Optimal Order

Day 100 Week 15 Q2 Tuesday, April 11, 2023

In case you haven’t noticed, the order in which things are completed matters greatly. This is for many reasons, not only because of dependencies. In other words, some things must be done before others can be done, and in addition to dependencies, there are other reasons too. Some of life follows the associative properties of mathematics we were taught when young. For example, A times B times C yields the same result as A times C times B.  A x B x C = A x C x B.

One example that comes to mind is the signal chain for processing music. You do not want to process the spatial aspects of sound before the spectral. Guitar players, for example, should never put the reverb before the equalizer. When cooking, many ingredients must be added to a recipe before others if you want a good result.

Or creative processes depend on the order. I do not mean the order of being organized, although that helps. I mean, there are things you have to do before other things.  You may feel this is obvious, but many assumptions are made about the order of steps, which are not necessarily true. Sure, you want to clean your dishes before putting food in them and eating.  But is it obvious that the format of a book could be considered before writing it? Know that we are living in the days when information is presented on webpages, which are formatted after the content is created, we are usually exposed to sub-optimal presentations of this information.

Of course, delivering information must be adaptive because we do not all utilize the same size screens. But there is a relationship between images and words, and when left to an algorithm to determine how to place this, we do not end up with something that looks as good as the one an artist lays out in this presentation.

Do you think that advertising copy does not have an optimal order?  Can you rearrange poetry on the page and get the same result? Can the paragraphs of written words be re-ordered and preserve the same meaning?  Does relationship cultivation require a careful dance, where some actions are premature and destroy the possibility of a relationship?

There may very well be more than one order of steps in a creative process, but I can assure you that some orders are more optimal than others. At times, we perform order optimization unconsciously because we have a great deal of experience and know which steps should precede other steps.

Do you really want to leave order optimization up to your unconscious? Or do you think it is worth examining what precise order you are completing steps in?

Just a thought.