QUESTION TEXT: Office worker: I have two equally important…
QUESTION TYPE: Principle – Strengthen
CONCLUSION: I should finish the second project.
REASONING: The first project is late. If I do the first project first, I won’t finish the second on time. I might be able to finish the second project on time if I do it first. Neither project is more important than the other.
ANALYSIS: When you read this, you may have found yourself agreeing with the worker’s logic. When that happens, don’t skip over your feeling! Instead, ask yourself why you agree: you’ve probably identified the unstated assumption the worker is making.
Here, the worker is making the unstated assumption that it’s good to do at least one project on time, if we’re able, and if neither project has priority.
- This wasn’t the issue. The worker would have been willing to split time if that would have let them finish both projects.
- A tempting answer. But the worker isn’t talking about being unable to finish projects. They’re talking about being unable to finish them on time. Big difference. They can still finish the first project after the second – it will be late, but done.
- There’s no optional project: both projects are of equal importance.
- This is a sensible point. But the worker wasn’t considering whether they should become paralyzed with worry!
- CORRECT. This makes sense. Neither project has priority.
Do first project: Both projects late
Do second project: Second project might be on time. First project late.
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