Archive for May 28, 2008

Life Without Spam is Just Unrealistic

When I was a kid, my dad on occasion, would fix dinner for my brother and I. One of his favorites, aside from canned tamales and chilli, was Spam. Regardless of what he prepared, we cried and begged our mom to protect us from his culinary disasters. Not only were these three ingredients my dad’s favorites, but he loved finding new ways to combine them to stretch the servings. Thankfully, we had a DOG!

Today, the word spam has a whole new meaning. No doubt, the first thought that will come to mind is the spam you fight each day in your inbox. We all love email and we love our computers, but I don’t know a single person who enjoys the unexpected doses of spam that we are forced to consume. On this very website, I get spammed daily! Not just in emails, I get spammed in the “comment” section of this site that thankfully, I control. Each day, I get invitations to buy drugs, improve my virility and join causes. Who actually purchases this stuff?  I even get invitations to view other sites that contain nude photos of everyone from grandmas to school girls.  ……anyway, I take my time each day, to sort through the rubbish so that I can find the meaningful comments of my readers to actually publish. No matter how I try to block it, delete it or ignore it, it just keeps coming.

So let’s define spam. In my world, spam is more than just what happens on my computer screen, it is any unwanted and/or unexpected intrusion into my day. Life is full of spam.

Every single day, each one of us gets spam that takes us off track from the meaningful and productive parts of our day. We are defenseless to try to avoid it because it is just a part of life. My spam today has consisted of sorting through emails, dealing with a clients with unexpected needs, finding a lost file, schedule changes, kids needs, air conditioner maintenance at my office, changing the ink in my printer in the middle of a print job and a walk in solicitor………………its only noon! Even though many of these things are important, the timing of when they occurred was interrupting to my daily flow and routine. They happen without my input but they drain MY time.

This article is not intended to make you feel bad nor a serve as a place for me to vent my frustration but rather it is a place for me to see if I can solve the problem. Since I can’t stop or control the spam of life, I must embrace it. When I look back over my days to evaluate how I let spam impact my life, I find that I accomplish the things that are most important to me and I allow the spam to keep me from the things that I’d really rather not do anyway. Things like exercising or calling the bug man (to get the carpenter ants out of the wall in my bathroom so I can stop wiping away sawdust) or cleaning out my closet. I don’t enjoy those tasks so if I’m honest, I have to admit that I allow the spam monster to help me avoid them.

Last week, I finally cleaned my closet. Now to you, that may seem like no big deal. But I have allowed the spam monster to keep me from doing that task for 17 months! It was a mess! I had clothes that hadn’t been worn since shoulder pads were in style and I found things on shelves or in cubbies that I forgot I had. I couldn’t even see them much less use them. It took a trip to the Container Store and the better part of a day, but finally, I made the task a priority and no spam in the world interfered until I got the job done!

Now don’t get me wrong, there are lots of things that spam keeps me from that I really want and need to do but more often than not, if I look closely, I tend to put off the same things over and over when my time is zapped with distractions. The solution for me is to turn off my phone, walk away from my email and make a LIST! My husband is a PRO list maker. He is so efficient at his list making that he very seldom drops a ball. He became a list maker because of the spam in his life. He has so many hats to wear, that he’s learned to compensate by carefully tracking tasks each day. Of course, today’s spam is on tomorrow’s list, but if we are to learn to juggle all the balls that we all juggle these days, there is no way around it……..we must get organized, prioritize and make a list!

Ask yourself how many times a day you get spammed? Do you have a metaphorical “closet” in your life like mine? Do you carry around a dinosaur-sized task that you just dread and keep putting off? Do you often feel you started the day out with an agenda and never got it completed?

Start today………write them all down. Figure out the tasks that reoccur and start on your list! Don’t feel alone! We all struggle with this problem of spam! My list of daunting tasks range from working out, printing and reviewing my free credit report, writing articles for this site and cleaning my closet! Dealing with these tasks is never fun, but on the other side (speaking as a woman with a magnificently clean closet) it feels great! Today I can tell you that my gym bag is packed and in my car (a step closer to the gym than yesterday), my reports are printed, I’m about to publish this article and the bug guy comes on Saturday! I will not be ruled by SPAM! For now, I am reformed!

Will you join me?

Send me some of your great suggestions by clicking “comment” and I promise to sort through my spam file to publish them! Promise!