Compounding Time

Get Out of Synch

16 November 2018

A few days a week I walk past the main hospital in Adelaide where there is a long queue of taxis. Often another taxi is trying to manoeuvre into the last remaining spot, about to wait a depressingly long time for an unknown fare. Most of the drivers stay seated in their cars with the engines on and the air-conditioning running. At this time of day, this must be the best deal on offer.

Every time I walk past this queue, I wonder why the drivers don’t go off for a few hours to do something useful and come back when taxis are more in demand. The supermarkets are empty at this time of day, so are gyms, roads and beaches. It’s much nicer than sitting in a cramped car and the difference in pay is surely minimal.

Why do the taxis keep queuing up, day after day? Maybe it’s because everyone else does, it’s easy to follow the crowd. Possibly it’s because they really need those extra few dollars. Potentially it’s a convenient excuse for not doing something productive. In none of those cases is it a route to satisfaction.

One of the most powerful things you can do is to get out of synchronisation with the rest of society. There are so many pinch points throughout the day where you’ll find yourself competing with others; whether it’s commuting to the office in peak hour traffic or waiting in line for your morning coffee, doing things at the wrong time significantly reduces productivity and adds stress to your day.

Consider, can you shift your working day forwards or backwards? Can you change your working habits so that you get a key task done first and then go for a coffee when the queues have died down? The time and energy you save will allow you to be more effective in your work, leaving you less stressed and more able to enjoy your weekends. Just don’t go to the beach when everyone else is there.

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