What Could I Accomplish If I Didn't Fritter?

I've been thinking about my habits.  It's safe to estimate that I spend an hour each day on maintenance and shuffling -- namely, picking up stuff and putting it back in its place, then picking up more stuff and putting it back in its place, and then noticing even more out-of-place stuff that needs to be picked up and returned to its rightful place.

It's a never-ending cycle, one that fritters away both time and energy.

I've read research suggesting that office workers are significantly less productive when they frequently check their email.  Instead of completing larger tasks, these workers are slaves to their inboxes, fragmenting otherwise open blocks of time with continual interruptions until their day is sucked dry.  The experts suggest a solution: devoting one block of time during the work day to read and respond to messages, and then signing off from email until the next day.

What if I applied this practice at home, too?  What could I accomplish if I didn't fritter away my time on meaningless tasks that, essentially, will need to be redone the next hour?

Well, I probably could accomplish some actual work.  Or, I could kick my feet up and read a magazine without feeling the compulsion to clean and arrange ALL! THE! STUFF! repeatedly.

When I think of frittering, I think of a fidgety squirrel darting to and fro between squirrel-related tasks.  I've never seen a squirrel lounge. I've never seen a squirrel in a state of rest. Squirrels reside in a state of perpetual nervous tension. They're jumpy. They're agitated. They're kind of twitchy.

I don't want to be a squirrel.  I don't want to fritter away my time and strength on stuff that doesn't matter.  I'm advocating neither laziness nor complacency, just the art of learning to rest.

Perhaps I simply need a little less of this:

and a little more of this:

Images compliments of Doug88888 and Richie Preiss (flickr.com)
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  1. You need the :laundry hamper". The one that you fill with everything that's in the wrong place and you take 20 minutes to quickly empty it. Works for me... because I like you, could spend a whole day primping and never get anything accomplished.

    Congrats on keeping the pace with your blogging challenge. I hope at the end you'll share what came of it.

    Wishing you an amazing day my friend.

  2. O.K. This is a bit gross, but I have to share because it fits. One day last week as we were heading off to school, we found a dead squirrel on our front sidewalk. He had no visible signs of injury (i.e. blood, cuts, etc) but had an obviously crooked, broken spine. My girls asked me what had happened to him and were a bit angry with our dog thinking she had something to do with the squirrel's untimely death. After much pondering, I came to this conclusion: I believe the squirrel actually may have fallen from a tree branch that stretches out over our sidewalk. This would mean he fell approximately 15 feet down onto the concrete. What's the point you ask?? Perhaps frittering too much can actually be dangerous! So, be careful mama and don't fritter yourself to death! :-) (For the record, I am a notorious fritterer as well!)

  3. As you can imagine, I find myself in the same boat pretty often. To help with it, I've made a deal that I never go from one room to the other without taking something with me. So, even though it can be considered flitting, it's done as a multi-task. I do like the idea of a laundry basket though. Might head out to the store to pick one up just for this.

  4. My husband is the fritter. He says he can't relax unless our daughters' toys are picked up. I say he's fighting a losing battle unless it is bedtime or naptime...as soon as he puts something away it gets pulled right back out.

  5. I have the same rule! (Especially when moving from the upstairs to the downstairs!)

  6. Point duly noted, Lisa!
    Poor, poor little squirrel.... ;)

  7. Terrific idea! And thank you so much for your support and good wishes regarding the daily blogging. You're just great!


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