Do you ever get annoyed when something takes longer than you expected it to? I’m sure you’ve felt this before – we all have – which is why I’d like to share with you the concept of “budgeting for annoyances.”
Most of us understand the concept of budgeting. We budget – or know that we ought to budget – our finances, time, and resources. Usually the goal is to “come out ahead” – to have a little bit extra leftover.
In a budget, we keep track of what’s available to us. We create a spending plan, set realistic objectives, and allow ourselves a bit of leeway in case we slip. We plan for setbacks, and we go in knowing full well that things probably won’t work 100% according to our plan.
My theory is that we can use the same system to budget for our annoyances.
A long while back, I published a spiritual-religious exercise suggesting that we keep track of how many times a day we get annoyed so that we can better manage our expectations. Today, I want to advocate our reframing our relationship with annoyances by changing our perspective about time.
I’ll give you three examples.
- When I counsel couples who want to get married, I say to them, “Do you realize it’s going to take you 3 hours to figure out your table cards?” They usually look at me, aghast, saying, “It won’t take us 3 hours!” I say, “Listen, let’s just assume it’s going to take 3 hours. So if it actually takes 2 hours and 15 minutes, you’ll be excited to have saved 45 minutes. If you think it’s only going to take 30 minutes, and it winds up taking 2 hours and 15 minutes – you’re going to be really annoyed, aren’t you?”
- My friend, Cece, is a Disney-a-holic. She loves Disney and can’t get enough of it. We were at Disneyland once, and she asked me, “Do you realize from the time you decide to go home from Disneyland, to the time you’re actually in the car to drive home, takes about an hour?” This has been great information to know. It’s helpful just knowing that it takes a lot of time from the moment you decide to leave, till the time you’re actually in the car.
Do you see what I’m getting at? – this idea of budgeting time and annoyances?
There’s a quote from the Gospel of Thomas that says, “Change your perception, change your reality.” In all my examples above, a change in perception changes reality.
Try this on yourself. If you budget 10 extra minutes for a task, wouldn’t you breathe easier if it takes less time than you thought it should?
Budget extra time for your annoyances. They’re gonna happen anyway.