in retail. They are taking necessary hours from their education and spending it foolishly on low-paid work.

 But they need money for school, I can hear you say.

True, but they are going about it the wrong way. They should get a job for a semester or a year, save money, increase their study skills, find the right program for themselves (not one suggested by trends or their friends or family members) and then go to college.

They are doing it back-asswards and they haven’t the academic or personal skills to succeed. But they fool themselves into thinking that “It’s only 10 hours or 20 hours (!) a week I’ll be working.” They don’t see the big picture.


  • They fail to recognize their academic weakness will be tied to long hours of work.
  • The work will cause them fatigue and they won’t be able to concentrate after work
  • They donlt consider the travel time to get to and from work.
  • They fail to consider the frequent times they’ll be called in to work because someone else has failed to show up.

When they DO turn to their books they will not have the energy to study. They’ll watch Tv or go online or do a dozen other time-wasteful things instead.

They’ll also convince themselves that they have “worked” enough this week (not at school but at work) and so they are tired and deserve some fun and so time is spent on fun.

  • Another assumption, as I’ve suggested, is that they are perfectly capable of handling all this. Wrong
  • Another wrong assumption is that that will be able to limit their hours to 10 or whatever. Wrong. (See above.)
  • Another wrong assumption is that they can pull all-nighters and catch up. Wrong again. They don’t have the academic capacity, experience or discipline to do that.

They will fail.

A lack of understanding of themselves and buying into false time estimates will doom them. They will fall victim to a lack of understanding of how poor time estimates can sabotage good intentions.


TIME LOSS, Part 4: “Housekeeping” kills time.



“Housekeeping” kills time and fosters false expectations.IMG_7513

This is the fourth in a  7-part series on how false time expectations cause us stress, frustration and a loss of time and money. Here’s a list and links to the first three of the posts in this series.

Part 1: How we get fooled by false time “estimates.” 

Part 2: The evil ETA system costs us time and money!

Part 3:  8 ways colleges lie about Instructional time.


Housekeeping duties in classrooms take away valuable time from the learning process, yet, some of the time it’s useful!


If you are keekeeping track, (!) I’ve already listed 8 ways colleges lie about instructional time (see Part 3 in this series) as an example of how businesses, companies, and ordinary people, mislead us with false time estimates. This is number 9.

Nobody knows (or will tell us) how long it takes to do anything!  They always guess and hope you’ll believe them! 


Of the 45 minute classroom “hour,” in a college, at a bare minimum, 5-15 minutes will be devoted to housekeeping: returning or accepting assignments, Q and A, etc. 230105350_7a2166e4bc_m colege prof speaking

You could argue that a lot of this material is necessary for the proper running of a classroom and I would agree but let’s look at how this actually works.

First, many professors in college still do a roll call. There are many reasons for this, not least of which is to determine how much classroom time each student has actually completed. This is done to in order to asses why students might be falling behind or to be able to check a student’s overly high expectations  (or manufactured entitlements) when you could prove they rarely came to class. And so on.

Now, many colleges say to hell with this because the students are considered adults and the college is not responsible for the nonattendance of students. Fair enough, except that so many students are so weak these days that attendance is mandatory for them to get even the basics of the course material. Moreover, some Profs actually care that their students do well. 

Besides, many Profs consider classoom participation essential to the work. If you’re not there, you can’t participate. There are other reasons for monitoring attendance too but that’s not my point here. 

There are ways to check the attendance other than the 3-5 minute exercise of calling out names (electronic devices, for example). 

Second, there are legitimate questions students want to ask about the course material. Some of this can be handled by email or class intra-communcation systems.

Third, there may be special arrangements to make in certain courses.

Bear with me, for a moment while I torture you with the details of this example. It’ll give you an idea of a fairly legitimate ways in which time can be used and yet considered lost.

For years I offered a theater course for which we went to at least two plays during the semester. I managed to get students reduced prices for the plays but only if I personally bought the tickets in bulk in advance so I had to organize it, have the students come in prepared to select the dates and the number of tickets and then bring me the money (usually in a subsequent class because students are usually broke!). More time taken up!

