Put out fires when they're small


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What kind of “fires” do you put out on a daily basis?

Most of us who run our own business or work a hectic job schedule even if employed by someone else, often get stressed out because it’s easy to get caught up in putting out the fires each day… those disasters that crop up constantly and demand attention … while neglecting the truly important things on your list that need to be done.

Yesterday afternoon, I took this photo of a Los Angeles Country fire engine that was in my neighborhood with three other engines and several support vehicles.

A neighbor’s house had caught fire, probably from electrical wiring from what we could tell. Luckily, the owner was home, saw the flames at the door and got himself and his cat out to safety.

Before learning all that, we heard several fire engines roaring up the hill toward us and knew that the fire must be nearby. It’s always dry in L.A. in the summer. Last winter was a wet one, which meant a lot of growth which is now crackling dry underbrush, susceptible to wild fires.  But this one seemed to be residential.

The fire department responded quickly.

When I got there, I could see smoke coming from the attic of the 2-storey house, and there was black soot on the stucco around the front door light. The weather had suddenly gotten hot, triple digit, and perhaps the owner was running the air conditioner and the electric load got too much for wiring that was already damaged, such as by rats biting the wires.

Trained firefighters know to seek the source of the problem instead of getting sidetracked by the smoke.

We can learn from them!

Take a look at the most important things in your life. What are you neglecting to take care of, that could prove to be a hazard if you continue to ignore it?

Now’s the time to make an emergency escape plan for yourself and your family in case of disaster.

Now’s the time to back up your critical data onto flash drives, an external drive or CDs. Some people like to use an off-site for extra safety, to store their digital data for a monthly fee.  A quick way to save important files that I use on a daily basis is to email the file to myself and don’t open the email– let your email server provide free storage space.

Now’s the time to get your will in order, to set up a Health Directive and other documents that may be needed in an emergency.

Now’s the time to see if you have taken care of key issues related to your finances and other aspects of your busy life.  Don’t wait until those virtual fire engines are headed your way, and there might not be time to take care of crucial tasks.

That home owner was fortunate — he was home, and he was able to get out to safety with his pet.  If he’d been gone all day and returned later… if neighbors had been busy in their own air-conditioned homes with the windows shut and thus did not smell smoke … if… if… if ….   Well, you can see what that leads to — he might have come home to a house engulfed in flames that could not be salvaged.

The firefighters were breaking into walls with axes when I got too hot on the sidewalk to keep watching. They had things under control.

Can you say the same about your business and personal life? Or does worry about the critical issues you’ve procrastinated about keep you stressed and sleepless?

Take an action today. Make a plan for what’s most important to do now, and then start implementing the plan. Spend an hour a day on it, and soon the onerous task will be done. And you’ll feel more in control of your life, instead of out of control with worry.

Avoid the phrase people end up saying after a disaster “If only I had taken care of…”

What kind of “fires” do you have in your life?  Please retweet to your friends!  Everyone needs this reminder.

your happiness guru,

Evelyn Brooks

Comments (8)

Chris Paulsen

August 24, 2010

Evelyn,

This is a great illustration of the stress in many of our lives. Thank you for sharing how we can manage those onerous tasks and reduce stress.

Chris

Chris Paulsen

August 24, 2010

Evelyn,

This is a great illustration of the stress in many of our lives. Thank you for sharing how we can manage those onerous tasks and reduce stress.

Chris

Evelyn Brooks

August 24, 2010

Thanks for stopping by! Great to see you here, Chris.
Evelyn

Evelyn Brooks

August 24, 2010

Thanks for stopping by! Great to see you here, Chris.
Evelyn

Makaila

November 21, 2011

Too many compliments too little space, thnaks!

Makaila

November 21, 2011

Too many compliments too little space, thnaks!

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