Better Left To The Professionals

Sometimes it’s just better to leave things to the professionals.

Not my real lawn...

A little over a month ago my front yard was covered with weeds. We’d just come back from a long holiday to find that the front garden had exploded, helped by the winter rains and the spring sun. It was a mess.

We have this swing set for our young daughter and the weeds were halfway up it. The path was overgrown with all sorts of different plants and shrubs. The trees had grown too, resulting in the need to cut them back from the power lines.

Needless to say, the garden was a mess. 

It was a mess because nine months earlier The Wife and I had ripped up the front garden so that there was nothing but soil. We hoped to plant grass seed and begin to have the makings of a nice neat lawn. It didn’t happen. Instead we let the mess grow and grow with a little garden work here and there, but nothing like what was needed.

So when we got back from holiday, rather than spend the next three months trying to control it myself, and work toward a fresh lawn, I employed the services of a landscaper. A professional.

In two days I had a transformed front yard. Out went a few tired trees, the weeds, and everything that was there. In went fresh manicured lawn, ready to be watered and looked after over the coming months.

The lesson it taught me was that sometimes it’s better to employ professionals.

While I could have tried to save money and do it myself I know it would never have turned out to be what we got. No matter how hard I tried. Rather then mess around with machines, and rotary hoes, and grass seed, and additional soil, and all that stuff I’d rather make it easier on myself, and most likely my back pocket, by getting someone in.

To me, it just makes sense.


Morning Routines

After disseminating around one million blog posts on productivity the consensus is that having a morning routine gives you the best possible start to the day.

I agree. Sort of.


It seems to me that different seasons means different routines.

When I was in my early twenties I could get up early, have some quiet time to myself, go and accomplish my exercise goals, and then make my way into work.

When I began a job that started early my routine changed so the first thing I did was have a shower, a quick breakfast, and then wander down the street to the “office”.

When I found myself working some nights I had to adjust and sleep-in a little more in the morning.

When I became a father for the first time I had to change again.

My hat is tipped to those who are disciplined enough to stick to their routine no matter what. You know those people? They’re the ones that head out for a late night session at the pub and then get up at 5am the next morning fresh and rearing to go. They’re the ones who have such a life that they’re into bed at 8:30pm and will accomplish their days goals by the time your alarm goes off.

If I ponder these things for too long it can get depressing. I want to be able to get up early and achieve those things too. Some days I do, but that’s probably when I’m in the office at 7:30am. Other days I just want to enjoy life a little more and sleep-in.

I realise there is much that can be done before breakfast, I wonder whether I’m simple being sucked into a culture that pushes us hard to “achieve” and be “successful”. Some days I probably should achieve more, but other days there needs to be room to gain perspective and spend time with family, do chores, and sit and read a book.

Minimal Writing

To sit down at the computer and write sentence after sentence is a challenge in and of itself. To add further complications to this though is to then attempt to write clearly, using the least amount of words possible.

In this age of Tweets, Posts, and Pins the challenge to write clearly and well in small doses takes time and effort.

Recently, I’ve begun to set myself the assignment of writing a story in 500 words. Sometimes I go over, sometimes I don’t. But the purpose of this project is to help refine my writing so I don’t go on and on.

Part of me was inspired by the six word story attributed to Ernest Hemingway:

For Sale: Baby Shoes. Never Worn.

What an amazing short piece of fiction. At first I was thinking what on earth is this, but then on further reflection you as the reader begin to understand. I understood and then thought this piece was increadible.

I look back on articles and posts unpublished and wonder what I was thinking. The writing is terrible, waffle is everywhere, and if anyone actually read a word they’d wonder whether I passed grade 3 comprehension lessons. It’s discouraging on one hand but then a challenge on the other.

What do you do to keep your writing clear, concise and crapless?

7 Opportunities In Moving House

I’ve moved house numerous times. We’re probably up to about 8 times in the last 10 years. You’d think we’d be sick of it by now wouldn’t you? Well, in reality we are. Twelve months ago we moved into a modest house that we were fortunate enough to purchase. Hopefully this will be the last move for a while.

two 3d humans carry a home in their hands

However, in moving house so much, whether its been a move overseas or simply from one rental to another there comes opportunity. The opportunity I’ve grasped with both hands each time we’ve moved is the ability to declutter and work toward a more sustainable liveable minimalism.

