It could be staring you in the face.

It’s hot here in Portland. I mean really hot. As in: 100+ degrees. It’s the sort of hot we’re really not used to. We live here and not in Arizona or New Mexico to avoid this sort of thing.

And it’s the annual five days a year when we all contemplate whether or not we should install air conditioning.

But air conditioning is expensive to buy, maintain and use – and seems a huge investment for something you only need a few days a year.

As solutions go, it’s kinda out of proportion with the problem.

In the end, it’s cheaper and easier just to rent a hotel room for a week. Which seems super-deluxe and self-indulgent and all that on the surface, but is really the more sensible and practical choice when you think about it.

And that got me wondering…

What solutions might we be applying to problems in our businesses that are way out of proportion?

What systems might we be creating that are needlessly elaborate and expensive to maintain?

What easy answers are right in front of us that we just aren’t recognizing because we’ve made the assumption they are inappropriate or out of reach?


11 Responses to “It could be staring you in the face.”

  1. 1 emilylime July 29, 2009 at 8:35 am

    what a FABULOUS point. I don’t have anything else to say about this right now, but I feel like I have lots to think about!

    • 2 Cairene July 29, 2009 at 9:32 am

      Thanks! I’d love it if you’d come back and share some of your thoughts about whatever percolates to the surface about this. :) C

  2. 3 JoVE July 29, 2009 at 8:44 am

    Oh. What a great thought. I have been wondering if I’ve jumped too far ahead with software solutions so that I CAN share things with a VA or something when actually, I don’t need to do that yet and it may be better to have as simpler (and cheaper) solution.

    BTW, air conditioning is also a huge drain on electricity. Collectively we need to be thinking about how to avoid this sort of thing. Like just working at a pace that makes sense in the heat for those days. Window fans are worth investigating. And closing curtains on the sunny side of the house.

    • 4 Cairene July 29, 2009 at 9:40 am

      Technology can be the right solution, but it can also be the way over the top answer. Good for you for taking a closer look at it.

      Not necessarily a proponent of air conditioning, just saying it’s really tempting right now. And we have our house-cooling techniques down to a science: attic fan, ceiling fans, window fans to cool the house at night, shutting windows and curtains to keep cool air in and heat out during the day, no cooking if we can help it, etc. – it all adds up to about 10-15 degree difference between inside and out, which is usually enough just not when it’s 107… incredibly thankful we have a cool basement to retreat to…

  3. 5 Jessica Reagan Salzman July 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Ahhhh yes! We are using the A/C substantially less in our new place than we did in our old house. Practically not at all, really.

    And this is an awesome vantage point to bring into business systems Cairene. I spent a lot of 2008 spending and investing into a systems set up that was overkill in hindsight. But I don’t wish to have changed the past, only hope that others have learned and will continue to learn from my stories going forward.

    Thanks so much for this great eye-opening post today!

  4. 7 Michelle Russell July 29, 2009 at 1:45 pm

    Not heatwave-related, or even business-related, but it reminds me of an area where I’ve recently found a simple solution to a huge problem. And it’s working…on the days when I implement it.

    Cairene knows how much I’m wrestling with time and everything I have to do (or believe I have to do). One of them is taking better care of myself, which includes eating healthier food. In my mind, that means special trips to buy organic food, experimenting with recipes until I find things that taste good to me, cooking every day so I can pack stuff to take to work and make myself fresh dinners at home…on and on until it’s completely non-doable. So I end up spending lots of money on unhealthy junk.

    Until I was talking about it with a friend. “Why on earth are you expecting yourself to cook when you’ve got so much else on your (no pun intended) plate?” I did a double-take. Thought about how much money I was spending on junk, “just this once more” (yeah, riiiiiight) because I couldn’t face the kitchen or the grocery store.

    Now I’m ordering yummy, healthier takeout a few times a week. Chinese, Thai, Italian, etc. I’m eating vegetables and protein along with all my carbs. It tastes great, I don’t have to spend time cooking, and I feel like I’m treating myself luxuriously even thout I’m spending roughly the same amount of money.

    It really was staring me in the face.

  5. 9 jenniferhofmann July 29, 2009 at 3:04 pm

    A-ha! So there *is* an upside to this wicked heat: your genius blog post just now! I just knew there had to be a silver lining.

    We are doing all same things at our house (cold leftovers anyone?) to keep cool – and we “invested” in a $40 fan last night, but scoffed at the air conditioners. Overkill.

    In my business, frankly, I’m guilty of underkill. Maybe that’s what I’m overkill on. :) Bootstrapping is in my blood, but there will be a time when I won’t do it all myself. And I might even tell you when that would BE if I could just… think… in this heat.

    You rock!

    :) Jen

    • 10 Cairene July 29, 2009 at 3:41 pm

      I hear ya. I’ve been thinking bootstrapping/DIY is the thing that looks simple, but has become complicated – while help seems self-indulgent and a luxury, but really wouldn’t be…

      And I’ve given up thinking for the day. Having a cold lunch now and then I’m going to go lie down in the basement…
      Take care of yourselves xo C

  6. 11 Bullwinkle July 30, 2009 at 2:13 am

    Alternatively, in my case, what solutions are you ignoring because they aren’t grand enough? Don’t cost enough? Aren’t worthy of you?

    Thanks for this. I went to bed last night (and did not sleep) trying to figure out how to deal with a problem/person at work. This is another perspective (and, at least, I’ve got something to work with today. It may or may not work out. But it got me going.)

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Third Hand Works

from overwhelmed to ready for anything | organization and time management for people in their "right" minds | administrative guidance for independent creative professionals [more info]



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