Newsletter #85 – Applying Cure, Focus, and Home Improvement Projects

Home Improvement Projects

Quick notes to help you get more done in less time. . . next week.

In this issue:

– Techniques for FIT
– Being Human
– Random Stuff

Techniques for FIT

  • Break down big tasks into the smallest immediate next steps. You’ve heard that before, but this time, take your phone out and add the step into your calendar. That’s equal to a bite of elephant.
  • Catch yourself when cynicism creeps in and test the opposite thought. For instance, when you’re cut off in traffic and think, “some people are jerks,” stop. Then say, “or, maybe he is on his way to an emergency, I hope he gets there in time.”
  • I heard this at the Berkshire Hathaway meeting. Munger said, “you’ve heard Franklin’s an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure? I say an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pound of cure.” Buffett added, “And a pound of cure applied is worth hundreds of pounds of cure in the future.” Take action.
  • If you have the chance to make someone smile, invest the time in making it happen. I listened to a story David Letterman told about getting together with childhood friends for a boys weekend. He decided to bring a cake and had it decorated with, “Congratulations, Linda.”


Being Human – Inch wide, mile deep

The power of focus.

I used to work in an oil refinery on the safety crew. One of the perks of the job was dressing up like a fireman and discharging water through the hoses to make sure everything was in working order in case of emergency.

The fire hose nozzles were shaped like guns, but instead of a trigger by your finger, one hand holds the pistol grip, and the other hand works another handle on top of the nozzle that controls the flow of water. When your flow is set, you turn the front of the nozzle to set the spray pattern. The pattern ranges from wide that can drench the full façade of a two-story house with a heavy rain, to a narrow pattern that can punch through a brick wall.

The smaller your focus, the narrower your stream, the more dramatic your outcomes.


Random Stuff


I took on a household project this spring. Intstalling a Martha Stewart closet system in a, well, closet. We picked up the 17 boxes sometime in May and they’ve slowly moved from the garage to the neighboring bedroom. The project picked up steam this weekend when one of the 72″ vertical panels came down on Laura’s shin.

To hang those panels, I need to drill into studs, but since we live in an old plaster walled house, I never know if I have the stud until I make the hole. No problem. I have anchors this time. They slide into a small hole, I twist and pull the toggle, slide the sliding thing to the wall, and snap off the sticks. Instant support.

The first one goes in just like the video, but the second toggle isn’t flipping in the wall. I take the anchor out and inspect it and figure that the toggle just needs a little more room in the wall. I break out the 1/2″ hole drill and push it in a bit further, twisting and turning as I work. Small beads of sweat are forming on my forehead. It’s a hot closet.

Then it happens. The drill almost flies out of my hand as I break through, and sunlight streams in through my hole.

I should have checked the other side, because now there’s a 1/2″ hole over the stairs going down to the ground floor.

Laura just shakes her head and limps by.


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