Press the easy button

In a 2013 blog post, Martha Beck challenged readers, "Every time you set out to do any task, ask yourself, 'Is there an easier way?' Or, 'How can I make this easier?' Can you ask a friend for help? Have you tried Googling it? Are there services out there to help you? Might small miracles happen if you simply ask the powers that be for assistance?"

Inspired by Martha, I posted a handwritten "How can I make this easier?" on my cubicle wall and referenced it several times a day. It helped on small problems and big problems. I especially appreciated her obvious-but-often-forgotten advice of asking someone. I started asking more friends and clients for advice on how they thought I should handle certain challenges, and they were happy to help. 

Here are a few other ways I've pressed the easy button:

  • A big part of my day job is compiling, analyzing, and presenting survey data for my clients. Because we customize everything for each client, each project brings new challenges in how to view and present the data in a meaningful way. Each time I think, "There's got to be a better way to do this!" I realize there probably is and consult the Oracle (aka, I Google it.)

  • I was paying our children's Thursday babysitter each week. I asked if we could switch to monthly. Although it meant I had to outlay more money at the beginning of each month, I then didn't need to think about it again for 4 more weeks. So I didn't have to send the, "I forgot the check for Beth again" texts to my husband anymore.

  • We used to try to pack our kids' lunches several days a week. We've switched to having them buy lunch every day. Our kids are good eaters, and they often choose salads at school, so they are still getting relatively healthy food. This has saved us a lot of time and money.

  • Our go-to easy dinner is pizza from Domino's. Since their re-branding several years ago, their pizza is really yummy. It's affordable and their app makes ordering a breeze, even a day in advance. So each year for Halloween when we have family members over to trick-or-treat, we order the pizza on October 30 and I just grab it on the way home from work. (Of course, we eat it many other times a year too!)

  • I've pressed the easy button on getting dressed for work. I work in a very casual environment where jeans or shorts are fine, yet I'm a leader within the company and I have a closet-full of dress clothes from previous jobs so I want to dress professionally. For almost two years, I've taken the approach of dresses/dress pants on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, and more casual attire on Wednesdays and Fridays. Making that decision once has made it easier to decide ever since.

My easy buttons are different than your easy buttons would be, but I encourage you to ask yourself "How can I make this easier?" I'll end my post with the wise words of Martha Beck. "We are a species that works to make things easier. We’re getting really good at it. But, unless we drop the idea 'life is hard,' we can’t take advantage of the astonishing ease we have created."

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