Dot Every I, Cross Every T
by Ian Doescher
When I was a kid, I often thought to myself—and probably said to my parents once or twice—”I can’t wait until I’m an adult! I’ll be able to do whatever I want!” If someone had told me, back then, that adulthood contains more forms than freedom, more responsibility than relaxation, I would have, undoubtedly, not been in such a hurry to grow up.
Adulting isn’t easy, right? My spouse Jennifer and I are currently involved in an application process that requires a background check for the last five or ten years. No problem, right? Except that, in 2014, we spent three months living in Scotland. While I would not trade our time there for anything, this also means we need to produce a criminal record for that time abroad to ensure that we’re not notorious international criminals who masquerade as law-abiding citizens here at home.
When you are an adult, it can feel like you are always jumping through hoops, always dotting another i and crossing another t. The mail arrives and brings a new bill, or a new fee you weren’t expecting to have to pay, or the news of one more phone call you have to make to satisfy this or that company’s requirements. Anyone who has ever had a mortgage probably knows what I mean.
This feeling of endlessly dotting is and crossing ts can happen at work, too. You can get caught up in the mundane, the day-to-day tasks that feel tedious. It can feel like constant busy work is the only way to stay on top of your duties. You can feel like a slave to things that are immediate, pressing, and monotonous.
At work and in life, it’s important to look up from the to-do list every now and then and focus on the bigger picture. Remind yourself of why you are doing this job, why you are filling out these forms, how it all plays into the larger picture of your life and its goals. Yes, dotting every i and crossing every t takes time, but sometimes you end with a perfect manuscript as a result.
What are the hoops you have to jump through? How do you stay focused on the bigger picture?