Applying the 80/20 rule to familiar frustration.
It has been nine days since I created this blog and published my one and only post. I had an idea for a new post and with words and concepts swirling in my head I eagerly approached my computer. I pulled up the blog, clicked the sign in button and realized that I could not remember my user ID or password. Neither had I written them down. I write down user IDs and passwords, security question answers, little picture thingys and everything else that goes along with the online life. Except this time. Oh, the familiar frustration. All the more frustrating in it’s familiarity.
If I apply 80/20 rule to familiar frustration the rule becomes this: 80 percent of my frustration results from 20 percent of my poor processes. This reminds me of keys and phone numbers. My keys are perpetually misplaced. My youngest daughter suggested several years ago that I get a key finder. I had no idea that such a thing existed. In my recent research on ADD, I’ve seen key finders and I’m going to get one. Most people can train themselves in the simple task of placing their keys in the same place every time they enter the house. My husband does it. I can’t do it and I’m not going to try. I’m going to get a key finder. There is victory in surrender.
When it comes to phone numbers, I write them down but don’t label them with a name. Why? I don’t know. I find phone numbers on sticky notes, discarded envelopes and even the margins of newspapers. There it will be, a phone number. Who does it belong to? I don’t know. All it would take is one little extra step of attaching a name to that phone number while I still have a pencil in my hand and I wouldn’t experience familiar frustration. I can handle phone numbers ending up everywhere. I’m completely frustrated by unidentified phone numbers ending up anywhere. Is there a phone number name finder out there? No?! I’ll have to improve my process?!? There is victory in surrender, grrrrrr…
When it comes to passwords, I’m diligent about keeping all that information in its hacker proof entirety in a little notebook (yeah, ssshhh, I know…) I do it for myself as the one who is handling most of the household business and a majority of that online. I do it for my husband in case he should ever have to take over for me (he has no idea). Mostly, I do it to relieve myself of familiar frustration. When I drew a complete and total blank for the password for this blog, I also knew that I hadn’t written it down. I rebelled and sat at my computer WILLING my brain to retrieve the password. It was cool, it was creative, it was unforgettable! Yep… sigh… After only 3.5 minutes of familiar frustration I surrendered and reset the password. The new password isn’t cool or creative. It’s a variation of a familiar, catch-all password. It’s unforgettable. It’s written in the notebook.
So, what’s the point? It is our own poor processes that cause the most frustration. The ones that are causing frustration on a near daily basis won’t likely be a long list. It will be the same several little things, day after day. Once identified, you can begin to explore tools, whether it’s a key finder, a filing system, a planner, a phone charger in your car or a sign on the wall. If you have to improve your process through your own consistent effort, remember that practice makes progress. May the victory be yours.