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Tolerations Steal Precious Energy
by Corrine Bucher

Moms feel like they never have enough of two precious commodities: time and energy. One of my first exercises for clients is to take a look at what they might be tolerating in their lives. Tolerations are those issues or chores we don't want to tackle for some reason and keep avoiding on our to-do lists. They can be big or small -- the car needing to be washed, a closet that needs to be organized, a dentist appointment made or a phone call returned. Doing them obviously takes a certain amount of time and energy, but what you may not realize is that not doing them can sap both time and energy as well. Ever looked at your list and been frustrated that you still haven't done one of these? Ever felt tired just thinking about the prospect of tackling that niggling to-do item? Ever subconsciously taken on other projects or dived into something else just to avoid one of these tolerations? That's time lost thinking about what you haven't done and energy burned stewing over that fact. And the longer they go undone, the more time and energy they steal.

The idea is to identify tolerations and take care of them in one of the three following ways: (1) Do it (2) Delegate it (3) Ditch it. It will require a little bit of time, but nowhere near the time spent mulling over the fact you haven't done them. The first two don’t need explanation, but the idea around “Ditch it” is that if something hasn’t gotten done in a long time you may just need to resolve yourself to the fact that it isn’t important and let it go. I had a client who finally embraced the fact that she wasn’t going to create elaborate scrapbooks for her children. Once she let that go she stopped thinking about what she'd ideally want those albums to look like and put her photos in a simple album for the family to enjoy.

I went on a toleration hunt in my own life last week and found a number of things that needed to be done. Both pairs of my sunglasses were in awful shape. One had a scratch right in the center of a lens while the other pair were too loose on my head. Not a big deal, right? But every time I put on either pair -- which has been often lately with Half Moon Bay's gorgeous October weather -- I'd feel vexed that I didn't have a decent pair of sunglasses. This went on for weeks, and I'd burn energy kicking myself every time the sun was out. I finally set aside time to take them to Nordstrom, where they had been purchased three and five years ago, respectively. My goal was simply to ask how I might get them repaired. To my complete surprise the sales clerk behind the counter swept them up and said he would be happy to swap them for a brand new pair of my choice. I left the store with exactly that, along with a credit to my account of $25. Not only was I happy, but the guy who helped me seemed to be thrilled that he had a satisfied customer. A win-win. And what do you know: I walked out of the store, energized.

So be aware: you're not saving time and energy by avoiding certain tasks, no matter how big or small. Do them, delegate them or make a conscious choice to take them off the list.

About the Author

Corrine Bucher is a veteran coach and mother devoted to transforming the lives of both working and stay-at-home mothers. Her Workshops for Working Mothers, originally developed for a Fortune 500 Company, challenge and inspire women to define their work/life balance vision so they may begin to feel a sense of control again. Learn more and sign up for her online newsletter, Embracing Motherhood, at http://corrinebucher.com.

Please note: You may reprint this article; however, it must be used in its entirety and not be edited or changed in any way. It must also include the author's byline and "About the Author" section at the bottom, with an active link back to this web site. Failure to comply with these instructions is considered an infringement of copyright law. © 2009 Corrine Bucher. All rights reserved.

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