Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Building status with time

What is your time worth to you? What is your time worth to others?

Last week I was in an hour long management meeting and was paged seven times. The pages I returned were... useless. I thought about it in this way: how often does the owner or the vice presidents get paged? Three to four times a week combined. Contrast that against my paging history and even a new hire can tell where I am on the social hierarchy at work. Somehow I have encouraged this behavior, and now am enjoying my just deserts.

One of the techniques used by PUA's to display higher social value is to appear to have limited available time. The BETA has plenty of time available because he isn't juggling 3+ different girls or a demanding job that requires late nights or odd hours, and so makes himself too available and less attractive in the hamster's view. The PUA is creating the appearance of a shortage of available time to approximate the demanding schedule of an alpha. If you are seen to be in demand, a woman automatically respects and values the crumbs of time you bestow upon her.

My life experiences have demonstrated to me that people don't waste the time of alphas or business owners. Picture in your mind the most alpha person you personally know, and then picture you interrupting their lunch with a stupid question. What was their response? Assuming they allowed the interruption, they managed to convey the importance of their time to themselves, and also the importance of their time to you.

Here is the hard part, I have always prided myself on being someone who takes initiative and gets things done. When people interact with me they get answers and results. Sounds kinda ALPHA, but when handled wrong becomes BETA. I have allowed people to invade my time with trivial matters. Lets snap back to the meeting. Management meetings are great opportunities to review to do lists, plan expatriation strategies, and remember that you are paid to sit still and look attentive while you watch the souls get sucked out of your coworkers one at a time. Two of the pages were for things that I could fix over the phone, two more where things that were not urgent and so I proceed to tell them to email me the details and I would review it. The other three pages I did not hear an extension so I didn't call them back. All in all, I was glad that the pages happened during the meeting but more importantly realized that something needed to change.

I decided during that meeting that I needed to reclaim my time at work and here is the process I have implemented, with some moderate success. When paged, I respond. “Hello, you paged?, I'm in the middle of ______ (something urgent, or meeting or etc.), how can I help?” They state something. If I deem urgent and my responsibility, I address, if not one of two options; Send them to review situation with one of my lieutenants, or ask them to type up an email and I will review when I return to my desk. For email scenarios, I have implemented a 4 hour delay. I also add the following to the email response: “this was not an urgent matter thank you for refraining from paging me for non-urgent matters in the future” One such email gained me the response of one of my BETA friends. “Watch the Tude.” In typical delta fashion I responded by explaining that his employee has a history of paging... and not distinguishing... (read diarrhea mouth), whereas the alpha response would have been no response or “What Tude?”

Here is another great example of teaching my coworkers the value of my time, this one I have been practicing with great results for the last 3 weeks. I refuse to look things up in the computer for coworkers any more. I offer to show them how to find the information or I offer to set them up a shortcut on their computer desktop so they can look up the information. One such coworker declined my offer to set up a shortcut on his computer. So when he predictably called up for a piece of information, I spent an extraordinarily long time on the phone with him discussing how if I look up the piece of information that he was requesting it would involve using the same shortcut that I had offered to provide him, and how it would have saved him so much time that he could go home early. Around the 5 minute mark, he finally felt the necessary pain and hung up. I think I found a good use for diarrhea mouth. Pain.

As you train your inner alpha you must begin to learn to value your time. Once you begin to value your own time it will be natural to impress upon others about how valuable your time is. By setting your time as inherently valuable you reorder the social hierarchy around you. As an additional bonus those that want to waste time or are lazy will begin to avoid you.

Most time management seminars and training gurus teach you to prioritize better, or multi-task better. My new preferred method of increasing personal productivity is to whack people over the head when they waste my time.
- DJ


Anonymous said...

Turn the pager/cell phone off?

IIRC, Tim Fenriss advised people to do this in "The 4-hour workweek".

Anonymous said...


No reason to be a douche, though.

I dunno, maybe I've just got too much sympathy for this whole alpha thing...


Anonymous said...

And, I should say, Ferriss has to be one of the biggest douches of all time.


LP2021 Bank of LP Work in Progress said...

Very good, one must respect another persons time.

My father regularly tells pple he will not do their research for them.

Markku said...

the alpha response would have been no response or “What Tude?”

The Monty Python response would have been "I've kept a watch on the Tude, and I've watched it and I haven't got any.


All right, I confess, I'm an asshole! This whole ass is crammed full of Tude."

Unknown said...

Several years ago i took a class on managing management time. This was the best class I ever took, and I have been taking 40 hours of classes every year for 30 years. One of the great things I took from this class was this concept of managing people. When a subordinate asks you for help or advice it is important that he leave your office with a task to do and report back. The worst thing that can happen is to say, "Let me have a few minutes with this and I'll get back to you." When that employee stops by your office later that afternoon to see if you've gotten to his project yet, he is supervising you, not vice versa. Not only that, you think you are responsible to him (or her). The paging thing fits into the same category.

Leonidas said...

Vox, if you've worked there that long, odds are high you know who's paging you with important stuff and who isn't. Check the numbers on your pager. If it's somebody who only pages with important stuff, answer it. Otherwise, jot the number down and call them after the meeting. There might be a couple of people who ride the line, but somehow I doubt it.

DJ said...

@RobertT great advice, thanks.

"When a subordinate asks you for help or advice it is important that he leave your office with a task to do and report back."

@Leonidas Intercom paging in a factory environment not a pager on my belt.

Leonidas said...

Ah, that makes more sense. Because who carries a pager anymore? ;) It also explains why you can't just ignore it.

Eric S. Mueller said...

While Ferriss has a lot of good advice, I never quite agreed with his email strategy. When I need something, getting an autoresponse that basically says "I can serve you best by ignoring you" would only serve to piss me off.

That said, I deal with email when I deal with email, and I don't apologize for any delays in responding. I also never claim to be busy. I hate "busy" people, because they never seem to get anything done. If I need an excuse for not doing something, I'll offhandedly mention a specific project rather than just say "I'm busy".

One thing I learned during a brief stint in Real Estate last year, is even if you block off your calendar for personal time, it's an appointment, and all anybody wanting your attention during that time needs to know is that you already have an appointment. Since meetings at work tend to back up during lunch time, I'll occasionally say I have a meeting during the time I usually eat lunch and suggest an alternate time. I will skip lunch for emergencies, but I'm not in the habit of not taking lunch because people can't plan. Same thing with working late.

Anonymous said...

What in the hell is a pager?

And yes, as far as office pages, the most important people at my firm are NEVER paged.

Now whether alpha at work = alpha at the bar is another topic entirely.

Markku said...

Leonidas: Vox, if you've worked there that long, odds are high you know who's paging you with important stuff and who isn't.

Pay attention to who signed the post, not who posted it. This was written by DJ.

Rod Freeman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rod said...

My favorite response to inane requests via text is "Google is your friend." Works amazingly well.

Anonymous said...

Good post. I need reminding of this.

I find that a great way to get girls to call you is to send a text saying "Call me if you get this in the next ten minutes." I almost always get a call within the next five. The key to this is to hit the ignore button once you hit minute 11.

Anonymous said...

If a guy acts like he's juggling 3 women, I dump his ass. He probably isn't according to your article, but I'm not going to tolerate disrespect. And if he is dating 3 woman, I'm not going to catch his disease.

Kick PUAs and gamers in the ass. I don't tolerate assholes in my life and don't have the patience for another guy who tells me he's an underwear model in an attempt to play games.

If you're an underwear model, I'm the Queen of Sheba.

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