Upon hearing that I have a blog about tracking things, the most frequent thought that leaps to people’s minds is, “You need to get a life!” Some kind souls keep it to themselves, but I know it is there, lurking.
Today I thought, “What if I did give up counting and tracking things? How would my life be better?”
First of all, I wouldn’t need to budget any more. I could just keep a rough idea in my head of how much money I need to pay bills and how much I can spend. Obviously, I would make mistakes, ring up lots of bank fees and overdraft charges, and if my spending ramped up, I could just make the minimum payment on my credit card. I would then be one of the thoroughly average people who spends 1.33 x what they earn on a regular basis.
Next, I could breathe a sigh of relief and stop thinking about what I eat. I could buy what I liked, either at the grocery store or dining out, and simply eat until I’m full whenever I feel like it.
Likewise, I could go for a walk or exercise when the mood struck, starting when I had high energy and stopping when I ran out of steam. I’m sure that would happen all the time 🙂
And clothes? I could stop my foolish minimal wardrobe plan and have fun with fashion. I am sure that my shoe and handbag collections are so far below average that I have lots of remedial spending to do. Let me just check what colours are on trend for Spring 2013!
I will certainly have to give up my time-consuming, nit-picky habits such as sorting the trash, recycling and composting. What was I thinking? I could be saving minutes a day!
And most importantly of all, I will need to stop making lists, because they are only for obsessive people who like to be able to cross things off them.
OK, on a more serious note, a reasonable amount of listing, counting and tracking keeps me away from chaos. I didn’t enjoy being down to my last $20 at the end of the month and making the minimum payment on my credit card. It didn’t feel like freedom at all – it felt like a monster was breathing down my neck! I did enjoy spending as much as I liked on groceries and eating whatever I wanted, however, it resulted in a 30 lb weight gain in 4 years and that wasn’t quite sustainable! Walking and exercising intermittently meant that I was always starting over and never attaining a level of fitness, so there were no results to be celebrated. Haphazard clothes shopping left me with unmatchable items that I only wore once, and worse yet, poor quality items that could only be worn once. Recycling and composting are another story. Our city pick-up system requires it, and they reject bags of mixed garbage. To throw everything together, I’d have to hide it in double black bags, and the guilt would be crushing 🙂 And the list thing? I’m sure I could afford to forget a few household tasks, but my employer might think differently of me if I failed to complete key tasks on the job.
You know my conclusion. Judicious use of listing, counting and tracking makes my life better. Yes, there is always a tendency toward overkill. Mostly, though, I like to meet my responsibilities, be accountable to myself and others, and enjoy the occasional burst of progress or accomplishment.
Dar @ An Exacting Life
^^ I like to feel calm and productive ^^