I couldn’t believe it. I was actually digging through the trash for money this week. Here’s what happened: I was cleaning off my desk and trying to get everything sorted out as fast as I could. A few dollars in change emerged from the rubble, so I picked it up and held onto the quarters and dimes while I gathered some paper to throw away. Feeling good about how quickly I cleaned up my desk, I walked into the kitchen with trash in one hand and my change in another. Without losing a step, I tapped the trash open with my foot and dropped the change into the can like it was an ATM.
With the trash in hand still, I stood there and thought, “What on earth would possess me to throw away money!” So, like any frugal finance person would do, I dug through the trash to pick up the change I foolishly threw in.
But it was only a few dollars? Why go through the trouble? I became a dumpster diver that day because I immediately realized that a few lessons could be learned from all of this.
1. Stop Trying To Do Too Many Things At Once.
I love multi-tasking when possible; I feel more productive and generally can see more things get done. But, there comes a point when multi-tasking doesn’t make sense. One of the reasons I threw the money away was because I didn’t take two seconds to finish putting the change in a jar, or even in my pocket for that matter. I ended up worse off by trying to do too many things at once.
It was obvious this time – my actions led me to realize the negative outcome right away. But some things aren’t so obvious. “It’s harmless,” we say as we text at church or tweet at the dinner table. Here’s a small challenge that can really change your life: the next time you think about multitasking, ask yourself what is being (or might be) neglected because you’re diverting your attention somewhere else.
2. Our Grip On Money Isn’t Always As Good As We Think It Is – Slow Down!
It felt like slow motions as I watched the change fall from my hand. I’m not kidding – I’ll pick up a nickel if I find it on the sidewalk and save it, so watching money slip from my grips wasn’t fun. The worse part was that I thought I had control of the situation, but in reality my grip wasn’t as good as it seemed.
Ever feel like that? You think you’re doing everything the right way, but something comes along in life and you end up dropping your change in the trash without thinking twice. Sometimes it can feel like a giant street sign that reads “slow down,” at least it did for me.
I dug out the dimes, but it wasn’t because we desperately needed money. It was my way of reminding myself to slow down. I think I’ll remember this story for a long time and get a few more laughs out of it. But most of all, I’ll remember it as a lesson in slowing down and taking the time to do things right the first time.
Can you remember a situation where you realized that you needed to slow down a little bit?
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