October 21, 2016 by Petrea
The Thing that Bugs You the Most
When John and I moved into our first house, almost everything needed to be fixed. Our to-do list included removing carpet, painting, replacing baseboards, taking down a shed in the back, and even replacing the floorboards outside the bathroom where water damage had rotted the wood. Our budget for this work included hiring one carpenter. As for grunt labor, we were it.
We’d been there a couple of days when our friend Claire showed up, bringing the traditional Jewish housewarming gift of bread, salt and sugar. “Bread so you shall never know hunger; salt, so your life shall always have flavor; and sugar so your life shall always have sweetness.”
When Claire asked how things were going, I told her about our to-do list. We were overwhelmed, and didn’t know what to do next.
“Enh,” said Claire, with a casual wave of her hand. “You’ll do the thing that bugs you the most.”
Years later, I haven’t forgotten. I hope I never do. We call it the Claire rule, which is fitting, because it clarifies. When I start work each day, the item at the top of my list is the thing that bugs me the most. Once it’s done, everything else is sugar. And sometimes salt.
Got a good rule to share?