Becoming a Bin-Man
The first couple of weeks of life as a full time bin man in Norway has not only knocked the stuffing out of me physically, in a kind of ‘good gym session’ way, but I am feeling as mentally refreshed as I have done in a long time! This is NOT to say that it is mindless; yes, it is less mentally straining than a lot of things that I have done, but it is just a different way of thinking that has offered all the mental refreshment.
The tasks themselves are repetitive, but the aspect I enjoy most is the streamlining of my own actions to get the absolute best efficiency possible and get PROPERLY good at doing it. You will all be able to relate to this. You will all at some point have formed anal habits around repetitive tasks, such as taking the perfect racing line driving home (one of my personal favourites) or perhaps hoovering in a particular way because it is quicker by 0.76 seconds per room. Just think for 30 seconds.. You will all have something!
Doing around 600 bins on a 70km route every day, you certainly have that time to obsess over this and produce those anal little habits. In my case, it could be compressing the garbage at the same time as unloading to be able to drive off faster; or perhaps hooking the bin on the truck for as many times in a row as I can, which believe me is a lot harder than it sounds..
So.. What am I getting at.. In these moments of being anal and obsessive, there is literally nothing else on your mind, because it matters to you; not to the job, but to you! Having the opportunity to clear my mind for 8 hours a day has genuinely made me think clearly about a lot of things, particularly in business.
This is a business blog.. So here is the cunning ‘business related part’:
- I have from 14:45 every day to do whatever I like, i.e. sit down and get other things done, just by starting at 5:30. The first few days were horrible, but now it’s actually doable!
- It is really refreshing to spend time and actually perfect something. We all have so much on all the time that we often do half measures of most things. But with this method, if you can donate the time towards whatever you are doing, you can actually become really good!
There are many schools of thought that say that you should only be just good enough; Lean Startup etc.. But why not actually donate some time, and get properly good at something without distractions. I really want to try this with web design and programming. These skills will then always be with you and gives you a distinct selling point that isn’t ‘as good’ as others, as Lean Startup suggests, but is a genuine skill because you have put real effort into it.
I realise being a bin man is not everyone’s cup of tea.. AT ALL in a lot of cases, but it’s the concept of perfecting something that I am trying to take from it. I think I just enjoy being outside in a stunning country above all else!
Four weeks left..