Turning 10 seconds into 5 minutes

by Captain Walker

Categories: Humanities, Technology, CW

For a long time, I’ve been observing how little people read things. Ahhhhh… but what does ‘read‘ or ‘reading‘ mean? The best definition I’ve found is, “the cognitive process of understanding a written linguistic message.” In this post I’m referring to things that people ought to have read i.e. various communications via electronic means and paper-based documents. I’ll focus again on email for an example because it causes so much time wasting. I really don’t know how much of my time is wasted by other people with e-correspondence – but I know it’s a lot.

Here is what happened.

  1. I had an electronic form which I sent by email to be signed by somebody, then to be scanned with their signature and to be sent off.
  2. The email outlined in 4 numerated points what needed to be done – each line of those containing no more than 6 words. I took time to be short, sweet and clear.
  3. In particular one of the instructions was for it to be sent to email address A, and copied to my email address B (so I know it was sent off).
  4. Instead I get the signed form scanned and sent to me, with no evidence that it was ‘copied’ to me (if it was sent to A). [I don’t make assumptions because I know of a thing called STUPIDITY among the humans]
  5. I then enquire if it was sent to the email address A and copied to me at B.
  6. The response was “No  – but I can.” (that’s all).
  7. So I respond “Please do. Thanks“.
  8. Then minutes later I get a response to my original email (with the instructions) stating, “Aha, didn’t read your email properly! sorry”  – just like that – still no confirmation that it was sent to email address A.

So 5 to 8 could have been avoided by spending 10 seconds more just reading 4 short lines. Instead, probably 5 minutes was spent with all this. Let’s say that 2.5 minutes of that was mine, “sorry” won’t give it back to me!

Time flies

How does this sort of thing happen? Well I can’t know for sure but I’ll suggest the following based on long experience:

  1. People like to appear to be efficient, so they rush around madly.
  2. People will claim that they’re busy.
  3. They’re busy chasing their tails and wasting more time.
  4. Most times people will read only the first 2 lines of an email, flash through the rest and think, “I got this! Easy! I’m good.
  5. They have little regard for other people’s time or the time that they waste (which is often paid for by somebody else).

And why am I documenting this? So – that for the future, I have evidence on which I can make generalisations. If one person can do the above rubbish then I’m betting that in a single day in the UK probably 10,000 other people are doing the same.

Disclaimer & Guidance

The reading of posts on this blog is subject to the Terms & Conditions. Unpalatable truths and personal experiences may be told. Nothing posted on this blog is directed at any identified person. On occasions individuals are quoted anonymously. That does not mean that they have been identified to the world. Should any person or organisation reading this blog find something that makes them feel or know that they  are being referred to – any such perceived identification does not mean ‘identified to the world’. ‘Stupid‘ is an impish figment of my imagination who occasionally is allowed to pop up – and does not represent any known individual, individuals or groups. The treatment of  ‘Stupid‘ is not representative of the way people are treated in real life. Adverse inferences made are dismissed in advance.  


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