Ben Kutil

Order of operations

I like to think about ways to more efficiently or effectively complete my tasks. Sometimes I express this as aesthetic improvements. Like rolling my towels a certain way. Or a functional improvement. Like stacking the dishwasher so that I can put away dishes in batches.

Beyond small local improvements, I like to think about optimizing the macro order of what I do. Today, I had dishes, laundry, vacuuming, and a window-sealing project. I arranged my tasks like this:

  1. Laundry. Collect and start the first load.
  2. Dishes. Put away and re-load the dishwasher. Hand wash knives and pans.
  3. Window Sealing. Put tape around all windows.
  4. Vacuum. Vacuum while waiting for tape to set.
  5. Finish window sealing.
  6. Put away laundry.

This order allowed me to take advantage of the long cycle times of the laundry and dishwasher. It feels rewarding to work efficiently.

I don’t often think about “cycle time” for tasks at work. I should try to use it as effectively at work tasks as I do with chores.