At the beginning of my professional career, I spent some time as a UPS package car driver while  going to night school to earn my MBA.  Among the many things that I learned from that experience besides safe driving habits, was to be efficient with my time.  The object of each day was to run your delivery route “scratch” meaning no overage in time and mileage allotted for that day.  

Ever wonder why you see UPS drivers backing in to parking spaces?  Safety is a primary concern, and by backing up first, you minimize the chance that you don’t accidentally run over someone or something when you are finished with your delivery.  It points you in the right direction moving forward, because you don’t get any mileage credit for backing up (in those days a driver’s performance was measured in stops per on-road hour, which was a function of time and distance traveled during the workday). 

A typical route is designed to minimize the number of left turns that a driver is required to make, because making a left is opposite of oncoming traffic, increases your chance for an accident, and slows the driver down.  People who know me well (and as Ann Marie likes to point out), I like the sheer efficiency of always making right turns while running errands because I feel that spending a few minutes planning my day, can save hours of actual time on the road.

So if you can make only right turns and keep driving forward, then you will have a good day, right?  Not always, because in the real world, sudden emergencies will develop and force you off you route.  As a UPS driver, you may have a large delivery to a business that is not open while you are in the vicinity forcing you to save that stop for later in the day and double-back; or at the end of the day, a large shipper may not be ready until the last minute, forcing the driver to adjust to accommodate this need.  

Often in life and in our businesses we are forced to make these tough decisions, making the left turn and driving backwards to ultimately move forward.  We may also get in to accidents, but they don’t have to mean the end of your career or business.  Most importantly, you need to focus on moving forward and making those right turns in life.

One thought on “Making only "right" turns

  1. I am an efficiency guy as well — 🙂 — drives my wife crazy. I put thought into most of my actions to determine whether I am receiving maximum efficiency — but you are right, there is always the unforeseen knocking us off track. Thanks for the post Ed.

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