"If you want something done, ask a busy person"

@owlwings (38295)
Cambridge, England
September 3, 2016 3:50am CST
I once heard a story about a lecturer placing a large glass jar on the desk, filling it with pebbles and asking "Is it full?", to which the students replied "Yes". He then went on to tip nearly the same amount of sand into the 'full' jar and asked the same question. Sensing a catch, the students were a little less certain of their "Yes" answer. Finally, the lecturer took a jug of water and filled the jar for a third time. People who frequently complain that they are "too busy" to take on any more and cannot fit all they have to do into one day are nearly always concentrating on only the large tasks which may take a long time to complete but, nevertheless, don't actually require one's whole attention every minute of that time. Those spare, lost minutes (during which these busy people are usually sitting back to reflect on how busy they have just been and how busy they will be again in a few minutes) can often be filled with other, less time consuming jobs by someone who is keener to do the work than to be seen to be doing it. The people who understand most clearly how their time can best be spent are usually those who ALWAYS seem to have the time to do something when asked. They are usually the best ones to go to if you want something done well, quickly and with a smile. Unfortunately, I often find that I am not one of those people! That's something I need to work on, perhaps. What about you?
31 people like this
29 responses
@JolietJake (43447)
• Olney, Illinois
3 Sep 16
Well, I usually do (stops to let Scar out) n't even have time to fi (stops to let Scar in) nish writing a sent (stops to fill the food bowl) ence and today I don't se (stops to let Scar out) em to have time to finish words!
7 people like this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
3 Sep 16
3 people like this
@JudyEv (103946)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Sep 16
I just love your cat!!
3 people like this
@LadyDuck (126768)
• Switzerland
3 Sep 16
You are so right, people who complain they are "too busy" spend all their time complaining and have no time left even for simple tasks. Busy people simply go on and do, without stopping to think which one is a priority.
5 people like this
@toniganzon (42799)
• Philippines
3 Sep 16
These days, everybody seems to run to me for accomplishing things. They think I could immediately solve their queries and be able to handle things they couldn't in a jiffy. They always see me as having the time for everything. I can't seem to refuse though, but actually I'm already fed up. I'm a busy bee.
3 people like this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
3 Sep 16
Well, it's either that people know that you won't refuse or that they see you as someone who does things efficiently and well. Probably the last thing they think about is whether you will have time or not!
1 person likes this
@toniganzon (42799)
• Philippines
4 Sep 16
@owlwings right they never consider whether I have the time or not. A phone call late evening and an early morning one and they never asked if it was ok.
@JudyEv (103946)
• Bunbury, Australia
3 Sep 16
I sometimes amazed myself with what I could get done in a day. I've slowed down a lot now though! :)
3 people like this
@BettyB (4269)
• Summerville, South Carolina
8 Sep 16
I've slowed down but I still can get twice as much done as some of my younger friends. Time management is vital.
2 people like this
@ilocosboy (34258)
• Philippines
3 Sep 16
Wow, such an inspiring story, love reading it. I guess, after the water filled, another thing may fit to it. And what maybe that thing after the water?
2 people like this
• India
3 Sep 16
Salt....
3 people like this
@ilocosboy (34258)
• Philippines
3 Sep 16
@hora_fugit ha ha, right.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
3 Sep 16
@hora_fugit Nice one! I didn't think of that!
2 people like this
@MALUSE (33810)
• Denmark
27 Sep 16
I like this motto better: "If you want something done, delegate!" :-)
2 people like this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
28 Sep 16
You have set my brain-cogs whirring! Is 'delegation' the art of arguing so convincingly that someone else should do the work that your opponent hasn't a leg to stand on?
1 person likes this
@MALUSE (33810)
• Denmark
28 Sep 16
@owlwings There is no opponent* in the picture. If you're too lazy to do something, you ask someone to do the job for you. The skill is in the asking. Usually, a lot of arguing isn't necessary. Flattery works well. You tell the person that you know they can do the job well, in fact even better than you, and more often than not they'll be happy to do it! According to what has to be done, a little present after completing the job, can also work miracles. Of course, you have to accept the result. This is no technique for perfectionists who're convinced that they're the only ones who can do a job properly. A colleague of mine always admired my capability of delegating. I told him that it was only laziness on my part. What others do, I don't have to do. He told me that invention were made that way. Inventores were often lazy people and worked on solutions to make their jobs easier. * I may have misunderstood your use of the word 'opponent'. Are you talking about two or three people? Is the 'opponent' the same as 'someone' in the sentence before?
2 people like this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
28 Sep 16
@MALUSE It was a rather weak pun made whilst my mind was still waking up and not quite in gear. I had imagined a scenario where someone (the 'opponent') was unwilling to do the task I was asking them to perform for me and so I needed to convince them that they were the right person for the job. Explaining the (false) etymology is tortuous and involves positing a verb ending in '-ate' which would mean 'to give someone legs', forming the noun in the regular way with the suffix '-ation' and then negating the action of the verb with the prefix 'de-'. It is probably too early in the morning for both of us and puns, in any case, seem to be a rather British proclivity!
1 person likes this
@hora_fugit (5433)
• India
3 Sep 16
I am a person you won't ask, if getting that thing done was really your intention!
