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Why Doing a Task Twice Is Better Than Planning

by Anonymous

Thought for the Day: Why Doing a Task Twice Is Better Than Planning and Doing It Once

Cutting a piece of wood twice is better than measuring and cutting it once. It's gotta be, right? Otherwise, I wouldn't do it so often.

Yesterday, I was repairing part of the eaves on my house. It had sustained some water damage, and I needed to add a two-by-four piece of wood for some extra support. I had already cut another, thinner piece. But I decided a more substantial piece was needed. And making it a little longer would give a nice, tight fit.

The thought occurred to me to measure the place where I would put the two-by-four. But that meant finding my measuring tape and climbing the ladder around the corner. What a hassle.

So I lay the thinner piece along the two-by-four, added a little extra for the nice, tight fit, and ran my handsaw back and forth over the wood. Within a couple minutes I had my custom-sized support.

As you have probably already guessed, the fit was very tight -- much too tight -- in fact, too tight by about half an inch.

Do you know what it's like to cut half an inch from a two-by-four -- with a hand saw?

When "slicing" a piece that thin, the edge of the wood keeps breaking off. This makes it hard to keep the saw in place. This makes the cut take about 17 times as long as the original.

But this is a better way than measuring first.

It's gotta be.

Otherwise, I wouldn't do it so often.

Now, I have noticed that, as I've aged, I don't engage in the "do it twice" game as often as I used to. More and more I find myself doing the "plan it first" game.

So I guess the advantage to the "do it twice" game is this: it proves that you're still young.

And stupid.

At least now I know why old people are slow:

- Because they can be.
- Because they plan first.
- Because they only do things once.

So it might take them 30 minutes to do something that I can do in six. But since I have to do it 12 times, I have to rush to do 72 minutes of work. That's 72 minutes for a task that takes old people only 30.

That leaves them 42 minutes to walk slow, enjoy their food, and take naps.

I used to think that old people had to take naps, because they were -- well -- old.

Now I see that old people get to take naps, because they're -- well -- smart.

Unfortunately, even though I've just learned a valuable lesson, I'm sure of one thing. There are at least eleventeen hundred more "do it twice" game moves looming in my future.

Well ... gotta get going. I've some more measuring to skip.

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