from the blog

Throw Away Your Easy Button

This is my Easy Button, a desktop toy from Staples that added flare and fun to my working environment for many years.

I’m throwing it away.

Here’s why.

Most of my life, I’ve been a “fixer,” finding things that are broken and investing time, money and energy into bringing them back to good condition.

Whether it’s old gaming systems like my still-working Nintendo Entertainment System or new businesses that can’t quite seem to get traction to maximize their growth, I love seeing the potential in something or someone and working to draw it out.

But sometimes you have to let things go.

You see, my Easy Button broke at some point, probably after my daughter decided it would be her toy for awhile, and when I retrieved it the other day I immediately started thinking about what could be wrong.

I swapped out the batteries … nothing.

I tested the batteries … they worked fine.

I thought about my next steps: find out how to disassemble the button, get my tool kit and get to work … but then it hit me: This is a complete waste of my time and focus.

For me, the time and mental energy I might use fixing my desktop toy could instead be spent on activities that would generate enough to buy hundreds of them.

For me, spending time fixing this particular broken thing would not only be unproductive, it would be anti-productive because I would be using this little task as an escape from the big tasks that are far more meaningful and valuable.

But the world needs me to do the meaningful and valuable things … and so do I.

Now, that’s not to say there isn’t a time for recreation, fun and enjoyment, even a little “restful time-wasting” from time to time.

In fact, we need these sorts of things to help us unwind and stay sane, but these are activities that should be done intentionally, not simply whenever the whim arises.

I don’t know what your “Easy Button” is, but I’m willing to bet you have one or more like I do. They are things that seem important in the moment, but pay no real dividends down the road. They are things that bring us a moment of satisfaction at the cost of a legacy of meaningful results.

And they need to go, for your sake, and the sake of the people counting on you to do your best work.

So, may you have the courage to throw away your “Easy Buttons” and do the hard things that matter.

Your world will be better for it.

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