5608249225_88c4de41e8_m heater marquee excellent

There was a lot of time used up in this necessary activity. I hated it, because it took
time form the real work of studying the plays but otherwise
the students would have to have bought tickets at higher prices. 

Then we arranged transportation pools and the students wanted to meet for a pizza before the theater.

Then came the inevitable changes. People having ordered three tickets, now wanted only two. People who failed to order in time now wanted tickets. (They did not get them!)  Some people wanted to add extra tickets. Etc etc.   

Now, you might rightly ask, are these students babies? (I’m afraid to answer that question!)

Many students had never been to the theater before. Some had never been to the big city before (my college campus was an hour north of Toronto) and some students from other cities in Ontario had no cause to drive a hour to Toronto, a big place they were somewhat anxious about. In any case, many students in residence had no access to a car. 

So I took the time to do this housekeeping. The students loved it and many said they were turned on to the theater–a thing they had never considered before–but it was time-consuming.  Was it worth it? I believe it was but I also hated the fact that it took time from the classroom.

 I had mixed feelings about it.


Fourth, Profs often have to hand out material in class. Yes, some of it can be put on the electronic college blackboard for downloading by individual students. Sometimes, in order to ensure the students actually have the material in front of them (they are not all expert in bring requisite materials to class–to put it mil,dly), the Prof lugs the stuff to the classroom.  Yes, you could say, again, to hell with the students if they have no sense of responsibility and Profs often do say that. But not always.

ting high shot of class notes good

 Fifth, Profs have to take in essays, reports 

etc. (Yes, you could say the students could send them electronically but do I have to remind you how dicey that can be? With different computer programs and spam and etc.?)

Both of these can frequently be replaced by electronic means but that process can’t cover every eventuality. 

Sixth, after class meetings with students are often arranged in this time. Yes, you can also do it on-line or on the telephone but those do not cover all situations.

So, there you have it. Housekeeping can be scheduled for 5 minutes a class but it always takes longer.  The time estimate is always elastic in this case. That’s life.

But it still takes up a lot of time! 




You can't balance time if the timing's all wrong.
Is time getting away from you?

Is time getting away from you? There it goes!

In the first post in this 7-part series regarding phony time estimates, I said we are getting faked out by false promises when we are told by anybody–individuals, governments, bosses, companies, sales people, repairmen–anybody–how long it will take to do anything.

Your visit is important to us.

Your visit is important to us.

We believe them (so we contribute to the foolishness) because we value our time. We want to believe them! We want to be able to plan  the day because our time is precious!

One of the reasons we choose one service or product over others is because we think the providers will be accurate about the time estimation for whatever they say they will do. 

Usually they are wrong and we pay the price.


Today, I start to dismantle the “Evil ETA System,” (Estimated Time of Arrival) to show you how and why it works and why we get fooled so often.

My main example is college class times. I could use the other examples in my first post in this series, (medical appointments, home appliance repair visits, etc) but they don’t begin to match the scope and range of the fraudulence perpetrated by college and university calendars.

coll calendar logo


By using an example with many flaws you’ll be able to relate it to less complex but still odious examples from your own life. There’s a level and magnitude of boondoggle here that is unmatched by those other examples. 

Yeah, fine, you say, but you’re not in college so it doesn’t apply to you

It doesn’t matter. This is an EXAMPLE, an illustrative case, of how times are screwed up. If you were in college, or had children there, you just have to remember how it was. If you were never in college–use your imagination! You’ll see how it works here and in your own life.

The details will be different but the essence is the same. The  “Evil ETA System” remains the same and it will apply to your life, your business, your time.



Most businesses, governments and other organizations misrepresent the time they say it will take them to provide their product or service.

Remember that passport application that are supposed to take two weeks? Right.

Or the service person who said he’d be sure to be at your house to fix the dryer at 9 a.m.? Unhuh.

He's here. Not at your place.

He’s here. Not at your place.



 THE CLAIM:    Most college calendars operating on the semester system, indicate that a three-hour class/week subject gets 45 hours of class instruction over fifteen weeks.

                                While many colleges PRETEND that this is true, it is a LIE.

