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28 Nov

When you need it the most, a helping hand has already helped you

Datum: 2012-11-28 11:00

The oth­er week I stayed at a nice hotel in the cen­ter of Oslo. If you trav­el a lot, you will be aware of that the stan­dard of hotels can vary sig­nif­i­cant­ly. Some places do not try very hard to do make it a pleas­ant stay while oth­ers bend over back­wards to please their guests. 

Some­thing that might seem unim­por­tant but which I tend to notice is what items they have put togeth­er and placed on the bath­room counter. How much I like the hotel will most times cor­re­spond with how well this lit­tle kit cor­re­sponds to my needs (which might be why they put them there in the first place). 

Nee­dle and thread

Amongst lotions, shoe-shine sponges and sham­poo on a lit­tle tray on the sink, I found a small sewing kit. 

I just so hap­pen to be weak for sewing kits: not because I am over­ly excit­ed about sewing, but because I have a ten­den­cy to lose but­tons when I least have the time to sew them back on. (I remem­ber one time when I had only a few min­utes to get to a lec­ture and had to stop at Hol­mens Herr, an upscale store for men’s cloth­ing here in Gothen­burg, to get a but­ton sewed onto my jack­et, but that’s an entire­ly dif­fer­ent story.)

The sewing kit con­tained six threads of dif­fer­ent col­or, a safe­ty-pin, two but­tons and six nee­dles. There wasn’t any­thing spe­cial about this. But, what made me love this par­tic­u­lar sewing-kit so much was that the threads had been thread­ed on the needles. 

Wasn’t this par­tic­u­lar­ly thoughtful? 

The but­ton rarely falls off when we have plen­ty of time to sew it back on. When we are stressed, we do not have to spend time and ener­gy on try­ing to get the thread through the eye of the nee­dle, but can focus on sewing it back on quick­ly and then get on with what we were doing. They have pre­pared every­thing for me, so when I do not have much time to play with, as much as pos­si­ble is already done.

This is some­thing to remem­ber and which can be applied to a num­ber of oth­er situations. 

Care for your future self

So, help your­self by prepar­ing what you will thank your­self for lat­er in advance. Since when we have slim mar­gins, we want as much as pos­si­ble to be com­plet­ed already and have only a few steps to com­plete before the task is done. 

The few­er things we need to take care of, the more like­ly it will be that we have time to do them and the prob­a­bil­i­ty that the qual­i­ty of the result is bet­ter also increases. 

Do this

  1. Take out a pack of Post-Its or some­thing like it. 

  2. Think through your every­day life and draw to mind the sit­u­a­tions when you are the most stressed, when you have the least time, are in the great­est hur­ry, when things tend to get hectic. 
    • Is it just when you are about to leave work for the day (“Now I will get home late again.”)?
    • Is it when you are about to pass the secu­ri­ty-check at the airport?
    • Is it when you are check­ing in your lug­gage at the airport?
    • Is it when you need to make the com­muter train after the last meet­ing of the day?
    • Is it when you are leav­ing home to make it to the first client meet­ing of the day (which you real­ly do not want to be late for)?
    • Is it just when you are about to step into the client meeting?
    • Is it the last few hours before fin­ish­ing the report that has a dead­line at midnight.
    • Or is it some oth­er situation?

  3. Write every sit­u­a­tion on a sep­a­rate note and place it in front of you. 

  4. For each note, think of one thing you would like to have pre­pared and ready for the next time you are in each situation.

    You can for instance write: Pre­pare: The images for the pre­sen­ta­tion sort­ed and in the right order.”

  5. For each thing you would want to have com­plet­ed the next time that par­tic­u­lar sit­u­a­tion occurs, fig­ure out how you with as lit­tle effort as pos­si­ble could pre­pare it and when would be the best time to do it. 

    Now, do not just leave this as an exer­cise, but take what you have real­ized seriously.

  6. Have a look in your cal­en­dar and look for when one of the stress­ful sit­u­a­tions most like­ly will occur next time. 

  7. Cre­ate a to-do-task that means doing what you want to have done in advance, or bet­ter yet, do it right away (and be done with it). 

When the sit­u­a­tion occurs, enjoy that it is at least a lit­tle eas­i­er to han­dle and give your­self a lit­tle pat on the back as a thanks for being so thought­ful and prepar­ing for your future self. 

You will thank yourself

If you have pre­pared what you would oth­er­wise have to do when you are the most stressed on before­hand, you will han­dle the stress­ful sit­u­a­tion bet­ter. You will get through it eas­i­er and faster and have more time to reflect, proof­read and make sure you deliv­er the high qual­i­ty you have the ambi­tion to deliver. 

The prob­a­bil­i­ty that you have time for what you need to do and leave work on time, increas­es. Per­haps you will be able to sink into the seat on the train home com­fort­ably (rather than sit­ting stressed on a bench at the train sta­tion wait­ing for the next departure). 

What is your way?

What do you most enjoy hav­ing pre­pared? Write a com­ment to let us know!