Right now I’m mailing out a bunch of packages to the groomsmen at my wedding. (Like the rest of the world, they don’t read this, so it won’t be a spoiler.)
I printed out some stuff and am on the last leg of mailing these things out.
Of course, I want to procrastinate, so I put a 7-minute timer on and am writing the draft of this post.
Today’s lesson: break projects down into smaller tasks.
Actually, that’s sort of the lesson. That’s what I got forced to practice today. I ordered 4 things and mailed them to myself to then mail them out to my friends.
It crossed my mind at the time that I could just have them sent directly to my friends. The message would be less personal, but I could still include a couple lines.
I should have done that in hindsight.
Some tradeoffs of not doing that:
- Have to pay shipping to each of them, which looks like it might be $30 per person instead of the $7-15 guess that I had.
- Mental cost of the packages sitting in our apartment for a couple weeks because I knew it’d be a pain to pack and ship these things out. (I was right!)
- The hours I’ve spent today getting these things all set up.
I’ll break down all the things I needed to do today, which I’ve slogged through likely because it’s a Saturday and I’m in no rush. (Remember: time box things!)
Here are all the speed bumps today:
- Getting all my friends’ addresses
- Finding pictures to send to them (this was actually fun, but then it ended up taking longer than I planned)
- Figuring out my FedEx account
- Resetting my FedEx password
- Finally getting to shipping estimation and then learning I needed to create a shipping account within that account and then finding out it can’t be created online right now
- Didn’t have enough packing tape. (this was just a stupid one that felt like the straw that broke the camel’s back. For a few minutes, I really thought I was done for the day.)
Now to take a couple trips to FedEx to carry the boxes.
Update: After finally shipping things out like an hour after writing the above…
Two trips to FedEx, not bad, even carrying boxes each time. It’s a short walk.
Two times waiting in line at FedEx, pretty bad! It’s a long wait.
While the estimates I had were off, one of the packages rang up at $80 to ship. That’s when I remembered that it costs more to ship if it’s farther (further?) away. And it does seem to be mostly by volume rather than weight.
Update: After some light research on this, I definitely could have cut the cost in half with a smaller box. Which I had, because I shipped these in different sized boxes. And picked the nicest, largest box for the Miami package.
There’s a measurement called volumetric weight that’s used. You’re not charged for volume and weight. You’re just charged by the higher of the two, after volume is converted to volumetric weight. I didn’t realize it’d be double.
I could have said no when it rang up so that I could go home, unpack two boxes to get a smaller box for the Miami package, then taken an additional trip.
Anyway, all this reminded me “Happy Money”, one of my favorite books about money. Here’s a quote:
Whether driving for an hour to get gas that is five cents cheaper, waiting in endless lines to get a free sample of the latest PowerBar, or taking an entire afternoon to abscond with a cheap umbrella, we too often sacrifice our free time just to save a little money.
In this case, I did the opposite. Paid to save an hour. It seems worth it right now. My willpower was completely gone. FedEx was closing so this would have been either (1) a very stressful hour to try to rush to make it in time or (2) an hour the following day and many hours in between being annoyed that I’d have to go the next day.
Much like this packing and shipping project, this post is too long.