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Measure Twice, Cut Once

Any builder worth his salt knows you measure twice, cut once. But it’s a good motto for everyone. Many of us rush through our daily lives without double-checking what we do, happy to just be getting it done. Whether you’re cutting wood, ordering online, or sending an email/tweet/blog out into the world, it’s important to take extra time in the preparation or else in the long run, it can cost you even more time.

measuring tape

Having finally secured a contractor (after what seemed like an endless series of bad first dates), last week I ordered my cabinets from the IKEA in Brooklyn. Working with a kitchen specialist, we pulled up my design and added the finishing touches, choosing doors and knobs. Then I handed over my credit card. Did I double check one last time to make sure every cabinet was the right size and color? No. I’d spent months designing and redesigning and assumed everything was right. How many minutes would it have taken to double check? Five, maybe ten?

Last Friday my cabinets and appliances were delivered, each company giving a four-hour window. I assumed I’d be home most of the day waiting. Lo and behold, while the guys unwrapped my appliances, IKEA called from downstairs. It wasn’t even noon and everything was done. So many friends had warned me there would be hiccups, but everything went smoothly.

That was until I was about to assemble the cabinets. Excited to begin this “puzzle,” I first labeled each box (i.e. Sink Base, Island cabinet, above microwave cabinet) and in doing so realized that two of the cabinets were the wrong size.

What the?!

I called IKEA and said, “You sent me the wrong sizes.” They created a case number and said someone would get back to me, but that I had to bring the boxes, the heavy boxes, back to IKEA. I immediately went online to look at my design. Surely, the mistake wasn’t on my end. Then there it was. My bad. How had I missed something so simple? Had I taken the time to double check, something I usually do in my sleep, this glaring mistake would have been avoided.

So much for smooth sailing. This hiccup completely took the wind out of my sails.

The holiday season adds much to our already full plates, what with the pressure to get more done before going on vacation, preparing for finals, and buying presents. And with the more we do, the more chance there is for mistakes. But there is someone we can learn from. What’s the one thing Santa does each year before coming to town? He makes a list and checks it twice.

Smart guy.

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