Ratliff Rants

Various rants on lifestyle, people, health, and politics…

Tag: time management

The Tension Of Waiting For A Response

Ever since the Internet became popular in 1992, a trend of faster communication began.

Starting with email for the general public (BBS boards for geeks), then moving to instant chat programs, and now to Facebook/Twitter/etc… and beyond…we can communicate much faster than we used to.

And that created the tension.

Whenever we leave a communication for someone else to respond to, in the majority of cases I’ve seen an uncomfortable tension in waiting for a response.

You see, all of the communication tools we now have at our disposal have created a culture where one must respond to these forms of communication as fast as possible (part of the reason why people talk on their cell phones while driving).  This “hurry up” culture that has been created has consequences.

But we aren’t willing to admit it as a culture just yet, although I’m observing the start of the process for improvement (the newest Microsoft phone is advertising “getting it done” to enjoy life).

So, when you send an email, text, or call someone using your cell phone etc… do you feel the “tension” I’m speaking of?

Come on, we all have, it’s an artificial tension created by the fact that we expect the person on the other end of the communication to “be there” and respond to us.

Think about it for a second…

How many times have you wondered where a person was when you called them on the cell phone and they didn’t answer?  And, why couldn’t they be doing something else at that moment (how dare they right)?

There are dozens of examples I can point to here, where we expect the person to be present for our communication on the other end (sending a fax, an email, an instant message etc…).  But I think society needs to adopt a mindset shift here…and it’s quite a big one…

I think we need to learn to control our perception of what technology is doing to us, for us, and what it allows us to truly accomplish.

Or, whenever that familiar “ding” of the email program sounds off, the ring of the cell phone, or the addiction most of us have in checking Facebook etc… happens…we could end up becoming the test subjects in the latest Pavlov’s Dogs experiment (ring the bell, and those dogs salivated for food without food being present).

The phone’s ringing, are you getting it? 🙂




The One Question You Can Ask That Can Change Your Life…

We’re conditioned from an early age to “just conform”, “just trust the government”, “just get a secure job”, and “just deal with it.”

I used to follow that path.  In fact, up until 2001, I was drinking ALL the “kool-aid” of the typical conditioned lifestyle.

Then I asked the most powerful question I think more people need to ask themselves (and other people), so a different perspective starts to take place.

The question is “Why?”.

Some examples…

  • “Why do I need to run across the house to answer the phone every time it rings?” (answering machine or voice mail anyone?)
  • “Why can’t I express my creative ideas?” (no one said you couldn’t, and if they did, they’re idiots)
  • “Why do I feel prisoner to a job I hate?” (that’s your choice, and your choice alone)
  • “Why am I relying on someone else (employer) to provide the lifestyle they dictate I’m limited to?” (again, your choice)
  • “Why can’t I just go out and have a better life?”
  • “Why do I let other people manage my time?”  (it is your time, isn’t it?)
  • And on…and on…

So start today, start asking why…challenge the status quo according to other people, stop and smell the roses…and live the life that is yours (and no one elses).

Because if you don’t live your life, other people will be happy to keep dictating how you live it.  That I promise.

Living For Life’s “Little Moments”…

Some people work so damn hard for so little reward it saddens me to watch it.

  • Cramming project after project (some not even at work), just do “get them done”…doing them in quantity…all for a “little break” at the end.
  • Spending 10 – 40 years (or more) of their lives working for some “big company” that doesn’t even know they exist…all for a tiny bit of recognition that fizzles in minutes after they receive it.
  • Working 40-plus hours a week at some job they hate, then holding that up as a status symbol of their sacrifice (for what?).

And on, and on…

I think we need to turn the tables as a society.  To start the process (a process I’ve completed myself)…I want you to ask yourself a few questions:

  1. Do you really think of yourself and your family / friends first when using your time?  Or does it seem like everyone and everything else fills that time for you?
  2. Are you really satisfied with busting your knuckles (figuratively or literally) every week for little to no real recognition or reward?
  3. Can you do what you want, when you want to, without worrying about “all the other commitments” you seemingly have?
  4. Does life seem like it moves way too fast, leaving you with a daily feeling of “I wish I could have done ______” ?

Think about these questions today, and keep in mind one lesson that could change the way you think about life (if you let it)…

There is always one person in control of the time you have on this planet during your 70 or so trips around the sun…it’s either you or someone else (and the choice is always yours to make as to who that is).

So quit living for the “little moments”, and start choosing to live for big ones.

Living Life Like A Dog On A Chain…

The boss calls…you have to give up your dinner again…

…the doctor needs you to do those tests on Friday…

…the phone rings and you’re on the other side of the house…

…you just gotta send that text NOW, because who knows what would happen if you waited for an hour…

…sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice…

Living life like a dog on a chain is great right?  No?

Anyone who says you HAVE to live life this way is feeding you a steaming pile of cow dung…period.

And, on top of that, there is only one person to blame when you feel like you’re being “pulled apart” by life in general…or when it seems like you’re too busy.


You and you alone make a conscious choice to accept all of these interruptions, to live life according to when “they” (whoever “they” are) schedule it for you.

If you don’t take control of your time, someone or some event will gladly take control of it for you.

Think about that today.

What Would We Do Without Cell Phones, Texting, Etc… ?

Holy crap.

How many interruptions do we need in our lives?  Does talking on a cell phone in the middle of the grocery store give us some feeling of “busy-ness” that we long for?

And don’t get me started on texting…or emails.  From a business standpoint, I’ve coached many business owners to STOP using these forms of communication while running their businesses…almost altogether.

Do they tell me to “get bent?”

Nope. Quite the contrary, they tell me a BIG thank you once they convert the saved time unnecessarily spent into fresh dollars for their business.

So how does this apply to “real life”?  (as in, not to a business, but to a family)

Well, I’m here to challenge you a little today.

Let’s start with the biggest waste of time in the history of mankind, text messaging.

I’ve never texted, and go figure, my life is just the same (very successful, free time, enjoy life and money etc…).  Oops, correct that, I have actually sent a picture once or twice a YEAR since text messaging has been available.


I challenge you (no matter how important you think texting is) to turn that off for 48 hours in a row.  Then, really analyze your situation…did you really need to send that text message while driving?  At a dinner party?  Did that text conversation go really any faster than blocking out a bit of time to have an actual conversation later (on a real telephone, remember those?)?

Why do we need to talk about anything “in real time”?

This applies to cell phone usage too…almost in the same way…with one notable exception…emergency situations (real ones, not “can you grab an extra gallon of milk while you’re there?).

For emergency situations…the cell phone is probably the best invention ever.

Ok, I could spend hours writing about this topic…because it’s really one of those topics that makes me think.  But I will leave you with a parting thought…

Whenever you use a cell phone, or text someone, sometimes even email falls into this category…did the extra “speed” in your life really make that much of a difference?  (most of the time, if you’re really looking honestly, it doesn’t)

Then, when all of this extra “speed” from technology builds up and eventually overwhelms your life (in some cases, like texting while driving, harming others)…is all that “speed” helping you, or hurting you?

Think deeply about that today.

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