Don’t Sweat the Big Stuff

Richard Carlson’s great book, Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff , taught me not to make a crisis out of the little things in life. But what about the big things? How do we handle them?

I thought of that this morning when I had to finish a big article that I was frightened to do. I thought of Carlson’s words not to sweat the small stuff. But this was big stuff! What was I supposed to do? How was I going to get everything done? I tried to multi-task — something I’m good at — but I was so bound up in all the things I was doing halfway that I ended up getting overwhelmed and not doing a thing.

I turned to Carlson who reminded me (I’m paraphrasing here) that the way to do more is to do less. Focus on the task at hand. I focused completely on the article and followed his suggestion. I cleared my desk of everything except all my notes. I gave my full attention to the one task at hand. I wrote and wrote and wrote, not worrying about the outcome and concentrating only on the output.

And it got done!

The way to do more is to do less.

What do you do when faced with the big stuff?

Dedicated to Richard Carlson, May 16, 1961 to December 13, 2006


About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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