Thursday, June 14, 2012

Learning to be Inefficient

Yes, I really did mean to type, "inefficient"!
Growing up, one of my heroes was Frank Gilbreath.  You remember him; the father of twelve featured in the book Cheaper By The Dozen?  I loved his efficiency studies and work.  I was fascinated by his approach to getting things done.  I am not always the most efficient person, but it bugs me to waste motion and steps.  I was a nurse and getting things done quickly and efficiently was critically important.  I am a Mom; efficiency is even more critical in this job or I would never finish and get to bed at night!
The magazines are full of little tips on how to get your work done as easily and efficiently as possible.  Put a basket in each room to collect the household detritus; don't carry it back until it is full and then put everything away at one time.  Stack things at the top and bottom of the stairs and wait until you have to make a trip up or down to combine jobs and save steps.  Do everything in one room before moving along to the next.  When hanging out clothes, drape several items over your shoulder rather than walk back and forth to the clothes basket.  You get the idea.
The goal of all of this is to save steps; to make as few steps as possible in a day.  But stop and think just a minute.  If all my steps count toward going to New Zealand, and if I want to get there in my lifetime, maybe instead of taking fewer steps each day I really want to take more.  So I have had to start making a conscious effort to be less efficient.  One day in the late afternoon I glanced at my pedometer and discovered that I was not getting very many steps in.  I think I was only around 2 miles for the day.  I still had some laundry to get done, so I picked up an item in the bedroom and walked through the house to the laundry room.  I walked back to the bedroom and got another item.  I think I carried that whole load of laundry from bedroom to laundry room one piece at a time.  Then I started picking up the clean laundry in the laundry room, carrying it to the bedroom and putting it piece at a time.  For the rest of the afternoon I cleaned house like this.  Of course it took longer to get things finished, but they did get finished and at the end of the day I was over 4 miles for the day.  I also got some rather befuddled looks from my husband ~ who knows me too well and is too wise to say anything!  I did finally explain to him what I was doing and why.  I choose to believe that those choking noises were him expressing his admiration for me and not snorting and choking in an effort to keep from laughing out loud!
The bottom line here is that there is no pressing reason for me to burn through household chores in an hour or less.  If it takes me all morning or all afternoon to get my work done and I can get a little further along my path while I work, so what?!  Remember, I am taking a lifetime to make the trip of a lifetime.  New Zealand, here I come!

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