Chris Croft's Personal Blog

May 23, 2012

Thoughts about lawn mowing

Filed under: Assertiveness, Happiness, Time Management — Tags: , , , , — chriscroft @ 8:47 pm

Three things I want to say about this:

First – it goes against my No Crap Policy (NCP) but then again, there is my “Make Wife Happy” policy to consider as well.  There is a theory called the total utility of happiness which says that you should do whatever maximises the happiness of the whole system.  So if it makes me only a little unhappy to have to mow the lawn, but makes her very happy, then I should do it. Otherwise I would be being selfish. (Conversely things which I really hate and which only make her a little happier should not be done – otherwise SHE would be being selfish).

Second – mowing the lawn may be urgent (getting long, almost too long to mow, and rain coming soon) but it’s not important (spending time mowing isn’t one of my life goals).  The fact that it HAS to be done doesn’t make it important.  So because it’s not important my objective is to spend the minimum time on it.  An example of something that is the reverse, i.e. important but not urgent, is phoning my mum for a chat.  Let’s suppose I usually spend 45 minutes on the lawn and 10 minutes on my phone chat with my mum, this is not ideal as the less important thing, the lawn, is getting more time.  But that’s unavoidable as it HAS to be be done and is a longish job.  But if I could reduce it to only 35 minutes by efficient methods (or reduced quality) then I could have 20 minutes with my mum, and that’s the essence of time management: identify what’s really important rather than just the junk that has to be done, and maximise the time you spend on the important things. So it’s not about absolute time spent, it’s about squeezing the less important things in order to maximise the more important ones.

Third – I should get the most happiness from everything, even the unimportant things, perhaps by making them fun.  I could listen to my favourite music through loud headphones as I dance my way around the lawn, or use my (usually bad) personality drivers to advantage – use the Be Perfect driver to enjoy doing a really nice job, and use the Hurry Up driver to try finding the most efficient mowing pattern so there is minimal double cutting and easy turns at the end (e.g do rows 1 and 4, 2 then 5, 3 then 6, because doing 123456 means turns that are too sharp…etc!).

… and that’s what I’m thinking about today!


PS – Lawn mowing fits perfectly with my 5 options for unimportant tasks:

1 – say no to it (rejected in this case for reasons given above)

2 – negotiate (maybe get something back for it or avoid something else instead?)

3 – delegate it (pay kids or a gardener)

4 – more efficient systems (e.g. good mower, good mowing pattern)

5 – do it less well (less often, less carefully)

Hmm, maybe I need to add “Make it fun” as a sixth option….



  1. Hmmh,early Genesis???

    Comment by Phil — May 23, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

  2. you can tell me by the way I walk…

    Comment by chriscroft — May 23, 2012 @ 9:48 pm

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