• happymediumaw

Use Wisely

I believe in the phrase, "Work smarter, not harder," in relation to many areas of life, specifically when thinking about using resources to stretch as far as they can.

By resources, I am referring to our body, money, time, energy, etc.

Take your body, for instance. If you can exercise instensely in a target heart rate zone and burn the same amount of calories in 30 minutes that you could burn in an hour and half of walking, most of the time it would make sense to do the shorter workout. If you could eat whole, grown-from-the-earth foods that fuels and sustains your body for longer than a quick sugary snack would, shouldn't you pick the healthier option if you were thinking about your long-term health?

Think about how money comes into play. If I'm going to invest in a car, it would be wise for me to research all the vehicles in my price range and find one that has less mechanical issues and lasts longer than other vehicles; even if it cost a bit more up-front. This concept of stretching resources even applies to small decisions like whether or not to invest in disposable or reusable sandwich bags. Initially, reusable bags are more expensive than disposable, but the long term effect of that purchase is large. Reusable bags can be used for years and years, and leave little to no negavtive effect on the environment, whereas disposable bags cost us money for each use, and they pollute the oceans. Shouldn't that be a no-brainer?

Consider how we use our time. If I have to make a trip to Publix, Walmart, PetsMart, the Post Office and the pick my kids up from school, I'll have to plan out my trip. It would be silly to get in the car and just drive to these places in any random order based on where the wind takes me, right? I would naturally think about the most direct route to all of these locations based on the time I have to get everything done. I wouldn't want to waste gas and spend the whole day driving when I could do it wisely and save my money, time and energy.

Are we good stewards of what we have? Do we routinely choose the best way to maximize our resources? I know that I often times choose to eat food that not only doesn't fuel my body, but is downright harmful to me because it's the easier option. I don't always feel like thinking about what purchase I make and how long each product is going to last me in comparison to others. Often, I kick my shoes off when lounging on the couch, because I don't want to focus on leaving them at the door. It's just not always natural.

But here's the kicker:

Have you noticed how everything we do seems to shift when we become aware of our LACK of resource? We adjust the way we spend our money when the bank account is overdrawn. We adjust the way we spend our time when serious health problems knock on our door. Everything becomes more precious when we realize that it's slipping away. We begin to regret what we didn't take the time to do. We look back on life and realize that the little things mattered a lot more than we thought.

The concept of organizing your space should initially be handled with the same thought and care that you would handle any resource you have. Keep in mind that the goal of organizing is to maximize the use of what you already have. That includes your time, your energy, your money and your belongings. Think about it: If you take the time and money to hire me to help you declutter and organize the mountain of papers in your office, its gonna feel like an expense of time and energy and money at first. But as a mountain of paperwork, bills and mail quickly dwindles, is placed in a specific spot, and a well thought-through process is created, you'll begin to feel that value immediately. You'll move to look for a tax form and it will be in a neatly marked file. The time you previously used to spend searching through the mess while feeling frustrated, can now be used to do something more meaningful. The tightly packed closet filled with clothes in every size and style, will quickly become a place where you can stand and look in the mirror feeling confident that the clothes you are wearing fit you perfectly. Your kitchen pantry that was once a sea of boxes and cans is now a well-inventoried space, saving you from buying extra ingredients at the store "just in case" you didn't have it on-hand. Do you see? Organizing quickly stretches and maximizes exactly what have, reduces waste and offers freedom to focus on the things that truly matter.

In many ways, becoming organized initially feels like spending an extra $5 on one reusable sandwich bag, but the long-lasting value you walk away with adds exponentially to your life. How are you going to "use wisely" today?

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