Many first year programs in colleges using the semester system do offer 15 weeks of instruction per term, over three terms, fall, winter and summer. Many more have reduced that to 14 weeks (so that they can have 14 weeks each for the fall, winter, and summer semesters).

It looks good and it makes the semesters even; IT HELPS THE ADMINISTRATORS but it cuts out a week of class for the students.

Short-changes them.

         THE PITCH (PROMISE)–not always stated explicitly, but implied:

“Come to our college. Classes are 3 hours a week for 15 weeks so you get 45 hours of classroom instruction /subject/semester.”

That’s the implicit promise to you, the education consumer (in this case) either the student, or, more likely, the parents! (Who’s paying for this anyway!)

         (The quarter system is even worse because they operate with 2 or 3 fewer weeks!)

         THE EVIDENCE?

The following is a deconstruction of the myth of class time in colleges in North America. If you are not in school this exercise is still valid as it also stands as a break-down of whatever time your organization says it takes to do such and such a thing/job/task.

Collage calendar hell.

They are wrong. My findings are accurate.

This breakdown will work for school or your own job.


FIRST: Background to the Myth

In North American colleges and universities, instructional time is customarily divided into either 3 semesters or four quarters. These have traditionally been broken down, in the case of semesters, to between 14 and 16 weeks, and in the case of quarters, to 12 weeks.

We are going to take a college’s system of 14 weeks as our example.

  • You can already see that there is a 2-3 week difference between the average semester system of 14-15 weeks, and the quarter system of 12 weeks.
  • Students in the quarter system can get 3 weeks less instruction than students in the semester system and both groups are supposedly studying similar curricula.
  • (If they are not studying roughly the same curriculum, that points to a huge disparity, does it not? How can you compare what they offer in order to choose the colleges that give you the most education for your money? 

 There is no way to cover the same amount of in-class material in 12 weeks that you can handle in 14 or 15 weeks.

That big time difference makes it difficult for colleges to grant equal status to courses from sister colleges. The disparity is so great, it’s also hard for everyone to judge the quality of education when students transfer from one institution to another. (But that’s a whole different issue!)

         I am going to dissect this point by point. No one has done this before. Believe me, I checked.

         It starts in the next post in this 7-part series.

COMING NEXT: Time Loss, Part 3: 8 ways colleges lie about instructional time.

Part Three of an analysis of bad time-line estimates that falsify the amount of time people tell us it will take to do anything! And we trust the soandso’s!



2980051095_27c491a67d_m skeleton waiting in dr office



This will change your perception of time estimates and reduce frustration!

We’ve all been given wrong information on how much time it takes to do anything. “they” want to sell us something and we buy their promises, wanting to believe what they tell us because we want to plan our day properly. 

We form expectations based on what people tell us will be the length of time we have to do a thing. They’re usually wrong so we are disappointed.


We are stressed enough in life for all the usual reasons.

I’m not going to list them. You already know what they are. 

Time management is a huge problem for all of us as it is; we don’t need to be jerked around. 

The “system” frustrates us, costs us money and time (which is more valuable) and annoys the hell out of us.

I’ll show you how it happens and how you can beat the sytem in this six-part series. 



1.    The system conspires to steal hours you thought you had.

You thought that when the repairman said he’d be there tomorrow at 10 a.m. to fix the furnace, he’d be there.

Fuirnace still not fixed.



Maybe later that day? Maybe next week? Maybe he never arrived at all and then you went through the whole process again. Finding a company, getting them to say when they’d come. Took more time off work didn’t you? (Unpaid, right?)

You did this because you thought the price you paid (missing work, losing that money as well as the dough for the furnace repair) was worth it to get the furnace fixed so your family wouldn’t be cold that night. (Ha ha.)

2.    The system conspires to cheat you of the hours you think you have.

Today, you have to go to that medical appointment. You’re planning the drive, got someone to mind the children. You’ll have just enough time (after the appointment) to buy the groceries and get home to make dinner before the baby sitter has to go to baseball practice.

You could die waiting for the doctor.



3.    The system conspires to cheat you of hours you think you will have.

You think that when your plane lands in London (or Atlanta or Toronto) that you will have plenty of leeway to make your connecting flight. You think that because “they,” (the airlines) said (well, OK, the schedule indicated and when you called to confirm the agent said) that you would make the connection, no problem.

