Marginal stress.

I got to thinking recently about the amount of stress I feel from avoiding marginal tasks.

Last year, for Christmas, I’d planned to give my dad DVD copies of a series of interviews he had done of my grandparents about twenty years previously. We had an old VHS tape of them, but the quality was deteriorating and I was worried something would happen to it and we’d lose the interviews entirely. Only, I didn’t know how to burn the MP4 files to a DVD such that my parents could play it on their DVD player, menu and all. I knew I could probably figure this problem out in a few minutes of googling, but because doing so could theoretically take anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours to complete, I kept putting it off. For a whole year.

I kept that un-checked to-do on my dry erase board that entire time, a silent reminder of this thing I had to get done that I was avoiding just because I didn’t know how long it would take me to finish it off. I’m not saying it kept me up at night, worrying about when I would burn those DVDs, but I felt a slight twinge of guilt every time I thought about it.

Christmas Eve, realizing that if I left it any longer it would never get done, I spent about 30 minutes figuring out what to do, then burned the DVDs.

Seriously: a whole year of accumulated guilt and marginal stress, just to avoid a 30-minute chore.

A few months back, I invested $12 in a box of pens. They’re black, retractable, gel ink pens with a semi-fine ball point and a rubber grip. I like writing with them. I haven’t been frustrated by a dry, scratchy, or smudgy pen since.

In a similar vein, I bought some new dry-erase markers the other day with finer tips and a broader array of colors because the ones in my room were dry and boring.

I’ve started throwing out socks once they get holes in the toes because I hate holes it the toes of my socks, so why do I keep wearing them instead of just buying new socks?!

And speaking of socks, do you know how much time I spend tripping over laundry baskets and digging through a pile of clothes for matching socks when literally five minutes could save me at least as much time and make me happier with life because of my neat and orderly room? Way too much time.

I waste a lot of energy avoiding small tasks, or being irritated by minor things with a simple solution. So one of my new goals is to address minor irritations promptly instead of allowing the to take up a disproportionate amount of mind-space.

Because sometimes it’s easier done than said.

One thought on “Marginal stress.

  1. That’s a great approach I think Laura. I take it quite often and always feel so relieved to have one less little thing bugging me. It is, I think, actually a counterpoint to focusing on the important.


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