An hour of planning can save you 10 hours of doing

Dale Carnegie

Lock down has forced many of us to plan more than ever. Planning your work efficiently, planning your finances, planning not to go out unless necessary are just a few of the lot. I went ahead and did something that I have never done before. Two weeks ago, I designed a plan to orchestrate the home deliveries of stuff that we needed.

Why did I do that? Since this outbreak, grocery/vegetable shopping which used to be a 10-minute task has become a one-hour ordeal.  Earlier, it was just buying/getting the deliveries, wash and dump them in the fridge or in the storage area as appropriate. 

Now, I have to wait in queue for my turn to buy the vegetables dressing up like someone who is going to rob the bank, buy the vegetables, dance in the elevator to press the button using my elbow and get home. The hard part begins now:

  1. Keep the bags in the designated area and wash the hands and legs. 
  2. Now dip the vegetables in a container prefilled with soap water and wash for 20 seconds.
  3. Take them and dip them in another container with fresh water and wash them again for 20 seconds.
  4. Lay them on the counter/floor to dry
  5. Carefully go and get the next set of vegetables from the bag. 
  6. Wash, Rinse and repeat till all the vegetables have been neatly washed and laid out for drying.
  7. Throw the bags (made of cloth) in the washing machine.
  8. Use a disinfectant and mop the designated area where the vegetables were kept.
  9. Go take a shower and soak the clothes and the handkerchief that was used as a mask. 
  10. Wash the clothes and the bags used to buy vegetables. 

There goes the ten-step process of buying vegetables. A similar process for groceries with sanitizers replacing soap water for anything that cannot be dipped in the water (some packets are not sealed well – learnt that from experience). All these paranoia to avoid the risk of contracting the virus. 

Now you see the reason why I had to plan the deliveries well. Because I buy different things from different online platforms. After carefully splitting and grouping the items and thorough evaluation of the delivery dates of all the platforms, I laid out a plan. 

DateDayItem
16/AprThursdayGrocery from site A
17/AprFridayWeekly vegetables
21-22/AprTuesday/WednesdayMedicines
24-25/AprFriday/SaturdayGrocery from site B

The plan was perfect with enough buffers between days. The worst part is they provide a delivery date but not the time window. So I can expect a call any time of the day. Each time they call I have to go down seven floors (in an elevator, obviously) and collect the item as my building association has banned any delivery person from coming inside. 

Thursday,  I kept peeking at the mobile every 30 mins for any call even though it was not on silent mode. Site A had delivery time between 7 am to 9 pm. So they could arrive anytime. Waited the whole day and they didn’t deliver. The delivery would be next day which means I have to take a shower 3 times. Why 3 times you ask? Friday is the veggies day and I take a shower early in the morning to do my morning prayers. Add to it, this delayed delivery.

It was Friday, the 17th. As per routine, I got ready and was prepared to start the work in 30 mins when I received the call from the first website. I went down quickly, picked up the items, came up and followed the ten-step process detailed above. Now that this was over, I had to do the same for vegetable purchase in the evening. 

An hour later I received a call from an unknown number. It could be a spam number. Since I uninstalled the Truecaller app from my mobile, the amount of spam calls that I receive has gone down. I am not sure if it was because I uninstalled Truecaller (I have read on the internet that Truecaller is indirectly linked to the spam calls you to receive) or it was because of the onset of covid-19. I answer a call from unknown number only if they call me twice. And I received the call again.

It was the medicine delivery. It was scheduled for next week but they somehow had the stocks and expedited the delivery. My building association does not allow the security guards to hold the package for us so I had to go down to collect them again. I had to repeat the ten-step process again. I was tired already thinking about repeating this one more time for vegetable purchase. And I was literally knackered by the end of the process in the evening. The shower was the coolest part of the process. I learnt a lot today like potato sinks to the bottom even though it is small and watermelon floats even though it is big. The buoyancy of various vegetables. The things that I should have paid attention to as a kid.

It was a long Friday. I was happy to close the laptop and turn on some comedy on the telly and I started getting mentally for the weekend. I received a notification on my mobile. “We’re arriving early”. The last delivery scheduled for the end of next week also was arriving on the same day. I yelled Nahiiii louder and longer than many Bollywood moms. This was one of those days where I would have literally paid for a delayed delivery. But unfortunately, I had to repeat the process all over again. 

At least, I was happy to know that there were no pending orders. 5 times a day was enough to start looking at the process with a critical eye. My wife reminded me of the quote that she read somewhere, “Tough times will test your patience and character”.   I said, “I am not going to take a shower this weekend”. She said, “You wish! But, we forgot to order something

PS: Feature Image Courtesy: Photo by Eric Rothermel on Unsplash