Reluctantly Springing Forward


By Chris Watson

There has been much ballyhoo about the recent time change. Much of this complaining has fallen under the current culture of “no one tells me what to do” than actual, factual, debate.  Go figure.  This constant, cultural oppositional-defiant syndrome seems so pervasive it has even invaded the grocery store line.  Many stores now try to softball the number of items in the express lane as to not offend our delicate, self involved sensibilities.  Many remodeled or newer Kroger stores sport an express lane sign that states, “ABOUT 15 items”.  No telling those pesky customers what to do or how many items it is their god given right to have in a grocery cart!

Even with all the complaining about daylight savings time and the inconvenience of trying to figure out how to reset my Prius’ clock, I still like it.  Why?  Well, twice a year I go through a checklist of good things to do that I need reminded to check on.  Here is my short list:

  • Turn/rotate my bed (I have one of those fancy, pillow top mattresses so I am a rotator, not a turner)
  • Check my contracts, like cell phone and internet.  Are there better deals out there?
  • Check my monthly user fee purchases, like iTunes, Amazon, Netflix, Planet Fitness, etc.  Am I using them?  Should I be (if it is your gym membership the answer is yes…)?
  • Clean my fridge.  Just how long has that grapefruit marmalade been in there?
  • Clean my oven
  • Clean my dryer.  Yes, a simply vacuuming of the lint trap area goes a long way in helping dryers work better and…you know…preventing fires
  • Speaking of cleaning things, how about your furnace filter.  You should be doing that once a month but if you haven’t done it all winter now is the time
  • Clean my desk
  • Change batteries in my detectors, including smoke and carbon monoxide
  • Go through my pantry.  What am I using, what am I not using?
  • Clean my closets.  I am not a clothes hound but I can always get rid of some things.  Since the time zone changes come at the end of a season I can tell what I wore and what I didn’t.  If you didn’t wear something this winter, time to donate it.
  • Go through stacks of paper.  Go through junk drawers.  Go through file drawers.  Go through it all. If you are anything like me you collect things.  How many Bed Bath and Beyond coupons do I need…use…and apparently collect?
  • How many used plastic grocery bags do I really need?  And shouldn’t I be using my own shopping bags anyway?
  • Have you been through your medicine cabinet lately?  Why on earth did I buy valerian root?
  • When was the last time you really looked at your computer.  Or email accounts
  • Speaking of accounts, are their credit card accounts you have open that you don’t use? It never hurts to close down the ones that you opened for those “open and and get an additional 20% off” cards (I had one from a great store in Florida)
  • Speaking of credit, you can check your score for free once a year

I am sure that there are many more things to check.  Don’t panic, you have two opportunities a year to do some of this stuff.

Back when I was in the Navy we called this “planned maintenance”.  I hated it then and I don’t much care for it now.  The Navy even has a system for planned maintenance called, unimaginatively, the Planned Maintenance System or PMS for short.  I will let that abbreviation just hang in the air like heavy cigar smoke.

The point is that it needs to be done and the twice a year time change is a perfect opportunity.  Yes, now that we live without our parents or the Navy to tell us what to do we can blow stuff off. But why? We can all use less junk, less hassle, less mess, less potential hazards, and less grapefruit marmalade.

Not everything is a chore.  The other day I was going through a stack of papers trying to do my clean up before recycle day.  In that stack I found a note from a fellow Toastmaster (a speaking and leadership development organization)  who had written it after I gave a speech.  It was a particularly difficult speech to give and I hated the topic and therefore the presentation.  However, it was part of an education series so I put together the presentation and did my job…no joy and no real sense of accomplishment.  As I read the note I knew that my street cred as an established and hardened bachelor would be ruined if anybody saw my reaction.  The note had the title of the speech written at the top and then these words:

You may not remember this speech but I will.  I learned a lot and you are amazing.

No one wants to change their furnace filter or change their clocks.  However, we always learn a lot in the process and afterwards we feel…well…amazing.


Cover photo courtesy of