Have you ever had a “Columbo Day?” What is a “Columbo Day,” you ask? Think Peter Falk; disheveled looking detective with a disheveled looking trench coat.
Ahhhh…THAT Columbo (as if there is any other).
If you recall, the Columbo television movies were always backwards. They always began by showing you the crime exactly as it happened. The viewers were “in the know” from the very start.
However, Detective Columbo was not. As the program progressed, you watched how Columbo, piece by piece, figured out what happened, who was involved, and exactly how it was accomplished.
OK, enough memory jogging.
There was a phrase that Detective Columbo said about a dozen times in each movie. Remember what it was? (In your best Peter Falk/Columbo scratchy voice), “Uhhh…just one more thing.”
Columbo used this phrase whenever he already knew the answer to something but just wanted to let someone else know that he was on to them.
He did it because he was “in the know.” I, however, use this phrase several times a week because I am not always “in the now.”
Let me give you an example. I walk out of my house in the morning and open the car door. As I put my briefcase in the backseat, I realize I left a folder for the meeting I am going to on my desk. I go back into the house and get it. I lock the door and start back to the car. I then realize I forgot to put on my ring and earrings. I suddenly feel naked and cannot possibly go through the day without them. So, I go back into the house and get them. I lock the door and head once again for the car. I sit down, start the car, begin to back out of the driveway and realize that today is garbage day. Shoot! I stop (since we forgot garbage day last week, as well) and drag the cans out to the curb. I get into the car and realize that I need gas. Now I am definitely going to be late to my meeting! Sound familiar? (I know I am not the only one!)
These are “Columbo Days” because you always have “just one more thing” you have to do. But the only reason you have just one more thing to do is because you were not organized or ready even though you knew exactly what needed to be done to NOT have this happen.
Why do we create our own stress when it is totally unnecessary?
Here are five simple ways to stop stress before it even happens and gain at least 30 minutes everyday by simply paying better attention!
1. Spend five minutes in “the NOW.” Stop going through the motions. Spend five minutes every evening to take a quick look at your schedule for the next day and getting together what you need to walk out the door in the morning. If you are on your way home and need gas, get it today, not tomorrow when you are in a rush because you overslept. Five minutes spent the day or night before in preparation time can literally save you hours each week in reacting time!
2. Write it down! How simple is that, yet how often it is not done. Carry a little notebook of your choice and just write things down. As thoughts enter your mind (calling someone, writing a letter, e-mailing, responding, calling the bank, good ideas, picking up dry cleaning, blah, blah, blah…) jot it down. I do not have to tell you that those thoughts leave our minds faster than they enter.
3. Review your notebook as part of your five minutes! In other words, part of #1 above needs to include #2 above. You will be amazed at the “little things” that no longer get missed.
4. Change the way you think (just a little bit) to make a huge difference in the flow of your day. We are always convinced that we have 20 things to do when really we have 4 things to do; we have just played those 4 things over in our heads 5 times because we did not write them down! Consciously look at what you really need to get done today. If you do, getting them done will become much more manageable.
5. Go with the flow! Don’t dwell on things if the plan changes. Find the humor in it and just keep moving. Enjoy the journey!
You have heard the saying “Live…Love…Laugh.” I would like to add one thing to that, “Live…Love…Laugh…and Let it F*#king Go!”
“Columbo Days” happen not because we are disorganized, not because we are forgetful, but rather because we have created a bunch of stress for ourselves that is totally unnecessary.
Because of that self-imposed stress, we stop paying attention to very simple things and that causes us to run around in circles all day and feel out of control.
Taking control is fun and empowering and so much less exhausting than what most people currently do. You are in so much more control than you sometimes believe.