I try to leave out the parts that people skip. ~ Elmore Leonard

Random Productivity


When I was a young mechanic, working at a full-service gas station, people would try to put me on the spot by asking crazy hypothetical questions.

It would go something like this…

Me: Your tire has a broken belt and needs to be replaced.

Customer:  Hmm.  What if we don’t replace that tire?  Do you think  we can make it to Iowa?

All too often, I would hear questions only a magic eight ball could answer.  So, just to be funny, I built an “Automotive Wheel of Fortune” out of some old car parts and a dartboard.  To make it spin like a roulette wheel, I replace the bull’s-eye of the dartboard with a bolt and alternator bearing and mounted it all on a square piece of plywood.  I then made up some ridiculous answers for the wedge-shaped sections of the board.  To finish it off, I placed small nails at the divided segments and mounted a thin spring steel pointer (early snap-on drawer removal tool) at the very top of the board which would slow the wheel down and give a clicking sound as the nails brushed past.  I displayed it proudly on the wall behind the front counter for everyone to see and it quickly became a conversation piece for employees and customers alike.  It was fun to use and got the point across when those ambiguous questions arose.

So what does this have to do with productivity?  I always have a few tasks that need my attention, but they compete with things that are easier or less repetitive.  I needed a “Wheel of Productivity” where I could list all my tasks and let chance decide what I should focus on.  It might sound crazy, but, if you consider the odds, over time, the work would get divided evenly.   Surely more evenly than my current method of constantly picking the easiest thing to do.

Thanks in part to HTML 5, or at least some experimental features with the <canvas> tag, and the skills of Charlie Key, a nifty little web-based roulette wheel was written that works with many of today’s web browsers.  I used the code example at Switch on the Code and made a few minor color changes for a browser-based decision wheel.

Feel free to spin my wheel and check out the source code.