Some marketing exec for Staples has joined the 1 percent for thinking up the Easy ButtonTM ad campaign, I’m sure. That concept was absorbed instantly into popular culture.
My blog was due Wednesday and I started two topics that fizzled out before the fuse reached the detonator. I thought, “I need to hit the Easy ButtonTM this week.” Which isn’t quite as lazy as you might think—I’ve been noodling on this topic for weeks, because I’ve become aware of my own Easy ButtonsTM lately.
A few weeks ago I had a super long day. Two appointments and lots of contract work, plus two freelance articles and a blog due. The blog got done first—the one about ableism in animal rescue that was such a hit. That one spun out of me all on it own; all I did was watch my screen fill with words. It comes easily when it’s a story you’re passionate about telling, and you’re a little angry. Next came the two articles, one about a person I greatly admire, and that was stressful but rewarding.
I hit all three Upload buttons on my articles, then took my cat to the vet. On my way home, as Kali settled into Zen silence (as opposed to her howling all the way to the vet), I thought about the things I could cobble together to make a balanced meal, and the thought of cooking made my body ache. It was 4:00 already; I was exhausted. I wanted to take a nap. I needed an Easy ButtonTM.
I have an Easy ButtonTM for dinner—the Thai House restaurant 1 mile from my house. I dropped Kali off at home, then went to get enough take-out food to give me lunch and dinner for 3 days. I took a nap before dinner, then reheated some pad plik king in my favorite polka-dotted noodle bowl.
I’ve written lots of posts on the importance of routine. On a good day, routines reduce your daily workload to mindless tasks you perform without thinking. On a bad day, it can take more energy than you have to maintain them. You need safety valves for those days—Easy ButtonsTM.
I keep a few frozen meals at home at all times. I’m not wild about processed food, but I need something I can grab if it’s too late to run out for take-out by the time I realize that cooking isn’t going to happen that night. I keep canned soups I like in case I get sick. There are always high-end fruit juice bars in the freezer too, and electrolyte drinks in case (God forbid) I get a bout of CVS (cyclic vomiting syndrome).
I often head out on a bike ride not knowing if I’m really up to the whole thing, because my town has fairly good bus service and I can always load my bike onto a bus and bail for home when I need to. I keep bus fare in my bike bag so I’m never stuck riding home because I didn’t have enough quarters.
Here’s an Easy ButtonTM I’ve been treating myself to lately—the Sumo Mandarin. I usually have an orange in the evening just before closing the kitchen for the night at 8 PM, and peeling my orange can be hard on my reattached hand. I had been gorging myself on Cara Caras, which are notoriously hard to peel but worth every delicious segment. Sumos, though—the loose skin often comes off in one piece. It’s effortless. And this year’s crop is incredibly juicy. I’ve been loving my labor-free citrus break.
I even usually have a few blog posts pre-written for weeks when I’m just not inspired or up to writing. I can update and post them in less than an hour. Not this month; I’ve used up my stash.
I’m very well prepared to bail and hit the Easy ButtonTM; my challenge is in knowing when I’ve run out of “spoons” and I’m into deficit spending. We all do it, we continue trying to keep up until we can’t anymore, and by that time we’ve done actual harm to ourselves.
This week’s homework assignment: think about the signs you feel when you’re running low and your inner fuel light is about to come on. Can you tune into those signs and quit while you’re ahead? Hit the Easy ButtonTM and start fresh tomorrow?
If you’d like to chat about your own experience with this, comment below. If you have any good Easy ButtonsTM that other could copy, tell us about those too.