I promise, I’m not going to wax all nostalgic and talk about how no one ever wishes they’d have swept just one more time. No, that’s not my direction at all. Yesterday, I was listening to This Week in Tech, mostly because I’m a huge geek and partly because my cabinets needed scrubbing. I knew somewhere under the peanut butter and kid grime they were white, I just had to be able to prove it to people who happened to stop by for a visit.
While I was scrubbing, Leo Laparte noted how much TV the average American watches daily, as stated by Nielsen Ratings. (5.1 hours assuming 30 days in a month). With the exception of freelancers, earning income outside of your work hours can be difficult. Yet, when I talk to people about steps they can take to control their budget or improve their surroundings, the most common excuse I hear is, “I don’t have time for that.”
If you find yourself saying, “Oh, I don’t have time for that,” each time a cost-saving project is mentioned, take an inventory of how you spend your time. Be as honest as possible. I know I’m guilty of wasting a LOT of time on the Internet, even when I half-heartedly justify it as research. It’s also a good idea to note the more time a person exposes themselves to commercials, the more likely they may be to feel a need that wasn’t there before.
Marketers refer to this as creating a need.
It’s really hard to want this season’s hottest accessory if you haven’t seen what it is. And as far as I can tell, the real life fashion police aren’t quite as harsh as one might imagine; all it takes is looking around at Wal-Mart on a Saturday afternoon to realize this. No one is handing out fines for a fashion faux pas*.
*Note: I am not suggesting that we all need to walk around in rags, but it’d be a good idea to keep in mind that a column writer probably couldn’t afford both rent and Manalo Blahniks unless of course, there were some serious endorsements being underwritten.
So what’s my point?
You have the same number of hours as everyone else on the planet. Yes, you may have kids (hey, I’m right there with you), you may be caring for an elderly relative, you may work an insane number of hours. Some of these things are obligations and some of these things are an excuse wrapped in a martyr’s cloak of responsibility.
Take a few minutes to check the circulars for sales, plan your menu, write down your grocery list.
You can do these things with the TV on in the background. If you need to spend time with the kids, sit them down and ask for their input during the process. These are skills they need and it’s unlikely they will learn them at school.
If that’s too much, we have already written several menus and grocery lists, including a month long menu plan with complete shopping list.
Take your new found time to make your surroundings more pleasant. Organize and clean your living areas. It’s surprising how a messy room relays a feeling of helplesness. If you’re at a loss, Ivy has some great posts on getting started:
So what are you waiting for?