May I have a minute of your time?
My friend’s company does political polling. You know, the ones that make annoying calls at dinnertime asking your opinion on the Mayor’s stance on crime or a Senator’s voting record. The answers are tallied and reported back with the hopes that findings result in policy change or funding or (let’s face it) get them re-elected. What her company does is spend a lot of time tracking public approval.
As a mother of 2 young children, my schedule is rarely mine. Instead it’s dictated by the demands of school, sports, chores, my job, and (if lucky) sleep. Organizing a color-coded calendar is easy. The problem occurs when I layer these responsibilities with my own approval-poll driven extras.
Let me explain.
Task: Make dinner.
Real time: 30 minutes.
Poll time: 1-1/2 hours.
What’s the difference ? Real time dinner is a bagged salad mix poured into bowls. It’s frozen lasagna popped into microwave and served with a slice of buttered bread. All food groups covered. Everyone has full tummies. Done.
Poll Time dinner however, seeks applause. It’s organic lettuce and vegetables, chopped and artistically arranged in handmade bowls. It’s lasagna, layered using fresh noodles, hormone-free ricotta, freshly grated mozzarella, and herbs cut from the backyard garden. The bread, picked up that morning from the bakery, or better-still, made from scratch.
Now multiply each calendar item by that same level of self-imposed validation and it’s easy to see why my to-do list never gets to-done.
So to regain control, I down-graded my public approval rating. I squirmed with discomfort over each perceived shortcut. I stopped reaching for other’s exaggerated standards. And guess what? No one complained…in fact, no one even noticed.
Of course, to be safe, I’m not answering the phone.
Kimberly Britt is the volunteer coordinator at Urban ReThink in Winter Park, Florida where she lives with her two children and two cats. Vote for Kimberly’s entry here.