Have you ever tried to erase something with a worn out and hardened eraser? It makes a blotchy gray blob on your paper. You probably know the frustration of trying to wrap a gift or package when the tape dispenser runs out of tape. Perhaps you have tried to cut a fresh tomato with a dull knife. We have all struggled while using tools that don’t work.
We might not think about our tools every day, but we certainly use them every day. Our tools can help us or hinder us. The right tools make all the difference in how we get our work done.
One of the tools I have learned not to mess with is a paint brush. A cheap paintbrush often has uneven edges and loose bristles. When you paint with it, the results are blotchy. Bristles fall out and stick to the new paint. You need to paint a second or third coat to get even coverage. A good brush delivers the paint smoothly and evenly. It makes the job much easier. It’s worth every penny of the higher cost to get a better finish with less time and energy.
This week I was trying to take a short video on my iPad to upload in a class I am teaching. I finally got a great video (in my world that is one where no cats jump on my shoulder in the middle) and when I went to play it back I realized that it had stopped taping before the end. I was out of memory.
It wasn’t my first warning that my beloved mini iPad was in trouble. I often can’t open short videos and news clips in social media. I have dumped off much of my music and the unplayed podcasts that I still want to listen to. I watch videos and read books while connected to Wi-Fi because I don’t have enough memory to download them. I’ve deleted photos to get more room take another one.
Buying a new iPad seemed indulgent, an unnecessary expense, an answer to a third world problem. I have a laptop, a smart phone and an iPad. Do I really need a new iPad?
The answer is yes. My iPad is my number one tool. It holds my calendar, my e-mail, my books, my music, my podcasts and my news. I can use it to access my courses wherever I am in the world. I can read and create content, which is how I make my living. It is my virtual lifeline. If I had to make a choice, you can have my phone and my laptop but I will clutch my iPad tightly against my chest.
Upgraded iPad in hand (and it is amazingly more efficient) I began to think about other tools. Back to school time is an opportunity to get good deals on everyday supplies. I stocked up on highlighters, which I go through at an alarming rate. I bought some of my favorite smooth writing liquid gel pens. I replaced the pencils with bad erasers. Doing a mundane task like balancing the checkbook is a lot easier with a sharp pencil that erases.
We have tools in all areas of our lives. I have decided that life is too short to live with bad tools. Why am I putting up with the colander with one missing handle, and the garden gloves that are too small? Our step ladder is rickety and the rungs are loose. Do I really want to endanger our safety?
I like to save money, and I believe in reusing and recycling things. But there comes a time when it is worth it to spend money for good tools. They make our work more efficient, and our tasks more pleasant. Life is stressful enough without the frustration of wrangling with broken or subpar tools.
It is time to replace those light bulbs that are too dim and sharpen the kitchen knives that are too dull. As long as I’m at it, I’ll get rid of the shoes that hurt my feet and the bed pillow that is too flat. My eyes, hands, feet and neck will thank me.
I’m feeling more productive already.
What about you? What are your must-have tools? Do you have tools that need replacing in your life? I’d love to hear about your tools.