Nope, I'm not talking about brake slamming and whiplash; I’m talking about stopping yourself from going “over the line”. These past few weeks, I’ve conducted very un-scientific and statistically improper study and it seems as though women I talk to are faltering by simply not stopping short. Stopping before you decide to do that extra errand on your list, the extra project at work, the extra social commitment or even the extra ski run that ends with tears or worse, an injury because someone was too tired. If we could just stop ourselves, well, we might all just be a bit better off.
Before anyone balks and says that by taking on more, you get further, are more accomplished, blah, blah, blah, this is not about that (and my columns probably aren't for you). Of course, we should challenge ourselves, be efficient and productive, duh! This also isn’t about learning to say “No”. Different issue. This is about what happens in our everyday lives. The little things we do that send us flying over our own invisible line of chaos and stress. What throws you into overdrive; speeding to make up time that results in a ticket that then takes hours to deal with, having to yell at your kids to go to bed quicker so you can get back on the computer and finish the report you offered to have completed by a.m (btw, that is also the point that you have problems with your computer, run out of paper and start cursing) or baking the sweet home made cookies that always ends with a trip for eggs, flour all over the floor and a massive mopping job. There is a point that we all reach that if we just could have just stopped ourselves…
Women by nature and need are fantastically efficient and multi-tasking extraordinaires. This makes us great mom’s, wives, friends, sisters and employees. BUT, we must learn to avoid this “one more thing” syndrome because more times than not, and I speak from way too much experience on this, it comes at a price. I could make a list (or my husband could); lost wallets, cell phones, keys left places, empty gas tanks, way many too points on my license, burnt food, countless scrapes and burns, lost luggage, broken appliances and spats with my spouse and kids, I could continue but probably shared too much already . Common theme? I was in a rush and more focused on what I needed to do next than what I was doing at the time. Took on " one more thing” that sent everything else off the rails. Sound familiar (please tell me yes, I am feeling vulnerable).
So, with the help of a few experts, I am suggesting just few ideas on how to Stop Short!
- Assess: What will it take to do this? How long? Do I have what I need to make it happen easily (i.e. ingredients, correct forms, research)? If not, think twice.
- Be realistic: Doing ten errands before an early meeting, probably not a good idea. Four different plans for one Saturday night. No way. Chances are you will wind up pissing someone off. Learn to say, “Sorry it just isn’t going to work”.
- Plan: Calculate how long it takes to do everything you need to do in a lunch hour, an afternoon or a day, add 15 minutes to each item and STOP. Don’t add another thing like inviting people for dinner too (unless of course you plan on ordering in, then go for it!)
- Know your limits: How much can you really do in a day before you become cranky and less than kind? Pay attention.
- Be kind: To yourself! Rome wasn’t built in a day. Things might just need to wait till tomorrow. Really, everything will be o.k.
There is so much on our lives that we unfortunately can't control and must do. Shouldn't we at least try and use a bit more control where we can? So this month lets all try and Stop Short in our lives and breathe just a wee bit easier. It certainly sounds more relaxing than traffic court.