While I was out with Annabelle yesterday I watched, in what seemed like horrifying slow motion, as she dropped a goldfish on the floor…and then picked it up and popped it in her little mouth. I just couldn’t get there fast enough to stop it. While a tiny part of me started to gag, another part tried to remind myself of the five-second rule, taking solace in the fact that a little dirt wasn’t going to hurt her. Right? It’s funny when I think back on bringing her home from the hospital. How for those first few months, we would wash our hands religiously before even thinking about touching her. How anyone with even a sniffle was regarded with suspicious eyes. Now my daughter sometimes eats food off the floor. And not even only OUR floor. Awesome.
Anyway, it made me think of another little five-second rule. A kind of organizing mantra that I made up and sometimes repeat to myself. (Organizing mantra? I know, I know, how cool am I?) See, when I find myself getting lazy, and wanting to, say, throw my coat over the kitchen chair rather than hang it up, I think, it will literally take me five extra seconds to hang this up rather than throw it over the chair. Five seconds. That’s it. When I want to throw a bill on the desk in my office, rather than file it away, I think, it will only take me five extra seconds to file this rather than tossing it on my desk. Five seconds. When I want to throw my clothes on the floor rather than in the hamper I think, five seconds.
Just five seconds. Usually that’s about all it takes to put something away in its proper place.
Now, think of all the simple things you could have done in five seconds adding up. How quickly all those little things combine to create one big ol’ mess of…coats over chairs, clothes on the floor, papers all over your desk…and so on and so forth. Now, THAT kind of mess would take way more than a measly five seconds to get in order. That kind of mess would take a full-on hour Fury to clean up.
So I ask myself, five seconds now, or an hour of searching and straightening things up later? Presented like that, it’s a pretty easy choice. Nine out of ten times I pick the five seconds now. (The tenth time I tell that little voice it my head to shove it and toss my clothes on the floor. It happens.)
But usually I remember…just five little seconds.