Author Archives: Mathew Bell

Staying On Task

As the charm of the new year has started to wear off a lot of people are looking at themselves and realizing they are no longer working on their new year goals or resolutions. It’s almost April, but there is still many months left to get back on track. People assume if they did not achieve their goals by now then it is probably a lost cause. They will wait until next year to make the same goals all over again and fail at them, once again. So, how can you turn it around right now? How can you motivate yourself to get stuff done?

First things first, have you tried writing a list? It has been proven that people who write what they want to get done down are way more likely to actually do it. Maybe you did write your goals down! Okay, so where? In a journal in your bedside table that you haven’t opened since January. Or maybe you wrote it down in your notes app in your phone. That’s probably so far buried by now… Some people opt to keep a list on their desk at work. Okay! That’s more like it. A place where you can look at the list every single day. But, it looks like you spilled some coffee or some leftovers on it one day. Maybe the gross document is still there, or maybe it has made its way to the trash by now. We’ve established that you need to write it down. It needs to be visible. And it needs to stay clean.

My best advice would be to buy a few job ticket holders from a place that sells shipping supplies  to put around your office and home. These things are seriously great. You can put any document inside of them and the document essentially becomes waterproof! There is even a little hole at the top to tack it to your wall. Or use a magnet to hang it on your fridge. The front is clear so you can always see your document.

The more you see your goals, the more likely you are to work on them! You can even use dry erase markers to mark up your document. You can write notes to yourself or cross things off as you achieve them! Who knew there would be such great use for random shipping supplies! I wonder what else I could use for my everyday life.

Still Shipping?

Given the current climate of the United States, many Americans are nervous about their packaging and what will be happening with their orders. With any pandemic, there are going to have to be sacrifices. Some people will have to temporarily leave their jobs. Some even will be asked to stay inside for weeks on end in order to contain the virus. So the question on a lot of our minds is, will I still get my package?

For now and probably indefinitely, shipping is labeled an essential activity. It is understood that people need to receive their packages. Many people are ordering food and necessary medical supplies from companies all across the U.S. These are the people who cannot leave their homes to go pick these essential items up from their store. Shipping could be the only means for a person to get the supplies they truly need. So, shipping companies will stay open for the good of all people.

People should also not fear their packages and worry about where they are coming from. Some people are assuming their goods from highly infected areas must mean that their boxes will also be infected. The way the virus is acting right now, this simply is not true. The virus cannot stay active for more than 30 minutes on a hard surface.

Think about how long the box would take to ship to you. The people who should worry a little about the virus are the people who are handling the shipping boxes. If you are still worried about it then you can let your box sit on your doorstep for thirty minutes before opening your door and unboxing your package. Make sure you have wipes and hand sanitizer available at all times. Even better, wash your hands with soap and water multiple times a day.

A lot is going to change in the world in the next few weeks. More and more updates are released by the hour at this point. We should not be afraid, though, of shipping boxes not being delivered. There are companies dedicated to making sure the boxes are made, packaged, and then shipped to the consumer. We understand most of these packages will be containing essential items in order for the consumer to survive. It is in everyone’s best interest to keep these operations running smoothly and quickly. If you are able to, please stay home during this time. Enjoy your deliveries!

Quality of Box Matters

If you’re a golf club dealer, or any dealer, you need to have a good idea of what the going rate is for specific clubs, accessories, and equipment. This value can be drastically different depending on whether or not the club is new or used. The truth is, if you’re wanting to move large amounts of clubs, you have got to price them to sell. If you’re not going to price them to sell, you’re wasting your time in the first place. It makes me so frustrated to see others that are in the same business as me set prices on items that will never ever go. I had one guy set the price on a putter headcover for $140.

The putter headcover is a limited edition, which gives it some value. But, the item was listed as “used”. Anyone in the world can go online and buy the same exact headcover brand new for $75. So, why in the world a guy would think he’s going to get $140 for the same item that is used is absolutely beyond me.

This drives me crazy. But, at least the guy was charging $0 for shipping. He has a better chance of selling the shipping supplies (i.e., boxes) he ships his items in for 100 times what they’re worth than he does selling this particular putter headcover for $140.

I, on the other hand, price items to sell and sell fast. I want people to feel like they got a great deal so that they will keep coming back for more. Another way I keep them coming back is by using the very best boxes that are out there. I want my items to be safe, secure, and end up in the buyers hands with no damages. That’s why I spend a little more on the cardboard boxes I buy.

