Two Tons of Fertilizer
David Freund, Chief Leadership Officer

When I was in my teens, there was an ad on television with the tag line, “That’s like trying to haul two tons of fertilizer in a one-ton truck.” Well, you can imagine what happens when you try to haul two tons of fertilizer in a one-ton truck, you get covered in fertilizer. Even today, the thoughts behind that ad make me simultaneously smile and cringe. Sadly, for the business that ran the ad, I have no idea what the ad was for, but it sure made an impression on me. How often do we try to load twice as much into our day than is humanly possible? When we do, we end up with the same scenario, and we get covered in fertilizer. We make a terrible mess that everyone around us can see and then need to try to find a way to clean it all up. Regardless of what we think, we are not superhuman, and yes, a one trip mule often breaks his back (another saying from my youth).

We need to create margin. Time within our schedule to process thoughts, regroup, recharge, and prepare to re-enter the battle. I know what you are thinking; the only reason you were hauling two tons of fertilizer is that you needed to move two tons of fertilizer, and all you have is a one-ton truck. You’re also going to tell me that nobody else wants to haul your fertilizer. You might be right, but you might also be wrong. It’s all in how you look at the situation. There are creative ways to rethink our lives so we can create margin. This week, I want to encourage everyone to think about their home lives. We will save work for next week.

Start with prioritizing your activities. I like to use John Maxwell’s three Rs. Identify in your day what is Required, what gives the greatest Return, and what gives you the greatest Reward. Required activities are those that are life-sustaining. Greatest return activities are those that move the ball down the field the most with the least amount of effort. Greatest reward activities are those that speak to your heart or have great meaning in your life. Once you have your list, start looking for resources. That’s right, find resources to help you haul your fertilizer.

Today more than ever, there are resources all around us, we just need to be creative. There may be things you hate doing that other people love doing. My mom loves to iron. Some people love to clean; others love to haul fertilizer, so let them do it for you. How much time do you spend at the pharmacy refilling prescriptions? How much time do you spend at the grocery store shopping for groceries? How much time do you spend paying bills each month? Each of these tasks can be “automated,” to borrow a phrase from my manufacturing background. By using resources that are at our fingertips, we can begin to create margin in our lives. The key is to value the time we find and not add more fertilizer.

Please join Marisa Norcross and me for Episode 126 of The Next Page podcast as we discuss time-saving ways you can add margin back into your life.

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