Sunday, January 15, 2017

Question your habits

So we were cleaning up after dinner and my wife was transferring some leftover dish into a smaller plate.  My mind shifted into a mindful state (ha!) and I asked her why she had to do it.  The only answer was that it didn't need the bigger plate anymore.

I'm sure the original reason was that the bigger plate would have taken up a bigger space in the fridge and we needed more room for other stuff.  While that reason is not always there, the action became a habit.

What's the harm of doing it anyway?  In this case, we'd be washing two plates instead of one... the bigger plate now, and the smaller plate later.  We'd be wasting water, soap, time, and effort.  Not by much, I know.  But a waste nonetheless.

The takeaway is, question your habits, everywhere, be it at home, at work, on the road.  Be mindful and keep asking why you have to do whatever it is that you have to do, especially if it's something laborious.

  • Is there a more efficient way of doing it?
  • Could you avoid it completely?  Perhaps the reason for doing it is gone or is not as important anymore.
  • Could you delegate it?
  • Is there some big preparation you could do in order to avoid doing it repeatedly?  At work, it's usually about automating something.  The automation process may take some time and effort but once it's in place, you'll have more time to do other stuff.  In other words, you'll be more productive.
  • Is there a better use of your time?  Ask yourself if you should be doing something else, you know, something more important :).  For example, while the Internet has been a blessing, people tend to get glued to their seats or to their phones when they're online.

If you'd like, you can start a brainstorming session now and inventory some of the things you tend to do habitually and figure out how to do them efficiently or how to eliminate them altogether.

Keep trusting your informed gut,

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