I jokingly say I suffer from ‘one more thing syndrome.’ I always try to do ‘one more thing’ – so I can feel a sense of accomplishment – or so I can free up time at a later date. The problem is, even if I DO manage to free up time at a later date – I’ll cram it with more ‘one more things!’
Here’s an example: Every day before I leave for work, I’ll squeeze in something extra – like, picking up the dog poop from the backyard, folding laundry, washing dishes, cleaning out the junk drawer, checking my email, paying bills – the list can go on and on. I’ll always find something I want to do NOW so I don’t have to do it later. Which means, I’m always 15 minutes late to work. And even if I get up 15 minutes earlier – I’ll just find more stuff to do and I’ll still end up 15 minutes late to work.
Well, as I was researching a story for the radio show on lateness – I discovered that my ‘one more thing syndrome’ isn’t exclusive to me.
In the book “Never Be Late Again,” by management consultant Diana DeLonzor, my behavior is indicative of what she calls “a producer.” Here’s what that means:
“A Producer needs to get as much done in as little time as possible. She feels better about herself when she's checking things off a massive to-do list. Producers tend to engage in "magical thinking," consistently underestimating the amount of time their tasks will take. They hate wasting time, so they schedule themselves to make use of every minute of the day.”
Yikes. That’s me! So, what’s the solution? DeLonzor says, when I catch myself doing this, I need a recite a mantra like, “Stop it Betsy! This can wait! Drop what you’re doing and leave the house!” I also need to practice being on time. If I can get to work on time ONCE, that’s something. I can build on that by repeating those steps.
I also need to be realistic about how long it takes me to do things. I may think, “I’ll just take a minute to brush the dogs before I jump in the shower this morning.” Well, brushing the dogs turns into trimming their toenails, giving them a treat for being so good, and refilling their water bowl. In other words – 15 minutes I don’t have to spare! The truth is, I can brush the dogs when I get home at night. Or on the weekend. I need to break the habit of trying to cram in ‘one more thing.’ Let’s see if I can do it.