The Last Best Cure

Getting back my body, my joy, my life

Is it True That we Have to Do Everything Twice Today?

My mom, 82, recently said something that stuck with me. "It used to be that we did everything once, and now we have to do everything twice. Nothing gets done right the first time." Call the cable man back. Track a lost package. Call the Rx in again. Is it true, do we have to do many things twice today? And if so, is it an invitation for frustration -- or mindful awareness? Read More

Elevated expectations

Because of technology, your expectations might be elevated.

Things had to be redone in the bad old days too - our expectations were different too, relative to what we expect today.

Even with the do-over's (which we had plenty of in the bad old days too) life seems easier today when you don't have to get to the bank by 3 p.m. on Friday to get money for the weekend.

Modern life appeals very much to me!

Work-life balance

I agree that there's a lot to be thankful for our current way or ease of life. That said, I have said over and over again that all of society can benefit if everyone just takes an extra 2-3 seconds to double check what they last did. That would erase a large percent of these situations.

For example, if the receptionist took an extra second to check/confirm my insurance card information when she entered it into the system, I wouldn't have to spend hours trying to go back and forth with the doctor, the lab company, and the insurance company to figure out why my insurance didn't go through for a common procedure.

But more broadly speaking - I think this trend is not isolated. It comes with a more disconnected society. People are transacting less over face and less in person due largely (and thankfully) to technological advancements. However, the side effects are that there less a sense of responsibility and commitment to an one individual client or customer and all workers are pushed to maximum productivity, which results in more errors.

So to address this issue, we need to address how we interact in society and work-life balance.

Excellent point!

I couldn't have said it any better, thank you for saying it for me. Excellent observation.

Apparent convenience v. effort of correcting mistakes

For many years, I ran a successful consultancy practice in my field. We bought a significant amount of office/business equipment. I became so annoyed at the increasing volume of simple mistakes in such transactions that I started to keep an Excel spreadsheet of snafus.

In the course of a year, no fewer than 50% of all transactions were 'recalls' due to simple mistakes at the supplier end. Much time, energy and money was wasted.This did not happen before the internet when all our transactions were face to face or via snail mail.

The initiation and growth of my business ran alongside the introduction of the internet and its growth as a retail/banking/utilities tool. Simply, in any such transaction we may have gained some initial, superficial convenience; but all that convenience is, on balance, outweighed by the frustration and expense of having to revisit even simple transactions in order to unravel and rectify the mistakes (which are always at the supply end...).

As far as possible I have returned, after 20yrs or so, to cash, face to face, local...

Thanks for sharing your story

Thanks for sharing your comments -- really interesting that you've noted this trend as a small business owner. Thanks so much for sharing this anecdote. Very educational

re: synchronized malfunction

Maybe the machines and contraptions observe that one of them is getting attention for acting up, so they all try it...

Your mother is right about doing things twice. Another colossal time-waster is people saying they will do something and failing to do it until you make multiple requests (beg, nag, whatever). This seems to be becoming the case more often than not. It probably damages our tendency to trust others until they demonstrate that they can't be trusted---thus further reducing what's left of our social cohesion.

Exactly so.

Yes, excellent point and something that's been on my mind as well. I have been thinking lately that there are two types of people (of course this is over-simplifying it!): those who do what they say they'll do, and those who say they'll do it (whatever it is) and never do.

I am trying to teach my teenagers that if you say you'll do something, follow through -- because that's the difference between being someone that others can trust versus being someone that people tend to think of as unreliable.

Plus, the sooner they do whatever chore it may be that I've asked them to do, the sooner I'm out of their face (a benefit to them!), the sooner I stop having to be the reminder police (a job few of us enjoy!)

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Donna Jackson Nakazawa is the author of many books. She studied English and Public Policy at Duke University and is a graduate of Harvard's Radcliffe program in publishing.

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