There’s actually a huge difference between high and low quality shipping supplies. The low quality boxes come as if they were already used. They are often tattered, the material is worn and soft, and they just don’t hold together very well. The high quality boxes are very crisp, they are stiff, and very compact. And they keep all of my products exactly how they were first listed online. That’s what the customer wants more than anything. They want what they see online to show up on their doorsteps exactly as is. Spending a little more money on higher quality boxes makes that possible.

One of the Worst Jobs of My Life

I’ve had a handful of jobs in my lifetime. I’ve detasseled corn, washed dishes, cooked food, sold insurance, ministered to coaches and athletes, and done taxes. I’ve had favorite things in those jobs and dreadful things in those jobs. Sometimes, the job itself was nothing but dreadful. Detasseling corn was definitely not a favorite job of mine, but it only lasted two to three weeks and it was over.

And we got paid what seemed like a lot of money in that two-week span. Looking back, it wasn’t very much money at all, but to a high school kid who has everything taken care of for him by his parents, the extra cash seemed like a lot at the time. The worst job I think I had to work was washing dishes at a local restaurant. It was a summer job and I always had to work in the evening when all the fun was going on outside of work. It wasn’t just washing dishes that was bad, it was the fact that when the restaurant closed for the night, everyone except the dish washers got to leave. The reason being was because the restaurant had a buffet. Every single buffet pan needed washed before I was allowed to leave.

These pans had food completely caked and burned on them, so it took forever to get that stuff to come off. Not to mention, we had to break down all the shipping boxes that the restaurant supplies and products would come in. Why this responsibility fell on the dishwashers was completely unbeknownst to me because of how busy we were. The waitresses were so bored they’d just hang out in the kitchen and eat.

Why couldn’t they have broken down shipping boxes? All they cared about was getting to play with the supplies like popping the bubble wrap that would come in the cardboard boxes. And to be honest, that would upset me to some extent.

But, looking back, we couldn’t even get them to scrape the food off the plates they brought us. Instead, they just sat all the dishes down on our runway with all the food in the world piled high. A true breeding ground for flies and gnats alike. Therefore, it doesn’t surprise me that they couldn’t break down boxes when they were incapable of scraping a little food off the plates they had just sat down for us to clean.

Working on Projects

Many people begin building furniture when they realize how expensive it is to buy new furniture. With all the do it yourself plans on the internet, there’s not a lot to building your own furniture. All it takes is a quick search for a plan on your desired build, a quick trip to the hardware store, and possessing the right tools. The cutting, the screwing, the construction and assembly doesn’t take much time at all. For example, one could build what would seem like an intricate king size bed in as little as 12 hours. With the help of another person, this particular build could be built in half the time. A table, however, would only take a few hours to construct and assemble. Common tools that are needed in many do it yourself builds, that most people don’t have, are table horses. Table horses help prop up long pieces of wood that are being cut, and are also used to place various pieces that need sanding on.

A great alternative to table horses are cheap moving boxes. My house, for instance, is full of cheap moving boxes because we just moved. So I use these for all my wood working projects. With the help of these stand ins, I have been able to build many different pieces of furniture that are now being used daily in my house.

I sleep in the bed I built. I eat food at the table I built. I store books in the bookshelves I built. And all these builds have been made for a fraction of the cost. Thousands of dollars have been saved because a few personal hours have been valuably spent constructing these pieces of furniture.

Although the build and the construction is fun, the sanding and staining is no fun at all. Certain wood has to be sanded to specific standards in order to properly take the stain that will be applied. This is a very tedious and lengthy process. A great idea would be having a partner that you could count on to sand and stain after you have constructed the piece. Some people, however, will sand all the wood before they even begin construction.

This makes the staining process a breeze because you don’t have to worry about a nook or corner or crevasse not taking the stain the way the rest of the piece takes it due to improper sanding techniques.

Hobbies, Interests, and Happiness

For about 10 months now we’ve had over 10 different succulents in our apartment, and it was actually quite a fun process to go pick them out and find the pots we thought would fit the aesthetic of our home. While buying plants at a local shop and not a department store likely cost us more than it could have, we felt better knowing the plants were taken care of and probably healthier in general. And so far, we’ve done amazing.

