penny wise, pound foolish…making room

I frequently create messes (especially hot spots) because I don’t think I have time right then to do it right. Like yesterday. We came home from the library. I was carrying a baby, my purse, a backpack full of books and holding the hand of a toddler who needed her diaper changed. Did I put my purse down in a great place? um no. I dropped it on the bar stool on the way to the nearest couch so I could sit down and take care of what needed to be done. I later found my purse on the floor (blessedly not opened and reorganized). How much time would it have really taken for me to put my purse 3 feet over on the file cabinet? How much effort? How much time did it take for me later to find my purse? How often do we do that? Now add time for keys (which in my hurry I put in my pocket not in my purse), my phone, which was lovingly left on the dashboard of the car… How much time would I save if I put things where they go the first time?

Now I understand that there are exceptions…but I am a professional exception maker. Exceptions should be exceptional. Going to the library is not exceptional…it happens every week. Coming in from the car, carrying more than I have hands for really isn’t all that exceptional.

This is what I’d call penny wise, pound foolish behavior. I’m saving seconds now which I will pay for with high interest in hours of stress later. Cleaning is investing an hour now to reap many many hours later. It’s debt or saving.

Studies have shown that the person who works with a messy desk spends, on average, one and a half hours per day looking for things or being distracted by things. That’s seven and a half hours per week,” says time management speaker and consultant Dr. Donald E. Wetmore

What would you do with seven and a half hours a week? Doesn’t that sound like heaven to have seven hours a week un scheduled? What a gift! I don’t really spend enough time at a desk to have my messy desk take that much time away from me, but how about my kitchen? how about time spent finding my keys or my cell phone? How about time spent looking for children’s shoes! How many days of my life have I spent looking for the other shoe, or the favorite dress? I’m stealing time from myself!

I’m not just stealing time either…it clutters up my brain and stresses me out.

What could I be doing with all that extra time and brain power? I want to find out!

This week I have been more sensitive to this behavior because I have been purposely making room. I have been decluttering because this weekend is General Conference for my church.

I want to be able to sit in a peaceful environment, with a calm mind and feel the spirit. I want to be ready to learn and grow and make changes in my life. When God whispers what he wants me to do, I don’t want to be doubting myself because I can’t even get the laundry done…or hesitating because I’m too stressed about how behind I am. Part of that is being OUT of the habit of making excuses for myself, and instead developing greater trust that God made me and has great plans for me.

This whole month of cleaning has put us all in a better place, in a better mood. What do you want to prepare for? What do you want to make room for? What are you looking forward to doing?

just keeping it real…my baby just crawled over to my purse…which I apparently put next to my rocking chair last night after volleyball. I was only carrying my purse last night. oh my. theory and practice. I think I need more practice.

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