The past couple of months life has been teaching me a lesson on getting rid of things that no longer serve me. In life we have a tendency to sometimes cop out to “that’s the way we’ve always done it” or “that’s how I was taught” or we fear change so greatly that we keep doing the same thing over and over again and complain about how painful it is. I mean, in general, humans are kinda stupid.
Let me clarify what I’m talking about by giving you a couple of examples of things I have switched up recently.
Where’s the Fire?
As a worker, I pride myself on the fact that I am fast and efficient. When a project comes across my desk, my aim is to get it done quickly because I don’t want to hold up the progress of someone else. Over the course of my career, my emphasis on this has served me well and is part of the skill set that has allowed me to secure promotions within all the companies that I have worked.
However, recently, I’ve been having to redo several tasks, either because I missed a detail, made a typo or was too quick to reply without getting all the facts of the situation.
Once I noticed that the mistakes were happening at a more frequent pace, I started ruminating on what could be the cause. Were people just being too picky? Am I not as sharp as I used to be? Do I have a shitty attitude and just don’t care anymore? There may be some truth in each of those theories, but the easy answer was staring me right in the face.
It took a new employee at the company to make me realize what I needed to do. This person is very thorough in her work. She researches everything fully and will not respond until she feels completely confident in her reply. Because I have an opposite approach, she was actually getting on my nerves taking so long to reply, therefore holding up my work.
She was also the one catching most of my mistakes. Defensively, I wanted to complain that she was being a pain in the ass. But when I calmed down and thought about it, I realized her method kept her from making silly mistakes. She was doing a more thorough job than I was, which is hard to admit to after a twenty plus year career.
Because I’ve been doing the “get it done quick” thing for a long time, it’s going to take a while to train myself out of it. I can still be efficient, I just don’t have to do it at laser speed. So first step is to stop multitasking. I work on one thing at a time now and don’t stop to check an email that just came in. I finish what I’m doing and then prioritize what I should work on next. What I’m working on gets my FULL attention and gets rechecked before going out. Happy to report that mistakes are rarely made anymore.
Why Do You Get Here So Early?
When I started at my present job over five years ago, my daughter was in high school and didn’t have a driver’s license. Because my job has some flexibility and employees are allowed to start work anytime between 6AM-9AM, it was convenient for me to be able to get to work early and be off by around 3PM. That way I could pick her up from school and take her to her after school job. Later on, when she got her driver’s license, it changed to getting home early so she could borrow the car.
I am not a jump-out-of-bed, ready-to-face-the-day kind of person. When my alarm would go off at 5AM, my first thought was usually “Fuck!”. Getting out of bed, I would immediately run around to get ready for work as quickly as possible, so I could get downtown and snag a parking spot close to the office. By the time I walked through the doors, I was feeling frazzled and some days it took everything I had just to be civil. Then as soon as work was over, it was rush home to trade off the car or run somewhere else before I could finally slow down and decompress.
My daughter has had her own car for about a year and it didn’t dawn on me until about a month ago, that I no longer needed to get up early. That I could actually change my routine to better suit ME now. I hate mornings, so why am I still getting up and rushing into work, when I don’t have to?
So I stopped setting my alarm. I wake up when I want, get out of bed when I want, and do whatever I want to ease into the day. Sometimes I drink a cup of tea and flip through social media. Sometimes I get up and do some yoga followed by some meditation. Most days, I even take the dog for a walk before leaving for work. And no more rushing to get ready. I take my time. I may change my outfit ten times, it doesn’t matter anymore because I no longer feel the need to rush.
There are only two cons to coming in later. One – I now have to deal with the morning traffic into downtown. Second – I have to park farther away from the office. But honestly, because I’m more chill, these two things are not bothering me at all. I have found that I actually enjoy the walk into the office. It gives me even more time to prepare myself mentally for the day. My coworkers can attest to the change in my attitude. (Not sure whether to be proud of that or cringe that I was that bad before.)
My point is this – if something is consistently making your life difficult, then question everything about it to see if there is any other approach you can take to make it better. Life is hard, you owe it to yourself to make anything you can easier. Trying a new way of doing something is more constructive than bitching about it.
Questioning my whole life now.