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Repotting them hasn’t been easy, especially since we’re new to having plants. But it was a fun process that was much needed. And that’s what I’ve come to realize about hobbies. If you’re having fun and your interest is constantly piqued, nothing else should matter. That’s the whole point of hobbies, isn’t it? Having fun and doing what you enjoy? Too often I feel like I see people forcing hobbies or forcing things they don’t actually like. And I feel sorry for those types of people who are trying to do what others enjoy or what others want. That’s not living a life for themselves. That’s worrying about what others think of them.

So when it comes to spending your time off work, I really think you need to evaluate what you like, what you find yourself enjoying, and what you’ve always wanted to do. Those answers won’t ever be the same for any two people, so own your experience and enjoy the things you love. I know that sometimes money is an issue, but let’s be honest, there’s something satisfying about a few shipping boxes showing up to your doorstep every few weeks when you’re collecting something or need more materials to continue your artistic ability.

So truthfully, this is all that should go into your time off. If you’re not relaxing and not enjoying your time, why continue the bad habits or the hobbies that are someone else’s in your life? Get online, buy a few of your favorite albums or video games or whatever, wait for those shipping boxes to arrive, and then have a blast doing what you love. That’s all it takes, truly.

Once you get to this point in your life, everything else just seems to come easier. And I’ve lived that feeling, so it’s a real experience that I want to tell everyone about. Not caring what others think and doing what you enjoy is all that should matter.

Doing What Matters for Your Relationship

This Valentine’s Day has armed me with quite a few ideas of things I want to do for my partner’s birthday. Her special day falls a month after V-Day on the dot. And the only reason I’m gathering some ideas for her birthday is because we’re hosting a listening party for a new album on Valentine’s Day. This is something we’ll absolutely buy on vinyl, and so it’s making me think of what all I can do for her birthday a month later.

One of those things? Buying her a record or two she’s been wanting for awhile now. But also, I’m thinking of a nice restaurant I can take her out to that we don’t have the time to do on Valentine’s Day this week. And since it’s only a month later, it helps to “combine” the two of sorts.

I know what you’re thinking though. “If you truly cared about her, you would take her to dinner for both days you cheapskate!” Well, that’s simply not true. If you knew us, you’d realize she doesn’t want a V-Day dinner and never has. Because it’s all just a corporate scheme to get Americans to go crazy on teddy bears, chocolates, candy, gift cards, and Hallmark cards. We’d rather celebrate our own way and then do something more special for birthdays instead. That, to me, is what really defines a relationship (i.e., understanding what matters to us).

So I’ll be ordering a few records that we haven’t been able to find for her in the past. Heck, I’ve been doing it for myself recently and ripping through the shipping supplies when they arrive on my front porch. This’ll be no different and she’ll merely think I bought something for myself again! The only difference is that shipping supplies won’t be scattered across my floor this time since I can’t reveal what I bought.

Nonetheless, I think we’re set for a nice birthday celebration for her this year, and I’ll also be looking to take her to a concert locally to celebrate. It’s something we always try to do for one another, so it just goes hand in hand with the music I’m already planning to buy.

So, how are you celebrating Valentine’s Day this year? We’re doing a listening party. Why don’t you try going against the grain and do something that actually matters to you and your relationship? It’ll feel really good. Trust me.

Phase Out Plastic

Plastic bags are ruining the planet. Among other things, of course, but they are a big colporate. These things used to be (and still are in some places) everywhere! The worst part is they take thousands of years to decompose. It is our responsibility to clean up the earth. Reducing our plastic intake is just one way we can help save the earth.

At first, the initiative was to recycle them. Recycling was marketed as if it worked 100% of the time. We had the mentality that every item we put in the recycling box would go to a facility, be successfully recycled, and would come back as another product. In theory this is great! Unfortunately, it just is not the case. The majority of materials placed in recycling bins are rejected and get thrown into a landfill anyways.

Why would a material get rejected? Mostly because of contaminants with food and other non-recyclable products. The biggest source of plastic bags not getting recycled are plastic bags from carry-out restaurants. Restaurants are notorious for overusing plastic when they definitely do not need to be. Sometimes they wrap containers in a brown paper bag and then still use two plastic bags! It is so wasteful and unnecessary to have just one plastic bag let alone two!

