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 Twenty Minutes

Status: Suggested 20000323

%t Twenty Minutes
%n R
%s The Hardest Time Slot to Fill
%a Alex Gough (
%d 20000322

Time management is an important skill to possess in the fast-paced modern world of big business. This ability is so useful that the temporally challenged can take courses and even gain qualifications in structuring their day. Although how they manage to fit such courses into their busy and badly planned schedules is an open question.

Every plan though has its weak points and in the case of time management, as with most other forms of planning, it lies in people. Specifically other people. These are an insipid and ever growing threat to the proper organization of society especially when they all take a different amount of time to do whatever you want to get done. Because of this somewhat inconsiderate behaviour you will frequently find yourself with a short period of time to fill between ending one task and starting another.

Often this pause in useful activity will be very short and will allow you to collect your thoughts, briefly worry about wether you had locked your door or let the cat out before setting off for work, perhaps make a mental list of all the jobs you can safely put off until tomorrow or remind yourself of that television programme you plan to watch after dinner.

You will also encounter extended break-downs in scheduling, for instance because a co-worker found it necessary to cancel an hour long meeting, leaving you with plenty of time to complete a complex or onerous task. Should you have an impending deadline looming upon the horizon you might want to conspire with your fellows to create an opportunity such as this to leave more time to dedicate to an important project.

There is another amount of unexpected free time though. Twenty minutes. It is almost impossible to fill twenty minutes with mindless daydreaming and the compilation of shopping lists. It is also beyond the ability of man to use twenty minutes to achieve anything of great import. God might have created the universe in six days but He took more than twenty minutes to make Man [1]. You will be unable to eat lunch in less than twenty five minutes and a coffee break cannot be stretched beyond fifteen without the addition of another cup of coffee which will take the beverage assisted relaxation period to twenty three minutes or more.

A brief pause could be used for a quick trip to the toilet, a long break could house a shower or even a bath, but twenty minutes offers no hope of a wash and a call of nature begins to look suspicious if it lasts for longer than usually ample span of six and a half minutes. If left with many hours on your hands you might be able to compose an uplifting symphony. With only three minutes you have the chance of whistling a joyful ditty to yourself but with the unholy gap of twenty minutes you can do neither.

Of course, pending the invention of time travel and complete rewriting of the laws of physics, you might one day be able to free yourself from the tyranny of the twenty minutes and be left to spend every waking (and even sleeping) hour as you please.

[1] Although it is argued by some theologians that Woman might have taken less than ten minutes, given that God already had a rib to start with.

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 ^Back to Top^ | ©Alex Gough Mon Mar 14 2005 ...more than you might imagine.