I was cleaning our bird bath in the garden. Calcium and algae had built up over time, and without the use of harsh cleaning products, it takes much longer to get calcium off a surface just working with vinegar. I let the vinegar sit on the surface for an hour and then started to scrub. It was a tedious job, and it seemed to take forever to get this bird bath clean. My husband joined me in my efforts, and after a few minutes, he went into the house to return with a stronger scour pad. The thicker scour pad was easier to hold with a much better grip, and it got the job done in half the time. We high-fived each other, and I complimented him on his great idea with the thicker scour pad. He winked at me and responded, “Sometimes, it takes a little ‘umph’ to get from try to triumph.” His words stuck with me.
Different approaches, small improvements, better tools, different ways of thinking can make or break a project. Granted, the other methods may still get us the results we want, but it may take us longer, using up unnecessary resources. To stick with my bird bath cleaning project: By using the thicker scour pad (better tool), I saved an hour of work (resource). In that hour that I saved, I was able to trim the hedge and got much more accomplished that day in our garden (increased productivity and efficiency). What a difference a little “umph” can make!
When you approach a new project and lay out the tasks, tools, and resources you need to get to your goal, think about a little “umph” that could get you there better and faster.