Do We Need to Try it Out First?

EXPERIMENTATION IN YOUR FAMILY OR LIVING ROOM? I don’t know about you, but I struggle with placing furniture in the right spot in a room – particularly a family or living room. Where does one place the sofa or love seat? If you have an individual chair with an ottoman, where should that be placed vis-a-vis the love seat and soft?

I suspect for some people, experimentation is needed to get a feel where things belong. You might factor the distance from the TV, windows, fireplace, and the entrance/exit. For some, you need to perhaps move furniture around and experiment, and see how it feels. Even if it doesn’t feel right, sometimes using unusual configurations can be revealing. In other words, what works best? What’s most practical? What best serves the need of the family? Computer software might sometimes be useful, especially if you’re adept at its tools, although I’ve found by bring new items into the mix and moving things around and eventually ascertaining what just seems right or works best.

Dirt Path on Campus

Dirt Path on Campus

SHOULD NOT THE CLIENTS AT A UNIVERSITY CAMPUS COMMUNICATE THE PHYSICAL BEST PATHS AVAILABLE? Move to a university campus. I remember visiting a college campus many years ago that had many sidewalks paved with cement to get from dorm to classroom or dorm to admin or union but not necessarily in that order. At first glance, it appeared the planners worked hard to place paths for students to travel – trying to anticipate the best course of action most students would take. At second glance, it became apparent that the students did not always opt for those concrete paths designed and implemented by the university system.

There were several open grassy areas where students used only part of the trails – making their own. You can see the planners thought they were doing students a favor by immediately adding the paths after building construction was complete with some planning and forethought but what about test scenarios or a proof of concept? Like, what would work best? What’s the most logical approach (and the quickest) to get somewhere? In addition, when the designers and developers were ready to implement, perhaps don’t make the paths permanent with concrete. If a limestone or gravel path was used for a year or two, that could be cost effective in case any of those paths may have to be changed by input by the students.

Even though students may be interested in health and fitness, human nature engages so we generally take the shortest path possible. Students don’t necessarily have to worry about the damage to the fescue and rye grass – they have more important things on their mind academic and fun (defined differently by different students). Could the example of adding a gravel path to see if users and students take to that route be used or applied at other universities or other large scale operations involving large groups of people?

path

Should the Village of Libertyville address this path issue?

SOME PLANNING AND MAPPING HELPS DETERMINE YOUR FUTURE NEEDS If one is interested in using an app from a smart phone to track the amount of exercise they do on a daily, or monthly basis, there are several available in which they could download or purchase. Would these meet their needs? Would there be too few features or too many? What’s the learning curve for using such an application.

I’m not here to evaluate any of these apps, but rather, want to provide an alternative. I want to customize a spreadsheet that fits my needs. How do I do that?

Of course, one has to be comfortable with Excel or another spreadsheet program such as OpenOffice Calc by Sun Microsystems. For each time you exercise, you gather information that you deem critical for exercise tracking: the date, activity, length, amount of time in your aerobic or anaerobic range and perhaps an overall grade. After a month or so, you could build a spreadsheet that can help track and summarize such information. During the process of building and tweaking the spreadsheet, you can determine if it’s meeting your needs. If so, you’re on your way to tracking your health and perhaps it might get reviewed casually every 6 to 12 months. If there are minor tweaks that you see are needed, you can tweak accordingly.

Mind you, this approach takes some work. You have to determine what things need to be tracked and then diligently use technology or a legal pad to gather information for weeks to determine you are ready to build a tracking mechanism. Indeed, it’s going to require more work than downloading an app but you’re able to customize something that will fit your needs – something that you build that is familiar to you and can be changed or tweaked slightly if there’s a change in what you want to measure or track. Again, with some planning and work, you can devise a program to help meet your exercise or health needs.

Kevin Schwarm

I have over 25 years of professional experience in business, information technology (IT), and customer service. Industry experience in retail, medical insurance, higher education, non-profit, financial services, and property and casualty insurance. Customer focused professional interested in providing value (save time, money and aggravation) by evaluating and analyzing information, services and products with a unique perspective.

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