A Conversation for Ask h2g2

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 1


My other half told me they'd read that if you concentrate on getting the small jobs done, you'll be happier, because they won't be hanging around nagging at you*. I'm not sure this is true though, for two reasons. For a start, if you have a limited amount of time to do jobs, and you're neglecting the bigger jobs in order to do these smaller ones, you're going to suffer, and suffer 'big'. Also, it's quite possible that if you're the sort of person who is unhappy seeing small jobs that need doing, you'll still be unhappy after they're done, because there always seems to be more to do.

What do you think?

*I realise it is possible that she was trying to apply psychological pressure on me to do jobs for her.

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 2

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

depends... Often I find its the small jobs that need doing, to enable one to do the bigger ones... or at least make the bigger jobs easier to then do... smiley - alienfrown

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 3

Gnomon - time to move on

There's never enough time to do everything. You get the big jobs done first and learn to be happy leaving the small stuff unfinished. If you do it the other way, you'll have a tidy disaster on your hands.

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 4

Dea.. - call me Mrs B!

When you have a list of 10 things to do every day, 1 will be big, 2 will be important and 7 will be little.

If you only focus on the big stuff, you might tick off half out of 10. Getting an extra load of laundry on or cleaning one cupboard may not be lifesaving but it cuts down on your list. Little niggly things outstanding make it harder to focus on the big things!

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 5

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

I always find, its often less about doing the things, and more about sensibly planning out the right order in which to do them, preventing undoing tasks, by doing them in teh wrong order, and 'having to go back', as it were... smiley - zen

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 6

deb - I'm in love with my soup maker & I don't care who knows it

Sometimes the big stuff stresses me to the point that I feel like a rabbit in the headlights, making it impossible for me to see the way forward. In those instances I find that doing a small unimportant job (yes, filing, I'm looking at you!) allows my brain to relax and I can then refocus on the big task.

But that's not really stressing the small stuff, more using it to take a big mental breath.

Deb smiley - cheerup

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 7

Mol - on the new tablet

I do that. When faced with a hugely stressful list of things that need doing, I tend to clean out all the kitchen cupboards. Once I have restored order there, and reassured myself that I am in control and capable, I can get on with the big stuff.

Interestingly, cleaning out the kitchen cupboards is currently itself on my to-do list, because I've not done this for a couple of years. Perhaps my life isn't as stressful as it used to be.

Or perhaps I've realised that cleaning out all the kitchen cupboards is a fairly major operation, rather than 'small stuff' smiley - erm


Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 8

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

Oh. absolutely agree (both in sense of the sentiment of how that* works; and in my own kitchen cupboards being in desperately need of a clear out, clean out, and clean) smiley - laugh

Another one in a simular way, is if when I was working, and had a pile to get done, in restricted time, I'd always first clear, and clean the physical area of my desk and the room in general, brew a nice pot of tea, or coffee, etc, and then ones head, I find is in the right place, and headspace to tackle the XXXXX words by XXXXX time major task smiley - zen I certainly find my thinking and its effectiveness or/and efficiency is really majorly affected by ones physical surrounds... which is one reason I'm on a desperate mission soon, to get rid of approx 50% of all the 'stuff' I own. smiley - zen

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 9


It seems like common sense to get the big stuff out of the way first, before bothering about the small stuff. But there's a flaw in that approach. The thing is, there is always going to be something big that needs doing. If you always prioritise the biggest job, there are small - yet nonetheless important - jobs that will never get done.

For example, say you need to build an extension on the house, which will take two weeks of your free time. Well, you can't put off making dinner, leaving the bin out, walking the dog etc for two weeks while you concentrate on the bigger job instead.

The only sensible way is to mix it up. Chop and change, and use the small jobs as a break from the big one.

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 10

paulh. I write captions for pictures of cats. The shame! The shame!

I used to have a co-worker who quoted Quentin Crisp to the effect that by the time you have let housekeeping activities slide for three years, it no longer matters smiley - biggrin.

The laundry, the cooking, and the dishwashing has to get done regularly in my house. Likewise taking out the trash, so I don't get an infestation of roaches or other unwelcome small critters. These are not negotiable. Likewise getting utility bills paid, going to doctors' appointments, food shopping, and visiting elderly relatives.

