As the saying goes, life comes at you fast.
Often meant in cliché, I do think there is much truth to it. Our culture emphasizes speed and escalation. Bigger and better. Don’t acknowledge the need for slowing down let alone needing to take a break.
Now, I know you know that you can take a break if you need to. You can go inward when you need to. But when it comes to the day-to-day, sometimes life does require us to push through. Today, I’d like to remind you that you should try to find all the little things that make life a lot easier when it comes to those tough moments. Pour yourself a cup of self care tea and let’s break it down in three steps.
First, Make Room for a “File the Edges” Day
To make the most of this effort, I want you to start by making space for an entire day. If you can’t spare it, maybe a few hours on a sleepy Sunday morning or stolen hours here and there each evening during one week. Start the day by getting out a blank piece of paper. I want you to create a table with six boxes on it. In each box, put the following word at the top:
In each box, I want you to think about recurring annoyances that happen relative to each of those themes. These are things that annoy you, distract you, or just make things painful — but not painful enough that you don’t just deal with it instead. I think of them as those bumps and splinters on a piece of wood. Here are some examples to get you started:
- Morning: Tea maker doesn’t auto-start anymore, so I have to wait to fill my thermos, so I leave a few minutes late and get stuck in traffic. 5 or 50 Minute Fix: Fix the tea maker or get a new one.
- Work: Sending the same emails over and over again. 5 or 50 Minute Fix: Stop and set up some email templates that can be quickly customized to save time.
- Home: Kitchen sink drain keeps backing up and takes time to plunge. 5 or 50 minute fix: Call an expert.
Take your time and fill in the boxes with all of you annoyances. And presto: This is your to do list. My challenge to you is to take the time right now and try to fix these. It might take you 5 minutes or 50 minutes for each one, but you won’t have to think about them again — and that’s a priceless feeling.
Then, Get Real About “Life Hacks”
I think we’ve sort of gone beyond the cliché of “life hacks.” But there is something about using hacks to cut time for things that take a lot of time.
There’s nothing wrong with things that take time — if it says the tea needs 5 minutes to steep, that is 5 minutes beautifully spent.
But if you always spend a lot of time on kitchen veggie prep, or you seem to be spending a lot time on organizing your office, consider doing some googling on hacks in that particular topic to see if you can be inspired to be more efficient. Forget the cliché of the term — it might be something truly helpful.
Lastly, Add Some Beauty
Once you’ve finished these tasks, it’s time to reward your efforts with a touch of beauty. I’d love for you to purchase something beautiful that you can see over and over again, like a small piece of artwork; you can find something affordable on Etsy or go exploring in your local vintage shops. Use it as a reminder that life is beautiful and you can make it easier — if you take the time to do so.