Laziness is the mother of ingenuity. I firmly believe that this is true. While the saying goes that “necessity is the mother of invention,” in my experience, most clever creations wind up falling in the category of Saving Time And/Or Effort.
One of my very favorite books–from the time I was about ten or so–has been Cheaper by the Dozen. I was always fascinated by the parents’ line of work: they were efficiency experts. I’m a big fan of efficiency, because I learned pretty early (by second grade or so) that if you got your work done quickly, you had more time to read.
Things haven’t changed. I’d still rather read than mop, as evidenced by the state of my kitchen floor. And while I loved the idea that the Gilbreths figured out the quickest way to get something done, I haven’t followed it to the extreme of stalking my children in the bathroom to time their personal hygiene routine. (Then again, some of that, in the Gilbreth’s case, was surely due to the 12-children, 1-bathroom situation.)
Back in high school, I worked in a bakery. I figured out that I could add up the total of people’s purchases in my head while I bagged the bread or tied the cake boxes. That way, I wouldn’t have to manually enter all the prices into the cash register. It drove my boss nuts, but it helped turn over the customers a whole lot faster (a boon on busy weekend mornings).
Now, I’ll brown several pounds of ground beef at a time so I can have quick tacos or skillet stroganoff later. I route my errands, saving myself time and gas.
I guess shortcuts are generally good, if you use them to free you up for what really matters. Like reading. Or playing “U-Build Battleship” or “Rack-O” with Little Brother.