One Deadline And Two Surprise Offers

The main premise of Get Help Get Active is that false beliefs are the drivers behind poor time management choices. This article describes a thought experiment that might help to convince you that this idea is correct.

Here’s the Deadline

Lets imagine that we have a friend who has an important deadline in ten days. In order to meet the deadline he will have to provide ten hours worth of exertion. So there are several different Exertion Methods (EM) that can be used in order to ensure that the important deadline will be met.  Lets consider these three examples:

EM-1: Exert all ten hours on the first day.
EM-2: Exert one hour each day, for each of the ten days.
EM-3: Wait until the last day and try to exert all ten hours.

Here’s the First Surprise Offer

Our friend gets a call from a neighbor who offers to pay him $20 to do one hour’s worth of work. (Lets assume that $20/hour is a wage that he would normally be happy to earn.) The offer arrives on the first day of the ten days, and it is only available on the first day of the ten days. (For example, the job might be to help the neighbor to move a heavy couch that someone was giving away – so the work had to be done on that day.)  So he takes the offer and does the hour of work and he gets the $20.

Here’s the Second Surprise Offer

Our friend gets another call (from the same neighbor) and he offers to pay him another $20 to do a single hour’s worth of work. But he gets this call on the last day of the ten day project deadline – and the job is only available on that day.

One Deadline Two SurprisesThe dilemma

Now, for the person who uses EM-1, he would easily be able to make a slight modification to his schedule so he could scoop up both jobs and still get his important deadline met. The same thing goes for EM-2. But EM-3 would be faced with a dilemma when it comes to the second surprise offer. Because of the proximity of the deadline and the scarcity of time, the EM-3 person will, most likely, not be willing to work for $20/hour. But he could probably be persuaded to work for a higher wage – say $30/hour.

The difference has to do with the scarcity of his time as the important deadline approaches.  The second surprise job offer means that a sudden need has arisen to re-allocate “time-resources” out of other necessary categories (for example: sleeping) in order to meet the demands of a) the important deadline and b) the one-hour job offer. So, our friend has to charge a $10/hour “premium” for his work on the tenth day in order to compensate himself for the aggravation of his lost sleep.

Of course, though, the neighbor (in all fairness) might think that our friend was only worth $20/hour – so he might refuse to pay the $10 premium.  In which case our EM-3 friend looses out on the job.

Here’s the False Belief

The dilemma of the EM-3 fellow centers around his reliance on the false belief that he held during the first 9 days of the deadline period regarding the value of his non-allocated (or “free”) time.  The truth was that his time was always worth $20/hour.  But he only recognized the value of his time when someone else was offering to pay him for it!

Lets read that again:

He only recognized the value
of his time 
when someone else
was willing to pay him for it!

(Of course, in this example, we are assuming that the EM-3 fellow did not spend his extra free time wisely during the first 9 days. We can imagine scenarios in which he did  spend his time wisely during the first 9 days, but, as we all know, for most EM-3 type people, that is usually not the case when a ten-day-deadline situation like this develops.)

Get Help and Get Active

Are you EM-3?  You might value your time at more than $20/hour or less than $20/hour – but that is not what’s important here.  Rather, the defining characteristic of an EM-3 person is that the recognition that his time is actually worth whatever it is worth only comes to him when he is being paid by someone else.

But does that make any sense?  Of course your time is worth whatever it is worth – regardless of whether or not there is an external boss-man keeping tabs on you. Unfortunately, for an EM-3 type person, it can be very easy for him to lie to himself about the value of his own time – unless someone else (the boss) is there to keep him on track.

Many people consider their un-paid hours to be useless time.  But that perspective purposefully overlooks the fact that we can, through self-discipline and self-direction, use our free time to build valuable mind-based products via self-education.  A mind-based product is not something that can be transferred to another person for cash, but it can be used to increase the efficiency of subsequent energy transfer operations (aka “jobs”) which can be traded for cash.  This simple observation explains why people who always have a career-teaching book with them end up making higher salaries than people who use their free time to just “zone out.”

So how about you?  Can you stay on track on your own?  Do you accurately recognize the value of your un-paid time?  If so, then that is great.  But, if you are having trouble keeping yourself on track, then, please consider accepting the completely free help that is available.  Remember – you will never have to pay anything.  Get Help and Get Active!

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6 Responses to One Deadline And Two Surprise Offers

  1. Flowchart says:

    This reminds me of the story of the Hindu Monkey-god Hanuman. He suffered from a curse which caused him to forget about his considerable powers – until someone else would remind him!

