Archive for January, 2013

Resolution(s) – time to spare along the way

2013-01-17 12:13:43 PDT

So, I earlier mentioned bit of my view on resolutions, namely “I always figure if one ought to make a resolution” … “no time like the present.”

So, that time comes.  No, not New Year’s.  Been thinking about it a while.  But not (yet) sure precisely – or even particularly – how to proceed, and probably more notably optimize, or at least approximately optimize.

First a bit of relevant background on the specific what.

don’t like to arrive late.  I’m rarely late.  And even when I am “late”, it’s typically quite slightly so (e.g. less than two minutes – e.g. I was 6 seconds late yesterday … or so I thought … just checked my watch – it’s about 16 seconds fast at present (and drifts very slowly and predictably) – so I actually wasn’t late), and I’m often still first and almost always still well ahead of the majority of folks.  And why do I generally bother to do that?  Mostly out of respect for other people’s time.  I consider their time valuable and a limited resource, so I wish to not only avoid wasting it, but also to be respectful of it, and to reasonably show that respect.  I also hope/wish others would do likewise, but I’m not others.  And I also try to avoid arriving (“too”) early – as that tends to be inconvenient and/or impolite for folks.

I also like to avoid wasting my time.

I also like to get reasonable amount of exercise, especially when/where/how I can work it in (e.g. as part of more-or-less what I’d be doing anyway, rather than exercise “just” for the purpose of exercise – e.g. don’t take the dang escalators, walk up the over 100 steps up the stairs – and take ’em two at a time … and get there faster than most taking the escalators – even most of those walking up the escalators – and better for the environment too – how many folks really need those escalators vs. the resources used to transport so many of them via escalator).

So, combining the above, I very commonly tend to – and have so for years – cut my timing short, but with a slight bit to spare, and walk rather to quite briskly as, or as part of, getting me to where I need/want to be, and when I’m supposed to be there.  In and of itself, that works rather to quite “fine”.  I get there – wherever – on time – typically a wee bit early, but not too early … or if it turns out it would be “too early”, I “fill some time” at or close to my destination.  But the rest of the travel (typically public transportation and walking) tends to be brisk walking and rather tightly timed transit connections.  Basically, most of the time, there’s little “slop” in my schedule of me getting from point A to point B – most notably when I’m supposed to be at point B at some particular time.  That’s also relatively efficient use of my time (not much wasted), typically gets in at lest some exercise for me (e.g. also often stand on train/bus, even if/when seats are available).  And I also generally don’t walk (or bicycle, etc.) so fast/hard that I arrive all hot and sweaty or anything like that – typically a bit warm, but not overheated.  I also tend to travel highly legally (e.g. generally not committing any violations/infractions of pedestrian/bicycling/driving laws) – not only as matter of general safety, but, similarly, out of respect for the law, social “norms”/expectations, etc.  Again, I can’t control others, but I generally can control myself.

So, all well and good, except … it has one major – or at least quite significant shortcoming, and I’ve noticed it more and more over time.  It doesn’t have that extra (or hardly any) “slop” or general flexibility in the schedule.  Not an issue itself, but has a major consequence of concern to me, and this is the thing I notice.  Along the way, an encounter, opportunity for interaction, conversation, stop a bit to do/see something, help out, etc. – the schedule really just doesn’t allow for that flexibility.  So, I find myself, in many cases, where I might otherwise quite be inclined to stop or slow down, or interact, or interact more, or do something or take some particular actions – or at least be able to or offer to – I don’t, because “I don’t have the time” – because I didn’t work it into my point A to point B by time T schedule.

So, I’m not sure exactly how to best address and “fix” this.  I want to have the time/flexibility there (along the way), but I also don’t want to “waste” time (mine, nor certainly anybody else’s) along the way, or by arriving late.  It’s also a bit more complex with, e.g. public transportation involved – which is often the case for many of my travels.  Trains, busses, etc., often only depart at certain times, and with certain frequency.  There may be different/alternative itineraries that would all still get me there on time, but often it’s not as simple as the next bus/train of same route.  Often there may be two or three – or even more,routes/connections, sets of transfers, etc., to take, that are most efficient – or even the only ones feasible, to get me to point B at time T, depending particularly when I depart point A, or if I take some extra time somewhere along the way.  Not to make excuses, but, it can be at least a bit complex.  There’s also the matter of most usefully using the “extra time”.  If I add some certain amount (or percentage or whatever) of “slop” into the schedule, and “nothing” of (particular) interest/note happens along the way, I arrive with that “slop” of time remaining.  So how do I well use it at (or very near to) destination – where destination may be somewhat arbitrary (though some destinations are much more common for me, than others)?

Anyway, still trying to figure out how to best “resolve” that.  If I could figure out how to use the “slop” time as, or nearly as efficiently, as I’d otherwise be using same time it would typically take away from time at point A, then it becomes pretty much a non-issue.  Really not sure, though, how I can use time e.g. on bus, train, or walking, as well/efficiently/”productively” as I often or typically would at, e.g. home.  But maybe that doesn’t matter – or matter that much.  It’s really more a moral/ethical “decision”/dilemma – better being able to have time available, and well use it, in transit or along the way, “vs.” using similar time at, e.g. home.  There’s also, similar, related, but lesser concern – communication, social interaction, etc. – much more opportunities there if there’s that “slop” in the schedule, whereas they’re significantly reduced on the much tighter transit schedule.  Could also break the “problem” down a bit further.  The transit times on public transit – e.g. bus/train, are comparatively more “fixed” – typically same transit time, between two intermediary points along the way.  Short of different/alternative routes/connections, or getting off along the way somewhere where I otherwise typically wouldn’t, those times are relatively “fixed” and more predictable.  The part that’s more variable, and where the “slop” factors is more applicable, is the walking (or bicycling) bits.  Perhaps I “just” need to figure out how to add “slop” there and well utilize that time.  Ethical dilemma – and probabilities.  Much is chance.  Not sure there’s any simple way – if at all, to best optimize it – not particularly quantifiable – other than the time itself.  So, difficult to estimate, or even guess, what would be best overall – let alone be anywhere close to knowing what would be best.

Anyway, at least very much seems I should have/work a bit more “slop” into my transit schedules – for “whatever” might come up, or opportunities that may present themselves.  So, be it resolved that … yeah, I don’t know exactly what, … yet.  Maybe I never will.  In any case, something definitely to be paid more attention to, and adjusted as relevant and appropriate.  Also, since I’ve been doing much of this point A to point B by time T rather briskly and with negligible slop in schedule, it’s relatively habitual, so will take some adjustments and work to “tweak” it.  And again, not sure how to “measure” it.  Perhaps mostly just guestimate and go by “feel” – somewhere along the way it ought to feel like that’s about as well optimized as that can be or get, and, … well, that’s probably, if not actually optimal, probably at least “close enough”, within the feasible limits of attempting to well estimate such.