What are you tolerating?
A toleration refers to something that’s bugging you but doesn’t have dramatic consequences if you don’t handle it.
Recently my computer mouse stopped scrolling up. It would work for one scroll but then I’d have to use the arrow keys or the bar on the side to scroll up any further. I tried cleaning the dust out of the mouse but it didn’t help so I just dealt with it for a couple of weeks.
Then I bought new mouse for $15 and it’s AMAZING! Which made me say, “Seriously? You tolerated this for two weeks when you could have fixed it in a day??” For $15?!
But that’s how things go. We tolerate things maybe hoping they’ll get better but more often just figuring we’ll deal with it later.
Here’s a list of things that qualify as tolerations…
- A customer service issue you need to address
- Something that concerns you or is aggravating, health-wise
- A conversation you need to have to clear the air
- A small house repair (squeaky door, dripping faucet, hard to open drawer, anything you have to jiggle to make work, projects almost but not quite finished)
- A full email inbox, overfull file cabinet, stack of stuff you have to keep moving around in your office
- A favorite piece of jewelry that needs repair, a missing button, a broken zipper
- A person who consistently annoys you
- Wading through clothes that you don’t wear or don’t fit in order to get dressed
You get the drift.
None of these things are a big deal. Just like one extra pound isn’t a big deal. But what if you’re tolerating ten of these little tiny things? Back to the comparison. Ten extra pounds probably means your clothes don’t fit or are at minimum, uncomfortable.
Tolerations take brain space that could be put to much better use.
Take a few minutes and make a list of everything you’re tolerating. You may not think of everything at once, so keep the list going. Then set aside some time to tackle a bunch of them. Make calls to get the ball rolling if you need to hire services or make appointments. Load up your car and knock out errand-related ones. Jot ideas down for conversation-related ones so you feel comfortable about what you’re going to say.
Once you’ve dealt with some of them note how free it feels to have them off of your mind. Not to beat yourself up, but also think about how long you tolerated them when you didn’t have to. Remember that feeling next time you’re tempted to procrastinate and tolerate those gnat-like tasks.