Earbuds! I just love earbuds! Since much of my prospecting, coaching, and negotiation work happens by phone, earbuds are an intimate part of my life. If you’ve ever purchased earbuds, you know that some kinds come with these cute little plastic things that fit the earbud perfectly in the ear. Like a kitten, nestled in a basket that’s just the right size. Only in the case of your ear, the basket is lined with ear wax. I guess that keeps the kitten’s fur nice and shiny?
When you get little earbud attachments, however, you only use one for right now. The rest, you save for later. And where do you save them? Right over there, on your desk, behind the stack of books. Or … somewhere
Earbuds come with earpieces. Drills, with replacement drill bits. Electric clipper have attachments to cut hair to different lengths. Dryers have an extra lint screen. Air conditioners come with extra window-sealing foam. Network routers come with an extra network cable. Designer pens and pencils have extra detachable fur coverings.
Frank Purdue, founder of Purdue Chicken Parts, used to do television commercials where he said “parts is parts.” He was referring to chicken parts. But the same principle applies. Parts is parts and you need to have a way to know what goes with what, and find stuff when you need it. Otherwise, you have parts coming out of your ears, and that’s not good; they might knock the kittens loose.
Organize your physical bits
When something you buy comes with spare physical bits like the earbuds, gather together all the bits and put them in a ziploc bag. Write on a small piece of paper what they belong to. “Spare earpieces for blue, waterproof Gizmo earplugs, purchased May 2017.”
The purchase date is relevant! If you love your blue Gizmo earplugs so much that you buy the latest model when it comes out, you need to know which bits go with which. Anyone who’s ever purchased an Apple product knows that the version 2 accessories may not work with the version 3 product.
Also jot down the model number. If you simply say “iPhone earpiece” when you stash the extra earbuds from your iPhone 7, then if you get another iPhone, you won’t be able to tell which one those earbuds belong with.
Put all your ziploc bags ’o bits in one location. When an accessory is needed, you can go straight to your “bits bin” and find the right ziploc bag.