TASK #39: People Person
Hell is other people. Jean-Paul Sartre
Earlier this year we dissected your week by breaking down WHAT you do with your time, now we’re going to break it down by figuring out with WHOM you spend your time.
I know who I spend my week with: family, people at work, friends and strangers (as in: I spent an hour with the mechanic who ripped me off for a new muffler). But I decided to take a closer look at my interactions. What I found out surprised me, and I made some decisions about my life based on the lists I put together.
Open your notebook. Make three (3) columns: CASUAL INTERACTIONS, NECESSARY INTERACTIONS, PERSONAL INTERACTIONS.
- PERSONAL INTERACTIONS are generally with strangers that you interact with in order to go about your business, ala the aforementioned garage mechanic who ripped me off.
- NECESSARY INTERACTIONS are interactions with people you are forced to interact with–specifically, your co-workers.
- PERSONAL INTERACTIONS are with people you choose to interact with.
- Then put every person–EVERY PERSON–that you have any sort of interaction with over the next week in a column.
Now, there are nuances of course. A wife may be a personal interaction, or a necessary interaction. And visa-versa for a co-worker. He/she may be a necessary interaction that’s become a personal interaction.
But you get the picture. Your mail person: CASUAL. Your children: PERSONAL. Your boss: NECESSARY. Your barber: CASUAL. The person in the car behind you giving you the finger because you cut him off: NECESSARY. Your next door neighbor: CASUAL or NECESSARY, or both.
Next, look at the people you’ve listed. Look for the interactions that can be eliminated. Start another column: UNNECESSARY. Put those people under it and figure out a way not to have any interactions with them at all. You don’t need to waste one minute of your life interacting with people that you don’t like, or just don’t care about. If the number one person on that list is say, the plumber, then get a new plumber. And if it’s your boss, then you should start thinking about getting another job.
Photo by Dan Markeye