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The Big “F” Word: Just Fill in the Blank

Posted on Jan 7, 2015 by Lisa Ricard Claro   No Comments Yet | Posted in Uncategorized

Frustration by Jon

Illustration courtesy of Jon Watson via

That image above? That’s me, Buttercup, the last month or so. I’m doing a little better now, thank you. Today is an improvement, I’m sure you’ll agree. Right now I’m still a little cranky but on the mend:

In any event, what it all means is this—the “F” word:

Now, you might not be aware, but I’m an organizer, a list maker, a task prioritizer. I’ve managed whole departments of people and calmed the ruffled feathers of a few angry CFOs without breaking a sweat (that anyone could see—the hives were hidden under business attire, but that’s another blog post). I’m obsessive about meeting deadlines. In short, I’m a doer, a type-A get-it-done-er, a squeeze-it-all-into-the-day-or-you-are-failing kinda gal. And it’s exhausting!


Like a lot of people—maybe you—I have way too much to do and too few hours in a day. Overextending ourselves, even unintentionally, is a common problem. Organizing our time to accommodate all the necessary tasks feels like trying to climb Mount Everest in our bare feet. It’s a grueling uphill course, and zig-zagging, while necessary to avoid a painful misstep, slows our progress. In a word, frustrating. So what’s the answer?

Yes, yes. I know what you’re thinking, and I agree. A wine-and-chocolate infusion is a delectable panacea, but its benefits are fleeting. (Unless you count the added fluff to my butt and thighs. Sadly, this appears to be permanent.)

Here’s the Naked Truth, and I’ll apologize for the lack of profundity here: I have no idea what will work for you. Like me, you probably know all the nifty quotes like: “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step,” “Eat it in small bites,” and my Dad’s personal favorite, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” (For the record, he was saying that way back in the ‘70s and ‘80s long before it became a popular catchphrase). Need more quotes about handling stress and frustration? Go here (, and here (, and, my personal fave, here ( There are hundreds of them.

All of those pithy sayings are easy to remember, and some are even true, but let’s face it, if putting them into action were easy, we wouldn’t need them in the first place.

The snot-nosed fact is that setting frustration and stress aside when they grab hold of us is tough, y’all. There are no easy remedies. But I figured something out, something practical that has worked for me during those times when the allotted 24 hours spreads thin over my to-do list. Maybe my little trick will work for you, too. I fill in the blank of the sentence below with an item on my to-do list. If the statement is true, then there is no reason for me to get frustrated if I run short on the time needed to accomplish the task. Here you go:

If (fill in the blank), the world won’t end.

If the laundry isn’t done today, the world won’t end. (Turn your undies inside out and press on, Buttercup.)

If the Christmas decorations stay up another day, the world won’t end. (As long as they’re down before the 4th of July, what’s the big deal?)

If the family has to make due with leftover pot roast so that I can meet my word count today, the world won’t end. (Papa John’s delivers!)

See how easy this is?

If the cable bill is paid a day late, the world won’t end . . . until the cable is shut off, and then there will be hell to pay. (I never said there wouldn’t be consequences.)

If I miss a submission deadline, the world won’t end. (I know for a fact this is true, as I’m still breathing.)

If I skip this doctor visit, the world won’t end. (If this is an untrue statement, get your ass to that appointment!)

This little exercise has proven helpful to me in my recent efforts at handling stress and alleviating frustration. So helpful, in fact, that I now look like this:

Zvi Kons happy dog

Image courtesy of Zvi Kons via

Yes. The wine and chocolate contributed to this new me. So sue me.

If I drink wine and eat chocolate, the world won’t end. (Ha. Settles that.)

Please leave a comment! Play the fill-in-the-blank game. What frustration can you push off for another day? And in doing so, do you find that you are stressed by outside forces, or mostly by your own expectations for yourself? What’s your Naked Truth when it comes to handling frustration and stress?

See you next week for more of the Naked Truth. And happy 2015!


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