On laundry days I do a lot of process analysis.
Mostly this is because I can’t help myself; I seem to be wired as well as trained to look at any given activity sequence and puzzle out how to do it differently. So that it’s better in that moment. I have always suspected this is tied to my low threshold for boredom…activities that lend themselves to process analysis often have slack (boring-time) in them.
Single-threaded laundry has a lot of slack.
Whoops, explanatory comma time. For all you who do not hang out in chip-design and/or software circles, a thread is…well…a sort of channel/ groove/ sequence. One process might be one thread—this then that then this-next—or it might have a few threads—this then A also B, with A then C then D and at the same time B then E then F, coming back together at G…or not coming back together at all, as needed. Sometimes poorly written software ends up spawning a plethora of threads, bringing the computer it’s running on to a knotted-up halt. But I digress.
Laundry, in a home laundry-room, is single-threaded because there’s only one of each machine. But that means there’s a lot of wait-time built in, slack that can’t easily be edited out. Time that could be optimized…
I’ve been doing laundry since I was eight, more or less. (Yes, there’s a story there, a good one, but not today.) So I have had forty years to play around with optimizing laundry. Yeah, well, no. It doesn’t, as far as I’ve discovered.
What it does is lend itself as a worthy break/distraction from other work that also has to be done. What is more household-sustaining than laundry?! Therefore it can’t count as procrastination. Can it?
I railroaded myself today from the post-gym back door to the shower, managing to avoid the charming quagmire of social media/email. That often catches me for a damp hour. Got myself dressed, gathered myself into the kitchen for Coffee Part II (slurp), and paused:
Maybe I should start some laundry first?
Mind you, Coffee was to be followed by today’s entry in Common Prayer, Pocket Edition, and then maybe writing. Or maybe laundry then writing. But laundry is at the sorting stage, and I was going to listen to assorted podcasts while sorting. Which might not segue well into writing, because I might want to wait and hear how the podcast comes out. “We’re dealing with a lot of shit” here, don’t’cha know.
I’m still amazed at how much I pack into a second’s thinking; I snagged myself between Common Prayer and writing…
“Really? You’re really going to postpone your God-date so you can start a load of laundry?”
When I put it that way—
“My heart is firmly fixed : O God, my heart is firmly fixed.”
And having again firmly fixed my heart on God, I’ll go sort the laundry.