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Making time

December 7, 2009

Are you ‘time poor’? Constantly ‘on the run’? Stressed? Here’s the Withnail Method approach to ‘making time’:

Familiar? Substitute ‘driving the Jag’ for your journey through life, and ‘the fuzz’ for your internal alert systems (Officer Nocioceptor and Senior Sergeant Inflammation). Proponents of Withnail’s can be found sweating through Spin Classes, eating their lunches at their desks, impatiently drumming their fingers in physiotherapists’ waiting rooms, spending entire weekends ferrying their offspring between planned activities, diarising social get-togethers months in advance, and never, absolutely never, turning their mobile smartphones off – until the theatre nurse prises it out of their anesthetised fingers, moments before the knee/spine/shoulder surgery begins.

At the risk of sounding like one of those tired old variety show comedians, we all have a little Withnail in us. Neuroscientists and clinical psychologists are pretty unanimous in holding that humans are generally crap at ‘big picture’ risk assessment (see this Time article from 2006) This is why you can dodge an errantly swerving car but blithely disregard widely published statistics on the contribution of sleep deprivation to the road toll, without perceiving a conflict in survival behavior. It’s also why people would generally prefer to purchase an ergonomic office chair (quick, function specific, and sadly often temporary, fix) rather than invest time in learning how they can use themselves sustainably (slow, broadly applicable, and often rewarding, process).

So over the upcoming festive season, give some thought to how many areas of your life you could implement the old adage “Prevention is better than cure.” And drive carefully.

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