I have become a serf in the Kingdom of Stuff. I've come to realize that my stuff isn't serving me, I'm serving it. Ironically, I started this post 8/25/2016. This post has been sitting in my draft folder for three years, and sadly, I'm still a serf.
In August of 2016, I had just gone through a long series of repairs on stuff that make up my life. It seemed like every time I turned around, a car was in need of repair, a pool pump went down, a HVAC system needed to be replaced, a sink faucet was leaking or something needed my attention. You get the picture. Stuff. We're surrounded by it.
In business, there is always something that is drawing time out of the limited hours in a week. When other things draw on that time, it's easy to become overwhelmed and miss opportunities that are good for you personally and good for your business.
What am I talking about? Stuff. I'm far from a hoarder, but at the same time, I am surrounded by things that I once thought made my life complete. Of course it's important to have dependable transportation. So, I need a car. In this day, a cellphone has become a mobile office. Therefore, I need a cellphone. In order to do real estate transactions, it's important to have a medium to transact documents like a computer. It can be a notebook or a desktop, but computers do make those transactions easier so they're important. Of course, a cellphone can be handy here too, but it's a little awkward for some aspects of the trade.
Outside of business, our lives are also filled with stuff. That's where my focus has been this year. I've started looking at my daily life and started asking myself, "What is in my life that I don't need? What am I paying taxes on, paying for storage, repairs or maintenance that is not critical to who I am and what I do? What is consuming, but no producing?"
Just asking the question was freeing, but then comes the decision to act. What am I going to do with the stuff that is tying up my time and resources but not producing anything of value? I won't bore you further with my dilemma, but I want to ask you, "What 'Stuff" is keeping you trapped in a continual series of upkeep? Are there things in your life that are robbing you of available time, resources and space?"
So far this year, I've given away computers, printers, TVs, cars, furniture, books, exercise equipment and building supplies. I've sold office equipment, health-care equipment and miscellaneous stuff that has just been sitting around for that "day" when I would need it. I haven't.
I've always likened my business organization as lean and mean. We can turn on a dime and change course effectively and be at the top of our game in short order. In 2018, I took a hatchet to our marketing programs and eliminated every marketing commitment we had that was not producing adequate returns for the investment. In 2020, I'll be doing the same with the accumulated stuff in my life.
I challenge you to take inventory and see what might be slowing you down, getting you off course, consuming your resources but not adding to the bottom line. What changes could you make that propel you forward in 2020? What is demanding your attention, energy and time that is not producing valuable results? It has been freeing eliminating stuff, but the reality is, 2019 was just a warm up. I'm looking forward to being the king of my stuff and not the serf any longer.