2 people like this
@egdcltd (5920)
3 Sep 16
That story also tends to have the corollary, "Do the big things first" namely the pebbles. Terry Pratchett's take on "if you want something done, ask a busy person" had it being the reason why a number of people wound up with their heads repeatedly banged in a filing cabinet drawer.
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (20671)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
3 Sep 16
Pratchett was a writer most prolific - I'll bet he had no end of opportunity to slam a few filing cabinet drawers, metaphorically speaking.
2 people like this
@pgntwo (20671)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
3 Sep 16
@egdcltd He may have moved on, his stories remain, to delight and entertain. I have re-read a couple since, and watched Going Postal on DVD... You can always dig out that dog-eared volume of the Hitch-hiker's guide to lose yourself in for a while, I am sure you have one, somewhere.
2 people like this
@egdcltd (5920)
3 Sep 16
@pgntwo I have watched The Colour of Magic and The Hogfather when they were on over Christmas. I do have the last couple of books, but I haven't read them yet. I don't actually think I have Hitch-hikers; I have a feeling my first one in the trilogy is book 4.
2 people like this
@pgntwo (20671)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
3 Sep 16
The quicker you get behind, the more time you have left to catch up.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
3 Sep 16
Now that's a philosphy which hadn't occured to me!
1 person likes this
@pgntwo (20671)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
3 Sep 16
@owlwings The Procrastinator's Preference.
Humorous Procrastination Quotes “Procrastination: A hardening of the oughteries.” Anonymous “The sooner I fall behind, the more time I have to catch up.” Anonymous “Tomorrow is often the busiest da…
@pgntwo (20671)
• Derry, Northern Ireland
3 Sep 16
@owlwings Some very funny ones on there - I liked the oughteries one too
1 person likes this
@ria1606roy (2639)
• Kolkata, India
9 Sep 16
Instead of just doing the tasks at hand, some people only think about how long it would take, and it not only is a waste of time, but a waste of opportunity for the others who might actually need help. Those so called "busy people" always have the time to do something or the other if need arises.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
9 Sep 16
The people who think about how long something will take usually get it wrong! There are two kinds of people - the optimistic ones who vastly underestimate how long something will take and the pessimistic ones who generally say "Oh, it will take too long!" and either put it off till another day or never start it at all because they believe they will not be successful!
1 person likes this
• Kolkata, India
9 Sep 16
@owlwings the latter is procrastination with negativity. The former are too overconfident. Neither is good. Until the person has a good measure of how long a thing is going to take to be done, he/she will never get it done smartly and effectively.
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10187)
• Malaysia
3 Sep 16
Totally agree. Something I need to work on as well. Oh by the way I just learned a new word: fudgel. Apparently it's an 18th century term that means pretending to work when you're actually not doing anything at all.
1 person likes this
@owlwings (38295)
• Cambridge, England
3 Sep 16
Now I wonder how it's related to the confection? Is fudge toffee which has been fudged, I wonder?
1 person likes this
@cahaya1983 (10187)
• Malaysia
4 Sep 16
@owlwings Ha I thought I'm the only one trying to figure out if it's connected to fudge in any way!
1 person likes this
• United States
13 Sep 16
I don't think I use my time well, but if asked to do something (depending on what that something was) I am usually get it done. For example, a group of us watched this video and was told we can find it on youtube if we wanted to watch it again, but one person doesn't have a computer, let alone internet (and probably wouldn't know how to use one either) so I volunteered to put the video on a DVD for her. It took me a few days because I was working at my daughter's shop and didn't have time, but I was able to do this and gave it to her last night.
1 person likes this
@1hopefulman (21457)
• Canada
7 Sep 16
I used to be one that did so much but I am a little lazier or have less energy these days. I think one of the keys of getting a lot done is not to procrastinate but do things quickly.
1 person likes this
@Macarrosel (7611)
• Philippines
7 Sep 16
The time we consume in complaining, why not use them to work in the tasks so that everything is done. I seldom complain, I just do it to be able to finish them all.
1 person likes this
@puroypoi (274)
• Cainta, Philippines
6 Sep 16
I guess I am like most of the people, I usually don't have time for others.
1 person likes this
@SIMPLYD (75878)
• Philippines
6 Sep 16
Just like you , i am not one of those people too . Maybe because i always have my hands full , either at work or even on spare time because i have to myLot . But i know , i can also do well , if i will give it so much time and attention . Can't we all ?
1 person likes this
@jstory07 (59900)
• Roseburg, Oregon
5 Sep 16
No matter how busy I am I will find time to help anyone that needs help.
1 person likes this
@ms1864 (6947)
• Bangalore, India
4 Sep 16
Interesting point.
1 person likes this
• United States
4 Sep 16
Multi-tasking is fine for me if I pace accordingly
1 person likes this
@Corbin5 (85212)
• United States
3 Sep 16
I do not say I am "too busy" because the majority of the time, all necessary tasks big or small are usually completed rapidly by me. I am a "I-want-things-done-yesterday person." I do guard that free time I have like a hawk after all has been taken care of and will at times use the excuse "I am too busy" due to my introvert nature. I have great friends who thankfully understand my introvert ways.
1 person likes this