1.24.2012

The Annoyance Rule

I have a new rule. I can't spend longer being annoyed by something that it would take to deal with it. The need for this rule became apparent when I spent three days being vexed by a confetti of bread crumbs beneath Em's high chair--the remnants of a roll my husband let her go to town on. 

It would have taken less than a minute to vacuum them up, but instead I let them get to me for days. Every time I passed the mess I'd think, "Grrr, I just don't have time to get the vacuum out right now, and unwind the cord, and plug it in..." But if I had time enough to be bothered, I had time enough to vacuum. I was just putting off the inevitable (maybe being petty and waiting for my husband to clean up the mess of his making), and wasting precious energy being upset about a problem with an easy fix. 

Now when I pass the dregs of Em's latest meal, I apply the yank-off-the-bandaid approach and attend to the mess immediately. I scrape the slimy Cheerios from the carpet and use my elbow grease on the sticky counter. I'm annoyed less often, and my apartment is cleaner.

This concept can also be applied to dread. In college, I'd sometimes spend more time dreading the writing of a paper than it actually took me to write it. One definition of the word dread is "to be reluctant to do, meet, or experience." If there's an unavoidable task you've been putting off, stop waiting and attack! Stop dangling your toe in the water to assess the temperature...jump in! Unless you're utilizing procrastination time to prepare or muster motivation, just get it over with. The sooner you start, the sooner you'll finish.