The Devil’s in the Details

49601215 - busy mother coping with stressful day at homeI am a detail-oriented person. I put everything on my calendar, rarely forget an appointment and follow up on what I say I’ll do; it’s important to me.

I am organized. I have labeled folders nested in labeled folders on my computer, and more often than not, I can put my hands on exactly what I need in a matter of seconds. I keep detailed records of business contacts, because I want to remember what we talked about on the phone, even if I don’t hear from you again for six months.

I get a lot of praise for these qualities, and they have served me well throughout my adult life, both in business and personally — certainly with my kids. BUT (there’s always a but) there’s a downside to being a detail-oriented person. Sometimes I get bogged down in those details, let them stress me out and forget the bigger picture. And in business and in life, you need both perspectives.

If you’re stressing over all the things you “have” to get done today — appointments, phone calls, social events, the kids’ soccer snacks or what you going to eat for dinner since you didn’t get to the grocery store — stop, breathe, take a step back and remember the bigger picture.

Even though you didn’t get to every task you intended to today, what good came out of it? Did you enjoy talking to people, have some quality time with your family, take some time for self care? Isn’t it a beautiful spring day? The world is still turning, the sun is still shining and the universe is still in balance, right? Breathe. It’s okay.¬†We are all better workers, friends, parents and community members when we don’t get too submersed in the minutia of our daily lives.

Yesterday, I was hell-bent on getting some addresses mapped out for the most efficient delivery of magazines to our clients. It was late in the day. Then, my youngest called to me in the kitchen, and I saw that his volcano experiment had gone really, REALLY awry. There was dark red liquid ev-ry-where. After we cleaned up, I was exhausted. I sat back down at my computer with bleary eyes and tried to make sense of addresses and maps….

Then, I sighed, shut my laptop and ended up napping on the couch with my oldest kiddo tucked under my arm. There would be time enough tomorrow to obsess over maps. This is the big picture that can’t be ignored if happiness and contentment is your goal: family, friends, community. I invite you to try it.


Photo credit:¬†Copyright: <a href=’’>highwaystarz / 123RF Stock Photo</a>