Calm in the Chaos - Tips for a Better Life
Have too much to do? Try the Three B's
by Jamie Spannhake
November 16, 2019
My dear friend Tal Fagin, who is a Martha-Beck-trained life coach, uses a tool called “The Three B’s.” When you think about all the things you want and need to accomplish, ask yourself the following questions: Can you “Bag It" or "Barter It" or "Better It”?
Can you “Bag It,” that is, can you just not do it?
There may be consequences here, so you need to consider those. If you are OK with the consequences, then maybe you can just not do it. Take, for example, my desire for a clean and neat house. I need a neat house to not feel overwhelmed by clutter, which causes me anxiety and makes it more difficult to handle life. But I can “bag” a really clean house. I have two dogs and two cats, so with all the fur, I would need to vacuum every day to keep the house truly clean. But I don’t, because I don’t want to spend my time vacuuming. Instead, I have a house cleaner come every two weeks to thoroughly clean. I can deal with the consequence of dog fur and have decided to “bag” my desire for an always-clean house.
Can you “Barter It,” that is, delegate it or have someone else do it for you?
While true bartering does not include payment of money for services, in this case, include that option. If you can pay someone to do anything, or take turns with someone, or even buy a product, to keep the benefit but not spend the time, then you are bartering it. Good examples of activities you can “barter” are shopping for clothes by using a service like Stitch Fix, preparing meals by using a service like HelloFresh, cleaning by hiring a housekeeper, and transporting your kids to and from school and after-school activities by partnering with another parent. I use all these, or have in the past.
Can you “Better It”?
There are some things that must be done only by you, so can you create a way that works better for you? My example of this is getting up early to write or work. I do not like to get up early. I like to be up early, in a quiet house and able to watch the sunrise, with the ability to accomplish things that are important to me before anyone else in the house is awake. But actually getting up early I do not enjoy. So, I “bettered” it. As I love good coffee in the morning, I bought a new coffee pot with a timer. I set the coffee to start brewing at the same time as my alarm goes off. When I wake, I can smell the coffee and it makes the morning just a bit “better,” which gives me that little incentive to get up. Once I’m up and drinking my coffee, I’m happy to be up. Little things like this can make a big difference. One could say, without my new coffee pot, I would never have written my book!
How can you change your obligations by asking yourself the Three B's?
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