A few months ago I was working on a display project that required transporting wood and metal pieces from my vehicle to the studio, about 700 pounds in all. I was using a hand truck (dolly as I like to call it) and it took several grueling trips across the parking lot, up a small flight of stairs, and down the hall to the studio. The steel plates were deceptively heavy, and would load down the dolly to the point where I could barely push it. Eventually though - huffing and puffing - I got it all in the studio.
A few weeks later I was using the dolly again to move the same steel plates to another place down the hall for painting, but before moving them I noticed the tire pressure was a bit low. So I pumped them up to the recommended pressure and started moving the steel plates, and very quickly wanted to go back in time. While struggling only a few weeks ago with three grueling trips, now I only had one easy trip - all because I took a few minutes to pump up the tires. How could I have been so stupid!?
But at least they’re pumped up for the next time, and hey what is life if not a series of lessons to be learned? And that is a valuable lesson. So many times we unknowingly hammer away at tasks that could be solved (or at least greatly reduced) by something simple. Are you having trouble cutting fabric because your scissors are dull? Are you not getting clean stitching because your needle is dull or your machine needs a tune up? Are your woodworking projects taking ages because you’re using low quality sandpaper? There can be simple solutions to these problems and often you can take these solutions a step further. Can that time consuming task be automated away entirely? Maybe it’s switching the order you do tasks to use time more efficiently or eliminate a step entirely?
So often we are rushed to accomplish our tasks and we don’t have time to come up with a system that can reduce or eliminate the task entirely. Ask yourself “Is there a way I can set it up so I never have to do this task again?”
I encourage you to take a moment and step back - look at what you’re doing and try to find a way to make it easier on yourself or maybe eliminate it all together. You’ll never regret looking out for future you, so make it easier on yourself - and pump up those tires.