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Okie Dokie

By Jim Gustafson

There is an old adage that says, if you need something done, assign it to a busy person. Like most adages, there is enough truth in it to stand the test of time - that's why it becomes an old adage. The problem is, the only reward the person who gets things done ever receives is more to do. Eventually, the load becomes too heavy and things don't get done. Then, the people who are never busy look around and wonder why nothing is getting done.

Those who get overloaded often suffer from an illness I call Okie Dokie. As in, "She has a bad case of Okie Dokie." It has various strains, readily identifiable symptoms, and is curable only with continuing therapy. Among the most noticeable symptoms in the workplace are:

  • Saying yes or "Okie Dokie" to every request.
  • Constantly being sought out or paged by others.
  • Being perceived as the person with all the answers.
  • Being the person who is asked to organize parties and events.
  • Being the person who keeps the company birthday list.
  • Being the person who has the most phone calls.
  • Often the person who has the most people in her or his office.
  • Usually the person on task while others are visiting.
  • The person who makes all the travel arrangements.
  • Normally the person first to notice a need for office supplies.

Among the most noticeable symptoms at home are:

  • Saying yes or "Okie Dokie" to every request.
  • The person who is constantly active and moving.
  • The person who seems unable to stay seated for an entire television show.
  • The person who is always doing something else while watching television (other people's laundry, thank you notes, etc.)
  • The person who leaves the room during commercials and does not return.
  • The one who often reschedules personal appointments.
  • The one generally engaged in doing things requested by others.
  • The person who starts projects at strange times (trims bushes at night).
  • She/he is often heard saying, yes or "Okie Dokie" on the phone.

The cure for Okie Dokie is a lengthy process. It requires the suffering person to ask and answer the following questions:

  • Why am I choosing to be this busy?
  • Can I say "no" to two different people today?
  • What three things do I do each day that I can cease doing immediately?
  • What one thing can I do for myself and only myself each day? It should take at least thirty minutes and involve no conversation with others. Examples include: reading a book -- going for a walk -- taking a nap.

The answering and acting upon these and other pertinent questions can begin the healing process. Signs of healing include observing the Okie Dokie sufferer reading a book, going for a walk, taking a nap... Okie Dokie?

Jim Gustafson was ordained in the United Methodist Church. He has been a pastor, counselor, conference leader and motivational speaker. His book, "Take Fun Seriously," is published by Limitless Press.
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