For Christmas this year, I received, as a gift, one of those daily calendars that provide words of inspiration every day of the year. The calendar is called “Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff” and the idea behind the calendar is to give tips on how to prevent getting bogged down on minute details that may not matter in the end. So, after reading a few of the days in the calendar I had to ask myself “Is sweating the small stuff really all that bad?”
The truth is I’ve always sweat the small stuff. It all started with test taking in school where I’d often double and triple-check tests to make sure I didn’t misread or fail to answer a question. Even after turning in a test, I would have instant regret over one or two of the questions I didn’t know the exact answer to.
This, of course, has spilled over into my adult life as well. When I am cooking, I constantly can turn an easy ten-minute recipe into a twenty-minute recipe just to make sure I don’t put too much paprika in a dish.
The extra time lost here can be frustrating, but it also has its benefits if you can find the right balance. Any effective scheduler/planner knows that it is crucial to pick up all details that you can get your hands on. You miss the finish date? Your critical path is off. You overestimated the duration of an activity? The 3-week look-ahead isn’t accurate. You poured double the cubic yards of concrete than what you previously estimated? Throw the S-Curve in the trash.
The key to all of this is to find the proper middle ground. Be attentive during meetings. Take the notes that are crucial in the planning stage. Double-check that the schedule you are about to send out is the latest and greatest. The pride that comes with knowing you’ve put your best foot forward will lead to not “sweating the small stuff” and being able to enjoy the bigger things in your life.