No time? Listen to it instead
On a random day that’s going pretty well, I often encounter things such as a console that starts to overheat. The process of getting internet at my new apartment turned from a pre-fitted-five-minute-affair to a one-day-rewiring-of-the-entire-apartment affair rather quickly the other day. You get the idea. I’m sure it’s the same with you. So, I built a series of questions called the Annoyance Questionnaire.
Even when you have everything planned down to the last detail, the world is too spontaneous and serendipitous. There are too many variables. That means that there is always going to be a problem or two sprouting up.
I often lose my shit when something like that happens. That’s what I’ve been trying to work on for a while now. As challenges keep coming up, I’ve realised I’ve gotten better at it. At least enough to share my process.
I’ve come up with a mental flowchart of sorts, that helps me gauge what I can do about the problem, and then act accordingly. It’s a step-by-step thing, so that’s how we’ll take this one.
Let’s call it the Annoyance Questionnaire.
Ask Yourself: Does It Matter Today?
The ‘today’ at the end of that question is essential. If it is something that’s bothering you or at least, manages to faze you, it does matter. Telling yourself otherwise is more pain in the long-run. It does matter. We know that. Does it matter today? Try to find that out first. Once you find that out, you have two ways out.
If Yes, What Can You Do About It?
Here, the ‘you’ is essential. For example, my apartment, which needs to be rewired now is a task that looks to be mine. However, I can’t do anything until the society I’m living in moves things on their side of the table. In that case, after I’ve called them, it isn’t my job anymore. That is until they call me back or until the repairs begin.
So, what can I do it besides calling them? Nothing. If that is that, then let it go for now. Follow up later if it is required.
If there is something that you, specifically, can do about it, you need to ask yourself another question.
Does It Need Me Specifically?
If that is a yes, do it. Find a way. Reshuffle your schedule for the day. Change things. Cancel appointments. Get it done. Solve the problem.
If that is a no, find a way to getting it done without you being present there. Delegate. Call in a favour. You get the idea.
If No, Will It Matter Soon?
Let’s go back to the first question, and let’s assume the answer is No. Let’s say it doesn’t matter today. Then, ask yourself if it will matter soon.
Suppose the answer to this question is Yes. Figure out what you must do. Then, put it on your plan for the next few days. Schedule it. Then, do it as a regular task.
Your spontaneous problem is now on your to-do list.
Suppose the answer to this question is No. Then, ask yourself another question.
How Far Can I Postpone It?
If the answer to it is a vague time which you can’t even imagine, it doesn’t matter. Put it on a task list that you check every once in a while but don’t focus on. You just thought it mattered. It doesn’t.
If you have a specific answer, put in a reminder to until you can postpone it. Then, when the reminder fires, go back to the first question. Rinse. Repeat.
Since this gets a bit difficult to follow in text, here’s a quick flowchart for you. I decided having this handy can save a perfect day from becoming a terrible one.
So, here it goes.
Life is variable. There can be all sorts of annoyances that keep coming up as we’re going about our days. These are frustrating situations where your rhythm is suddenly disrupted. However, how to tackle something can be reduced to a series of questions. Something we can dub as the Annoyance Questionnaire. Does it matter today? What can I do about it? Does it need me specifically? Does it not matter? Will it matter soon? How far can I postpone it? Instead of reacting to a problem, the resolution becomes clearer. Once that happens, the annoyance disappears.
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