Tag Archive: floor

No More Sleeping on the Floor

On the Sleep Matters website, I found the perfect bed for my apartment. I moved into my apartment a few months ago without even having a bed to sleep in. I had an old sleeping bag that I was using while I figured out what kind of bed I wanted. I couldn’t decide if I wanted a traditional spring mattress or one of the memory foam mattresses. I couldn’t decide if I wanted to go with one of the beds that have their own numbers for sleeping, or if I wanted one that would raise and lower itself like some kind of reclining chair. I didn’t think it would be so hard to pick a simple bed.

After looking the beds and doing a lot of thinking, I came to a decision that I would just stick with the traditional spring mattress. I didn’t need any of the bells and whistles that came with some of the newer beds, and I really didn’t need to get an expensive bed just so I could have the ability to raise and lower it. While it would have been nice to have, it was a little bit outside of my price range and unnecessary.

The bed that I selected was delivered to my home and put in my bedroom. At last I was able to sleep on a real bed and not that sleeping bag like some kind of person that was camping in the woods. Although I finally had a bed, the rest of my room was looking a little barren. There wasn’t any furniture to hold my lamp, nothing for my television, and nothing to store my folded clothes. I don’t have the energy to go furniture hunting right now, so I’ll just wait a little longer to fill out the rest of the room.

How Sweeping a Floor Taught me a Valuable Lesson in Productivity

Sometimes you learn strange things in strange circumstances and because of the circumstances they stick with you forever. This is one of those things. In this case, it became a life lesson that has shaped me profoundly. It takes a while to get to the point but I hope it affects you as much as it affected me.

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I was around 19 or 20 years old at the time and that puts us way back in the early 1970’s. I was just out of High School, which I did not finish. I was building a Maintenance and Property Management Company at the time. Part of the business was a window-washing route that I used to do once a week. I had a route that I could walk and do windows as I went. By the end of the day, I could make a couple hundred dollars, cash, and a good days wage back then. Part of the process was to pick up cleaning and maintenance jobs along the way.

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One day I picked up a new window contract. It happened to be a jewelry store. I also asked them if they wanted a price for cleaning their floor. They said yes. I quoted $6.00 to wash the floor. They said great. They wanted it done as soon as possible and because I had some time, I said I would do it right then and there. I started to sweep the floor and as I was working away, I noticed the owner, an older gentleman, watching me very intently. I went on sweeping away and when I was finished, started to wash the floor.

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The owner walked over to me and in a calm friendly voice said, “Let’s take a look at the floor”. That’s when I knew I was in trouble. Let’s set the stage. I was around 20 years old, almost 6 feet tall, in good shape, athletic, pretty full of myself, even back then. The owner was in his late 70’s, frail, about 5″7, hunched over, and maybe weighed about 130 lbs. He took the broom from me and proceeded to show me how to sweep a floor. I had swept hundreds, maybe thousands of floors but here was this guy showing me how to do it, his way. He was methodical, careful and when he was finished, proudly showed me a good dustpan full of dirt that I had missed.

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Then he said to me “there is no job so simple that with some care can’t be done better”. At the time I do not think that it impacted me as much as it did as time went on. There is a lot that can be taken from this simple incident. The gentleman in question was named Sam. He was Jewish and fled Hungary in the late 1950’s with his wife and whatever he could sew into the lining of his pockets and clothes. He was a true craftsman and artist, yet he took the time to show me that there was a right and a wrong way to do something, even something as simple as sweeping a floor.

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How does this relate to Productivity? For now I will just say it relates by setting a standard that I operate under; a standard that has me always searching to find a better and more efficient way of doing whatever I’m doing at the moment. It has created in my mindset the philosophy that regardless of how we are doing any job, task or activity today, there IS a better way and we should always be searching for that better, more efficient way. Increasing your productivity isn’t about using your back; it’s about using your mind.