Who really wants to be a fire fighter anyway?

by The Happy Rock on May 5, 2007

Law three : Unmanaged Time Surrenders to the Demands of all Emergencies

This law is similar in principle to Law 2. If our time is not budgeted for the things that we want and need to accomplish, the last thing that demands our attention will often win out. In the computer programming world, we call that a LIFO system. Last in first out, or fire fighter mode. The structures in our lives only realistically lets us deal with the emergencies of our lives. Surprisingly there are even many work environments that operate like this. This type of environment often leads to burn out and high stress.

Picture someone walking to the mail box and grabbing the mail. As she flips through the stack of letters, she notices a Old Navy credit card bill. Just to be safe, she checks the statement and pays the bill. It isn’t until a month later when she receives a late payment notice(with exorbitant fees and interest) from the Mastercard that she remembered that there was another bill that was stashed away earlier in the week when she was in a rush. If an hour on Sundays was budgeted for finances, the bill could have been filed and processed at an appropriate time. The proper focus and attention to detail would have been given to such an important task. What happens is our focus, energy, and memory are spread thin over multiple short encounters, robbing us of efficiency and productivity with all tasks. With finance time budgeted there would be no need to worry that bills aren’t getting paid, because the system and the budgeted time provide piece of mind.

Planning your time for the days, weeks, and months to come, can rescue us out the frantic ‘fire fighting mode’. It is also worth noting that if we are in the habit of making conscious decisions about how we will spend our time up front, many emergencies in life can be avoided.

-The Happy Rock

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