Taking Stock

Every week, Melinda Powers takes stock.

The owner of the Hardware Store Restaurant and her staff keep track of just about everything. From the heirloom tomatoes in the kitchen to the vodka at the bar, the popular bistro on Vashon Island in Puget Sound can see where it stands on inventory.

“You have to know what your margins are at all times,” Ms. Powers told The Vashon-Maury Island Beachcomber. “You either make your margins and stay in business or you don’t and go out of business.”

It’s smart for businesses. I think it’s smart for people, too. Life gets hectic and I get distracted, caught up in the regular busyness of deadlines, teeth cleanings, and groceries.

After feeling like I was going in 42 different directions and making headway in none, I started doing a Weekly Inventory of Me. I know folks who do it daily, others who do it quarterly. Regardless of when, the why is consistent: taking stock of where we are and sketching out where we want to be.

It’s an accountability measure, an interlude to get off the frenetic sidewalk and up into the quiet bird’s nest to see where our life stands. A chance to check if there’s a difference between how we’re using our time and how we want to be using our time.

Our margins might not be as razor sharp as the Hardware Store Restaurant’s. We won’t go out of business if we don’t do it. But untended parts of our life might decay, our days might not be spent as a reflection of our priorities.

I’m not fully balanced or content because of my Weekly Inventory. I still go in too many directions. But I feel a little less distracted, a little more directed. Because, for me, it helps to have a moment of stillness to assess the state of our motion.

And I think we all deserve that: a brief pause to see if we’re living in this busy world as the people we want to be.

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