Actual cleaning can be postponed, until or unless there is so much stuff on my floor that I'm likely to strip or stumble on it. When I approach a critical mass for this, then I reach for the broom and dustpan.

I've spent the last four months breaking my house down into small, manageable areas for a thorough cleaning. I've thrown or given away hundreds of pounds of stuff. It's getting easier to find things now. Much remains to be done, but breaking the task up has helped me avoid feeling stressed.

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 11

Sho - gainfully employed again

there is the technique of writing a to-do list and prioritising by allocating each task to column A, B or C where A is the really urgent / important stuff, B being things that must be done in the short-term and C are things that should be done eventually

The theory is that you tackle the As every day, and then move to the Bs.

the Cs either move up the priority ladder (you have to make the list daily) or they drop off when they become no longer necessary. (they no longer need to be done because it's too late and the chance has passed or someone else did it)

If only I'd stick to it...

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 12

paulh. I write captions for pictures of cats. The shame! The shame!

Add glue to your shopping list. smiley - tongueout

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 13


- and what priority is the to-do list?

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 14


Everyone seems to have missed out the second rule. There are two rules:

1. Don't sweat the small stuff.
2. EVERYTHING is small stuff.

If something appears to you to be "big stuff", this is merely because you have either
(a) not got the correct perspective on it - it's probably not actually that important, or
(b) not broken the perceived "big" thing down into smaller chunks. For instance, "build an extension to the house" is obviously "big stuff". "Find an architect" is small stuff. So you do that, you're a step nearer, and so on. It isn't possible to write a book. It is possible to write a page, and if you just write a page every single day, in a year or so, you'll have a book.

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 15


Assuming the small jobs are going to take less time to do, then it will depend on what time is available as to what order to follow. Getting lots of small jobs out of the way may be beneficial for day to day smooth running - the big job may be less urgent.
On the other hand, what seems a big job may turn out to be easier/ quicker than expected once you get stuck into it.
That doesn't really help decide, does it?

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 16

paulh. I write captions for pictures of cats. The shame! The shame!

I mentioned breaking big projects into smaller chunks in post 10. life is like an puzzle [jigsaw, crossword, sudoku, take your pick]. You solve it a piece at a time. smiley - smiley

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 17

Cheerful Dragon

Actually, reading this thread has been very useful to me. I have a charity collection bag full of old papers and letters in our library. It's been waiting to be sorted through since we moved here six years ago. I've been putting it off because it has always felt like it's going to be a huge job. This thread has helped me to realise that anything that's been in the bag for that long without being needed can't be that important.

It's still going to take some time to go through the bag and decide what needs shredding and what can just be thrown away (and what needs to be kept, if anything). But at least the job doesn't scare me the way it did. Thanks for that!smiley - cheerssmiley - tasmiley - sreehc

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 18

paulh. I write captions for pictures of cats. The shame! The shame!

" This thread has helped me to realise that anything that's been in the bag for that long without being needed can't be that important."
[Cheerful Dragon]

I've been helped by that same realization in the last few months. I've stored some things in hard-to-reach places, and it dawns on me that I couldn't have needed them that much...

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 19

Cheerful Dragon

Hubby recently reached the same conclusion about the contents of our sheds. There's stuff in there that hasn't been needed in the past six years, so he *says* he's going to sort through it and possibly put some of the better items on eBay. I put *says* because I'll believe it when I see it. Those sheds are hubby's equivalent of my charity bag!

Don't sweat the small stuff?

Post 20

2legs - Hey, babe, take a walk on the wild side...

Your sheds, my loft... same thing! I've whittled down the contents, over the years... But then new stuff gets added in.... this time its a ruthless sort through when I work up the energy for it soon smiley - zen Then the tricky stuff; just admitting, guitars I've got, which I like, but haven't played in a decade, have no right to remain in my house, and must go. smiley - zen Simularly bits of furnture one holds on to.... because 'I'll have a use for them one day', ten years later... need to be ditched... If I need a new bit of furnature, buying something that exactly* fits the bill is just easier and more sensible; and I've a fabulus British Heart Foundation, shop, basically at the top of my road, who do a big amount of really decent furnature smiley - zen Actually, one of the difficult bits, is having to throw out stuff, one was given... but, if its no longer got a use, or is knackered, then, really, what else can one do, decades after recieving it... smiley - zen Declutter the physical environment and declutter the mind at the same time smiley - zen

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