Minutiae can take up a ridiculous amount of time in our day. How many times have you looked at that very-small-thing and though, “I gotta do something about that”? Add up the number of times you do this per day, by the number of days/weeks/months you’ve been putting it off, and that’s a lot of time you’re robbing yourself of. Not to mention the mental energy, emotional stress and inner-critic airtime.
So, how would it be to take a day to put an end to 10 things you keep putting off? I did it, and it felt great. I actually noticed how much less traffic there was in my head. And it cleared up space to notice more things that I then felt motivated to do something about because I knew it would feel good. Here’s what I did:
- Put away that bowl of perma-crap sitting on my dresser. It’s just in the cupboard now, but at least I don’t have to look at it every day (and dust around it).
- Solve the sync problem with my iCal so that I’m not dismissing an error message every five minutes. I spend around 10 hours per day on my computer, so that was a lot of error message clicking!
- Scrape the soap scum off my shower soap shelf. I’ve been in this place for 2 years and … well … this is the first time I’ve taken to that shelf with a butter knife.
- Put away the curtains I had hanging around the deck. They’ve sat draped on my office visitor’s chair since the weather turned too cold to sit outside, a month ago.
- Cancel the automatic notification that tells me someone has unsubscribed from my email list. You thought I was cool and didn’t care? Yeah, that’s what I wanted you to think, so why torture myself about that anymore 😉
- Clean my coffee mug. How many months can a coffee mug go without a proper clean? I bet I have the record.
- Scrape the old coffee grounds off the inside of my espresso maker. Maybe they were adding depth to the flavor of my coffee, but more than likely they just looked gross and harbored a colony of something disgusting.
- Retire those oh-so-comfortable and oh-so-disgusting couch cushions. I can pull them out if I ever want to binge-watch Housewives from the comfort of a nest.
- Put away that storyboard of inspiration. Like a pretty new shiny thing, it was inspiring for about a week and now it’s just another thing in my field of vision.
- Move my flip-flops from the foyer bench to my closet. Baby it’s cold outside (too cold for flip-flops). Magical thinking is not going to bring summer back for another 7 month.
There’s a good reason achieving small things in your day makes you feel good. Our brain is rewarded with dopamine when we anticipate achieving something (good for motivating us to hunt and gather thousands of years ago; great for motivating us to scrape soap scum today). Every time you check something off your to-do list you get a little hit of dopamine, and no-one’s complaining about hits of dopamine!
Also, research shows that every little distraction in our day (ie, every time you look over at that mark on the carpet and think you should clean it), you are distracted from the task at hand and it takes time for you to fully get back into that task. This means that all those little moments of procrastination are affecting your ability to get things done well in the rest of your day. You’re hamstringing yourself!
Try a day of getting small sh*t done. I promise you that you’ll feel a weight off your shoulders. And then email me about it. I’d love to hear how you claimed back some of your precious time.