It’s a nice day, so you decide to pay a visit to your neighbor. You knock on the door, but there’s no answer. Still, you can distinctly hear noise coming from within, a sloshing noise, which is kind of weird. So you venture around to the side of the house for a peek.
Squinting through an open basement window, you spy your neighbor, up to his knees in water. He is frantically trying to get rid of the flood by using a metal bucket, scooping up as much as he can, and then pitching it through the very window you are looking at him through.
“What are you doing?” you ask.
“I’ve got all this water coming in,” he shouts back, “and I can’t see where it’s coming from.”
“Have you tried turning off your main water valve?” you ask.
“Yes,” he says, “no luck.”
“Have you tried calling Public Works? Maybe they can turn the water off for you,” you suggest.
“I’ve got no time for that, I’ve got to take care of the water first!” he shouts, and resumes bailing out his flooded basement.
This man is obviously doing the wrong thing. Rather than tackling the source of the problem, he is reacting, desperately trying to clear out the results of the overload. His mind and body have been consumed by a necessity that has overridden clear thought. He is consumed by the urgency of the moment. And all the while more and more water is coming in.
What would have been the cooler thing to do? Maybe pull out the cellphone and call Public Works first, or maybe even a plumber.
We have all been in this guy’s soaked shoes. Maybe not with actual water, but certainly with tasks and obligations, coming at us in an unending and sometimes unpredictable stream. But wait a minute. We’re all pretty smart people. Why does it feel so often that we’re trapped in this metaphorical basement, bailing frantically? The answer: Collectively, we simply have not evolved fast enough to keep up with the stresses of today’s world. We are reacting, which means we are not thinking things through. Is there a solution? Yes, but it involves putting the metal bucket down.
This is an excerpt from my book, Cool Time: A Hands-On Plan for Managing Work and Balancing Time. If you would like a copy, hop on over to my Books page. If you would like me to come and speak to your group, contact details are available on my Speaker page. Either way, you will win back time and money. It’s just practical common sense