Pruning Your Ideas

On Saturday, the tree people arrived. Their job was to trim my two 30-ft. tall Palo Verde trees. The trees recover fast from pruning, and the last time the job was done wrong. The trees were overgrown and dangerous.

Palo Verdes before trimming.

Palo Verdes before trimming.

Here in Phoenix, we build our houses close together. My neighbor’s house is about 16 feet from mine, wall to wall. That means we share the trees, even though they are on my property. He gets shade, he can see the blossoms, and he gets the seed pods, tiny leaf dust and the things that look like pine needles. Sometimes he dumps the stuff in my yard. He’s very tidy.

I’m less concerned with the trees’ untidy habits than I am with the chance that a Monsoon storm would knock a branch off and crash into the neighbor’s roof–or mine. I loved the shade, but it was time to trim the trees.

The crew showed up and three hours later, the trees were shaped, thinned, and a lot smaller. My chimney was free of branches. My solar panel is now in the direct sun, and yes, the house is hotter.

After pruning.

After pruning. The chimney and solar panel is suddenly visible.

The noise during the trimming was loud. Several crashes as tree branches fell. The constant noise of the chipper. But then it was done. The trees have plenty of branches left and they will fill in again. This time a bit more evenly.

All that pruning makes for a healthier tree. Works the same with your ideas, too. Or your business plan. Overloaded with ideas, work, and plans, we aren’t efficient. A big wind of change could cause some damage.

Every now and then it’s smart to prune–your possessions, your plans, your work, your diet. It doesn’t damage you. It helps keep what is important to healthy growth.

We can get attached to a lot of possessions and comfortable with a lot of ideas. Taking a look at what we really need to thrive can help us be more careful of how we grow. And keep us from breaking during the storms of change.

—Quinn McDonald has just pruned her work list considerably. And planted some new ideas.