Small Steps: How to Find Energy and Lose Irritations

This is the second post in my series on making small, sustainable changes that will increase my energy, decrease my stress, and just plain make my life work better.

This weekend my computer stopped working.  Stopped. Working. When it did, I had to admit that the complete breakdown had been a long time coming. In fact, as my computer repair savior kept calling with questions about what he was finding, I kept finding myself saying, “Yes, it’s been doing that for awhile,” and “Yes, that hasn’t been working quite right.” Turns out, that there had been a growing list of problems I had been tolerating because I didn’t feel like I had the time or energy to address them. And they had built up until the whole thing broke down.

That can happen when we try to ignore things that are not working.

The computer was fixable and I got it back late Sunday night. It works—and actually, it works better than it has in awhile. Using my new glitch-free computer, I’m realizing how much energy, tension, irritation, and distraction was caused by using one that didn’t work the way I needed to—it wasn’t performing and in the back of my mind (where I was trying not to think about it), I was worrying about what was going to happen next and creating stress and wasting energy by NOT making a decision or taking action.

It wears a woman out.

I realized it was time to take a look at what I’m tolerating and what is draining my energy—quietly and in the background. This week, I’m creating a list of everything that occurs to me that I am tolerating but that isn’t working for me. Everything. This includes the scissors that need to be sharpened, the pile on my desk I’ve been ignoring, and bigger issues like needing to hire someone to do some specialized work for me. I’m writing it all down.

This does not mean that I am feeling pressured to take immediate action on each of these items. That would stress me out and overload me. It does mean that I am noticing areas of my life that I want to be different and acknowledging that they aren’t working for me right now—instead of trying not to think about them.

What I know from doing this in the past is that this is an easy yet powerful exercise. I encourage you to try it. What I find, and so do clients who try this, is that simply noting what isn’t working often starts to create change—often pretty effortlessly. If you are like me, much of what you are tolerating can begin to be addressed with a phone call, a ten minute conversation, a decision to spend a few minutes a day moving forward. In the end, it took a conversation to find my computer savior, a short drive to drop off the computer, a few phone calls back and forth, and a small payment (well worth it)—less time and energy than I had spent rebooting my computer over the last week.

My question for you: what are you tolerating and what is the toll it is taking?

Take good care,


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