As 2013 dwindles to a close, I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting as is my habit. For the better part of this last year, there’s a particular conversation I had with a friend that has flitted in and out of my mind at regular intervals. It was almost two years ago, this conversation, and it was with a lovely writer friend of mine at a cozy cafe with a distinctly French flair. She, like me, wanted to combat her procrastination tendencies, but unlike me, she took proactive action and hired a life coach. A life coach! I was so curious. What do life coaches do? I’ve always wondered that, and here was my chance to find out.
Naturally, every life coach has his or her own “system,” and my friend was actually unimpressed with this particular one’s repertoire. The coach reviewed daily habits, discussed goals, emphasized the importance of just starting. Yawn. Nothing new or revelatory.
Except one thing.
The coach brought up a concept called “tolerations”. Tolerations are basically anything that is part of your life that is mildly to moderately annoying. Nothing severe like a toxic friend or a broken femur. Things like a sporadically drippy faucet, or a pair of shoes that don’t fit quite right that you still continue to wear, or that junk drawer that makes you shudder every time you accidentally open it. The definition of “mild to moderate” is unique to each person as fingerprints, but we all have these tolerations. Aspects that grate on our nerves but aren’t high priority enough to require immediate attention and so we let them fester. The coach explained (to my friend) that individually, these tolerations aren’t a big deal. But collectively, they drain away your mojo, subconsciously adding to your stress and ultimately, you are less productive and more prone to procrastination.
I was fascinated by this. Not surprisingly, most tolerations are related to the home. My friend and her coach went through every room in the house, noting every single annoyance: the overstuffed medicine cabinet in the bathroom, the broken plate that she keeps forgetting to throw out, etc. etc. Together, they created a schedule to take care of all of the tolerations and followed through. She said it was phenomenal. Freed of the niggling daily annoyances, she felt buoyed and energized.
Though I am without a life coach, I’ve successfully interrogated my friend, so I’ve been wanting to create my own list of tolerations (the irony of having procrastinated to make this list has not escaped me). M managed to crack our toilet basin lid eons ago and instead of trying to find a replacement (it’s vintage and hard to replace), I’ve been artfully placing magazines on top to hide the crack. Annoyance level? Mild. I keep purging and purging, but our basement is just not set up efficiently and it’s a holy mess down there. Annoyance level? Moderate to borderline severe, though no one ever sees the basement so I’ve been putting the much-needed overhaul on the backburner. My goal is to have a comprehensive list by the end of this year and to start working on each item starting January 2014. I’m thinking that writing about it here will keep me accountable.
What about you? Do you have a list of tolerations you’d like to tackle?
P.S. The clay house above was version 1.0 for the advent calendar. I quickly realized the error of my ways because making just one tiny house took too long. The thought of making 23 more made me want to hyperventilate.