13 May 2010, by A. Cedilla
Whether you’re counting pennies or minutes, the small stuff can build up to something big, but also pay attention to the one thing that transforms the seemingly insignificant into the significant: Time.
Time can do wonders with small change and small changes. Time leverages small changes into big deals. After all, what else are big things made of but small things?
Use time and awareness to make the small things work for you. There’s less stress involved in handling small things. No big production, no huge budgets. You don’t have to worry about embarrassing yourself for something so small, so…mundane.
And therein lies the thrill.
How many little adjustments can you incorporate into your routine? How creative can you get with tweaking your routines just that little bit?
The trick is to find the best use for the small things and the small slices of time in your life. First look around (take a good look, you might miss something), and then think of what you can do with what you find to improve your life.
What small changes can bring a big impact to your life? Health-wise? Flossing, dentists affirm. Check-ups too. Exercise, doctors say.
Start with a 10-minute walk, or a 15-minute one, walking just to clear your head, connect with the road, breathe clean air. Nothing else. Try it out for a month, no pushing, just to stick it out.
When you’ve stuck it out for a month, then you can add something to the new routine you’ve just added to your life.
No time? Tweak things the night before, if you walk in the morning. Let something small drop (last-minute compulsions to check email, or Facebook) so you can sleep earlier.
Remember: Start small, keep it small. Little pushes, gentle nudges. Push your limits a little bit each day, get used to gently stretching your boundaries, and go a few steps beyond what you think you can do. Make time your friend instead of your taskmaster.
What other small changes can you make?
Give something up that doesn’t help you anymore — like false rewards, or old habits.
Say you started treating yourself with a little pricey coffee, for making it to the end of the week during a particularly hellacious period at work. Then it became every other day. Before you knew it, it was every day, and has been ever since. The treat lost its meaning, and it became a habit, and no longer a reward.
Tally what you spent. Is your habit supporting you? Is it worth the small change that added up?
Do some drudge-work that bores you. Pick up the scattered magazines when there’s a commercial break. Put your shoes on the shoe rack instead of leaving them where you toed them off. Make sure you leave a clean, empty sink before calling it a night.
Do something different – plan and take a new route to work to see if it’s faster, safer, more convenient for you, or even if it’s longer, maybe it can give you more alone time to plan your day without interruptions.
Shock your brain every so often with something new to kick it out of mild ruts. Check how you’re doing, benchmark your progress.
Stretch to contact just one more prospect, make one more call, come up with one more idea, or write two more pages.
Small stretches taken everyday, in the brief windows of opportunity we find to do them, can make for some big surprises in the life you’re living into.
Be smart, look alive, keep going. Time is the big factor, but ultimately it’s you who has the power to make the small things matter.
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