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Lessons From Mr. Efficient

By Patty Gardner

My husband is the most efficient person I know.  I, on the other hand, have to work at it.  I’m somewhere between a messy and a born organized with ADHD thrown into the mix.

But during the last 30 years of being married to Mr. Efficient, I’m observed some interesting things he does to make life a little bit easier.

1. He cleans as he goes.  When he’s making his breakfast, he throws trash away instead of leaving it on the Lessons From Mr. Efficient for Franklincounter.  While he’s waiting for his oatmeal to cook, he unloads the dishwasher or dumps the trash.   He washes dishes as he finishes with them.  If he runs out of time and can’t wash his dishes, he puts them in the sink instead of on the counter.  When he’s getting things out of the refrigerator, he tosses old stuff that he notices (I do it all in one fell swoop when the refrigerator gets too full).  When he gets home, he immediately empties the trash and dirty dishes out of his lunch box and puts his ice block in the freezer (I do it later when I clean up the kitchen).  He does things NOW instead of LATER.


2.  He sticks to a schedule.  He’s a self-employed remodeling contractor and has been for the last 26 years.  Pretty much that whole times he’s kept the same schedule of getting up about 6:30, leaving at 7:30 and getting to work at 8:00.  The only exception is if he needs materials in which case he leaves earlier, picks them up on the way and still gets to work at 8:00.  I think that’s impressive.  If it were me, I’d probably (no, definitely) have a pretty erratic schedule.


3. He takes advantage of minutes instead of waiting for big blocks of time.  Since we’ve been married, we’ve purchased several fixer-upper homes and remodeled them.  Most people wait until they have a big block of time to work on a remodeling project – but not him.  When we were working on a project, he worked on it a little bit each day.  You might think it’s a waste of time to get out the paint, paint a little bit, and then have to clean it up and put it away.  But if he had waited for big blocks of time, our projects would have taken forever.  Since he took advantage of those smaller blocks of time, he always got projects wrapped up in record time.


4.  He tries to prevent making messes.  During those remodeling projects, he was always really good about doing anything he could to minimize the mess.  It might have meant putting down drop cloths or hanging plastic in a doorway.  Whatever he could do, he did it.  He also cleaned as he went.


5.  He doesn’t run unnecessary errands.  He plans his errands so they dovetail with his route.  I’ve run to Wal-mart before for one thing that could have waited until I was out.  He rarely wastes time that way.


You might think that living with Mr. Efficient could be stressful for someone like me but it hasn’t been.  He knows I’m not like him and doesn’t expect me to be.  But I have learned some things from watching him and I like to think I’m a little more efficient than I used to be.




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