hard core efficiency (or lack there of)

I always strive for efficiency, especially when it comes to mundane things that I have to wait for. For example, every morning I put the water on for my coffee as I am walking back to my bedroom after taking a shower. It takes a few minutes for the water to boil, so I might as well be getting dressed and putting my shoes on while the water is rising to 212 degrees fahrenheit. Once dressed, I’ll swing through my office on the way back to the kitchen to turn on my computer. The computer takes a couple minutes to fully boot-up, so best to have that happening while I’m getting breakfast ready. Back in the kitchen, I prepare the coffee maker (a French Press) with fresh coffee grounds and then I get my cereal bowl in the “ready position” by pouring the in the cereal and slicing a banana on top of it. The goal here is to get the coffee press prepped and the cereal ready to go and have the carton of rice milk standing by all before the water comes to a boil (but you can’t pour the rice milk on too soon or the cereal will get soggy). Once the water comes to a boil it gets poured over the coffee grounds in the French Press and then has to steep for four minutes. Once the coffee is steeping, I’ll swing back into my office to open my e-mail and Internet software. It takes about 30 seconds for those to open, and during that time I head back to the kitchen to prepare my coffee mug and arrange any final fixings for my bowl of cereal. I’ll pour about an inch of rice milk into my coffee mug, and then run back into the office to hit the ‘get mail’ button so that the computer can start downloading my mail. I get a lot of spam, and the first e-mail check of the day can take my computer a minute or so to download everything and sort out what is spam and what isn’t, so I get that going and then head back into the kitchen where the coffee is about 30 seconds away from being ready. I’ll pour the rice milk over my cereal, put the carton back in the fridge, and then press the plunger down on the coffee. Once that seems settled I will then pour the coffee into my mug, grab my cereal bowl and head into my office, sit at my desk, and start reading my email while I eat breakfast.
The overall goal is to get from the shower to my desk (with breakfast in hand and email fully downloaded) in the exact amount of time it takes to boil a pot of water and steep the coffee. If the water is boiling but the coffee press isn’t ready for it, it’s a failure. If the coffee is in the mug but the computer isn’t booted up, it’s a failure. And if everything goes well but the cereal is soggy, than that’s the worst failure of them all. Sometimes if I’m really in the zone, say just before a film shoot or the pdx fest, I’ll do all my coffee+computer+cereal prepping while I have a phone at my ear. Now that’s hard-core efficiency.
Unfortunately I haven’t really figured out how to incorporate this hard-core-efficiency into the rest of my day. Once I get to my desk I lazily read through my emails and then spend an hour reading through the New York Times, The Oregonian, and of course Urban Honking websites. I’ll then slowly shift into work mode and download the day’s worth of Peripheral Produce orders and spend an hour or two stuffing DVDs into bubble mailers and doing paper work. Then I’ll head down town to the Post Office to ship them off and check the Peripheral Produce PO Box, and do any other downtown errands that need doing like going to the bank or visiting the office supply store. By then it’s usually lunchtime so I’ll pick something up at The Strip (The Strip, for those who are not in the know, is Portland’s hottest hot spot for fine lunchtime dining. It’s the row of food carts that sit in a parking lot along 5th avenue between SW Oak and Stark Streets where there must be at least 15 carts, with varieties ranging from Thai to Indian to Mexican to Vegan to Vietnamese to Philadelphian (cheese steaks, that is)). From there I will head back home and spend the afternoon and evening working on what ever current project is at hand, but this is where things get really sketchy and not so efficient. Hopefully I’ll spend the rest of the day working on my screenplay, writing proposals for music videos, working on my video installation, or actively engaging some other new project. But all these projects tend to be elusive, especially when the sun is shining and there’s interesting people to go get coffee or drinks with. I need to get a new draft of the script finished by the end of the month and the installation doesn’t go up until February, but the sun will set in just a few hours and it’s hard to justify not putting a priority on it.
I guess this is what I get for not being efficient enough back when it was raining all the time.

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2 Responses to hard core efficiency (or lack there of)

  1. dalas v says:

    I say, as long as you’re including The Strip in your daily routine, it’s a success. That one dude there makes the only “tastes like it came from South Carolina” BBQ sandwich outside of SC. If only there was a boiled peanut guy there, I would swear I never left home.
    I think it’s also super rad that you take time to play softball, because no one should ever be “too busy” to enjoy a spring day in Portland. People who want to be “too busy” should move to NYC!

  2. JamesHall says:

    The “get up/breakfast/computer” morning efficency ritual is the most important anyway. sounds like a success of a day to me. I like “The Real Taste of India”.

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