If necessity is the mother of invention, than laziness is its deadbeat dad. Nowhere has this become more obvious than raising a teenage boy. Compared to my success rate with chore charts, incentive programs and even bribery, appealing to my son’s natural laziness has produced the best results.
For example, last week I gave him the option of either a) have his bedroom floor cleared in 5 minutes and I would vacuum his room on my way through, or b) he could get the vacuum out and use it himself at another time, after his floor was cleared. A few minutes later, I smiled to myself as I arrived at his room and it was open and ready.
Aren’t we all like that though, to some degree? Laziness is often a source of inspiration for creativity and progress. Our innate desire to exert less effort has led to all sorts of appliances, gadgets and buttons that do work for us, or make it easier. We simplify our homes and find more efficient ways to get things done, so our time is freed up to do things we prefer.
Maybe laziness is a harsh word to use. It is more comfortable to think we are “working smarter” or some such saying. I personally like to call it “conserving my energy,” since my chronic illness gives me only so much to work with each day. This month, I have been using a monthly meal plan and prepping extra amounts for future meals as I make dinners. The result has been that some days I have half the meal already prepped, or even ready to simply thaw and warm up.
Reap the Rewards of Planned Giving
There are many areas where this type of efficient thinking and practice makes life easier and cheaper. The biggest I have found are in cooking, running errands, and gift giving. I have explained a bit about the usefulness in cooking in my look at Meal Planning. Combining errands, figuring out what sequence to run them to minimize extra travel and save on gas, is fairly straightforward.
Gift giving is a big budget item for many of us, with the potential to become a budget buster throughout the year — not to mention the huge hit at Christmas. Over the past few years, I have found a number of ways to cut this way back.
First of all, plan ahead. The most inefficient and expensive way to give a gift is to buy something at the last minute and paying to have it wrapped and mailed express. A better way is to keep a small stock of cards (or card making materials), wrapping paper and mailing supplies on hand. The best way is to not only stash supplies, but also to buy or make presents throughout the year as you find inspiration and good deals. This doesn’t mean giving people items that are cheap looking or impersonal. Rather, by knowing who you will be giving something to ahead of time, you can be on the lookout for something that is meaningful and also purchase it at a discount. Then, send it out in plenty of time via regular mail.
For crafters, this also means not having to rush to finish a gift at the last minute (nah, that never happens), and spreading out the purchase of craft supplies to take advantage of coupons or mail order supplies.
I also now incorporate a Plan B approach to made gifts. I try to have a bought gift backup idea in case it gets close to the wire and I will not be able to complete a project. I want my handmade gifts to be made with love, not stress.
Think about ways to simplify the ways you do things. Give a task to a teenager and see how they break it down. There usually is not just one right way to do something. Find the best way that works for you, freeing up your valuable time and resources.