I have to admit to a bad habit: I tend to react before thinking a situation through, especially at work. This doesn’t happen all the time, but if I read an email at work that seems urgent, for example, I’m more likely to respond immediately with a solution than look into the problem and take my time formulating an answer. Please notice my use of the words “seems urgent”–a lot of the time, the situations in which I react quickly aren’t even serious. It’s all about my perception of them and I need to change that.

This happened today and nothing bad came of it–I read an e-mail from my Editorial Office and my inner me freaked out a little bit. I responded, cc’ed some other people, and began work on something until I received a response from someone at my company. Basically, the response was, “Actually, we should do it this way….” I realized that extra work could have been avoided if I just chilled out and read the e-mail slowly. I could have spent a few minutes thinking about it and whether or not it is a problem. Instead, I jumped to conclusions, wrote a response, etc. Again, nothing bad happened, I just felt silly and a little dramatic when I realized that if I had just calmed down for five minutes, all of that stress could have been avoided.

In the coming weeks, I’m going to challenge myself to really READ my e-mails, LISTEN to people when they talk, and ASK questions if I don’t understand at first. Sure, I do these things on a daily basis, but I know that my weakness is to jump to conclusions if I feel that a problem needs to be solved NOW. And this, I know, really only makes things worse in the long run. I’m going to do this at work and at home because I think patience and calm are two aspects of my life that need some attention.

Do you have an aspect of your life, be it at home or work, that you think you could improve?