Sunday, September 30, 2012

The One Minute Manager

There is a rule that I have recently implemented into my life. I'm practicing at every possible chance, because Google's finest researchers haven't agreed on how many days it takes to break a habit. I only know it's a LOT more days than I wish it were. (I wish it could all be worked out in 30 minutes, like an episode of Full House.)

So...the newbie:
If it's worth doing, and takes one minute or less to do, do it now.

It is increasingly apparent to me that lots of good things take me sixty seconds or less:
Paying my rent online
Writing a postcard to a friend
Watering that plant in the living room
Taking out the trash.  Ohhhh, the trash. How many minutes have I fumed because I didn't use the first minute well.

Once, a friend and I returned home from Ash Wednesday Mass to find the trash bag we had conveniently leaned by the patio now wiggling IN THE MIDDLE OF THE WALKWAY. On the WELCOME MAT. Where it was WIGGLING and certainly NOT WELCOME.

There was a possum inside.

He had a great fondness for sweet potato fries, and just knew with his keen possum sense that we had hidden fry remnants two crusty layers deep in the trash bag. (That's the real picture up there. I was praying that our sliding glass door was bulletproof, in case the possum wanted in and was really, really fast.)

We shuddered and shouted for a broom. Weapon in hand, we felt menacing enough to sprint like Olympic sissies past the hoppin' Hefty bag, into the house. We double-locked the door in case possum Spidey sense could get past knob locks, too.

(The trash bag battle is a toughie. Here is one of many mouse-hole pictures I have texted to all four housemates to underline a grave fact: our back patio may be the neighborhood Great American Buffet for rodents. They're out there telling each other that those ladies with the big backyard provide plastic-wrapped, bite-sized Trader Joe's samples on a bi-weekly basis.)

Other one-minute wonders:
Making my bed.
Filing receipts each week.
Loading the dishwasher.
Emailing one person just because.
Choosing my clothes for the next day.

Those minutes help me appreciate and remember the bigger things that have to happen in order to accomplish the smaller tasks: I can't pay the rent in 39 seconds unless I have taken 60 hours that month to earn the money. I can't pack a real lunch unless I have planned ahead and purchased groceries.

They also remind me how quick tasks can turn into drawn-out chaos if I don't take care of them in a timely manner. Like that time the $10 parking ticket blossomed into a $92 late fee because I lost it under a pile of to-do lists. (To understand my feelings in that moment, please see picture above.)

Here's to "the heroic minute: here you have a mortification that strengthens your will and does no harm to your body." -St. Josemaria Escriva


  1. Love this Tala! What a great reminder :)

  2. I love this. Hope you are well, sweet friend!

  3. I am laughing so hard the tears are running down my face! I can just SEE you sprinting like Olympic sissies (and I would have been screaming the whole sprint!) It reminds me of the Mr James who carried a "dead" possum by the tail to the alley garbage only to come back 10 minutes later and find that the possum had WALKED AWAY! EEEEK ICKY SCREAM! I will come back later and digest all the great one-minute philosophies - after I get this possum out of my brain!!!!! Mom