TIME LOSS part 6:(1/2) 3 COMMON
ETA PROBLEMS AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM
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.
HERE’S A LIST OF, AND LINKS TO, THE PREVIOUS POSTS IN THE SERIES.
Let’s return to three common examples of false expectations and the problems they cause in the normal activities of day-to-day life.
1. THE “NO-SHOW’ REPAIRMAN PROBLEM
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.
- 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.)
- You call them? Wait 5 minutes after the ETA has passed then call the dispatcher.
- 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,
- 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!
- Prepare for it by assuming it will take longer than you thought.
- 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.
- Book appointments on days when you know (or think) you’ll have more time.
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!
THE POINT IS…
YOU DON’T KNOW, AND CAN’T ALWAYS FIND OUT, WHAT THE PROBLEMS ARE.
BUT YOU DO KNOW THERE ARE BOUND TO BE PROBLEMS.
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!