Living in the same place allows clutter to build up. After living in one place for 4 years it took weeks to box and tidy up and get ready to move to another rental unit. I can’t imagine what its like for those who’ve lived in the same house for 40 years! The clutter and the mess and the stuff just builds and builds.

In the last two moves we’ve been involved in The Wife and I have specifically spent time going through our clothes, DVDs, books, files, and more looking at what we can do away with or pass on to others. In doing so I’ve learnt this opportunity to enter into liveable minimalism has allowed:

  1. A greater realisation of what is important to me
  2. A sense of feeling liberated with less and less stuff crowding for my attention
  3. The ability to give to others and bless them
  4. More time for other activities around the home
  5. Less decisions needing to be made about what I’ll wear or where things should be stored
  6. More space around the house and in my life
  7. A financial saving

What did you find when you moved house? Was there a similar experience to me? 

A Forced Fast From Facebook

For the last few weeks I’ve had a forced fast from Facebook.

This wasn’t actually of my own doing, I was forced into it.

I recently visited a certain country in this fine universe and explored its countryside. However, in doing so I had no opportunity to look at Facebook or other social media because it was blocked. It wasn’t just on my phone or my laptop, it was blocked on every single device you could possibly think of.

And you know what? I loved it!

In some ways I was looking forward to not having Facebook accessible because that would give me a good test. It would test my addiction to the screen and to social media. It would test my need to know what others are doing all the time. It would test my ego by not broadcasting silly messages to people I know and hardly know. But, instead of a test I found it quite simple. I found it a positive experience and one that could help me in the future.

Now that I’m back and able to connect on social media I find myself less reticent to do so. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:

1. I’m spending more quality time with the people I love – My family doesn’t have me looking at my phone when I’m with them, they’ve got my whole attention.

2. I wanted the apps deleted from my phone – I actually deleted the apps of Facebook and Twitter from my phone on the place back home. I know that it’s easy to get them back but at this stage I haven’t needed to. I’ve actually taken the step to get rid of those apps and find myself feeling lighter and freer without them.

3. Social media has been put in perspective – When you’re in the zone of constantly looking at social media apps it becomes an all encompassing pastime. There is always a new photo or a comment or a tweet. They just keep coming. Once out of the zone you begin to realise that you’re not missing much, if anything of substance at all. You being to realise what a waste of time the whole enterprise can be.

4. I have more control on what I want to see – Without others bugging me for their attention I’m now able to control who I see and what I see at a more appropriate time and place. When in the zone you’re out of control, you think you’re in control but not really. Now I find myself being able to quickly look through what I’ve missed in the last day or two and catch up on anything important, of which there may have been one thing in the last 10 days, and then go back to whatever it is I was doing or wanted to do.

5. I’ve more energy – I find that I’ve now got more energy within myself to deal with other things in life than dealing with this made-up stress that is social media. I even attacked the garden last weekend!

I’m sure there’s plenty more benefits if I took more time to think about it. But, needless to say, I’d highly recommend curbing your social media diet in 2014. What can you put in place now to help you with that?

Thinking About My Christmas Presents

It’s this time of year where I begin to think about what I’d like for Christmas.

For the last few years our family has done the Kris Kringle thing. This means that names a drawn out of a hat and you need to buy something for your corresponding person to the value of $50. Easy. Sort of.

What our family also has in place is the rule where you give three suggestions to everyone, not knowing who is actually going to give you your present, so that they have an idea of what you’d like.

I’m trying to think of three things I’d like right now.

In the process of thinking through this I’m becoming more and more convinced that Christmas presents need to be about experiences rather than stuff. I’m sick of all the stuff I have, well, a lot of it anyway. I’m sick of getting more and more and more and forking out good money for stuff I won’t be using in a few months time.

So, I’m looking at simply asking for an experience. Perhaps a movie voucher or a restaurant voucher. Something that is tangible that I can use with others and we can go out an enjoy ourselves. Most likely it’ll be used for Date Night sometime in the future.

With Christmas comes the rush to buy more stuff. We don’t need more stuff. I certainly don’t.

What will you be looking to give and to get this Christmas? Do you agree, experiences over stuff?