Nope. Not even close. How’s that overnight at the Atlanta airport you’ve always wanted, looking?

(I’ll return to these examples later in the series.)


Why do we think this time it’ll be different?

Because we WANT TO Believe!

We’re like children. We want to plan and believe. Then we hope.

(Its like golf: Hope and fear! We hope we hit the ball well. We fear we won’t! We hope they’re right about the time–we fear they’re lying!)


(Granted, sometimes things work out. Like with computers. Great when all systems are go. Frequently they aren’t go, though, they’re stopped. And so are we.) That’s true too with time estimates by others. Or, to be fair, often by ourselves.

Face it, we get faked out a lot.

If you are over eight years old and you think life is fair you haven’t been paying attention.

But we are complicit in this. We help them fool us. We have to stop that!

The only way to get a grip on this is to take a realistic look at how long it takes to do a thing.

And the only way to do that is by a detailed analysis of how and why things go wrong in the doing of a particular thing.



The system is nothing more than people misleading us about time estimates because

  • they are trying to be ‘nice” to us so we’ll hurry up and buy their product.
  • they are trying to ease our anxieties so we’ll… etc.
  • they haven’t a clue how long it’ll take and they don’t want to say that (see above).
  • they know it’ll take longer but they figure this way they’ll get the sale.
  • they could care less.
  • it’s not in their job description.
  • they don’t know and they won’t ask someone who does.
  • they’re lying.


Really, if we never take the opportunity to examine the whole idea of Time and its effect on us–it will continue dominate us, mostly negatively, and we won’t be able to do a darn thing about it.


But we CAN analyze it and we can DO something about it!

Stand by!

If you have problems with time management, join me on Self-Knowledge College


Next: TIME LOSS, Part 2:  False Time Estimates We never know the real time to takes to do anything!







People constantly give us false job estimates and fool us. And we don’t help the situation because we often fool ourselves.


The myth about how long it will take to do anything could relate to how long it takes to get to a destination, or service an appliance, or when our airplane will take off. (OK, IF!)

It’s driving us to distraction and costing us money.

Part 1: how we get fooled by false time “estimates.”  Part 2: Deceptive college calendars.

Part 3:  8 ways colleges’  lie about classroom hours.


(So that we are talking apples to apples here!)

PROGRAM:        A course of study in a college: say, Business.

SUBJECT:               A 3-hr/ week class. EG:  Math 304.

COURSE:             A course of study (see program). (Often, confusingly, called a “subject.)

CLASS:                 Usually 3 hr/week. (Can be 6 Hrs with labs.) Also, a one-shot as in, “I’m going to class.”

(Subjects are 1-3 hours; labs: 2-4. Subjects can be  1 or 2 hour classes. I’ll use those examples.)


In 15 week semesters that suggests 45 hours of  instruction. In 12 week quarters, it is only 36 hours, a 9-hour difference or 20 percent! (Is somebody being short-changed here?) There’s our first loss of expected time. You might expect colleges to use standardized usemester systems.

Nope. Colleges have semesters of 15,  14, 13 and 12* weeks (*that’s the quarter system).

Take a 14 week semester. That looks like 42 hours of instruction (14 weeks x 3 hours per week), but it is NOT for several reasons:

1)    The final week is exam week, (no class); that means 13 class weeks or 39 hours of instruction.

2)    The first week of term is chaotic: students  add/drop subjects, register late, switch sections, etc. It is frustrating for students who are there ready the first week (they lose time that way).

This is just one example of how much you lose with a false promise.


8 eight ways college calendars lie about instructional hours.

  ONE: real instructional allotment

College classes calculated weekly for both semesters and quarters have traditionally been 3 hours per week per subject. As we’ll see, that’s often false.

  TWO: late arrivals

When students arrive in the 2nd week (some come in the e3rd!) they are immediately behind. Some professors review first week material which leaves the the on-time students at a disadvantage. They’re bored and annoyed–they already took this stuff.

