REFLECTION: These days, merchandisers are pretty adept at bundling goods and services together in the hopes of extending one purchase into a bigger payday. A telecom will sell you a phone line and then bundle in internet service, cell phone, and unlimited long distance. At our Canadian Tim Horton’s you can purchase chili and a bun with coffee – and for another 14 cents Timmy tosses in a donut. Bundle! Bundle! Bundle!
Bundling CAN create good deals. And yet, as much of a bargain as it may be financially, bundling can also bring you more than you need or want, more than you bargained for, or, literally, more than you can chew.
The concept of bundling popped to mind as I recently listened to a colleague fret about a complicated workplace problem. It was clear that by taking one issue and bundling it together with others she was making the situation more difficult and overwhelming than it needed to be. On top of the precipitating problem with Employee A, she had layered an ongoing performance concern about Colleague B, and was already anticipating having to deal with the fallout of the situation on Employees C & D.
Truly, she had legitimate concerns in all three areas; and all would have to be addressed at some point. However, bundling them together in the moment had sent her into a tail spin. It made things much more difficult than they needed to be in dealing with the single precipitating issue. And, the resulting confusion of thoughts caused a crisis of confidence.
Once we unbundled the issues – clarified her approach to the immediate problem, identified a first step in addressing the ongoing issue, and set the third issue aside for later – calm and confidence were restored. I know she’ll excel at handling everything. She just didn’t need to worry it all at once.
ACTION: It’s so easy for related issues to bounce around our minds, bumping into each other, bruising our ability to see clearly and think straight.
That’s when and where it’s helpful to divvy the whole mess into more manageable chunks, and determine a thoughtful order of approach.
Another mind or another person’s point of view – especially that of someone not directly involved in the situation – can be helpful.
The next time you find yourself caught up in a burdensome bundle of confusion, pause. Take a step back. Call for help. And together have a go at unbundling the situation into its much more manageable pieces.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “I try to take one day at a time, but sometimes several days attack me at once.” – Jennifer Yane
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: You might enjoy Kathy Gulrich’s article, “Overwhelm: Love It Or Leave It“. Kathy offers five strategies for finding your way through the burden of overwhelm.
READERS WRITE: In response to last week’s message, Regrets – A Lost Cause, Pause reader GS writes: ” Your story about the article on the bus-lines of Paris struck a chord with me. I can’t begin to count the number of times I’ve had a similar experience after a trip. Finally, I realized that I was just being reminded that I had a “button” that said I was afraid about what I might have missed out on. Now, when I find something about a place I’ve just been to, I file it under “future trips”. And, I do like you suggested: relish what I had experienced.”