Let the tool do the work

by Carl Dyke

is my bid for best advice that’s hard to follow.

As an incurable tamperer I have a million instances on mental file, but currently it’s hammers in relation to staples as I tack field wire onto an old post and rail fence to prepare a pasture for the pigs we just got. It’s amazing how well a hammer works when you just let it do its thing; and it’s amazing how many ways wire and staple can get messed up, but also just how much more exhausting the job immediately gets when you don’t.

So the rubric is: best advice that’s hard to follow. Any other favorites?

8 Comments to “Let the tool do the work”

  1. Know when you’re finished — and not just futzing around not making it any better.

  2. Acknowledge where most of the weight on the tool is, it dictates most of the action.

  3. Measure twice, cut once; clean as you go; plan for it to take at lease twice the amount of time!

  4. Fantastic. Know when you’re finished seems to me like it’s in a continuum with know when to quit and know when you’re licked, depending on how much good can be extracted from the deteriorating situation.

    I think about the weight thing all the time, oddly enough mostly my own. I tend to get too high in my chest, shoulders and head, whereas almost anything I’m doing physically works out better if I center in the hips. I think I learned that from being a defender back when I played soccer, but then it gets reinforced in meditative practice.

    Clean as you go is a game changer.

  5. Practice makes practice. i.e., get the job done.

  6. Exactly right about knowing when you’re licked; and that segues to “a hundred bandaids doesn’t equal a real fix”: i.e. think big right from the beginning, and do it right. Easier said than done under a lot of time-and-money considerations, but lots cheaper in both dimensions in the end.

  7. One more maxim for the manual: Do your part of the job as if you were the one that will be doing the next part of the job. Of course, in a lot of cases the next part of the job is yours too, so it’s courtesy to self, but it’s a lot easier to get going on something that’s ready to go. Obviously this is an instance of the maxim to leave things, when you’ve finished, as you’d like to find them when you next need them.

  8. Right. Clean as you go is sort of a micro version of this one.

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