Tuesday, February 7, 2012

The Right Tool at the Right Time

Tools are awesome IF used correctly and IF you have the right tool for the job.  Without these two conditions, tools are infuriating.  Have you ever tried to use a screwdriver for a hammer?  Have you ever been stuck with a pen when you really needed a pencil?  Have you ever had to use scissors on a project more appropriate for an Exacto knife?  Tools are only great if you use the right tool, the right way, on the right problem.

Time is a tool.  Used correctly, on the right problem, time is awesome.  But used incorrectly......ARRRGGGHHHH!!!!!!  It leaves us feeling frustrated and defeated.  Let's consider a few areas of life where this might be happening.

 Maybe we feel like we never have time to connect with our children?  Maybe if we re-purposed cooking time, driving time, eating time, or recreational time we could find ways to connect with our child.    Allow them to assist us preparing food while discussing the day.  Ban all electronics form car rides lasting less than an hour.  Turn off the television and go shoot some hoops or play a round of cards.

Maybe we have trouble finding time to exercise? We could repurpose lunch time, play time, getting dressed time, cleaning house time to include some exercises.  Walk don't drive to lunch.  Do leg lifts while brushing teeth.  Play chase with the children before bath time.  Don't bend to pick things up, but do knee bends.  Try to clean an entire bathroom in 10 minutes. Huff, huff, huff.

If we will evaluate our use of time, we may find that our biggest problem is not using it correctly.  For example, how often have we rushed around in the morning, doing an impersonation of a psychotic hunter gatherer as we try to get everyone out of the door on time?  Let's say all this running around and hunting took 25 minutes.  How frustrating is that experience?  How many times do we snap at a loved one?  What are moods like when we all finally leave the house?

Now imagine the difference if we had taken that same 25 minutes the night before. Maybe while the kids played in the tub as the husband watched, we could do all of this hunting and gathering.  If the kids are older, they could help with the hunting and gathering.  We might still be frustrated by the time we are finished, but instead of going out to face the day, we can get a cup of hot tea and a good book, and chill out for a few minutes  The next morning as everyone leaves, moods are calm and maybe even excited about the day.

I am not talking about saving time, though that is certainly a subject I hope to cover.  I am talking about using time correctly so that the use of it produces a sense of accomplishment instead of failure.  In what areas of our life do we fight time?  If we can find a different time to do THOSE things, if we can re-purpose our time to accomplish multiple goals at once, then time will become one of our most valuable tools.  My MIL has often said, "If you don't use your head, you have to use your feet."  A little planning can go a long way.


  1. I like your plan of repurposing time. I also agree that hunting and gathering should be done the night before! I need to begin hunting and gathering for Wed. School NOW. :)

  2. It's is funny to think that as far as society has come, we are basically still a bunch of hunters and gatherers.
    As for Wed. school, I hunt and gather ALL week! ;)