Two minutes now saves hours later
A no-brainer on the Canyon is to spend two minutes checking ropes and tie-downs before running any rapids. There are horror stories of tie-downs that weren’t checked. The raft flips in a rapid and the entire contents of, say, a kitchen box are lost to the river. On a long trip, not having utensils, pots, and plates can be a lesson in creativity, or at worst, a lift-threatening event.
We were fortunate that we didn’t lose any gear on our trip. We were also fortunate not to lose any boats. During a different river trip over the summer, we heard about another Grand Canyon trip that had a boat get loose in the night and slip away. It was days before they found it. Perhaps if someone had taken two minutes before going to bed that night to check the ropes, the boat wouldn’t have wandered away. Maybe, maybe not (because the River is a fickle lady). Still, with the enormous consequences of losing a boat (even temporarily), taking those two minutes seemed prudent.
I will confess something that two minutes might have saved us: a boatload of spaghetti and meatballs.
Our kitchen setup consists of three metal tables with legs that fold in for storage and fold out for set up. The tables are set into a “U” shape for food preparation, cooking, and serving.
One day when we arrived in camp and as usual, everyone helped unload boats. On this day, the group decided to put the kitchen area up on a rise because of the great view of the river. Tables were set up, the stove was placed on one of the tables, and other items were put out according to their use (think utensils, pots, and plates). Then everyone scattered to unload their personal gear, set up their beds, and take care of personal needs. I may or may not have collapsed from exhaustion and the heat. Thank goodness for nap time!
As evening approached, the kitchen crew gathered what they needed to make appetizers for the group and to start cooking dinner. A huge stockpot was pulled out and filled with water. Boiling commenced and spaghetti noodles were cooked. They drained off the water and added sauce and frozen meatballs to the cooked spaghetti.
Then, disaster struck. Someone was stirring the giant pot of spaghetti, sauce, and meatballs. As they pulled the giant pot closer to the edge for a better stirring angle, the sand under the table shifted. As it did, the table lurched forward. The stove, pot and table hit the sand. As the contents of the hot stockpot hit the sand, they splattered people nearby. In addition to the disaster of splattering people with hot spaghetti sauce and flying meatballs, those were DINNER.
Thankfully, no one was hurt and most of what was ruined in the sand was the bunch of meatballs that were still frozen on top of the sauce.
As soon as it was determined that no one got hurt, the group assembled quickly for a discussion. If the set up folks had taken two minutes to properly “set” the tables deeply in the sand, the collapsing table incident might not have happened. If the kitchen crew had checked their tables before using them to make sure they were “set” deeply in the sand, the incident might not have happened. All around, everyone agreed to slow down, double check what we were doing, and ensure the safety of the group at all times. That, and we started strapping the table legs together in that “U” shape (you know, just to be safe).
Beyond the Canyon
Two minutes now saves hours later.
This idea is about saving time versus spending time.
After all, who doesn’t like to save? And who among us isn’t feel time-starved?
Part of the beauty of keeping up is understanding how spending two minutes now can literally save you hours later.
Let’s keep going with the mail example from Chapter two, shall we?
Suppose you identify with Scenarios #1 (The Avoider) or #2 (The Piler) or #3 (The Distracted One).
Let me explain very simply how failing to take two minutes now can turn into hours of trouble, tracking, and handling later.
Here’s the scene: you come home, grab mail from the box, and sling in onto the kitchen counter as you walk in the door. Each day you repeat this until you have a stack that’s nearly three feet tall.
In aggravation, you quickly sift through the pile and pick out bills, personal notes, and other readily identifiable pieces. The rest, you sweep into the recycle bin. Recycling is good right?
Unbeknownst to you, there’s a person who arrives at 4:30 am each day with a small flashlight. He sorts through those recycling bins looking for personal mail, and especially, credit card offers. He finds a few of yours and *presto* opens up a couple new accounts in your name. Can you say “identity theft?”
Now, you only realize this identity theft has happened when (a) you get a bill in the mail – assuming you open it (b) you check your credit report once a year and/or (c) your fraud protection through your bank kicks in and they call about suspicious activity.
Regardless of how you find out about this, you still have a big mess to sort out, right?
Just think, if you had taken two minutes each day to sort the mail and shred the sensitive stuff, you wouldn’t be the victim of identity theft!
And let’s not mention late fees that happen when you don’t open your mail in a timely manner. Or the amount of time it will take you to sort out the issue.
It’s similar to strapping the tables together to ensure that no spaghetti, sauce, or meatballs are harmed at dinnertime. Similar, but kinda different.
Are you getting my drift here?
Taking two minutes to handle something now saves hours of problems, aggravation, searching and cleaning up later.
Suggestions to make some room
In the real world, people still get burned by flying spaghetti sauce (literally or proverbially). That being said, there are a ton more practical ways for you to keep up instead of having to catch up.
- Examples of Two Minutes Wins
- Putting your phone, wallet, and keys in the same place every day
- Prepping first (then cooking)
- Filing, shredding, trashing
- Exercising and stretching
- Returning a hard call or email instead of avoiding it
- Saying the thing that’s hard to say
- Brushing and flossing
- Purposeful breathing
- Refilling your subscription or prescription before you are out
- Going ahead and buying the big pack of toilet paper
- Double checking the tie-downs on the kayaks on top of your car (just sayin’)
- Keeping up with your continuing education, expiration dates on your web hosting, and more
Ideally, you’ll begin to discover for yourself where those two minutes of magic can make a big difference in your life.
All I’m asking for is two minutes. It ain’t much…but I promise those two minutes have the power to save you hours of effort later.
Don’t miss previos chapters:
- Chapter One (Your brain is not for remembering)
- Chapter Two (It is easier to catch up than to keep up).
Also, stay tuned for Chapter Four (Getting organized is work; staying organized is habit) next week!
[All content and photos are (c) 2016 Angela Mattson Stegall and Nelson Stegall for the book, Make Some Room: Powerful Life Lessons Inspired by an Epic 16-day Colorado River Rafting Trip Through Grand Canyon.The book will be available mid-June through Amazon.com in paperback and Kindle formats.]