When “doom” strikes, what do we do? The interesting thing about a real crisis is that it doesn’t give us all that much time to worry about, does it? We have to act. Strangely enough, action trumps anxiety, decisiveness strangles worry.
However, we cannot always rely on a disaster to focus our minds. Fortunately, real disasters seem to be blessedly few.
Yet, try to imagine that clarity of thought, the efficiency of action which we bring to an emergency—in our day to day routine. Can we do that? Can we imagine it?
If we can, then such clarity of thought, purpose and action can be ours all the time, every time. It is not a matter however of wishing it to be so. Practicing decision making is just that. A practice. A learning process.
A famous productivity expert once wrote, “Handle each piece of mail once. Handle it ONLY once, decide what to do about it, then file it away.”
Obviously this was written before email simplified (cough, cough, wheeze) our lives. Still, it’s not a bad practice to keep in mind, is it now? Read each email and decide what to do. If there are some emails that truly require deep pondering and deliberate reply, make a folder in your email program and put those missives there.
After all, it is truly easy to shoot off an email reply when we’re tired, or angry, or just not on cue. More than paper communication, email does lend itself to being handled incorrectly.
So if you can’t decide what to do with it, stick it in a folder AND revisit that folder daily! Be mindful of the contents. This is not a junk folder. This isn’t spam. Bring some that sharp decisiveness to the issues that kept those mails from the trash-bin, and act. Except for highly personal matters (or threats from bill collectors), if you’ve gone three days without replying, really—how important is it?
That’s a bit of a simplification routine I love. Closet problems? Not enough space? If you’ve not worn it in a year, send it to a charity. Likewise, if you’re worrying about an incident that took place a month ago, good heavens, why?
You must learn to drop those worries. That’s not easy, I know, but as we started off with sharp decisiveness, I want you to consider likewise sharply and completely dropping the matters that worry us—that can do longer benefit us or harm us. If the issue has become moot, then the emotions attached to it cannot be worth your mental floor space for worry!