Optimising For Impedance Over Efficiency.
Recently, I found a common thread in a few counter-intuitive things I do at home. For example, I:
- Pre-portion my ground coffee whenever I open a new pack of ground coffee into 50g deli cups.
- Keep intermediates of common meals stocked in my fridge as items unto themselves. My fridge always has salsas, cooked beans, peeled and cleaned onion, pre-prepped vegetables.
- Keep filled cups of water on every table in the house.
- Used to keep my underwear in daily rolls. (One of everything required per day)
All of these things introduce more work, and sometimes waste. Beans sometimes go bad, salsas grow mold. It would be more efficient to make them on a pull-basis, where the need for salsa prompts me to make salsa. However, despite knowing that, I still do this.
I do it because of the possibility of me having an absolutely awful day that leaves me barely able to function, because it guarantees that even in that case, I will almost certainly have a warm meal that I can assemble in 10 minutes, hot coffee the next morning, clean laundry, and I won’t dehydrate.
While these cases are very specific to me (and people with mental illness in general, I suppose), the principles here can be generalised: For the things that sometimes happen, optimise for making it happen with as little effort as possible over making it happen the most efficient way.
This, as all things do, extends to software, and more generally, systems at large: it is better to take extra time to prepare your environment to quickly respond to situations than it is to pull everything on request, for everything that only sometimes happens.
This gives you the ability to respond quickly to emergencies, instead of having to pull everything you need in that moment. Sometimes, being inefficient makes you much quicker.
PS: I know that technically the thing I’m optimising for here is admittance, or the inverse of impedance, however I think more people will be familiar with the term impedance.