Many of you have read in some of my previous Tips that many years ago I was a school principal. I enjoyed those years so very much because I especially appreciated the interaction and time I had with the teachers and students.
The school started as an elementary school in 1973 and grew to include all grades up through high school. We had over 550 students with 65 teachers and staff. That experience helped me “grow up” more than just about anything else I have ever done in my life, other than my military school experience. I am quite sure that none of the teachers who taught me as I was growing up ever thought in their “wildest dreams” that I would become a school principal. If they had, they probably would have gotten out of the field of education! But, I learned so much and consider it a great experience in my own personal life.
As our school expanded, we had to increase the size of our facilities. One year, we added an entirely new building to the current structure we were using. It was during that addition to our school that something happened which I will never forget.
We hired a company to install the public address system, also know as the PA system. Anyone who has ever been in school knows that you use a PA system in order to make the daily announcements. It is also used to call people who are in trouble to the office. (That is for all of you who have those memories of years ago!) Anyway, the sound crew was there for several days installing the PA system. After they finished, they checked it all out to be certain it was functioning properly. They got in their trucks and drove away.
I thought they must be planning to come back in a few days to check the system one more time because they left all of their tools spread out in the equipment room. There must have been several thousand dollars worth of very expensive tools lying around all over the floor. After a few days, when I realized that they had not returned, I began to worry about the fact that the tools had not been picked up, so I called their office. The gentleman who answered the phone was the owner. And, as it turned out, he was also the father of the young man who had led the crew that installed our PA system. I politely explained that a lot of very expensive tools had been left at our school and I was concerned that they may have accidentally forgotten them or misplaced them. The gentleman began to laugh and said, “Oh, that’s nothing. One time they lost a truck!” I asked, “How do you lose a truck?” It seems the crew had gone to a job site in two trucks for their day’s work and returned in only one. The owner said that it had taken several days to find the truck. So, he had rather a cavalier attitude about only losing tools because they were certainly much less expensive than losing another truck!
I have always been amused by that story because it helps me to understand that sometimes people just cannot keep up with their stuff. I do not think you should be compulsive or neurotic about keeping up with absolutely everything you own, but neither do I think that you should be irresponsible and haphazard about the whereabouts of your belongings.
I have discovered that it works best for me to keep a small notebook handy where I can write things down. I am somewhat neurotic about making lists, but years ago I heard someone say that “a short pencil is better than long memory.” That is certainly true! If I will take just a minute to make myself a note of where I put something or who I loaned something to, it will invariably come back to help me rather than haunt me. Many times I have thought, “I will remember.” But, the truth of the matter is that I often forget! And, I just don’t think that is a healthy way to live. Writing myself a note to remind me of where I placed something has come in handy more than once. I am not necessarily suggesting that my system has to be your system, but I do think it is important that you have a way to keep up with your important belongings.
So, the next time you misplace something and wonder where it is, this Tip is going to come to your memory. I hope you do not lose your tools and I certainly hope you don’t lose a truck! As a matter of fact, I hope you don’t lose anything at all. But, just to be safe, create a system, especially if you have a hard time finding things that you have misplaced. You will discover that your stress level goes down and your productivity level goes up because you have a way of keeping up with your things.
Isn’t this a practical idea? I am sure it will come in handy soon!
Tip: Keep up with your stuff!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm
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