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!


Sleep problems? Get less than six hours? You might die early.

Many people have sleep problems of one kind or another.

No sleep problems here

No sleep problems here. Pixmac Photo.

There is an astonishingly high percentage of people who have trouble sleeping for one reason or another. It is in the order of 40 million people in the U.S. You may have a problem yourself or you know someone who does.


I have a sleep problem called sleep apnea which is a  extraordinarily stupid condition that requires me to wear a small “breathing’ contraption over my nose. Don’t do it and serious problems arise with regard to heart, mood, fatigue etc.

It is mind-numbing  and annoying to have to wear this thing to bed so you can breathe properly and not die overnight.

It affects many.If you hear of huge, well-conditioned, otherwise healthy NFL football players dying in bed, think sleep apnea.

When I was younger I didn’t have a problem sleeping. I just didn’t do it much.

I used to hate going to bed. 53b81b2084c49f71f6b344cd

In college I slept 5 hours a night. I loved what I was doing and I hated to stop.  Later on I went to six hours and now I sleep seven. Apparently, I’m in the right sleep time zone now!

I also was extremely aware of how important time was. Clearly, I didn’t know enough about it but I knew it was important and I was always interested in the nature of time.

But new studies indicate that sleep problems exist when we under sleep OR over sleep.

In other words, you can sleep wrong or right

Research published in the academic journal Sleep showing that the risk of high blood pressure is more than three times greater among those who sleep for less than six hours a night, and that women who have less than four hours of sleep are twice as likely to die from heart disease. Richard Wiseman writes about it in The Guardian

Read the whole article here

Having trouble sleeping? Is it affecting your  work? Or your relationships?

Contact me for a free 20 minute chat.

Maybe I can help.


P.S. In the meantime, here s the best and latest guideline for getting a good night’s sleep.

It’s free. You can print it immediately from here.



How much time have you got to live? What are you going to do with it?

Afraid of time running out?


Afraid of time running out?

You can’t know the future but you can know yourself. That will help you manage the future more successfully.

You can find out HERE. Sort of.

Note: This machine does not like me today. I  apologize for the paragraphs running together below. I have tried to adjust them 8 times and they don’t want to separate. Unlike  a few people in Quebec.

We don’t know what is in store for us this year, this month or this day.
We can’t know, and, aside from taking care of ourselves as well as possible, there isn’t anything we can do to improve our chances of  finding out.
We CAN get a kind of actuarial guesstimate.
In North America, people used to live until their early 70s thirty or forty years ago. In 2012, men live to about an average of 80+ years or so and women live a few years
longer than that. If you are 65 and male have had no serious health issues you could live to be 90+! Longer, if you are female.
That’s all great as long as you’re healthy. I have a 91 year-old aunt who lives on her own, (knows all her medicines-both the generic and Latin versions!) and she still has a sharp mind and a strong memory. I have a 100-year old friend of my deceased mother, who lives in a retirement home but practically runs the joint and went to my sister’s for Christmas dinner last week. She loves people, activity, going out to dinner and has a low tolerance for wussiness.
She had a sign on her private room door for a while that informed the nurses or staff  members as to how to behave:
Don’t come in every 5 minutes during the night to see if I’m dead. You’ll wake me up. If I die during the night, I’ll still be dead in the morning.
I think they made her take the sign down because it unnerved the other residents.
But they don’t bother her during the night any more.
If you are curious (and brave)(or just being silly!) and want to get an idea of how
much longer you are going to be here–from an actuarial/guesstimate standpoint–here are two sites to check out.
In each case, you put in your basic information–not much– and press a button. The first site is called The Death Clock. This site is OK, except that the BMI  (Body Mass Index) section didn’t quite work for me.
The second site is Death Date (isn’t this fun?!)

I’m not trying to frighten you, but death is part of life and most of us don’t think about it much. Thinking about death occasionally focuses the mind! If you get a thrill, a scare, or a reminder from this little humorous exercise, just thin about your life.

Where you are now and where you are going? You’ll go a lot better and a lot further and you’ll enjoy the ride more if you know who you are and what you want out of life. If you know yourself. If you think you are not going in right direction, start learning more about yourself.
I’m behind you.
Sign up for my 40 page FREE eBook, FOUR QUESTIONS TO CHANGE YOUR LIFE!