One of my ex-co-workers would never handle non-emergent issues the first time they were handed to her. The piece of paper would be placed on the desk (or chair, or floor, or wherever) and left to be covered by other unrelated things.
“Just put it to the side and see if the issue arises again in a couple of days. If it does not, you just saved yourself some time” – my co-worker would say.
Somehow, most of the issues never returned to them. Or if they did, they had to occur a couple more times to finally be deemed worthy of my co-worker’s time. There were so many more important things to do like taking a break, or taking a break, or taking a break.
Personally, I could never not care about the work I was hired to do. My co-worker was able to compartmentalize and not worry about things that were not her priority. It would be alright if it was just happening at work, but that co-worker also acted that same way with their personal affairs. If you are like that – I would consider yourself lucky. Being able to not worry about things is definitely something I am working on. And if the stars shine upon you and you are able to get away with not doing important things, I definitely will not force you. You lucky ba****d.
However, today I encourage everyone else to tackle that pesky “to-do” list. Most likely, there are plenty of different things on that list and the list never ends. But there is a way to make it shorter and therefore less overwhelming.
Just do it!
A friend of mine reminded me of that this past week. There are a few things on top of their “to-do” list, which have been there for a while. I have continuously reminded them about these things, and finally, the things have been crossed off the list.
“See? And you were dreading this so much” – I said once the mission was accomplished.
Have you ever obsessed about having to do something, but instead of getting it done, you would put it off indefinitely? I think we all have at one point or another. Evading my responsibilities used to be my hobby. Not anymore. What I noticed was that whenever I have something to do that I do not want to do, that thing brings a storm cloud and covers my sky. Even if I try to outrun it by focusing on something else, that dark cloud still looms over me. Sure, I am not wrestling with it, but it dampens my mood. It casts a shadow on my happiness. Sometimes that shadow is not even felt consciously, but subconsciously, my body suffers. I get tired easily and become apathetic about other things. It sucks the life out of me. Turns me into a monster. Makes me snap at others without me knowing why.
Whenever I am reminded about the things I need to do, I am filled with dread. And that feeling is definitely toxic. So what do I do to alleviate it? I try and tackle whatever I need to do as soon as possible. The reason why we postpone certain things is often that we cannot predict everything pertaining to said issue. But you know what? Chances are that you will be as clueless tomorrow, or next week or next month. We often postpone it because the task requires a lot of effort; be it mental or physical. But you know what? It will require the same amount of effort today and next month. Nothing will change in that department. What might change, however, are the consequences.
Of course, I do not mean the little things in life. If you do not water your plants today, or next week, or next month, you can just go to the store and get a new one whenever you feel like it. But not everything is a product which we can replace. Some things we NEED to get done. Sure, you do not have to pay off that debt today, but the longer you postpone it, the more you will have to pay.
Another reason why I like to handle things as they come is that I know things do not always happen the way I want them to happen. Have you ever started something only to be faced with one obstacle after another? You just forced yourself to do something you did not want to do and now your task is even more complicated than it was before. What do you do? Because it is regarding something you came into begrudgingly, it is much easier to just throw up your hands and quit. Well, at least you tried, right? Wrong.
You are now stressed because your deadline is tomorrow. Maybe you should have started handling this issue a month ago and not wait until today? That way, you would have discovered this particular obstacle weeks ago and had the time to figure it out. Now you do not.
But I would still recommend that you try to solve the issue and move forward onto the next step. If you walk away now, you would have tried for nothing. And if you taking nothing out of that, then you just wasted so much of your valuable time. You might as well just keep plowing forward.
Instead of whining about having to do something, rip the band-aid off and DO IT! If there are problems along the way, overcome them. Once you are done, you will feel so much better, and you will be able to focus on other things without that dark cloud above you. Celebrate your achievements because you actually got it done!
Do not let your “to-do” list rule you; rule IT.
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