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VOL. 127 | NO. 99 | Monday, May 21, 2012

Chris Crouch

One of The Oldest New Problems

By Chris Crouch

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One of the most significant problems I hear about in my consulting practice is: “I never have enough time to get everything done.”

I thought of that comment the other day when I was looking for a solution to one of my problems. Here’s a recap of the steps I took to solve the problem: I jumped on Google and found a chat area on the topic I was exploring.

Then I quickly struck up an electronic conversation with a guy in Duluth, Minn., who had experienced a similar problem. He directed me to a guy in Australia who marketed an item for $99 that looked as if it would solve the problem. Shipping to the U.S. was capped at $20, so it initially appeared that I could take care of my problem for $119. I ordered the item from the Australian’s website. PayPal automatically converted my payment in U.S. dollars to Australian dollars, so it actually cost me $125.74 to purchase the item.

That was fine, because I originally estimated that it would cost about $300 to solve the problem. The Australia guy promptly shipped the item – I received it in about a week – it worked – problem solved. All things considered, I spent about 15 minutes on my around-the-world journey to find a solution to this problem.

If it were possible, I wonder how long it would have taken me to find and implement such a solution in the 1800s? This is just one example of how much quicker we can get things done nowadays. What’s going on with the “not enough time” issue? Given the modern technological conveniences, why aren’t most people absolutely awash with time?

I’ve got to make a trip to Oregon soon. It will take the better part of a half-day to get out there to take care of my business. Were I making the trip in the 1800s, I would have to plod along the 2,170 mile Oregon Trail in a Conestoga wagon for four to six months.

Along the way, I would see an average of 10 graves per mile of others who tried to make the trip before me. The trail would be littered with grandfather clocks, pianos, books, dishes and other cherished possessions that prior travelers abandoned for various reasons. A relatively safe trip of a few hours, compared to a perilous journey of four to six months.

I can understand why our ancestors might complain about not having enough time to get everything done; it seemed like a real problem in those days. I’m not sure us dang modern-day whippersnappers with all our new-fangled inventions haven’t created our own time shortage problems.

The fact is – that is exactly what it appears that most of us have done. The good news, it is a highly solvable problem. If you have read my articles in the past, I have offered many solutions. I’ll continue to do so – if I can find the time every week.

Chris Crouch is CEO of DME Training and Consulting and author of several books on improving productivity. Contact him through www.dmetraining.com.

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