May 23, 2007

Time management expert does an interview with me and considers it "a bust."

Because unlike everyone else she selected to interview, I didn't produce a list of time management tips. Well, now I have one: If you're looking for a list of tips on time management, don't interview Ann Althouse.

Anyway, she seems to acknowledge -- six months on -- that I may have had some "philosophical tips" in my seemingly useless interview. Though I don't remember giving the interview, I think I can reproduce what I said better than she does. In fact, I think she quite misunderstood me: She thinks a quote of mine -- "You can’t like everything you do" -- means that I don't like blogging about subjects other than constitutional law!

I'm sure my point was that if you do something that you love, that is intrinsically rewarding, you don't have to think of making time for it. It makes its own time. The trick is to find your way into a life where you do what you love, something with intrinsic value for you. I blog about what interests me; blogging is a process of being interested in things. If I threw in "You can’t like everything you do," it was only an acknowledgment that some parts of my job -- certain meetings and so on -- and certain necessary tasks -- like cleaning the bathtub -- are not very intrinsically rewarding and I still have to slot them in.

Clearly, I am not on the same wavelength as a time management expert. Which is fine.

IN THE COMMENTS: The time management expert -- Penelope Trunk -- stops by and does one of those nonapologies: "I'm sorry that you didn't like how I wrote about our conversation." She also sends us to a post of hers about why people "feel misquoted." Okaaaay. Let's look at it:
The reason that everyone thinks journalists misquote them is that the person who is writing is the one who gets to tell the story. No two people tell the same story....

Journalists who think they are telling “the truth” don’t understand the truth. We each have our own truth. When you leave out details, you might leave out what is unimportant to you but very important to someone else, and things start feeling untrue to the person who wishes you included something else.
This is a good time management tip. Say what you want, use what you want, pick your favorite interpretation and run with it. If anyone demands "the truth," just brush them off as shallow for not understanding the rich, multiple dimensions of this thing we simplistically call "the truth." Job accomplished! Wasn't that efficient?


Joan said...

Wow, it couldn't be more obvious that Penelope has never read your blog, other than to find a link or two for that article.

It's impossible to forget your blog model, that you explained so long ago, likening it to reading through the newspaper and commenting to your family or friends on the stories that caught your interest. It's impossible to forget because that's exactly what you do, and it makes for a fascinating mixture of high and low topics.

It's always funny to see how a writer will twist and reduce a source so that it fits in with the narrative she wants to present.

Beth said...

I've never benefited by any time management expertise, other than by being highly entertained by the father in "Cheaper by the Dozen."

I tried to listen to the "43 Folders" guy while driving, but the system demands so much note-taking to get a handle on it, that it's impossible to listen to in the car. So much for making good use of my time.

Beth said...

While I don't see blogs as a replacement for other media, especially journalism, I think this is a great example of how blogs surpass other media. It's much harder for a blog to get away with editing and misquoting in an interview. The corrective response is quick, the text-trail or video-blog trail is there for all to see. All in all, it's really silly of writers to screw up interviews with bloggers. Surely they know it won't go uncommented upon?

Galvanized said...

Ugh, I hate quantification and efficiency gauges. It is indeed much better to go through life with a philosophy for moderation and happiness than with a constant need for efficiency and fitting it all in for maximum effect as a person. While having long-term goals and delayed gratification are good things, if one isn't enjoying a quality life at all points, then it's not truly fulfilling. I guess it's a matter of balancing things so that, once we reach the finish line at the end of this race called life, we can glance back and know that we took time to see the beauty and the people lined up alongside us, and maybe even stopped to give back to them despite everyone else rushing by. I mean, after all, by the time you "arrive"'re still finished, right? ;)

Stephen Brown said...

Do you really think your calling is "to educate people about constitutional law?" Please tell me you didn't say that.

Laura Reynolds said...

I'm not too sure how effective "Time Management" functions as far as time management goes, but its a pretty good business. Throw in some postive mental attitude/self help advice and sprinkle in some diet and fashion and you're talking Oprah.

Unknown said...

Hi, Ann. I'm sorry that you didn't like how I wrote about our conversation. I think this is a pretty common situation to have -- both offline and online.

Many people think the press misquote them. I have a book that just came out, so I am on the other side, being interviwed by journalists a lot. And and not surprisingly they are telling their story of the conversation, not mine. That's how the press works. I wrote a blog post about why people feel misquoted all the time, and why it might just be okay. Here it is:


Bissage said...

Penelope would sell more books if the cover was less Clark Kent and more Jessica Valenti.

KCFleming said...

My section was sent to the time managment cultists run by Steven Covey. It was a mix of "how to use a day planner" plus "how not to end up divorced and forgotten by your kids because you never put them in the schedule".

It was sincere, and a substitute for religion. It attempted to teach some morals too (a personal anecdote swiping at Hillary was given there).

