Bogged Down in the Details, Buried in the Work

You could say that today’s post is a follow-up to the post I wrote yesterday about difficult customers. Life is an inherently stressful existence, because we are bombarded with so many needs and responsibilities. We are pulled in every direction at the same time and it all seem very overwhelming. It feels like if we don’t address these issues in a timely and efficient manner that the world will just fall apart at the seams.

Well, that’s not completely true. While you should certainly see the forest for the trees, you also have to realize that if you forget about just one of the smaller trees, the rest of the forest will likely remain intact and unharmed. You can go to the local Tim Hortons for a cup of coffee, discovering that they are sold out of your favorite donut. Rather than letting this ruin your day, just pick a different donut. Or maybe try a muffin. Or a bagel. These little inconveniences aren’t worth the stress and grief that they may cause.

When it comes to shopping decisions, you can get very stressed out over whether you should buy this product or that. You can get stressed out over finding the absolute best deal in town (or online). These are perfectly legitimate things to consider, but you can also get bogged down with too much information. The stress and time consumed by these decisions can be better spent enjoying the company of your family and good friends. These little details don’t matter nearly as much as the big picture.

Tracking the minor details can also lead itself to obsession. You’ll fuss over the small numbers and the minute differences between two possible decisions. This obsession can impede on every aspects of your life, causing harm to your relationships and reducing your overall happiness and productivity. That’s not good.

The realm of education is much the same. Many of the things you learn in school are filled with all sorts of tiny details. You need to remember these for the purposes of the final exam, but it’s much more important in the long run to pick up on the main concepts and to find ways to apply them in your everyday life.

It’s important that you have a contingency plan in place, but it’s also important to know that most of your little decisions are largely reversible. Address the worst case scenario but don’t lose any sleep over it. It’s unlikely to happen and, even if it does, you can probably fix it with a little due diligence and mindful work ethic.

Then again, not all the little things are bad. Some of them can be good too.