What three things cause you frustration in life?
If these things were different would make life better?
What could you do right now to make it happen?
I had a friend who seemed to go from one crisis to the next crisis. After several years of listening and trying to help her problem-solve her situation. It became clear to me that if she did three things differently. Then, she could avoid most of the chaos that was a constant in her life.
This made me think …hmmm…if there are three things in her life that would make a difference. Are there three things in my life that I cannot see, that would reduce my stress and frustration? Sure enough, I identified the top 3 things that bothered me most and I develop rules for dealing with that issue. These rules became habits. With those habits in place, those annoyances (mostly) went away.
Three things that cause frustration
So what are three things in your life that irritate you or cause you stress? Now maybe there are more than three things and you can go ahead and add them to the list. The second step is to divide them into two categories: First are small things that can be put in place right away. Second are bigger things that need to change but will take some time to accomplish. An example of this might be a closet that needs to be cleaned out.
Whether you have identified a big thing or a small thing, the next step is to
identify possible solutions to the problem. Brainstorming is best done with a pad and paper. This will allow you to list all possible solutions. It is important in brainstorming sessions to write down all solutions including the absurd ideas. While you probably won’t take action on those ideas, they can spark more creative ideas.
Once you have a list if possible solutions, select the idea (or two) that make the most sense. For small things, it is important to take action right away. If you are frustrated with losing your keys, take a few minutes to decide where you will keep your keys in your purse. Or where you will put them when you come home. Possibly a different key chain with a clip would solve a problem. Those small carabiners are wonderful for keys. Whatever solution you have come up with put it into action as soon as possible. If you need to buy something, put it on the shopping list.
Larger tasks can be a little harder to accomplish but often will make the most benefit when put into place. Once you have identified a solution to the larger problem then you will need to do several things. I will list these items and then talk more about them in detail.
- Make a list of the steps that need to be accomplished.
- Identify obstacles to be overcome & brainstorm possible solutions.
- Implement solution.
- Evaluate and tackle again if necessary.
Make a list of steps to be accomplished.
One of the challenges with larger projects is that it is easy to procrastinate. Often procrastination is a result of not having a clear idea of what you are doing or how you will do it. In this step I want you to write down what needs to happen in the smallest steps possible. If one step seems especially difficult, consider if it can be broken down into a smaller chunk. An example of this is if you would like to organize the hall closet, perhaps you start with just one shelf. Once you have a list of steps, organize them in the order that they need to be accomplished.
Whenever we try to create a change in our life there are going to be obstacles in our way. One friend of mine says that “if things are hard, I am probably doing the right thing!” We need to be realistic about the difficulties. Are we going to have to get our partner on board? Do the kids need to be trained to help with this? Is there something that must be purchased to make this possible? The next step would be to brainstorm ways to solve those obstacles. Try to come up with ways to avoid the problem in the first place or a plan to deal with it if it happens. At this stage, you may decide to go back to reconsider the original solution. This is ok, remember the goal is to remove a frustration for your life, not create more.
Implement your solution
Now is the time to take action on the first step of your solution. Take the first step or schedule time to do the next thing. Purchase the item you need. The sooner you start the more likely you are to do this.
Evaluation of your solution
After you are done (or if you got stuck in the middle) take the time to evaluate how this worked. Is your frustration gone or lessened? Do you need to attempt a different solution? It is rare that you can tackle a difficult task and have perfect success the first time.
I hope that after you have gone through this process that your life is just a little easier, a little better! Sometimes it is just the small, irritating things that steal our joy.
Please share below one of the items that you picked to change and what you did to solve the issue. Let us know if you came up with a particularly creative solution so we can implement it too. I look forward to hearing from you.