Each and everyone one of us needs to make time for maintenance. Almost everything we use that will bring us closer to success needs to be warmed up, prepared, kept up to-date, tuned up, ready to go, recharged, and so on. Take cars for example, so many of us need to change the oil in our cars, or change our brake pads. We do not do it because we are wise enough to know that we can be doing more productive things: working on a paper, spending time with our loved one, making business calls. But will the time and effort we spend on not doing maintenance work create more of a benefit than if we blocked out a time period to work on the brakes and change the oil? Some are now thinking that you will just take it in and have it done. Yet, I respond with a similar question. Is paying the extra money to have someone else do it worth it? Is showing your loved one that you are not Mr.SexyMechanic worth it? Is not bonding through teaching your kids how to do it themselves worth it? I know that changing the oil or replacing the brakes on our vehicles is not a top priority, but in asking all that you will be missing out on by not taking the time to do it, move it to the top of our priorities?
It is no different than how humans need time to recharge, to sink in information, to let the feedback loop keep spinning so we learn what we can do better next time. In all honesty, I am not writing now to tell you to make time for maintenance. I am writing to tell you a story to encourage you to TAKE your time for maintenance. As I said, maintenance is never really at the top of our priorities.
On November 15th, 2011 my girlfriend’s safety was my number 1 priority. That day we had planned to go to Dale Suslicks “Currency Is More Than Cash” Un-Workshop. It began at 6:30pm and it was already 5:55pm. Consider that it takes 20 minutes to drive there. That leaves my girlfriend and I 15 minutes to do what we needed to do to get ready. But suddenly I remembered that the car had eaten up all the oil and I had said to my girlfriend earlier that day that we would have to fill our oil up before we left to the Un-Workshop. Since there were no gas stations in the direction we would be heading for at least 15 miles, we were forced to go to the nearest one which was in the small section of town; the ghetto. I pulled as close to the station as possible, ran in, grabbed two quarts of oil, paid for it hastily with my debit card (Once you begin to know me, you will find out that I only like to spend Cash), and ran back out to the car. All the while I checked to make sure the car doors were locked and my girlfriend safe inside while I put the oil in the car. In my haste, I neglected using a funnel to insert the oil and consequently spilled a fair amount of oil. I do not want you to be under the impression that this was the absolute worst place in the world, but it was not normal for my girlfriend and I to be in such a place. So this unfamiliarity lead me to be more fearful and kick the adrenaline in. I quickly closed the hood, tapped the glass to have my girlfriend open the door and we took off. Since my girlfriend and I budget our income, she asked me as she always does after I make a purchase, how much I spent. “I have no clue, but here is the receipt. I just grabbed the first bottle I saw, paid for it and bolted.” As we slowly began leaving the area, she yelled “You spent $30 dollars on two quarts of oil? What the heck!” I did not believe it, I have never spent more than 7 dollars for a quart of oil. But in my hurry, I must have grabbed the most expensive kind. As my mom has always said, “Haste Makes Waste”. Now, my girlfriend is a real positive, go-getter, fun and loving person. With this sort of purchase not in our budget, her initial reaction was logical. We then began to joke about it saying how we loved our car so much that it deserved the best oil there was. We took what many couples would have fought all the way to the meeting about, lightheartedly.
My message to you, in order to maximize your daily, weekly, monthly, yearly time, you can take one step by not only making time for maintenance, but taking time for maintenance. As far as vehicles go, I say expect any maintenance to take an entire day as it should be for our bodies as well. If it takes more than that, than it is not worth using the time that could otherwise be spent more productively. Do not make just enough time to replace your breaks, or recharge your body, or mend a broken friendship. Take extra time to allow for unexpected occurrences, or to simply follow all the way through a task.
Stay Positive and Repaired
Garth E. Beyer