This is my second attempt to post a blog entry only using voice recognition on my phone. Hopefully it will also be successful. Last time seemed to go well. I will ask you to bear with me if there are any weird typos related to autofill.
There are so many moments in our day when something small and useful, perhaps even vital, definitely efficient, seems like a big deal. Ultimately, we don’t have an accurate understanding of what attention is. The ability to do the unpreferred thing that feels tedious boring or overwhelming. That is attention. Just as much as sitting down and paying attention to a lecture in college is attention. But those little things happen all day everyday.
When you get change at the convenience store do you take time to put it in your wallet or just jam it into your purse for the pocket of whatever jacket you’re wearing?
When you bring the mail in, do weed out the junk mail and put it right in the recycling? Do you have a convenient place near the door to put the mail? Or do you just throw it on the dining room table with all the other mail until it becomes a pile that’s so overwhelming you don’t want to deal with it?
After you make dinner, if you don’t feel like doing the dishes, do you leave the leftovers so that they’re gross and unusable the next morning when you get around to the dishes? Or do you take 2 minutes to put them in a tupperware so you can have them for lunch the next day?
I’m not looking to shame anyone here if you’re doing the non-optimal behavior. And you’ll note that I’m not even framing it as a choice. We have years of track record telling us that slowing down is hard and doing tedious boring things is bordering on painful. But, there’s also a lot of stuff that isn’t as bad as we think.
These are three random examples that I pulled out of my ear as I sit here banging out this post. But think about it. Putting your bills and change away in a reasonable way, packing up your leftovers for lunch tomorrow, taking the time to do a pre-organization of your mail, how long do all three of those things take if you put them together? 30 seconds Plus a minute Plus 3 minutes. We’re looking at a total of less than 5 minutes to have your money more organized, your mail more organized, and lunch made for tomorrow. Think about how much time that saves you in the long run. And not just time, think about how much bandwidth that saves you with those projects not being big projects.
Now, I know it’s not easy. It’s a major paradigm shift. And it requires us to do the uncomfortable thing, the boring thing, the tedious thing multiple times a day. But if we set up systems to make those things as easy as possible and we’re diligent about repeating those actions, overall our life gets way easier pretty fast. So think about it. Think about what you can address in the moment and not kicked down the road.