3rd September, 2017

I was thinking this week about silent irritants. 

This is a phrase I learnt back as a student when I was working in a local pub (see below). We were told that these mysterious silent irritant things were would make customers feel uncomfortable. In essence, any dirty glass, dirty ashtrays (different times!) and things out of place were silent irritants. No one was likely to actually complain about sitting next to a table with one old glass on it but nonetheless it was part of their experience - conscious or unconscious. And most silent irritants were very easily fixed when a little effort and common sense were applied ("never walk back to the bar empty-handed" and "If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean" being mottos to live by!). 

Even now I don't work in a pub (although I still can't walk through one without scooping up empty glasses, I think it's engrained for life!) I still find that I have silent irritants in my life and work. Not huge great crises or big projects but things that are so little they fall through the cracks - but the effect they have is irritating. This week I realised that I had one I hadn't even really felt the effect of until it was fixed. 

A few months ago, my wing mirror was smashed off my car. It went into the local garage and had a new one put on, but they had to order the cover that matched the paintwork so I needed to pop back for it to just be slotted on. That week I did, a couple of times and the boss wasn't there, the cover couldn't be found and after 2 weeks I forgot about it, remembering only when I got in the car each day. Weeks this went on for until last week I finally went back in and got it fitted. The relief! I hadn't realised that this little "unfinishedness" was just quietly poking me every time I looked at the car until it no longer was. 

In work we all have things that are so trivial they sink to the bottom of the list - expense receipts, filing, adding that new person to the CRM. We know that it's a ten minute job at most yet somehow that makes us less likely to find the time for it! But, the satisfaction of doing them somehow outweighs the minimal effort so it really is worth clearing an irritant or two each week.

What really annoying life or work niggle could you shift this week that would make you feel a tiny bit smug? 





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