River

April 15th 2015

Today I had to help my Dad at work. My Dad’s job is slightly more complicated than how I will describe it, but I’m gonna keep it simple. Effectively what he does is pick parcel’s up from companies, stick an address label on them, then give them to someone else to deliver. He’s a middle man. He collects them, someone else delivers them.

Anyway, the main point there is the address labels. Today (and tomorrow and Friday) he has to collect and label 1500 parcels from one company. Which is far too much for him to do by himself, so he’s roped me (and today, my sister) in. So we had to get 500 labels on 500 boxes, which doesn’t sound much but we have to pick up each box from one pallet, put the label on, and move it to a different pallet.

And this kind of thing brings out one of the traits of my personality.

I’ll always find the easiest way of doing something.

As a river forms, and the water flows downstream instead of trying to break down a large chunk of rocks/earth it’ll go around it, because it’s easier. It’s kind of a backwards version of that nursery rhyme Bear Hunt. Can’t be bothered to go through it, so I’ve gotta go round it.

A river will take the path downstream that requires the least effort, which is pretty much synonymous to how I operate.

So when my sister and I were labelling up these boxes I found, not necessarily the easiest way, but the most efficient way for us both to work. There’re a few ways we could’ve done it.

  1. Both pick up a box, label it, put it down on the other pallet Nope, too slow, no order, get in each others way.
  2. Two separate pallets. Both fill the receiving pallet with a layer of six boxes, apply sticker, add layer. Good.
  3. I add boxes and sister labels. Bad, I add boxes faster than she can apply labels. Leads to idle time.
  4. Sister adds boxes whilst I add labels. Good, I label as fast as she can add boxes. 
  5. Both work on same pallet, have half each, add three boxes, labels on top, repeat. IDEAL

The ideal/fastest/easiest method in the end was the last one, because we were both working all the time, so we both were optimised, whereas in the others we had idle time that was wasted.

So there was my River process, and I do this a lot. I try to find the best way of doing something whilst exerting the minimum amount of effort. Because I’m a lazy sod.

Until tomorrow, I apologise if I’ve used the River analogy before, I’m not only lazy, I’ve got a crap memory too.

Jacn

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