Let me first say that as a general rule, I don’t believe in letting anything go. When I say this, I am not just speaking about tasks on your to-do list. I mean everything. The people who know me best will tell you I let nothing go. I am a ruthless grudge holder; my mind is like a steel trap of records of all those things most people let go, but I won’t.
I thought about writing “can’t” there instead of “won’t,” and perhaps the MaryBeth from 2011 might have. The new stress-less MaryBeth from 2012 knows better. “The only things that are impossible are those we believe to be, so never deem something as such,” my fifth grade teacher always used to say. That is the approach I resolved myself to take, when it was suggested to me that I try this new stress management technique. Just let it go. It sounds simple, but for me it’s been incredibly difficult.
It becomes apparent some days that I am simply not going to be able to stay on schedule. Things run late, they take longer than expected, and time flies. Tasks that should have been completed end up rolling over to the next day. No matter how hard or fast I work, I just can’t get everything done. It happens, and I hate it when it does. This kind of day stays with me for the whole week afterward. I remain silently frustrated, wishing I could have been more productive, believing if I’d worked a little faster I could have gotten everything done.
Just let it go. It sounds simple. It’s immensely hard. We spend so much time reflecting on the past, frustrated or angered by what has happened, that we are unable to live in the present. We devote so much energy and time to harping on past events, energy that could be channeled more productively to the work we are doing here and now. I’ll say it again – I’m a grudge-holder, but 2012 MaryBeth is beginning to learn the value of just letting things go.
All this being said, I am not one to forgive and forget so to speak. With every thing deserving of being let go there is a lesson to be learned. Did I fail to do everything on my to-do list today, because I spent too much time on a single project? Or, was it because I was unfocused and unorganized? How can I prepare better for the next busy day? Asking these questions is important to improving as scheduler. It is instrumental in optimizing your productiveness. Asking too many of these questions, however, borders on obsessiveness. Finding the balance, as always, is the key.
This technique is still new to me, as most of the techniques I post about here are. I’m still working on constructively criticizing myself, while learning not to harp on these sorts of things. I personally feel it is one of the best stress management techniques I have tried, and I hope that this week you will try it, as well.