Lawn Mowing for Dummies

I’ve always loved those ‘Dummies’ books.  Probably because I can be a ‘dummy’ at times, but more likely because the authors do such a great job with separating information, and cutting to the chase on specific concepts.

The other day, I had my usual outdoor chores to take care of, one of them lawn mowing.  I have an acre, and 3/4 of it is just wild grasses and weeds, which actually looks okay, as long as it is mowed down once a month or so.  I went out to the garage to fire up my John Deere for the first time this season, and wouldn’t you know it- it didn’t start.  I went through the usual checklist of things to troubleshoot, but it was clear that it needed lots of help, since I didn’t properly winterize it (technical debt!).

Push mower, here I come.  It wasn’t the end of the world, but it takes about 4 times as long to push mow the ‘back 40’ as it does to knock it out with the riding mower.  So I pulled up my big boy pants and got started.  I naturally just broke it into 3 increments, due to it’s irregular shape.  I also took two breaks, one for water, one for gas, and inspected the progress by going to the highest point and checking it over on each break.  Iterative and incremental?  Sure, at it’s most rudimentary level.

Why break it into pieces if you are just going to knock it out in an afternoon?  Simple.  We thrive on accomplishment.  By breaking it up, we get to FINISH something even before all the work is done.  I also attacked the highest risk increment first- the portion that had the hill, which is hard work!  By taking this approach, I finished a something, and the hardest thing first, which got me mentally in a great place to ‘happily’ finish the job.

Think about iterative and incremental approaches for just about any work you have to perform, and inspect the results.  You just might be amazed.  Alternatively, you can just have your teenager mow the lawn!

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