Originally published on 13 March 2007.
I have spent the better part of my adult life falling for every promise out of Madison Avenue advertising firms when it comes to cleaning products. I have tried just about everything out there, looking for the magic product that would make my housework vanish. These ranged from promises of sparkling clean tubs and showers and toilets to whiter whites and immaculate floors.
Inevitably, I would plunk my money down, and at best would end up with a disappointing product. At worst I would end up saddled with the aftereffects of noxious fumes, including full blown asthma attacks.
When I found Flylady, I was scandalized by her list of cleaning products. “What do you mean, she only uses glass cleaner, and regular old soap? It can’t be that easy!” I would mutter to myself as I spent an entire weekend cleaning our bathroom.
But it’s the truth. And the secret weapon? It’s the thing on the end of my arm…my hand. If I actually do the work, things get clean. Maybe not all at once, but they get cleaner. And every time I use that secret weapon, it gets easier still.
This applies to other areas of my life. For instance:
- The latest PDA is not going to solve my scheduling woes. I will still suffer being overcommitted as long as I keep saying yes.
- There is no one planning system that is going to make my goals manifest themselves. I have to put in the work to get there.
- There is no magic diet that is going to take extra weight off unless I exert myself. I have to actually follow the diet, or even better, start eating more healthy food in smaller portions and exercise more.
The lesson here is that there is no magic pill, no fairy godmother, no perfect solution. The end result is that everything takes effort, and it is up to me to put in that effort. Nothing is going to appear and do the work for me.
Like some of the caustic cleaning products I try, using some of the magic solutions can leave me weak and irritable. A diet that limits me to one type of food comes to mind with that. Sure, it will take off the weight (because I will stop eating) but you won’t want to be around me. If I engage in a productivity system and spend all my time tweaking, categorizing and planning, I will be left with the grumpy realization that I got nothing done.
Are you looking for magic pills in your life?