My boss's boss was there. We were asked to list all the things we'd like to change aut ourselves. My friend did so with gusto, coming up with about 17 personal and family things she thought she should work on. The CEO had but one: Eat more fiber.

That was, no doubt, his only failing.

J. Cricket said...

Explanatory note to new readers:

Anyone who heaps praise on Professor A is considered insightful. Anyone who criticizes the good professor just "doesn't get it." Understand?

Hey, you don't need a time management expert -- it's clear where your time goes. You need a NPD expert!

Joan said...

Many people think the press misquote them.

Oh, I'm sure that 95% of the time, at least, the quotes themselves are accurate. What is wrong more often than not, though, is the context in which the quote is presented. I'm sure Ann did say things about blogging about ConLaw, but the impression Penelope gave in the linked post about Ann's goals as a blogger was so far off the mark it was obvious she read into the statement a meaning that simply doesn't exist.

This does indeed happen with a startling universality. Every time I read an article about a topic I am more than passing familiar with, I can spot at least one error. Many times it's something minor, but every so often a whopper gets by that says the opposite of what I know to be true. This has been true in articles about real estate, shipping, health issues -- a whole host of topics.

Consequently I never believe that reporters get everything right. I believe they try (usually), and most of them are unaware of the axes they're grinding. But I can still see the axes, and I know that "journalistic accuracy" belongs in the Oxymoronic Phrase Bin right next to "jumbo shrimp."

(BTW, here's the blog post about being misquoted that Penelope gave the link for, above. She seems to think it's OK for journalists to provide their own context for quotes, because [paraphrasing] "journalists get tell their own version of the story," apparently without regard to facts. At least it seems that way because she's also alarmingly (to me, anyway) cavalier about lying by inflation or omission on your resume. Yikes.)

Simon said...

Having read the post here, I expected something of a rather different tone when I clicked through. The post makes it sound (to me, at least) as if Trunk's post was somewhat hostile and catty, but it seems fine, and seems to be saying "I wrote off this interview at thetime, but thinking about it some more, here's what I think was valuable."

blake said...

I'm a time study man
And a time study man can't waste time
For a time study man to waste time
Would be a a crime

So I'm ruled by the tick tick tock
And I live my life by the clock
I live my life by the
tick tick tock of the clock

Then I go to sleep
I don't undress
That's right, I sleep in all my clothes
I must confess
Sure it's a strange way to behave

And I will admit
That the suit gets mussed
And it gathers lint
And it picks up dust
But think of the time I save

Think of the time he saves.

The alarm clock rings
It's 6 AM.
And then right there in bed I shave
That's what I said.
While I am still in bed, I shave.

And the lather drips
And the bed gets wet
And, oh, what a lousy shave I get
But think of the time I save

Think of the time he saves.

At breakfast time
I grab a bowl
And in the bowl I drop an egg
And add some juice
A poor excuse for what I crave

And then I add
Some oatmeal too
And it comes out tasting
Just like glue
But think of the time I save.

Think of the time he saves.
Tick tock, tick tock, tempus fugit.
Tick tock, tick tock time goes by.

I'll be sitting counting seconds
til the day I die
And when I do, I have a plan
Before I'm dead, I'll dig my grave.
That's what I said.
Before I'm dead I'll dig my grave

'cause when St. Peter
Calls my name
I know I'll get there
Just the same
But think of the time I'll save

Think of the time he'll save.

joated said...

Hey, I got a timesaver for ya: Don't do interviews with "journalists" who distort the truth to fit their perceptions. (Or who only hear what they want to hear.)

Unknown said...

"Many people think the press misquote them."

One thing I've learned about the press over the years is that in any given situation where there are a small amount of people who really know what is going on or what is said those people will realize the press has it wrong.

I've lived right next to about three or four major wildfires over the years, two of which had national coverage. Stuck around, didn't evacuate. Nervous phone calls came in that the fire was in our town.

Turns out again and again the reporter on the scene had no idea what town they were in or where they were in any way, so they kept reporting the fire was somewhere it wasn't.

This happens all the time, only the great majority of people have no idea what is happening either so they trust what is said.

To be sure this is rarely intentional, I think. It's just that those who specialize in broad issues can't know everything and frequently interpret things wrong. The real problem is they also can't just admit they are wrong, for whatever reason, but twist and philosophize their being wrong so that it's the other person who is really wrong. Reality is such a flexible thing after all. Maybe they have Presidential aspirations or something.

marklewin said...

A time management expert recently consulted with our office - I came away with two solid recommendations:

1. Embrace reincarnation

2. Move faster than the speed of light.

Maxine Weiss said...

Oh no, tell me someone didn't just reference the very evil Steven Covey ????

Isn't he the bald guy who sired, like, 10 children ???

--Completely invalidates him, although he was always worthless, anyway.

John Althouse Cohen said...

I like how it took the time management guru six months to grasp your point.

Ann Althouse said...

Yeah, and not even.