Experiment 4: Recurring Irritants Part 2

It’s amazing how much the world can change between one week to the next. It’s hard to not be hitting refresh on The Age website (my local newspaper of choice) to see what decisions are being made and what further measures are being taken.

As someone who deliberately confines news consumption to “slow news” in the form of reading the weekend newspapers (i.e. literally the paper format), I’m finding this new habit both addictive and utterly unproductive. And currently, it’s a new recurring irritant in my life.

While it felt strange to focus on the mundanity of other recurring irritants, there is also a reassuring sense of control it provides. While I can’t do much about a pandemic (other than the obvious things), I can exercise control over fixing other frustrations in my life.

Despite the distractions, I was still able to reflect on some of my recurring irritants. I found that I had many home-related recurring irritants such as washing my daughter’s water bottles (why are they so tricky to take apart and clean?) and as Michelle wrote in her comment, the constant battle with my daughter of her not wanting to unpack her school bag.

I also found myself dipping in and out of email far too frequently in the afternoons (I’m pretty disciplined in the mornings where I prioritise Deep Work), along with several other recurring irritants that I won’t bore you with here.

So this week, we are going to come up with solutions. There are several categories of solutions I’d love you to think about for removing recurring irritants from your life.

  1. Delegate it. As I wrote about previously, this is what I did with the recurring irritant of uploading my podcast episodes to my host platform. If you don’t have a team member to delegate to, hop onto Upwork.com or AirTasker.com or Fiverr.com - there are probably a lot of delegation options that won’t cost you much money at all. (I used this strategy during the week after buying some furniture from IKEA and moaning to a friend about having to build it. They suggested I hop onto AirTasker and within 24 hours, I had paid someone $50 to build two shelves and a kids table for me).

  2. Stop doing it. Perhaps a recurring irritant is a weekly report you have to write, which you sense nobody actually reads. Maybe you could simply stop doing it. Is there a meeting you attend regularly that you can’t see the point in your being there - maybe you could just stop turning up and see if anything negative happens?

  3. Purchase or create a solution. For example, a solution to the water bottle problem might be to buy basic water bottles that simply consists of a bottle and a lid - making them easy to wash.

  4. Alter the activity so it’s no longer irritating. If your commute to work is an irritant (and you haven’t been asked to work from home yet), maybe try listening to an entertaining podcast to lessen the irritation.

If there are any other types of solutions you think I have missed, please write them below in the comments section.

And I’ll be in touch next week with the results fo Minor Acts of Kindness AND a post-experiment survey for Recurring Irritants.