The solution to helping restaurants become more conscious of their plastic use is by not even using plastic at all! Okay, that is kind of unrealistic so they should consider reusing what they already have in their restaurants. Every restaurant gets multiple shipments in a week of produce and other materials needed for their food. Instead of just tossing those shipping boxes the restaurant could reuse them to package their to-go orders. Obviously the boxes could not be the huge oversized ones, but smaller packages would work just fine. Lots of produce and grains usually arrive in smaller packages, anyways.

I’m sure there would not be enough shipping boxes for every single order. But even if it covered even just a day’s worth of orders it would be great how much waste they reduced! The boxes could even be reused at home as well.

It is simple changes like this that anybody can be a part of to help save the earth. Little things will ultimately add up. If all restaurants start adopting this model I could not imagine the change we would start to see in just one year.

Switching Up the Pattern of Life

Any time you have a period of change in your life, a lot of stress suddenly befalls you that is almost always unwelcome. Rarely does anyone actively seek stress, though they make seek a busy schedule. Nonetheless, switching jobs can not only induce a newfound stress but also affect your sleeping schedule, your daily schedule, and also what you eat or don’t eat in a day.

Needless to say, switching jobs can be anxiety inducing and make you worry about menial things in your life that you never once thought of when you had your old job.

The other thing that comes with new jobs, though? Ambition. Responsibility. Empowerment. Self-esteem. Those things are absolutely amazing in anyone’s life, and yet they’re so easily found. It’s just that no one thinks about how easily they can access them on a daily basis, because there’s no major change in their life to spur them on to doing great things. There’s nothing that jars their everyday life enough to make them reconsider how they do other things, like interacting with strangers or pushing your skills to the limit. And if everyone would think like that, there wouldn’t be much to worry about in life. Because you’d have a serious handle on everything you do and say. You’d know what was needed on the daily. You would understand people better.

I suppose I should back up and think about another thing that no one thinks about when they get a new job. What is it? Well, no one thinks about the work of moving old materials, furniture, or files that goes into switching jobs.

More than anything, it sucks having to bag up your old papers and folders. Using shipping supplies to protect your belongings or furniture from the old gig isn’t the most fun to spend your money on, but it’s also no fun spending time on actually moving those things. That’s sweat equity right there.

Nonetheless, there are much greater things that the new career will bring you and your loved ones. It’s just a matter of taking the time to explore your options, to pack up the old things in shipping supplies, and to see where you can push yourself more than you ever have.

With change, we develop and grow more than we ever would staying in an old position or old home. Humans thrive on change, it’s just a matter of finding the change that’s right for you and everyone you love.

Canceling Your Subscription Box

One of my favorite gifts that I, myself, gifted this year was a one-month subscription to Hello Fresh for my mom. She’s been bogged down with work lately, so I know that’s affected the time she has available to go grocery shopping. So, my partner and I decided to go half in together on a one month subscription to a food prep company all so my mother could make her own meals after work and not worry about time needed to do it.

Unfortunately, a company like that isn’t exactly cheap, so we had to cancel her subscription a week ago in order to not be charged full price for February. It sucked because we both knew she was loving it so much, but the full price on some of those subscription companies and their shipping boxes is absolutely outrageous.

And this made us realize we had our own subscription companies to decide on quitting or not. In fact, one of her friends gifted us a one-month subscription to a wine company. It’s not surprising that her friend is a huge fan of wine, but we’ve enjoyed the company enough to consider continuing the subscription boxes we get now that a month has gone by after Christmas. I’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that we’re going to continue on with it. But all isn’t said and done until she gives the go ahead!

Still, we live in a moment in history where people actually have to make these conscious decisions, to skip their next month’s subscription or to continue on. Part of these decisions can be made based on financial reasons, and sometimes they’re made because someone realizes that it’s just not as necessary as they first thought. On the other hand, other subscriptions can really make you consider continuing a subscription because of the absolute convenience that the company is providing you. Take my mom and us for example. We would be dropping almost eighty bucks to go forward with 2 meals a week for her and my dad. Yeah, that really only comes out to be five dollars a meal, but that’s something we could achieve on our own for even cheaper if we went to the store often for really cheap produce and grains.

When all is said and done, I would say that now more than ever we have all the power in the world to choose what we want and what we spend our money on. A lot say the internet is an evil thing, but I look at it as the most benevolent invention humans have ever made if only because it has offered us absolute control over our preferences.