Thursday, April 26 , 2018, 8:39 pm | Fair 56º


She Said, Z Said: Efficiency Deficiencies

Sure, you may run out of time. But isn't that the genius of efficiency?

Z: I just spent the last 17 hours trying to figure out a way to get the computer to write my half of the column.

She: How’s that working out for you?

Z: Here’s what I have so far: sizzlefitz.

She: Wow. I can feel the royalty checks rolling in.

Z: I’m starting to think that this is one place I can’t improve my efficiency.

She: I don’t know. Sizzlefitz is definitely better than some of the stuff you’ve written.

Z: No argument there. I’m more concerned that it’s not as fast or as easy as it should be.

She: That must eat you up inside.

Z: You know it. I am the God of Efficiency.

She: Is that what we’re calling it now?

Z: I know sometimes it seems like lazy, but really it’s efficiency. In fact, the lazy is an extraordinary motivator for the efficiency.

She: Like the way you wait until there are no more bowls left in the cupboard before you wash the ones in the sink?

Z: That strategy is doubly efficient because it cuts down on water usage. Triply efficient because when I’m out of bowls, I can eat out of the box, which also saves on extra trips to the cupboard. Quadruply efficient because as a bonus, it annoys you.

She: Then you’ll be thrilled to know that our son has picked up your, um, efficiency habit.

Z: Cool. What time-saving trick did the little Einstein figure out?

She: Last night he spent 20 minutes whining about having to draw a page full of dots to figure out a math problem.

Z: I always hated that kind of busywork too.

She: He claimed he could figure it out in his head — Mr. Master of Mental Math and all that — so why should he bother to write out the methodology?

Z: Makes sense to me.

She: Except he got the problem wrong.

Z: Doh!

She: His laziness is obviously genetic, but I think it might be contagious, too.

Z: What do you mean?

She: I’m not lazy, really, at least not the way you are, but my impulse to try to do things more, um, efficiently has certainly gotten stronger since I met you.

Z: I’m so proud.

She: Why are you like this? Why have you made me this way?

Z: My favorite movies as a kid were always the ones with the absent-minded professor who invented all kinds of Rube Goldberg devices that would make omelets or tie their shoes. It’s about the process of finding the best way to do something.

She: I grew up the opposite. My dad is the ultimate example of a plugger, someone who just plugs away, doesn’t work efficiently at all, but he always gets what he needs to do done.

Z: I know. It drives me nuts.

She: Me, too, but I’m still not someone who spends a lot of time figuring out the best way to do something before I jump in. I’d rather just do it.

Z: But if you just do it, then you might not do it the best, most efficient way.

She: But at least it will get done. And I’m not a plugger like my dad. I hate to spend any more time on a task than I need to.

Z: My point exactly.

She: But you have to include the time you spend figuring out how to do the task as part of the time you spend doing the task. So ultimately, you’re not nearly as efficient as you think.

Z: But then the next time I do it, I’ll have the process already mapped out. I can amortize that efficiency.

She: Besides, what are saving up all that precious time for anyway? It seems like when you have extra time you just fart around on the computer.

Z: Yes! Extra time farted away is the sign of perfect efficiency.

She: There’s fine line between efficiency and idiocy and I think you crossed it at our book signing last night.

Z: I thought signing every book with “To My No. 1 Fan” was a stroke of genius.

She: Or laziness.

Z: Sizzlefitz.

She: Yes, dear.

Share your efficiency tips with Leslie and Zak at [email protected]

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