This summer I have been realizing that my bad habit of doing “just one more thing” is becoming a problem.
Maybe you know what I’m talking about – it’s time to head out the door, but instead of grabbing the keys and going, you run & put in a load of laundry, start the dishwasher, send one last email, make a trip to the bathroom, or grab a book. One more thing that you have convinced yourself will be quick & has to be done before you leave.
I catch myself doing it all the time.
“Just one more thing”
It’s a bit like multi-tasking. Dividing your time up & letting your energy be drawn from one thing to another. Your brain’s not fully engaged in anything, but running from one thing to the next. For me, this usually means that once I do actually get in the car, I’ll realize the keys are still sitting in their dish or I forgot my water bottle.
I’m pretty sure I have tried to justified this bad habit by telling myself that I am getting things done; being productive & efficient. But I’m kidding myself. And this habit comes with a cost. Rushing. Arriving to events late. Watching my family wait in the car. Making excuses. Feeling frazzled.
This kind of thinking is also out-of-alignment with the goal of creating a simpler life. “Just one more thing” thinking means that what you have done isn’t enough and is a mindset that there is always more to do.
So here’s what I have come up with to shift my patterns. Ponder these if you too are plagued by the “just one more thing” habit & feel ready to make a change.
Notice the Usual Pattern As it gets closer to the time when you need to head out the door or switch gears, notice your usual pattern. How much time do you need to transition? Take note of this & make sure you are offering yourself more than enough time to move from one task to another.
Be Realistic Do a little time study. Notice the amount of time it takes to complete the tasks you seem to add in at the last minute. How many minutes does it take you to put in a load of laundry, fill your water bottle, brush your teeth, or (fill in the blank)? When you know the actual numbers, you can make a better decision. Decide to do that one more thing & you could be that many minutes behind.
Set a Timer Let a timer be the reminder that you have to be out the door at a certain time. When the timer goes off, you have a cue to be done with whatever task you are on & move on.
Shorten the To-Do List You probably are biting off more than you can chew in a day. Shorten the expectation around how much you need to get done & the pressure to do one more thing can decrease.
Schedule Time for Those Extras Create time in your day or week for those extra things that you have been trying to squeeze in at the last minute. Fill your water bottle first thing in the morning or do laundry on the evening that is free from running to meetings or activities.
Create a launchpad Make space near the door for the items that you always want with you as you leave the house. Keys, water bottle, book, hat… whatever it is that you would usually run and hunt for when it’s time to go. Let those things hang out, ready for you when you leave.
“Just one more thing” thinking doesn’t just happen when it’s time to leave. You might find yourself falling into this habit when you are engrossed in a project, on the phone, or out running errands. One more thing is a habit that can create time crunching & a frantic energy.
Notice how many times you add just one more thing into the day & see how it makes you feel. Awareness is the first step to making a change. Start there & when you feel ready, add one simple shift to break this pattern.
Tell me what you try! I’d love to hear if any of the solutions stick for you!