Wednesday, October 22, 2008


Ever had the sort of a day where you have fifteen things to do involving five different people and/or locations and some things have to happen before other things and some things take a long time to do and some are more important and you can't figure out which to start first? (For me, that's a trip to the back yard. Or fixing supper.)

Mathematicians have devoted some thought to this kind of a problem, asking, Is there a quick way to figure out the best way to arrange the tasks? For example, what if you always did the most important job first, or the one that took the longest, or the one with the most other things dependent on it?

So far, the answer has been there is no easy way to find the plan that will get you through all the tasks in the most efficient way. (And that's without adding the random-stinky-diaper variable.) You could, of course, write down all the different ways to do the jobs and then pick out which one worked the best, but that's not very fast.

Until the mathematicians figure it out, the moral is that it's probably faster to just start working on things in an inefficient order and get it done rather than sitting around pondering what order to do it in. Otherwise you'll end up like this.

1 comment:

Carrie said...

I like the idea of just blogging myself. But that video was a great substitution!