A Better Way To Work TimeBack Management

About Dan Markovitz

Dan Markovitz is the founder and president of TimeBack Management. Prior to founding his own firm, Mr. Markovitz held management positions at Sierra Designs, Adidas, CNET and Asics Tiger. Learn More...

Leveling; smoothing out the flow; e.g., doing two performance evaluations a day for 3 weeks, rather than ten a day for three days -- and then needing to take a vacation because you're so burned out.
Overburdening people, process, or equipment; e.g., people working 100 hour weeks for months on end -- come to think of it, like most lawyers and accountants.
Uneveness or variability; e.g., leaving work at the normal time on Thursday, but having to stay at the office till midnight on Friday because the boss finally got around to giving you that project...at 4:30pm.
Waste; activities that your customer doesn't value and doesn't want to pay for; e.g., billing your customer for the really expensive 10am FedEx delivery because you didn't finish the document on time.

TIMEBACK BLOG Syndicate content

The waste of staying up to date.

Posted February 10, 2009 @ 9:43 AM

Back in December (yes, I'm a bit slow at this stuff), Seth Godin wrote about the "High Cost of Now." He argues that there's a clear relationship between how new something is and how much it costs to discover that news. In other words, the closer you get to the source and moment of information, the more it costs.

If you want to know how the stock market did in 2006, you can spend ten seconds and find it in Wikipedia. If you want to know about today, you'll need to invest a few clicks and you'll get the delayed results. Or you could pay a lot of money for a stock market terminal and get the current prices. Or you could even risk prison and get some inside information about what's going to happen before it happens.

Seth makes the connection to our habit of incessant grazing in the email inbox:

You can check your email twice a day pretty easily. Once every fifteen minutes has a disruption cost. Pinging it with your pocketphone every sixty seconds is an extremely expensive lifestyle/productivity choice.

Sure, go ahead, stay hyper-current, but realize it's not free.

The questions to ask, then, are:  Are you getting what you're paying for in your quest for now? Is it worth it?

Sometimes it is worth the price. If you're waiting for your attorney to deliver the latest draft of a contract for your review before, when it has to go out the door by the end of the day. Or when your web developer is putting up new versions of a page that will go live tonight. Or when you need to jump on an urgent press release. (No, that's not an oxymoron. If you work in the government, for example, you're always fighting PR fires. Serious ones.)

But more often than not (in Seth's words), we overpay for the newest information. More often than not, a 30 or 60 minute delay won't hurt your ability to make good decisions.  And that overpayment is nothing but muda -- the waste of lost focus and interrupted cognition.

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