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DEAR HARRIETTE: Is it normal to find yourself becoming increasingly irri- tated by your significant other? My girlfriend gets on my nerves more than usual these days. What could be the reason? Could this be a sign that we need to break up? — Always Annoyed
DEAR ALWAYS ANNOYED: Whenever you notice that you are pointing your finger at others a lot, it’s a good time to pause and turn your attention toward yourself. Ask your- self: What is my role in this moment? What have I done to create the agitation and irritation that I am experi- encing? What can I do to change it?
Focusing on yourself should help you to notice what is going on in your life that may be affecting your relationship. Are you under a lot of stress? Did anything occur between the two of you that upset you that hasn’t been addressed?
Think about your interac- tions of late. What has been different? What have you observed about your signifi- cant other’s life and stres- sors? What surrounding cir- cumstances may have led to this heightened irritability?
When you feel like you have some sense of what’s going on, approach your girlfriend. State your feel- ings and how you are uncomfortable and often annoyed. Describe how you find yourself reacting to her in recent days. Ask her what’s going on in her life and how she feels about your relationship. Do your best to get an open conver- sation going where you can get to the bottom of things. Often, outside circum- stances can lead to inner challenges. Before you say goodbye, agree to go deeper to figure out what’s going on and come up with a solution together.
DEAR HARRIETTE: What is the best way for a disor- ganized person to practice organization skills? I have tried everything and still manage to lose and mis- place certain items. I have a minimal understanding of technology and how to arrange things on my lap- top. How do I get better at all this? — Disorganized
DEAR DISORGANIZED: Some things can be done without technology at all. I’m a big believer in lists. With pen and paper, each day you can record what you need to do and when. Then, throughout the day, you check off items as you complete them. That will keep your tasks organized – – as long as you stay engaged with recording your activities.
In terms of belongings, pick a place where you will promise to put certain things, like a hook at the door for your keys, a cradle by your bed where you put your reading glasses, a fil- ing system where you put your important papers. Color code these files so it’s easy to know where things belong. Throw out anything that you are not using. Clutter leads to disorgani- zation. Get rid of anything that isn’t serving you.
For the technology part, take a class. There are free classes on YouTube for how to set up your com- puter and other devices with organization systems that are easy to follow. Invest a few hours into studying this so that you can prepare yourself for success. Finally, you may want to hire an organiza- tional coach to come into your home and help you out. After that initial setup, you can just follow the plan that they’ve estab- lished for you.