Where is your paint can?


A man landed a job painting the yellow line down the center of the highway, by hand. After three days his foreman complained about the job he was doing. “Your first day out, you did great,” he said. “You painted that line for three miles. Your second day wasn’t bad. You painted two miles. But today you painted only one mile, so it looks like I will have to fire you.”

On his way out of the foreman’s office, the employee looked back and said, “It’s not my fault. Everyday I got further and further from the paint can.”

This humorous story illustrates how we can complicate our lives at work and at home, if we are lacking insight into how we create additional stresses in our lives. Many times we look to a time management seminar or a book to tell us how to gain more time. Perhaps, we might do better to ask, “How can I simplify my life?”

Here is a brief questionnaire that can be used to evaluate whether you are unnecessarily making your tasks more difficult.

1. What systems do I have, or need, that will make sure that I use my time, resources and materials in a practical manner?

2. In what ways am I making my job more difficult because I walk back and forth between the unfinished “yellow line” and my paint can?

3. Have I let a habit lock me into a routine that is not only counterproductive, but also costs me time and a peaceful existence?

4. How can I further simply my life at work and home so that I feel more in control and more productive?

5. What unnecessary steps can I eliminate at work that will reduce the stress that I feel?

Like the man painting the yellow line by hand, if we fail to plan how to accomplish a task. We then lose sight of our ability to re-evaluate our activities and we may find ourselves walking the same path over and over again, but accomplishing less and less. If this becomes a habit, we may find ourselves on the road to burnout.

Taking a few minutes to analyze situations in which we have left our paint can far behind, rather than bringing it along, can lead to a happier more productive life.

Affirmation for the Week:

“I live and work in a simplified manner, and I frequently look up and survey my life to determine if I need to make adjustments.”

Have a fulfilled week!

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