Time is a measurement we constantly strive to manage. We often take the receiving end perspective and consider how the lack of time may affect us personally. Last Spring I received an email from my daughter’s school. For an upcoming activity, each parent was asked to supply two wooden clothespins. The request seemed innocent enough but the minimalist inside of me reared her ugly head. We don’t have any clothespins (wooden or plastic). I would have to find time in my busy week to purchase this small item. Great, another task on my to-do list.
It seemed such a waste to purchase a whole pack for just two pins. I’ll never use them and I will have to either throw them away (actual waste) or find a home for them (waste of space). The latter seemed ridiculous as I don’t believe in holding onto items just in case. I grabbed my phone, opened Whatsapp and began frantically typing a rant to the parent’s group of my daughter’s class. Thankfully I paused to reflect on my message and didn’t automatically press send. What was I going to achieve by ranting except wasting other people’s time, cluttering their phone with unnecessary messages?
I quickly pulled up the website to a local shop and found wooden clothes pins, sets of 32 for €1.25. I did the math. There are approximately 30 kids in the class, so for all of €2.50 I could order clothespins for all the students and save 29 parents from finding time looking for or shopping for clothespins. I re-wrote my message to the parent’s group and quickly order the clothespins. Money well spent if it saved someone else time and energy.
What was the lesson I learned? Be mindful of the time you are requesting of others. What may seem simple and easy could actually be time-consuming and energy draining. And when possible, if you have time to give, help others manage their time by taking on the task.
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