BBC News reporter Emily Young is in Davos covering the World Economic Forum and I came across this interesting piece for the BBC News website.
She got access to a session run by a behavioural economist (whatever one of those is?) where it soon became clear that time management is an obsession. We are all so highly stressed as we are overworked and constantly bombarded by information. To quote the piece “One chief executive made the comparison to lorry drivers – we accept that you can’t make them drive all day without break – why not accept that in other parts of the business?” He went on to say “It shouldn’t be a question of mental endurance we must get rid of the macho notion of having to prove that we can keep going.”
In order to come up with solutions the attendees were split into groups. I won’t bore you with all the details and ideas they came up with, but there was one idea that I hadn’t thought of before and actually now realise I have been doing unconsciously for years. When it comes to decision making, don’t waste time or brain drain over the less important ones! These would include:
- What to wear (apparently President Obama only has grey or blue suits for this very reason) I only have two pairs of business shoes and all my socks are black and my shirts white! I reserve the right not to disclose underpants related colour data. I also wear my suits on a strict rota basis (NO this is not a sign of OCD!).
- What to eat (if you eat the same thing for breakfast every day it saves you thinking time) I do!
- Delegate your lunch choice to someone else (who knows you obviously). When I’m working from home I get brought coffee from time to time and lunch by my wife, she never asks me what I want, so I never have to think about it.
My entire career has revolved around the importance of being in the right place at the right time. Travel by ‘Trains, Planes and Automobiles’ has been a fact of life for me for over 30 years. I think my ability to make fast decisions over trivial matters stems from this. I just don’t have time to waste on the little things.
Here though is something I did know but it’s great to remind ourselves. The reason why we need to manage our time and give ourselves ‘headspace’ is that “when we’re stressed we make bad decisions.” FACT! Not just when stressed, when we are in any highly emotional state (anger, upset, frustration) we make bad decisions.
“We don’t eat well, for example, we’re much more likely to snack than eat or cancel going for a run, even though we’ve decided that’s important.”
In conclusion Emily felt it was all a bit obvious and common sense but her favourite piece of advice from the session? “Daydreaming is good”.
My own conclusion “Don’t sweat the small stuff”.