This is a post about the application of task visualization to a window project. The condo association recently replaced all of the windows in the building. I have two new windows. The first is the triple panel living room window . Or what would be the living room if it were not crowded with bookshelves, file boxes, and stacks of TAQ papers. The second new window is at the base of the stairs to the upper level.
The Window Project
When the original windows were removed, the existing mouldings were stripped from the wall. A new moulding was added. The new moulding is attractive but lacks a flat surface for mounting window blind hangers. To regain a measure of privacy, I have tacked up some white muslin to serve as a temporary privacy curtain.
The window at the base of the stairs presents a bigger problem. The bathroom door is at the top of the stairs. At night, when the lights are on, it is possible to observe me walking the hallway to and from the bathroom and shower. Accustomed to the privacy offered by the blinds, I have been coming downstairs in the middle of the night, totally forgetting my level of undress is fully visible to any passerby. This privacy issue will only become worse as the days grow shorter, and the use of interior illumination increases.
On September 2nd, I began work on a solution. I bought a set of discounted Venetian blinds from the local hardware store. The problem was mounting them. Nine days have been spent working on this window project with varying degrees of frustration. This is hateful work. The reasons are as follows:
- – Lots of details. Miss a detail and an error results.
- – The project consists of many elements each of which can go missing. I have spent hours searching for something that was right here only a second ago.
- – A combination of multi-tasking and continuous task switching. Both of these give me problems. In combination they are difficult to manage and I quickly become confused and frustrated.
- – Constant decision making. These may be relatively minor decisions (is the putty dry? Which screw to use?), but there are lots and lots of them. This adds to the cognitive burden.
- – Must accept, acknowledge, and accommodate, time constraints. Is the putty dry? What about the glue? Or the paint?
- – Inescapable errors. As in programming, the error is immediately evident. Make an incorrect cut and bang! Second attempt at an accurate cut also results in an error BANG! BANG!
- – Absence of procedural history. When it comes to cooking, I have been doing it for 45 years. Cooking consists of ingrained procedures. I lack a similar procedural history with window related tasks.