  2. PAL says:

    This reminds me of how some people will believe in you more than you believe in yourself. In fact, when you think about it, that is the way that a boss is. The boss believes in you more than you believe in yourself. That is why you are willing to work for $X/hour – and the boss is willing to pay you $X/hour – because the boss believes that you are worth more than $X/hour – hence he will benefit from your labor.

  3. PAL says:

    This needs a chart that shows the three different scenarios and how each of them are impacted by the two offers. Really probably three charts – one for each scenario showing whether time was used wisely, and how the surprise offers impact things …

  4. Flowchart says:

    You can pay now or you can pay (more) later. Charity up front makes sense – bcz the longer it is delayed the worse the final cost of needed charity will be. That is why it makes sense to pay clients to participate.

  5. Flowchart says:

    Shame or embarrassment – it is a special kind of fear – it’s the fear that ppl will find out how ridiculously “far behind” I am in life – and they will therefore snicker and mock me. And I am not strong enough to be able to withstand being made fun of. 🙁

  6. PAL says:

    Google Glass and the Breathalyzer

    [ADMIN: please use link to unpublished article to update]

    When a new measurement technology is invented it allows us to peer into something that was previously only a guess or a theory. The invention of the breathalyzer is a good example of this information-adding process. The breathalyzer measures the alcohol concentration in the air that a person exhales, which is known to be a very accurate way of measuring the person’s Blood Alcohol Content (or BAC.)

    [Picture: Breathalyzer.]

    What is a proxy measurement? 

    In the case of automobile drivers however, the direct measurement of the breathalyzer is really just a proxy that we use in an attempt to gauge a slightly different quality – which is the degree to which a person’s alcohol consumption has impaired their ability to drive. It is important to recognize that these are two different measurements. But they are not completely different. A lot of the difference has to do with a person’s self-perceived impairment. And that self-perception usually depends on their familiarity with drunkenness, aka, how much the person is used to drinking.

    Graph:  most people impaired proportionally to BAC, but heavy drinkers are less so. Illustrates how the breathalyzer is only an approximate measurement of impairment.

    [EDIT: example of a heavy drinker who may be safer on 6 beers than a light drinker on 1 beer.  Graph showing how most people are impaired proportionally to BAC, but heavy drinkers are less so.  The point of impairment at which a person becomes 50% more likely than the average driver to get into an accident.  What is that mathematical point of impairment called?  I am guessing that it is the mathematical legal justification for having the BAC cutoff where it is.  ]

    However, for now, our society has decided to pass over the question of “how much a person is used to drinking” and just use the BAC as a proxy measurement for the individual’s actual impairment.

    Perhaps, as technology improves, there will be a new tool that goes a step beyond the BAC measurement and actually does measure a person’s impairment. But that tool is not yet available.

    So we see how the breathalyzer is an instance of using a First-Order Measurement (which is the BAC) in order to infer a Second-Order Measurement (which is a person’s impairment due to alcohol.)

    TERMS:  For the rest of this article, we will use these abbreviations:

    FOM = First Order-Measurement, and
    SOM = Second Order-Measurement.
    [EDIT: Define these terms and put it at the beginning of article.]
    Maybe use the example of measuring a person’s height by measuring the length of their shadow?  Or measuring their weight by measuring their height?  Or estimating the height of a son by measuring the height of his father?  Or estimating a person’s criminal proclivity by reading the rap sheet of their friends?

    Google Glass and the future of privacy

    Google Glass is a new technology that will, eventually, be able to perform a measurement of a heretofore difficult to gauge human quality in a way that will be similar to the breathalyzer. The Google Glass device attaches to a person’s eyeglasses. There are two parts – a camera looking forward (which roughly looks in the same direction as the person’s head is pointed) and a screen pointing backward (which projects a tiny stream of text which the wearer can read.) The data that is presented on the readable screen is a summary of what the computer knows or can assess of what it sees.

    Picture: Google_Glass_with_frame-1024×558.jpg

    So, for example, if a person is walking down the street while wearing the device, and they encounter someone, then, if the computer can tell who the new person is, it could project the individual’s name and some biographical information on the wearer’s readable screen. You can see how this information would be very helpful to the wearer.

    Alternatively, the device could also just be used for reading email or just surfing the web, in which case the outward-pointing camera functionality would be in a disused state. (This would be similar to the way that an internet browser that has many open tabs, but you are only looking at the one that is currently open.)

