Monday, April 20, 2015

Always Get Back Things You Lend

How Many Things Have You Lent, but Never Got Back?

From a very young age, we're talk to share. I can still remember the motto when I was in Beaver's: Sharing Sharing Sharing. Sharing things you don't use very often is great, because often the item can be used much more than you'll use it, without affecting it. The example that gets cited all the time, is a power drill is often only used for 13 minutes in it's lifespan, if only used by one homeowner. What if fewer of us bought a drill, but we shared it? Then we'd all save money.

Speaking from personal experience, I moved recently with a dolly I borrowed from my parent's and was amazed at how much it helped. Combining leverage with the wheel, dolly's are great! I borrowed it again to roll some furniture directly home from the store, avoiding the need to rent a van or truck! The dolly is not something I need regularly, nor do I have room to store it. Sharing one with my parent's, who have more storage room and also don't need it frequently, makes perfect sense.

What About Money? Would A Business Ever Lend or Borrow Without Tracking It?

If you were running a business, would you ever lend or borrow money without tracking it? You wouldn't even think of it! Business's track "Accounts Receiveable" (money that's owed to them) as well as "Accounts Payable" (money they owe). If this is something businesses always track, why don't you track these things in your personal life?

How Many Things Have You Lent or Borrowed But Never Gotten Back?

The downside to sharing, is when people don't return your stuff! Alternatively, you're a bad "borrower" if you never return items either. By (hopefully just) forgetting to return items you've borrowed, you may be hurting a friendship. Being a bad borrower may also prevent you from taking advantage of future borrowing opportunities, since a lender doesn't want to be burned twice.

Being Organized - Track All Items Lent or Borrowed Items With Remember The Milk


Clearly, you need to track what you've borrowed, and what you've lent. All borrowed or lent items need a due date on them, so you know when you should return the item, or at least  when you should contact the lender to ask for an extension. As a lender, you also want a due date so you remember to ask for the item back. When you record an item as lent or borrowed, you want that record to persist until you've returned the item or received it back - even if the item is overdue.

Whatever system you use, is up to you, but Remember The Milk is a great one and what I use.

I've created a "Waiting" list, which has all items I'm waiting for. By using "borrowed" and "lent" tags, I can mark an item in the list accordingly. RTM supports due dates, and I have items that are due show up in my daily 000_Today smart list. This smart list is my daily life dashboard, and shows any tasks or items that are due that day or that I'm working on. This is part of a Gettings Things Done strategy. I could also tag the items with the name of the person involved, but haven't found that to be required.

Whether you move your whole life into a full state of tracking with Getting Things Done, or not is one thing, but I hope you'll agree that borrowed and lent items need to be tracked, in a system you look at on a regular basis.


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