Are there things around the workplace or around the house that gnaw at you? That column idea you’ve had sitting in the back of your head for two months that you just haven’t gotten around to writing; the database that hasn’t been updated since the year Monica Lewinsky won intern of the year; the floor tiles in the foyer that need to be replaced. These things aren’t just minor annoyances, they eat away at you. They haunt you. They sap your energy every time you think about them.
Handling a nagging task can be liberating. Commit to doing it now. If it’s not something you can complete in one sitting, set a deadline for yourself. Communicate your goal to someone else so you’re accountable to another person. If you can, make it enjoyable by listening to music. However, if entertainment is a distraction that will keep you from getting your task done efficiently, try shutting down all your non-essential technology and really focusing on what needs to get. It will get done quicker and the quality of your work will be better.
If you can’t do this thing yourself, delegate. If you’ve been meaning to replace the corroded floor tile in the corner under the dripping hanging fern, get a professional in to take a look at your floor and take the first step toward getting an estimate and getting it fixed. Spending the money to hire someone to do a job you couldn’t possibly do yourself might not be your idea of relief, but once the task is taken care of in appropriate fashion you’ll feel relief. That alone is worth the price of admission.
There are certain things you cannot fix – things that are not within your control, like the way someone else keeps their personal space, or the way they talk to their children. These may at first feel like things you can influence, but as the desire to change them – or show them a better way – builds you may find that you simply need to let go. You may have to come around to the fact that they aren’t going to change, or at least, you’re not going to change them. When you get to that place, let go. Releasing the tension of grasping for change can be as much of a relief as enacting the change yourself.