We don’t need to work ‘on the hour’
One thing that came to light when I was listening to a podcast is the way we organise our tasks. Namely, organising ourselves ‘on the hour’. Why do we do it? Why don’t we just start a task now instead of waiting for the clock to hit half past or to hit the next hour?
We have such a strange habit embedded into our minds that meetings should start at 9:00am, we should have dinner at 7:30pm, we should be ready by 6:30am, we should run for exactly an hour, we should go on the treadmill for exactly thirty minutes. Somehow, things have to be a round number otherwise it throws us off.
At 5:53am, would you wait until 6:00am to get something started?
And why would you, when you could do something in those seven minutes?
Assume you were getting ready in the morning and did your usual morning run in 23 minutes instead of 30, so you had those seven minutes left. Could you go have a shower? Yeah, you could. But instead you stand there and browse your phone for seven minutes.
You could have done something else other than shower. Clean the kitchen. Make a smoothie. Read that long email from your mother. Get the newspaper from outside. Leave for work early.
Trains and buses run to a timetable, but even they arrive at various stations or stops at odd times. 5:57. 6:04. 6:10. 6:16. 6:21. 6:26. And so on.
If you’re holding an event and you have nine minutes to spare after giving a final speech, why drag it out? Why not let everyone go home, mingle, or grab food early?
Teachers. If you finish three minutes before the final bell, why not give students an early mark? Those who have to run for the bus may be grateful.
It isn’t just for us, but it’s for other people. We may be able to give people just a little more time if we let ourselves narrow the gaps of time where we know we’re just twiddling our thumbs.
Next time don’t wait until the clock hits a ‘round’ number. Just do what you need to do.