    A Time Management Report

    So, what are the FOM and SOM to which we were previously referring? The answer revolves around the outward-looking camera. As noted, the camera is pointed in the direction in which the wearer’s head and face are pointed. Normally, when we are engaged in an activity, we point our head and face towards the activity. For example, a automobile driver normally points his head and face forward in the direction of travel. And a person working on a computer points his head and face toward the screen – or possibly the keyboard.

    The FOM will be a time-management report showing what the user was facing. In the example of the automobile driver, the report might show something like this:

    Picture: Sample time management report.

    • 45 minutes inside a moving automobile.
    • Position: In the driver’s seat.
    • Hands: One or both hands were on the steering wheel for all 45 minutes.
    • Facing direction by time percentage:
      • 97 = Forward.
      • 01 = Side windows.
      • 01 = Rear-view mirror.
      • 01 = Dashboard controls.

    Outward appearance as a proxy for inner reality

    So, in this case, it seems as though our example driver was generally going through the motions of driving. That is the FOM. The SOM is the question of whether or not the driver was focused on his driving task. If you are a passenger in the vehicle, then this SOM is the thing that you are really the most interested in. As a passenger you want to know: Is the driver paying attention – or is he just daydreaming?

    So we have a FOM (what is the person doing?) and a SOM (is the person paying attention to what he is doing?) Statistically speaking, the FOM and the SOM will have a high correlation. In other words, for most people, if we know that 1) if they are driving a car and 2) they have their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, then we can usually infer that they are paying attention to the task of driving the car.

    As the technology improves, the ability to use the FOM to more accurately infer the SOM will certainly improve. For example (in the case of the driver) one improvement would be measuring the driver’s reaction time when a new vehicle suddenly cuts in front of the driver.  Presumably, the computer could be programmed to measure that as well.

    The Charity and the Client

    When a person is struggling in poverty, his friends, family and community normally chip in to help him to stay afloat. Their hope is that, eventually, he will find his own path to become self-supporting.

    The age-old conundrums of the relationship between a poor person (we’ll call him the Client) and those who help him (we’ll call them the Charity) is that the Charity sometimes suspects that the Client is not making a reasonable effort to carry his own weight. One solution to this problem is for the Charity to find someone to act as a full-time manager for the Client – just to keep an eye on him in order to ensure that the Client really is making a reasonable effort to move towards the goal of becoming self-sufficient.

    Picture: A charity giver is putting $ into the upturned hat of a client.  But the charity giver wonders (?) if the client is actually making a RSE effort to support himself.

    But having a full-time manager raises a whole new set of problems. For one, the manager normally needs to be paid, which can be expensive. Another problem is that the Client may perceive the relationship with the manager as overbearing. Or possibly an overly aggressive intrusion. And this extra stress may cause the client to under-perform in his career development path. Another problem is that the manager may not be skilled at actually assessing when the Client is staying focused or not. So there will be a question as to whether or not the manager is really being fair.

    In steps the new Google Glass Time Management application.   Here is the prediction: The client will be asked (as a condition of his on-going community-provided supplemental maintenance) to wear the device for eight hours a day (eight hours which the Client can, with complete flexibility, choose for himself.) [EDIT: Change “8 hours” to the amount of time that the individual can reasonably apply, given the limitations of their abilities and responsibilities.] Then, at the end of the day, a report of his activities will be provided to the Charity. The report will be a FOM showing what he appeared to be doing (presumably either looking for work or studying to improve his job skills). And this FOM will provide a window into answering the SOM question: Is the Client putting focused and reasonable self-exertion into the effort to become self-supporting.

    It will be a win-win for everyone in the Charity and Client circle. Thanks Google!

    Get help and get active

    How about you?  Are you currently receiving some kind of financial assistance from either your family or your community or the government?  If so, then does your source of financing expect you to put in a full time effort (EDIT to fractional ability) to do what you can in order to move towards the goal of becoming self-supporting?   In most cases, charitable sources of funding do expect clients to provide a written report showing that a reasonable proportion of  the client’s time and energy is being used in order to help the client to move towards being self-supporting.

    Unfortunately, it is kind of difficult for a Charity to accurately prove (or disprove) that a Client’s self-report showing how they are using their time is actually accurate.

    What would your Time Management report show if you were using the Google Glass application?  For about 1 in 120  Clients of Charity, their own honest self-estimate is:

    In my own opinion, I would say that I am not making a reasonable effort in some area of my career, either working or looking for work or studying to improve my job skills.  I want to change but it seems really difficult to keep myself on task.

    Get Help Get Active is a 100% free service designed to help you to stay on track. Remember, you will never pay anything and your participation is completely confidential.  You can even make some quick cash just for trying our our service.  Get help and get active!

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