Pay it forward
Reap what you sow
and so on…
I had a funny thing happen this weekend. In Seattle we have to recycle almost everything. Our trash is picked up each Monday and this Monday was recycling day. Between Bill and I we get lots of packages – mostly books! – and so we have lots of boxes to breakdown and put in the huge green recycling bin.
The boxes had been building up in our laundry room, so I decided to just go for it and break them all down. It’s not a fun task because I have to take all the plastic tape and labels off and break down the box before it can go in the bin. And some boxes have a lot of tape that’s sometimes hard to get off.
About half way through the task, I was getting grumpy. So much tape! I started to whine and grumble about this one box, in particular. It was a large box, sent via FedEx Ground. The sender used a whole roll of tape it seemed – the thin kind that is hard to peel off.
And then it happened – the turning point in this story. Can you guess it?
I had sent the box to myself. When I was in New Mexico, I sent a box full of stuff home. I had taped up this box and was now causing my own grief! And then I realized something else. I always do this – I use HUGE amounts of tape on boxes. I thought it was helpful, but now see that it is NOT helpful.
Another thing – I even put tape on envelopes. I cover the "to" address and tape the closure. I now realize that these envelopes cannot be recycled or easily shred. I am adding to the landfills and causing more work.
The origin of this behavior is altruistic – I want packages and letters to arrive safely and had the notion that using tons of tape helped this. But really, the extra tape is not needed and now I see that it is not helpful.
Many little habits like this start off as being well intended but actually cause more work, double work, or waste. Think about how you would feel if you were to receive your own work. Are you inadvertently making work more difficult?
One thing I know for sure, I am going to lower my yearly budget for packing tape.