34.40 Managing Annoyances




The 77% Weekly

The 40/52-weeks-a-year, spiritual-religious newsletter

From Rabbi Brian 34/40

Managing Annoyances

There’s a popular saying in the business world: You can’t manage what you don’t measure. (For those of you who care, follow the link; it’s interesting.)

I want us to do an exercise that will measure something in our spiritual-religious lives with the hopes that by measuring it, we can improve our spiritual-religious fitness.

As with all exercises, this one works better, the more you work it. If you just read about it, it will only work so well; but, if you actually do it… well, you know…


  • pen or pencil
  • a small pad of paper to carry around with you.
  • (I’m sure you can even configure your technology for this too.)
  • Make a note of every time you are annoyed.
Detailed direction:  

It doesn’t matter what you’re annoyed about – the food arrives and it’s extra spicy (when you ordered it mild), the phone rang during your only chance to take a nap, your laptop froze in the middle of working on a project, the kids aren’t getting dressed on time – just make a note of when you’re annoyed.

You aren’t making a note of what annoyed you, just the time during the day when you became annoyed. (If you want to mark that the annoyance was major or minor, that would be good, too.) All you need is a list of when these things happened.

For example:

  • Monday, 10 am, majorly annoyed.
  • Monday, 10:45 am, a little annoyed.
  • Monday, 4:45 pm, annoyed.

Follow-up Directions:

After you have collected a week’s worth of data, examine it to see if you can find any interesting patterns.



Most of us probably have no idea how many times we get annoyed per day.

If I asked you, “Hey, how many times do you get irritated per day?” You might say a lot, you might say a little. But could you quantify it? Could you say with certainty how many times you’re bothered per week?

Do you get more annoyed in the mornings or on the weekends? How about Mondays?

We don’t know unless we track it.

And if we don’t know how many times we get annoyed, how are we ever supposed to prepare? How can you brace yourself for annoyances if you don’t even have a good estimate on how often those annoyances occur?

Not tracking annoyances and thinking you’ll understand them is like trying to keep on budget without knowing how much money you’ve spent.

My hypothesis is – and it’s working for me and others who have done this – the more you know, the more informed you are.

If you learn that you average one major annoyance every 1-2 waking hours (I’m not saying that’s a lot; I’m not saying that’s a little), then you’ll be prepared when to expect your next major annoyance.

Moreover, if you’re used to experiencing a major annoyance every 1-2 hours and you suddenly go 4 hours without a major annoyance, that might make you feel kind of good. Or at least, it might take some of the sting out.

Spiritual-religious advice: Track your annoyances.

Feel free to email me your thoughts, comments, or if you found this exercise to be majorly annoying.  
With love,

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian

Rabbi Brian
Rabbi Brian Zachary Mayer is the founder of Religion-Outside-The-Box.

Shortly after he was ordained as a rabbi, he left mainstream congregational life to encourage people to find and be with (the) God (of their understanding).
His day job is teaching advanced mathematics to Los Angeleno High School students. The rest of the time is with his family.

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I am very excited and looking forward to our coming together again on 11/26!   

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