If you are a student who comes a week late you’re down to 12 weeks of instruction (36 hours) and you are already behind. (Granted, this is your fault, not the college’s.)

THREE: what’s an hour?

 The 3 periods of instruction per week are “hours:” but they are really like those psychiatrists’ use: 50 minutes– with a ten minute break between classes.

That takes another 30 minutes off the  weekly class instruction. Now it is  2.5 hours per week, not 3, so the total is 32.5 instructional time for the 13 weeks.

However, it is only 30 hours if you have arrived a week late. It is 27.5 hours if you arrive in the second week. Two weeks late and you are down to 25 hours of instruction!

(Thanks for dropping by!)

FOUR: lost in time

Now, calculate the number of classes that you lose to orientation , snowstorms, BBQs, computer meltdowns, air conditioning failure, football games and other campus activities. One or two a semester? No, often it’s six classes that a student misses.


Either you get less time than people say you’ll get to do a thing–whatever it is–or it will take longer than they say it will to do it. It’s real life, but look closely:  this knowledge will change our perception of the real nature of time in your life.                                                                

  FIVE: illness

Guess how many classes many students miss due to “illness” in a course. My experience is about five.


 SIX: “other” factors


That is, on average, 8 classes! 8!

Now, add the number of days you miss because of other factors:

  • fatigue
  • partying (see “illness” too!)
  • late work hours
  • fear of showing up without a due  assignment
  • falling in love
  • falling in lust (more common!)
  • fighting a traffic ticket
  • going to a medical
  • taking an extra weekend day for no particular reason
  • travelling back to the college from…somewhere
  • real medical reasons(students suffer a lot of depression, for example)
  • any other reason.


SEVEN: STILL more  wasted time factors!

  • If you miss a once-a-week, three-hour class, you have missed a week of (regular) instruction.
  • If you cut only two of these you will miss 6 of the 13 classes or about one-sixth of the semester’s instructional time.

EIGHT: lost (time) in the halls

We know “hour-long” classes are 50 minutes. But by the time you

  • get something to eat
  • hit the washroom
  • make phone calls
  • text some messages
  • talk to friends in the hall
  • remember that their next class is not where you are standing (but in another building, across the campus and three floors up) and actually arrive in the right class room…then…


the time left is more like 45 minutes than 50 (and that’s being wildly conservative) or 2 :15 /each class time, not the originally optimistic 3 Hrs/wk as it states in the calendar

(The class time is really a helluva ot less than that, but remember, I’m being nice) .

You lose 15 minutes an hour (minimum), a quarter of the advertised time.

                                                         Wait, it gets worse!  Watch for Part 4 of this series!



BUSY? You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are



Busy? You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are

Are You too busy?

Well, maybe you are…some people certainly are!

Hanna Rosin, writing in SLATE, talks about Washington Post reporter Bridgit Schulte’s new book, Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play when no one has the time. 


“Busyness is a virtue, so people are terrified of hearing they may have empty time. It’s like being told that you’re obsolete.”


“To be deep in the overwhelm requires not just doing too many things in one 24-hour period but doing so many different kinds of things that they all blend into each other and a day has no sense of distinct phases.

“Researchers call it “contaminated time,” and apparently women are more susceptible to it than men, because they have a harder time shutting down the tape that runs in their heads about what needs to get done that day. 

Read Ms Rosin here:

You’re Not As Busy As You Say You Are

Some people really ARE busy and they also know how to use their time.

Some people just can do and DO DO more than other people and it’s not because they lead empty lives, it’s because they love what they are doing.

Of course, you can go overboard.

If you have trouble figuring out what to do with the time you have, join me at Self-Knowledge College

I’m with you.


P.S. check out my series on Time on SKC where I write about the Evil ETA (estimated time of arrival) from everything to the amount of time people say it takes to get to their house for dinner to the time the repair man says he’ll be there to fix the stove.

From false  representations of college class time to airline schedules, we are constantly fooled by fake time estimates.

From the doctor’s office to badly handled restaurant reservations… bad timing all the time!

But we’re partly to blame because we want to believe what they tell us so we fool ourselves!

I  can help you handle it better!

Here’s the link to the first of a series on Time:

The Best Time Management Tip Ever!