Quote: Achievement

One reason so few of us achieve what we truly want is that we never direct our focus; we never concentrate our power. Most people dabble their way through life, never deciding to master anything in particular.

Tony Robbins

Email Blasts

Photo by Sean MacEntee

I’ve been getting a lot of email from companies these past few weeks.

All of these companies have my email address because of purchases I have made from them. But I’ve never received emails until the past few weeks.

And then all of a sudden, WHAM! Emails coming daily, sometimes more than once a day.

It’s like the companies discovered they had this huge list of emails they had never marketed to, and decided to make up for lost time.

Here’s the thing, though. All this email blasting is making me do is unsubscribe. And then think twice before buying anything further from the company.

Most things are available on Amazon. And I will go there, because I know Amazon won’t start flooding my inbox.

It’s a lesson most marketers need to learn. There is a fine line to walk between right-sized offers and email blasts.

Photo by Sean MacEntee

Benefitting From My Skills

Photo by Microsoft Sweden

I am a programmer. I’ve been a programmer since I was a teenager. I program for a living. And lately I have been programming for my self.

I know a lot of my fellow programmers turn their noses up at programming office applications…word processors, mail, spreadsheets, calendars…because it is not “real” programming. But I think that is short-sighted.

I do a lot of things inside those office applications, both at work and at home. And I would be foolish not to make those repetitive actions done for me by using my skills.

I set up the text files I use to write the blog via Excel and some programming. I generate custom cleaning lists via Excel. I produce dated customized weekly planners for myself every week via Word. I set up my Trello boards for blog tasks via Google Sheets and GMail. I give myself a 10-minute cool-down window on every email I send via Outlook at GMail. I automate the production of my for-sale planners using templates and programming in Word.

To me, not using my skills in a non-professional environment would be equivalent to a car mechanic not not refilling his own washer fluid. Yes, it’s not cutting edge, but I can do it, so why not?

Photo by Microsoft Sweden

The Easy Button

Photo by FireChickenTA99

My father used to impress upon me the value of hard work. Everything needed to be worked hard. Shortcuts were lazy.

I didn’t buy it then, and I don’t buy it now.

What value is working hard at something that you’ve already mastered, or that really has no value?

Let’s take weeding. There is no world championship in weeding. There is no technique that makes it less likely that weeds will reappear in the garden. So why should I spend precious hours pulling unwanted plants out of the ground if there is an easier way to accomplish this?

Our garden beds have been a mess of weeds and groundcover since day 1. I would spend hours every week pulling out the weeds, just to find they had been replaced two days later. Every summer I would start with high hopes, and then finally give up in the face of the weeds.

My husband decided to implement the easy button. He sprayed weed killer, put down gardening fabric, and overlaid it with rock. Now our garden beds look neat, and it takes very little time to pull the weeds. Yes, I have had to give up on the dream of a wildflower garden. But at the same time, I have gained back hours I would have put in to the garden, as well as freed myself from the guilt once I inevitably gave up.

The same holds true with cooking while camping. I know people who find great thrill in cooking over an open fire. Not me. At this point I have been responsible for cooking meals for 70% of my life, and I am tired of it. I don’t want to spend my time in the woods cooking for hours.

Our camper boasts a fridge, freezer, stovetop and microwave. I also have a coffee pot and toaster. I do the easy button. The first night we are camping, I nuke up a frozen casserole that has veggies. The rest of the time I get out my slow cooker. Throw the food in, plug it in, and come back after an afternoon of hiking and playing to a cooked meal.

There are camping purists who turn their noses up, but honestly, why wouldn’t I take advantage of the things I can so I can do something I enjoy? I’ve freed myself of hours of food prep every day.

There is value in hard work and challenge. When I want to master something, or something is truly important, I work hard and diligently. But I also take short cuts. And I’m not afraid to push the easy button when necessary.

Photo by FireChickenTA99