I used to get extremely frustrated over small things. Particularly things that required me to call some 1-800 number and speak to a stranger in India–to get something corrected that never should have happened. Or required me to call a government agency and experience an endless cascade of transfers.
I am never rude to customer service people. But I have to get some small-ish issue corrected every week. And dang it, the papers piling up because of all the issues needing resolution gets out of control sometimes.
My mental to do list would grow with these half-finished tasks, because I’d have to wait for someone to get back to me, or wait for processing. And then I’d always “follow up,” because I couldn’t be sure they’d get the job done right the first time.
I’d drag these issues around like a suitcase full of junk until everything got resolved and a new one was dropped on my doorstep.
I got a bill from the doctor’s office that was supposed to be covered by health insurance. Oh, and a nurse said she’d call me back on two separate occasions–from that same office, coincidentally–and never did.
The cable company taxed us 1 cent on a free service we didn’t want and canceled. The health insurance I called to cancel was not actually canceled. The sweaters I ordered online were snagged all over the place.
The arrival date for my new computer was pushed back three days because they were late getting my package to the shipper. No bad weather involved. (And I needed it for work). The desk and the table I ordered online had defective parts and one of the replacement parts I received was also defective.
And apparently, a bowl I own does not have a lifetime warranty as advertised…
Has anything like that ever happened to you? I bet it has. And like me– chances are if you are reading this article–it made you want to pull your hair out.
But at the end of the day, I was looking at it the wrong way.
First of all, I saw all of these inconveniences as abnormal. Was possible for me to have an interaction with a company, organization, or government agency that didn’t require me to go back and fix things?
Maybe. But probably not. Those envelopes I get in the mail that tell me to take action on something that I’ve already taken care of are a fact of life.
These little hassles are normal. Say it with me now:
Hassles are normal.
When it occurred to me that everyone has to deal with these types of things I felt released from having to be upset about them.
I thought I was disproportionately affected by these mishaps. But when I thought about it, I realized it wasn’t true. Why would my “on hold” time be so long anytime I call anywhere?
That’s because all of you are calling there too! We are all in this together.
And secondly, I never made a plan to address these issues. I’d get bombarded with one “do it now” letter after another– stacking up, cluttering my home. And I’d call when I could. Following up whenever they said I could. But I never set aside days/times at regular intervals to take care of it all.
And why would I? I implicitly expected everything to run smoothly. I never made time and space (mentally) to have to address these issues.
Just as we set aside time to walk our dogs, work out, cook dinner, so should we set aside time regularly to deal the life’s tedious tasks (aka calling 1-800 numbers).
I should assume that I’m going to have to deal with these inconveniences, and plan accordingly.
I’m not saying assume everything is going to go wrong, and nothing is going to work out. I’m saying “human error” exists and know you will have to seek redress.
How do you cope with life’s tedious tasks? Let me know in the comment section below.