Goal Displacement

Things could get messy around here, I have to completely overhaul my office. I’m about to switch from cable modem to DSL, but unfortunately my phone socket is behind some bookcases, in the most inaccessible corner of my tiny 10×20 office. I have to move about 1500lbs of books and bookcases out of the way so QWest can access my phone jack.

One of my old bosses used to lecture me endlessly about this problem, he said it was my biggest time management problem, he called it “Goal Displacement.” You have a simple goal, but instead of expending work towards that goal, you get diverted into some completely irrelevant task that’s blocking you from achieving your real goal. I just wanted to install DSL, QWest says it’s easy, they’ll rewire the wall plate for me at no charge. Unfortunately it’s going to take me 2 or 3 days of hard work moving books and furniture just to get to the wall plate.

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