Albatross Day – Too Much To Carry?


The albatross symbolizes a burden that keeps me from moving forward. Recall Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s poem, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, in which an albatross follows a ship; usually a sign of good luck. However, the mariner shoots the albatross with a crossbow, which is regarded as an act that will curse the ship. As a result, the mariner is forced to wear the dead bird around his neck. The word albatross has come to mean a psychological burden that feels like a curse.

I call an Albatross Day when I become almost incapacitated by my to-do list. The Albatross Day is a day when I take care of tasks I never seem to have time to complete.

When I did office work I would take my inbox and dump it upside down to get rid to the oldest paperwork. It usually needed to be filed or tossed. If there was still relevant action that should be taken I would do at least one step, then move the paper to the top of the pile so I could pay attention to the issue sooner rather than later. By the end of the day I felt I was clear of my burden.

Now that I don’t have an inbox I make lists and some things never seem to be attended to in a timely manner. On my albatross day I give attention to the oldest task and take it off my list. In one way or another it must be attended to, even if I have to hire someone to complete the task.

The trick to a successful albatross day is to not take on any new tasks. I don’t accept clients or take outside calls on these days. I don’t allow myself to get distracted by emails, Facebook or the book I may be reading. I just attend to the cursed albatross.

When I am done I feel pounds lighter, fresh and clean. Have a happy albatross day!