After 25 years of working in corporate America, I had a brand new thing happen to me last week. I had someone snoop through my online calendar to determine if I had “time” to do a task for them.
All these years of working tickets and punching time clocks and someone’s got the nerve to go through my calendar to see if I told them the truth that I didn’t have time to work on that. Sure enough, I went into my own calendar and it did have a whole hour free that afternoon. Now, I was working on four other things, naturally, but shame on me for not coding that properly.
Okay, Stanley. Lesson learned. Guess what you’ll see the next time you go into my calendar? You’ll see every item, task, break, lunch, toothbrushing, bowel movement, and email that I need to take time out for in my calendar. Frankly, the process was pretty freeing. What was the most freeing was to pad a little time at the front and the back of those tasks. I learned the term “cycle time.”
The human brain can only work on one thing at once. Much like a CPU in a computer, there is only one thread of 1’s and 0’s that it works on at a time. Unlike computers that can add CPU cores, I’ve only got the one brain. So Chuckles here is going to be very diligent about the tasks I do perform. And this is where cycle time comes in. You see, crafting a delicately worded email isn’t just the amount of time it takes to type out the 3-5 sentence response. I have to open the email editor, find the email necessary, do the appropriate research to craft a response, write the email, spell check it, then send it off. That adds at least 75% to the time necessary. It gets bigger when I’m looking at spreadsheets and designing plans. Oh my, the cycle time necessary. And you’re really supposed to rest your eyes for 15 minutes every couple of hours – so you gotta factor that in there, too.
The next time Cletus takes a poke into my calendar, he’s going to see 52 items starting at 6:15 in the morning (pre-wakeup prep), stretching into my work from home “commute time,” then all the way through the morning – every 15 minutes, I have a task. And guess what? Bubba’s task isn’t any of them. My calendar is full, Arthur, until May Day. So good luck getting your work in.
Now. What I really need to add is the actual tasks I’m performing during “cycle time” which include
.Staring off into the distance.
.Rubbing my eyes.
.Checking the refrigerator five minutes after I’ve already checked it.
.Checking my personal email for that Best Buy coupon I’ve been waiting for.
We waste so much time in corporate America on garbage like this. But if you really want the truth, you’re going to get the full truth. I’m confident Dick will learn his lesson.
(Get cycle time and much more from Chris Kamler on Twitter, where you’ll find him as @TheFakeNed)