What we’re doing today is “extra” maintenance—updating and upgrading.
We do normal maintenance all the time. The cleaning people make our house sparkle once a week—and we manage to keep things relatively normal between their visits. Mark changes the smoke detector batteries regularly. We don’t let things like dishes pile up, because then it’s more difficult to keep things clean.
But entropy is real. That’s when things break—or get stale. We need to update or upgrade them, including ourselves and our systems or habits.
Our exercise programs and eating choices allow us to do preventative maintenance on our bodies. I think of computer backups as part of my business preventative maintenance. I change my exercise and eating based on the scale and other feedback. And I review my business-focused systems, including backups, regularly.
I need triggers because I’m not always good at noticing when it’s time to update or upgrade.
Triggers to Notice When it’s Time to Update or Upgrade
Here are some of my triggers to notice when I might update or upgrade:
- Time: Have I done or used this thing for ten years or more?
- Technology advances: Is there new technology that would make my life easier?
- Colleagues and friends: Are they doing or using something that might help me live or work better?
Each trigger works a little differently.
When we moved to this house, we engaged one of those declutter people, to help us decide what to keep and move and what to get rid of. She said something quite interesting: “You should replace all the household stuff every ten years. The new stuff is better and easier to use. Then you can give your old stuff away or sell it on consignment.”
Before that, I thought if something was still good, why shouldn’t I keep using it? But her statement created a time-based trigger.
Often, that’s because technology makes things easier.
I had a flip phone forever. I think I got my first smartphone in 2007, much later than almost anyone else I knew. But for the past few years, I’ve been upgrading my smartphone regularly, because the newer phones make my life easier.
And I have to admit that I held onto my 2013 MacBook Pro for too long. I bought a 2020 version, and I will never wait seven years again for a new computer. It’s my primary tool for everything I do. Why would I wait to upgrade that long?
I also listen to my colleagues, family, and friends because they are cool and hip and I am most definitely not. They have all kinds of ideas, and I’m starting to experiment with them. I hope to announce some of my marketing changes “shortly.”
That’s the question this week: How do you manage to notice when you need updates or upgrades?