Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Backward Time Efficiency

I have learned that working backwards makes me more efficient.

When I plan (and I don't do so as often as I should,) the essential things must come first.

For example, in the morning, the first thing the kids have to do is get dressed. Get up, get dressed, brush teeth. Then comes breakfast, then brushing hair, then, if there's time, a little play.

For my own daily tasks, the first thing that I should always do I think about dinner. That is the meal that requires the most time and the most ingredients. Tonight is pasta with tomato sauce, steamed vegetables, and bread. The sauce takes about 80 minutes to make, including prep. So, right when I got home from drop-off, I started the sauce. Now, at 10:15 A.M., I am stirring every 5 minutes as the sauce simmers.

If I started the sauce in the afternoon, it would take away time from the kids (though sometimes they do help me cook.) Now, I have the most time consuming aspect of my day completed. After writing, I will drop in a load of laundry and continue my mission to reduce the clutter in my house.

One of the advantages to having the sauce done is that it's something that hangs over my head. Taking care of clutter is something that can be started an stopped at any time. Laundry is set-it-and-forget-it (though it has to be turned over in a timely fashion.) Paying bills can be done on the fly or a little bit at a time.

Now I can work with Bunny on school skills. When JD comes home from school, we can play with his hockey guys.

Finally, I wonder if the structure of cooking helps get me into a mode of following structure. If I started with reducing clutter, that is starting with a task that does not have a lot of definition. It is challenging to gauge the amount of time being spent. Cooking is perfect for that - it helps establish a mental clock. It helps mentally establish steps, and requires deliberate movement.

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