Like many places in the northern hemisphere, it snowed here last night. So like many people, I started the day clearing the driveway and creating a path to the front door. This takes some time, and since it is fairly mindless activity, my brain wanders while doing it. I get lots of ideas when I am clearing snow or mowing the lawn.
The thing that particularly made me think this time was that while I was clearing, it was still snowing. A lot. Half of me felt like I was wasting my time since by lunchtime, it would all be covered again. But I could come up with several reasons while I was shoveling :
- What is gone is gone. There was about 20 cm when I started shoveling. Clearing it now would make doing it later easier.
- Even though we don’t need to get out now since I work from home, we might want to go out later.
- Walking on unshoveled snow makes it hard to remove and eventually slippery ice.
- If the driveway is relatively clear, the snowplow is somewhat less likely to throw a mass of wet, heavy snow onto the driveway when it goes by next time.
Indeed, Powerpoint has ruined me such that I think in bullet points even when away from a keyboard.
That got me thinking of other things that seem pointless, but actually are worthwhile doingto be done.
- It is worthwhile to set up a scalable, manageable platform even if you suspect or even know that not many people will use it initially. Once the infrastructure is in place, you can concentrate on encouraging adoption. Reversing that order could cause problems.
- Even though everyone hates formal content categorization systems, they are necessary. Even if you know that any hierarchy of categories set up will ultimately break down or need an overhaul, you have to start somewhere.
- Participating in social media rather than a medium the corporation control invites negative comments. Too bad. You have to do it anyway, or risk something worse: irrelevance.
- The quickly-changing technology market means that any product choice could be undermined at any time by a better product that comes along. But you can’t stay on the fence forever.
What examples do you have where something seems like a waste of time, but needs doing.
Update: I just cleared another 30 cm which fell by lunchtime. This could get old pretty quickly.