Harvard Business Review recently posted an article titled Two Lists You Should Look At Every Morning. The author shares a story from a CEO who vowed, in an important meeting with other highly regarded CEOs, to pay attention to the meeting and ignore his smartphone. He was the only one with his head up in the meeting. Sound familiar?
Every day we have to chose what we’ll be attentive to, and what we will ignore. The article’s author suggests making two lists: Your Focus List and Your Ignore List.
Many of us are list makers, and that habit stretches into our marriages. This week Cliff and I have our “what has to be done before we can be done with our taxes” list, and trust me, I’m eager to cross off every item with my favorite Sharpie. But I also catch myself, sometimes, making a “what’s annoying me this week” list. It’s unproductive, and sometimes harmful, but true.
You know that list: maybe it includes her wet towels left on the floor, that he forgot to pick up milk at the corner store, or your spouse’s tendency to not put important events on the family calendar (guilty!). Maybe there’s bigger stuff on the list too: her tendency to dish to her sister rather than share her feelings with you, his lax approach to parental discipline, that reoccurring argument about an ex boyfriend (or girlfriend) on Facebook.
This week, decide what among those annoyances are worth fixing, and put them on your Focus List. Put the rest on your Ignore List, and then burn it. Don’t waste time being bothered by little stuff … tackle the big things instead. Overlook little annoyances, and be grateful for a spouse that does the same for you.
(Shout out: I heard about this article from Katya’s Nonprofit Marketing Blog.)