I’ve spent the last month or so gradually unpacking the contents of my home and sorting them. And in that period I have become aware of a bad habit I have.
Have you ever tripped over your own feet? Lost your temper when something you were fixing seemed to get worse not better? Dropped that pile of things you had carefully piled up in your arms so you only had to make one trip? If so, you may have this bad habit sometimes too…
I call it the one thing too many syndrome. It’s when you know in your guts that it’s time to stop, at least for a while, but your head says, ‘ I’ll just finish this, or move that or put the other away.’ It’s not only a denial of your own awareness, it’s also almost always a mistake! That extra task is when you drop something or break it, or when you can’t find what you’re looking for, or when you can’t get something to fit together, or when the right words won’t come to mind.
My impatience to get things done has led to frustration and more things to rectify rather than extra progress. So I am retraining myself to listen to my guts, and to assess what I can do against my own energy and enthusiasm levels rather than some external measure that says I could do more.
I know this really – I preach it to others. I know that we don’t have consistent energy or focus levels. I know we are not robots and we work more effectively in short bursts. I know that a bit of a break can make all the difference. And I know that overall I am far more productive when I work with myself rather than despite myself.
So I’m back n this learning curve – wouldn’t it be great if we got the message the first time around!! – doing half a task well instead of a whole task badly. It’s been a useful reminder to me – and if you recognise any of this, I hope it’s a useful reminder to you. As Winnie the Pooh suggests, if you allow yourself to stop and have a think, or a little honey, things do get done and you don’t wear yourself out.