If you know me at all, you know I like my lists and organizational systems. I am a scatterbrained, lazy, messy person at heart, so I need to have mechanisms in place to keep me on track — especially now that I have a baby’s needs and schedule to consider. The lists and systems are tremendously helpful, but at the core of it all is a mindset I’ve carried with me for years now, which I call WOE.

WOE is an acronym for Waste of Energy. My goal, always, is to make the best possible use of my resources, whenever I choose to tap into them. For instance, if I’m in the kitchen making breakfast, I only want to have to open the refrigerator once, to take out the milk for my coffee and the chopped walnuts and clementines for my breakfast. I only want to make one trip to the pantry, for my packet of oatmeal and bag of dried blueberries and the canned food for my cats. If I forget the cat food and have to make another trip to the pantry, or if I put the milk away after I’ve made my oatmeal but before I’ve poured it into my coffee and have to open the refrigerator again, that is a fail. More specifically, it’s a WOE.

One might call this a bit…obsessive, that I think in terms of steps and shortcuts, and that everything seems to be a test of how well I can manage my time and effort. Often, I feel like I’m my own quality control expert, chastising myself for having to make that extra trip down to the basement or out to the store (or even just to the refrigerator), pointing out yet another WOE I’ve racked up. I hate that I can be so hard on myself. But when I do manage to navigate this mental obstacle course and save myself a few extra seconds of time or microunits of energy, it feels like a small triumph. And I’m convinced that thinking this way is good for my brain. Though, when it gets right down to it, the time and energy I’m saving in doing all these things a certain, hyper-efficient way might be outweighed by all the brainpower I’m expending in thinking about how best to conserve my time and energy. That’s more than a WOE. That’s, like, WHOA.

Am I the only one who thinks this way? Comfort me with your own tales of WOE.

About these ads