Recurring Surplus

Lean Creativity Edition

Charlie Greenman
September 30, 2020
4 min read

Recurring Surplus

Surplus many times can seem like a waste. However, within the Lean Creativity framework, in order to lower the mental overhead needed, we call for ordering the same thing every week. This way, you don't have to check if all items are available, and simply have the same items ordered every week. However, it isn't as cut and dry as surplus or not surplus. We will go into certain scenarios in which it makes sense, and other where it does not.

Why Surplus Actually Creates Value

I would like to argue that creating a surplus granted the right scenario actually creates value. For instance, let's imagine that you have the same sort of food items that you order every week. These items include milk, bread, peanut butter, frozen blueberries, eggs, chicken, and brocolli. It's quite a bit of items to keep track of every week. You have two options every week:

A. Look through your pantry, and find out which items need to be replenished. B. Simply order the same quantity as last week. Any items that are extra, should be thrown out.

I believe that keeping with option B is the correct option for someone looking to get ahead in life. True, you could do A, but imagine the 50, or so other little decisions that you make in your life. By cutting this one out, as well as the other 49, you are looking at an extra 2-3 hours a week. I have been doing this for years now, and everyone I discuss this with, agrees with option B.

Recurring(good) vs. Non Recurring(bad)

As mentioned earlier, not in all scenarios will surplus be a good thing. We've identified where it is good, i.e. recurring. When not recurring, that is where surplus as a principle does not make sense. That is all there is to it.

Recurring Items

  1. Food
  2. Hygiene

Non Recurring Items

  1. Clothing

Automating The Surplus

Now we have identified: 1. Surplus is good thing. 2. Specifically for Hygiene and Food

So the obvious next question is, how do we take advantage of this tidbit of knowledge, and automate the process. We want to automate the process so we can save time for ourselves.

Shopping Online

Find a vendor for food, and another for hygiene. Put a reminder in your calendar once a week for food, and once a month for hygiene. I haven't found a vendor that would automatically ship for me every week the same items. However, what I do is have an exclusive order for hygiene, and simply bring over all items from previous week for food items.

Find a Personal Assistant

This one is ideal. I currently have an assistant who specifically deals with ordering the above locally. He is not a personal assistant, but focuses on the above exclusively. It can be a bit expensive, however.

Find a Virtual Personal Assistant

Moving forward, I am going to attempt getting a virtual personal assistant to help co-ordinate. I have not gotten to this one, but I am attempting to do so.

Embracing Surplus as a Concept

I would just like to end off on the idea of surplus in general. Something we are going to discuss in another chapter more in depth. I've tried digging into it, and I haven't found a scholarly article that promotes this concept. However, I think the idea of surplus in general is beneficial to allow for less mental overhead. We will discuss this soon.

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