“Sorry about that. Things have been pretty crazy lately and I kind of forgot about it.”
That’s how you respond when your friend asks if you read the book she recommended. Well, not just recommended. She actually went so far as to have it signed by the author and then shipped to you for your birthday.
But you haven’t gotten around to reading it just yet.
So there it sits, unread, on the bedside table. Dusty.
Your good intentions
The funny thing is, you really do mean to read it. It’s written by your favorite author. It’s even signed by her. So cool!
Time just has a way of… I don’t know… getting away from you. You aren’t setting out each day determined not to read the book. It’s just… not getting read. But while the pages of the book have yet to turn, the pages of life continue to fly by.
And now, some eight months after receiving it, it’s been sequestered to a nearby drawer. Out of sight, out of mind.
You’ll get to it eventually.
But will you, really?
Small things, big impact
When I write something (like this to you), I have music playing to help me focus. My phone is nearby but I have notifications turned off.
Furthermore, I have a bottle filled with water, ready to go. I’m also wearing a posture support. Which… wow, felt very nerdy to write… but it’s the truth and the crux of this whole post so I need to include it.
Because it’s those latter two aspects – the bottle and the support – that are surprisingly important.
I get confused when people say that they’re so busy they forgot to eat lunch.
You forgot to eat lunch? You physically forgot to put food in your mouth? The food you packed up last night and were so excited to eat today? How did that happen?
Their response is always the same: Oh, I just had so much going on, I completely forgot about it. Work has been so chaotic lately because of blah, blah, blah.
Fine. I get it.
You forgot to eat lunch. Seems like a planning error on your part, but let’s move on.
What’s helping (or hurting)?
In a world where you’re so busy you forget to eat lunch, what chance does a book have? What chance does going for a run have? Or writing a novel have?
Yes, time moves quickly. Yes, sometimes it can feel more chaotic than other times. Yet, it’s passing either way. And though I don’t have the issue of lunch-forgetfulness, I do fall prey to the same thing as everyone else.
That it’s hard to be aware of what’s best for you at every given moment.
Addressing problems before they become so
Do you know why I keep a full water bottle next to me when I write? What about wearing a posture support?
I do these things because I know that when I’m writing, I’m going to lose track of time. I’m going to be “in the zone” and won’t remember to drink water or sit up straight. All I’ll see is a screen and words bouncing around my head. Everything else will be but a peripheral.
However, I know that time passes quickly.
Sit up straight
I know that one day of slouching may not pose a threat to my spine. But, a lifetime of slouching over a computer just might. So, I’m proactive; addressing the issue today to prevent an issue tomorrow.
I have a posture support that sits next to my desk.
And I see it when I write most days. And, in seeing it, I put it on with little fuss or distraction (it helps that I work from home). I may only wear it for 20 or 30 minutes, but that’s 20-30 minutes of correcting my posture. Of reminding me to sit up straight.
I’m improving my life in a subtle and low-effort way.
I keep a full bottle of water within arm’s reach. Why? Because, again, I’m being proactive.
Sure, I can obviously go a few hours without water. But, remember, time moves quickly. And if I don’t drink water during the day, I’ll be setting myself up for potential grogginess later in the afternoon. So I stop the problem before it becomes one.
I drink water and passively consume it while writing. Most of the time, I forget that I’ve even had any until I put the bottle up to my mouth and find it empty.
These are two minuscule things that really should have no impact on my life. But, they do. Because time compounds, day after day after day, year after year after year.
Not sitting up straight or drinking enough water won’t pose an issue today or tomorrow. Maybe not even a year from now. But five years? A decade? Certainly. And so, with longevity in mind, I do my best to look around and see what could use some intentionality.
To see what things I do today that will help or hurt the me of tomorrow.
Minor adjustments are all you need
I encourage you to do the same.
More likely than not, if you’ve made it this far in this post, you have an idea of what things you’re doing today that need adjusting. Now it’s just a matter of making a few tweaks. The smaller, the better. The more passive, the better.
It only takes a minor change to create a big impact.
Moving forward with intentionality
It can be as subtle as making sure the water bottle is full instead of empty.
Or keeping the posture support next to the desk. It could be grabbing your lunch from the fridge next time you get up to go to the bathroom. Or keeping your book by where you relax at night. Little things that seem simple but help you sidestep larger problems down the road.
Consider what you’re doing today that could be hurting you tomorrow. Then, make changes accordingly.
Take the book out of the drawer and start reading.