Whenever I pay cash for something I get the change back and put it in my pocket. I can honestly say that nine times out of ten I don’t use this change to pay for anything. It goes back into a jar in my house and I don’t see it again until I’m really strapped for cash (that’s when you know you’re desperate!).
The thing about the change is that I don’t really believe it to be worth anything significant, so I treat it as such. You can imagine my surprise when I dip into my change jar and find thirty, forty, if not fifty dollars in it. I guess it adds up after all.
If you smell an analogy coming you’re right on track. The same applies to the “little” things in our lives. If I am trying to budget my money, the quickest thing that will ruin me is a disregard for the “little” purchases. In the same way, when I budget my time or my energy, it is equally destructive for me to forget about the little things.
I have recently been reviewing my schedule, looking for little places here and there that I can focus my time and get more productive. I have been running a little ragged and I need to do more to protect myself from getting burned (or developing a serious caffeine habit). I shouldn’t be so surprised at what I have found, but I have to say that I am. With a little effort, five minutes here, half hour there, and I have give myself an incredible amount of freedom. Who knew it was that easy…
But the truth is it isn’t easy. It requires discipline. The little stuff matters but it is a constant battle against my tendency to believe otherwise. So I’ve started to look at loose change differently. When I have a few pennies in my pocket I try to let them be a reminder that the little stuff adds up. I place my pennies in the jar with a smile knowing someday, by God’s grace, they’ll pay off big time.