Just in Time Living

I’ve decided to invent a new concept.

If you’re like me, you often find yourself doing what we used to call procrastinating. Let’s say, for example, that you’ve got a Big Report due on Friday morning and you know you’re going to have a busy Thursday: what’s the best thing to do on Wednesday night?

Watch Seinfeld until 12:35 a.m., of course! And then busily work to finish said report deep into Thursday night.

I’ve been a proponent of this approach to work for many years now.

When I was a student of classical history at Trent University in the early 1980s, I could usually be found, in the 5 or 6 hours leading up to an essay deadline, rushing to get thoughts to paper and paper to Professor’s door before the clock struck midnight.

I pay the mortgage the day before it’s due at the bank. I get my car inspected only once the sticker is just about to expire.

And some of my best programming work is done in the compressed few hours the night before all hell will break loose if one project or another remains uncompleted.

This habit comes with attendant guilt, of course. You walk up the stairs, bleary eyed after watching the same Seinfeld episode you’ve seen 33 times before, damning yourself for not having had to sense and discipline to Be Prepared in advance.

I’m happy to report, however, that my New Concept does away with this problem and, indeed, all of the other problems associated with we used to call procrastinating. Not only that, but this new concept turns what used to be a negative into a positive.

My new concept? Just-in-time Living.

This new concept is closely related to the Just-in-time Manufacturing system that’s become popular in recent years in the auto industry. Just look what a recent book says:

With its proven capacity to streamline the manufacturing process, lower inventory, and improve product quality and ROI, JIT may be the basis for a renaissance in American manufacturing.
Just imagine harnessing this sort of power — a renaissance in American manufacturing!! — and applying it to your own life!

One of the central principles of Just-in-time Manufacturing is Lead Time Reduction. What does this mean? Well, one consultant says:

Reducing lead times doesn’t involve speeding up equipment to cut the cycle times or getting plant personnel to work faster. What is does involve is the rapid fulfillment of customer orders and the rapid transformation of raw materials into quality products in the shortest amount of time possible.
I can’t think of a better description of the finely tuned and coordinated operation of staying up until 3:30 a.m. the night before to get a programming project out the door.

So the next time I’m sitting on the couch watching that same episode of Seinfeld (for the 35th time), I will take comfort in the fact that I am actually deep in the practise of Rapid-Response Manufacturing, just a small part of my Just-in-time Life.

I’m available for consultation if you’ve like to learn more about how to apply this New Concept to your own life.


mike rukavina's picture
mike rukavina on September 27, 2001 - 05:40 Permalink

Thanks for helping me justify this sometimes disturbing part of my every day life!!

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on September 27, 2001 - 15:35 Permalink

For me, that’s focusing on the wrong part of the issue. I have been doing Just-In-Time living for years. You have just shown me the meta-application: Just-In-Time Procrastination. I feel fulfilled. I think I’ll do some just-in-time procrastinating while I work up to doing something about it.

Rob MacD's picture
Rob MacD on September 27, 2001 - 15:45 Permalink

I promise to comment on this later.

Jevon Macdonald's picture
Jevon Macdonald on September 27, 2001 - 17:59 Permalink

Java figured this out a while ago as well. “Parallel Living” if you will.

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on October 3, 2001 - 15:09 Permalink

I have a few thoughts on this… when ~does~ this item expire?