Obligation maths

I often find that I have two meetings, both of which I’m expected to attend, on the same night. In that situation, I’ll pick one and then send apologies to the other. Obviously I don’t like doing this because making decisions taxes your brain and most of the time I don’t really want to go to either meeting. So I’ll often put it off, which obviously makes it worse because last-minute apologies make you look unreliable. Urrrgh.

But tonight I have four meetings I’m expected to attend. And that’s how I discovered Obligation Maths.

Expectations: 2.
Effort: 1
Satisfaction: 50%.
Disappointment: 50%.

But when four organisations expect me to attend a meeting, the maths goes like this.

Expectations: 4.
Effort: 1.
Satisfaction: 25%.
Disappointment: 75%.

I’m putting in exactly the same effort (the effort of attending one meeting) but achieving half the satisfied expectations that I would if only two organisations wanted me at their meeting. This is a much poorer effort-to-satisfaction ratio.

It may be illusory logic, but it genuinely feels to me that in the latter scenario, it is much less worthwhile attending one meeting. Whatever I do, I can’t achieve a satisfaction rating of above 25%. Whereas if there was just one meeting that night, I could achieve 100% with the same effort.

Added to the theorising, there’s the very practical point that three of the meetings are in the same building. If anyone from one of the meetings I’m not attending sees me in the building, the sense of disappointment and hurt that I’m not attending their meeting will surely be heightened.

So I’m staying at home, with my loved ones and perhaps a glass of wine to keep me company.

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