“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle” - Often attributed to Plato but likely from Ian McLaren (pseudonym of Reverend John Watson)

Friday, April 04, 2008

The time factor is worse than I thought

In my post on the use of time, I used some estimates as to how much time I lose with the fuel economizing driving techniques I utilize. I estimated that I lose eight minutes and 25 seconds each day driving 55 m.p.h. instead of 70 m.p.h. I've been browsing the fuel saving websites and blogs, and the "party line" is that very little time will be lost. I decided that I'd see what the real numbers are for my commute.

I used a stopwatch to time the portions of my typical commute each way during which I could have been driving 70 m.p.h. Then, a simple multiplication by 55/70 gave me the time I would have spent driving those miles at 70 m.p.h., and a subtraction yielded the time loss. I did this for two days and averaged the numbers. The days seemed fairly typical so I imagine that the results are representative. Certainly, there are periods during which traffic is worse (say, when school starts in September, when standard time returns, etc.) but during these times, I'm not saving much fuel anyway.

The results are highly disturbing. I'm spending about 10 minutes and 41 seconds longer on the road each day than I would if I drove 70 m.p.h. That's about 44 1/2 hours per year. It's reduced slightly by the fact that I have to stop for fuel less often, and judicious use of my assistant and the mobile phone enables a minimal level of productivity, but even allowing for this, it's just about equivalent to a week of work (or vacation).

A sensible person would give it up, but those who have followed this blog at all will have no fear that I'm a sensible person. I've said it before, but if I'm going to keep this up, I must find a way to be more productive. I have a little tape recorder for dictating things, but that just shuffles the work onto someone else to type it, or slightly reduces the time for me to compose a document. I don't know about the reliability of software that translates spoken word into typed documents, the last time I tried such a product it was worthless for my purposes.

Well, for the time being I guess I'll stick to my "Learn Mandarin Chinese" podcast. But it's clear that nothing comes for free, not even saving fuel.

1 comment:

bplotkin said...

I totally hear you. I'm looking at the same problems when comparing the fuel I could save when using the bus/subway as opposed to driving. I estimated about 30 min each way or so .