There’s Such a Thing as Being TOO Efficient

There’s such a thing as being TOO efficient which I just discovered, um, experientially.

Look; I know that’s a hard sell, because TOO efficient? How can efficiency be bad? Like, EVER? And, trust me, I know the demands on our time and the number of things we have to get done — the dishes, the laundry, the jobs; the poopy bottoms, the owie kisses, the fights to break up; the lunches, the dinners, the incessant snacks; the snuggles, the sweat, the stories; not to mention the email boxes, the grocery shopping, the tiny tasks that are death by a thousand paper cuts, and the various demands to be a good — or, OK, passable for those of us setting a more realistic bar — wife, daughter, friend, employee, mama and more. 

Because there’s always more, right?? So Much More; I know this, I do, and I can sympathize, down to my cherry red toenails, with the need to Do All the Things and Do Them Right Now or else Fall Further Behind, which is, I swear, one of the 9 Circles of Dante’s Hell. 

“Further Behind.” Ugh. It’s the 5th Circle of Hell in the modernized version of Dante’s Inferno we shall call WE ARE WAY TOO BUSY, MAN.

Dante’s 9 Circles of Hell for Those of Us Who Are WAY Too Busy:

  1. Busy
  2. Way Too Busy 
  3. Behind
  4. Really Behind
  5. Further Behind
  6. HURRY UP
  7. DO MORE THINGS
  8. Whatever. I Don’t Even Care Anymore. Sleep Was Overrated, Anyway.
    and
  9. Almost Caught Up, which is the worst one of all because IT DECEIVES US into thinking Caught Up is possible

On the bright side, I hear the beer is really good in Hell. Microbrewies, like, EVERYWHERE. Warm, yes, but, still, BEER.

Nevertheless, some of us live in the 9 Circles; we’re at least Way Too Busy, and so we think — we think — if we just TRY HARD ENOUGH and are More Efficient, we can work our way out.

Now, I’m not saying efficiency is always bad. Efficiency has its place. I’m just saying All Things in Moderation, friends.

Because there will come a time in life — there will — when you’re trying to Do All the Things and Do Them Right Now, and you will find yourself rushing into the public restroom to take a quick potty break you Do Not Think you have time to take, and you will discover yourself EFFICIENT-ing your time without even thinking about it by unbuckling your belt and undoing your jeans button and unzipping your pants before — BEFORE —  you actually arrive inside the stall and close the door and have things like, you know, the PRIVACY to undress. 

You will, somewhere in your subconscious, think this is a good use of time. 

You will, somehow, believe undoing your pants pre-stall makes sense.

You will, on some level, be confident you are saving precious seconds you can use later, and that this will get you ahead

Interestingly, as you are rushing, fly open, you will notice you are NOT ALONE in the restroom. Of course you’re not alone. OF COURSE NOT. You are not alone, and your FLY IS OPEN because YOU opened it, at which point you will have two choices, as follows:

  1. Ignore the social ramifications of the situation and pretend it’s entirely normal to prepare for pottying in such a manner, or 
  2. Twist quickly to the side, away from the other restroom occupant, and both subtly and gracefully pull your shirt down over your pants so she doesn’t notice. 

OBVIOUSLY, you will go with Option #2, and OBVIOUSLY you will accidentally slam your knee into the cabinet on the wall of said restroom, totally wrecking both subtle and graceful, but ROCKING “distracting” which turns out to be a serendipitously effective alternative.

Anyway, friends, the point is, there’s such a thing as being TOO efficient, TOO multitasky, and TOO ahead of game. I know in our busy world with too much to do, it can be hard to believe — nay, impossible —  that it’s better NOT to do All the Things Simultaneously, but there are Certain Circumstances where that’s TRUE, friends. 

True truth. 

Which I share because I love you.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
13 comments
  1. I was so efficient one day when trying to get the kids to school on time, I ran in to go potty and realized once I got back to the car after washing my hands etc, I never actually went potty. I pulled the pants down, sat, pulled pants up, washed hands, ran back to car. I was going so fast and efficient I forgot to pause and pee.

  2. Post-episiotomy, I am often unbuttoning as I run for the bathroom. So far, not in a public place (yet). Oldest daughter does not believe in closing doors at all although she does at school. She had such bad separation anxiety that I was never allowed to close the bathroom door (periods have always been fun, lots of sneaking off when she was distracted) and so she has grown up with an open door policy. I am sure she will just decide one day that she doesn’t want to pee in public.

  3. Oh Beth,thank you! I was sitting at the computer feeling guilty for wasting my time reading blogs (on this gorgeous sunday morning, with my house full of mess and half-done jobs). And first Amber Dusick made me think (about how I don’t need to focus on one thing and excel at it, I can just do different things, have fun and be mediocre).

    And now you have made me laugh out loud. This could have been me. Efficiency is my god.

  4. Haha! Beautiful. My three year olds prepare for pottying in just this way. Except they start in the living room.

  5. I’m laughing out loud. Oh my gosh so true. I’m a little older than you and I think I made Efficiency my god for awhile…anything could be excused if it meant I’d get ahead! You are wise to see it, and blessed to have such a comical epiphany. Run!

  6. At least you didn’t pee your pants. 🙂

  7. Thanks! I thought I was the only one. You had me laughing so hard I had to run to the bathroom!

  8. I have totally done this, for exactly the same reason!!

  9. Efficiency can be a tricky thing! I took my four year old to her first friend birthday party. When i picked her up, She had gone to the bathroom and peed but didnt shut the door! We don’t at our house and i have over looked the fact that i should teach her the proper PUBLIC way of going to the bathroom! OOPS!
    I know she was trying to save time by not closing the door. She always wait until the last possible second to RUN to the bathroom! who has time for doors!?

    🙂

  10. I’m on circle eight…..
    My husband got a temp job that was going to turn into a full time job (because, you know, it’s important to give the wife and kids food if you’re a responsible man) that kicked us off our subsidized housing. Which was fine! We were totally ready to be productive members of society! Except that the apartment complex has to kick us out now. Which is cool. We get it. Other people need help too. So we have to find a new apartment by the 20th.
    Well, the temp job? The one that was supposed to be a regular, monday through friday, swing shift, full time, wonderful job? It turned out that the temp agency was totally wrong about the hours. It’s on a seven day rotating shift schedule, so one third of the time it clashes with his class schedule, so he had to quit. Because ya gotta think about the future, not just right now. So we’re frantically scrambling for a job AND a house, and trying to pack, and I just found out a week and a half ago that we’re pregnant with baby number three.
    So yeah.
    Anyone know of a cheap apartment in East Idaho that will take a family of four and a half with no job at the moment?

  11. My 8 year old son routinely has his pants down past his butt before he reaches the bathroom at home. I just pray he does not actually do this in public bathrooms or at school, but I’m just living in a fantasy world, I know. For him it is less an issue of efficiency as complete lack of modesty.

    1. Totally my daughter too! And I pray the same prayer!

    2. Don’t know about 8 yr olds but it certainly happens in public with kindergarteners. One day I’m picking up my 6 yr old (we have to walk and get them from their classroom) and he says “I’ve gotta pee!” as we are about to leave. As he rushes to the in-class bathroom he is dropping his pants and undies for all to see. I yell something about waiting to get inside, you’re going to scar the girls for life and his teacher pipes up, “Don’t worry about it. Happens ALL THE TIME. All the kids forget at least some times.” I’m guessing my kid is on the higher end of the forgetting spectrum. I’ve also heard his teacher casually tell a student to “get your hands out of there” referring to a boy with his hand down his pants in such a bored voice that you know surely she says it a hundred times a day.

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