Knowing When to Stop

Not everything goes according to plan. Few people would disagree with that statement, but that doesn’t mean it’s necessarily easy to deal with! Planning out your day in advance is an essential part to having great time management skills, but we have to be prepared to quickly adjust the plan when unexpected speed bumps arise in our day.

On Thursday, my husband had a dinner to attend for work. I had a lot of work to finish up so I was really looking forward to having the house to myself and enjoying a productive evening. I had a whole “itinerary” of tasks planned out.

First on my list was editing a track for the school talent show next week (oh the things on an elementary music teacher’s to-do list!) I sat down with my laptop, but quickly became frustrated when I couldn’t get the microphone to work. I should have just stopped and moved on to the next thing on my list but did I? No. Instead, I spent the next hour fighting with technology, Googling tutorials, and restarting my computer. When I finally decided to give up for the evening, I was so frustrated that I ended up watching reruns of the “The Office” to help fight the urge to throw my laptop out the window. So much for my productive evening!

Avoiding Frustration

We work most efficiently when we are motivated, not frustrated. This is why when we hit a major point of frustration with a task it’s sometimes best to walk away, give it a rest, and start something else. However, there is a difference between something being frustrating and something being difficult. If we stop each task when we get to a difficult part, pretty soon we’ll only have the hardest parts of all our work left on our choose-to list. Frustration is different from difficulty. When you’re frustrated, it’s not necessarily because something is hard to do, it’s because something just isn’t clicking. I had used my microphone setup a hundred times, but for some reason it wasn’t working this week. Maybe your technology isn’t working either, or you have a headache or you’re getting irritated with your co-workers. In this case, it’s best to just walk away and come back to it later before your frustration consumes all of your desire to be productive.

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