I’m the kind of person …

I’m the kind of person who spends five minutes reading a map just to save one minute driving.

It may sound stupid upon first hearing it, but hear me out and maybe you’ll develop an appreciation of the technique.

It’s very calm sitting in a parking lot reading a map before heading out to go somewhere. You have all the time in the world to plan out your route. Once you get out on the road, it’s hectic, and it’s easy to make mistakes, whether it’s taking the wrong turn or taking your eyes off the road to look at a map at exactly the wrong instant. From an efficiency standpoint, it’s best to plan out your route with the car off, rather than taking a less efficient route once the car is running and the gas is flowing.

But my main reason is just for pure efficiency. So what if I really do gain nothing at present from calculating the optimal route. But what about in the future when I travel between the same two areas, and I know the optimal route without having to look it up? That’s good. If you never look at a map and you always just sort of try to figure the route out as you go, you inevitably end up taking many sub-optimal routes. But take time to plan everything out beforehand, and not only are you optimal on those routes you did plan out, you’re more optimal even on the routes you didn’t plan out, because, with all of that experience looking at the map, you have a much better spatial sense of where everything is laid out and what the general best paths between different areas are.

So pick up that map (or buy one of your local area if you don’t already have one), and just look at it, both now and at some point in the future when you need to go somewhere. I’ve ended up using Google Maps anytime my point of origin is my house, but I still find myself needing to consult a map many times when I’m away from home going from one point to another (or getting back home), and it’s always useful to have that map with me. I don’t mind spending time planning out that optimal route. I do mind taking a sub-optimal route. That’s just the kind of person I am.

Comments are closed.