While trying to deal with my rodent phobias earlier in the year, another concern came to mind. If I freak out over something going wrong when my life is mostly good, how will I handle myself when life goes wrong?
I posed this question to a friend, who reminded me that I’ve deal with hardship before and survived. Still, I wanted to work on shifting my perspective. Years ago, I read Ann Voskamp’s One Thousand Gifts, which to this day helps me cultivate gratitude in my life.
Seeking similar guidance on joy, I read Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project. In the book, she discusses her own pursuit. One suggestion she receives, and acts upon, relates to simple tasks throughout the day.
I can’t remember how in the world she relates it back to happiness, but Rubin commits to not procrastinating small tasks. More specifically, if the chore can be completed in a minute or less, she does the task immediately.
Working off the knowledge that a tidy house makes me happy, I decided to accept the challenge myself. Instead of putting my coffee cup in the sink on the way out the door, I started rinsing it and immediately putting it in the dishwasher.
Seems harmless enough, yet I noticed a change almost immediately. I started arrive at work a minute or so late, then gradually the problem got worse. I never made the connection until I told my husband about the philosophy.
He, I’d decided, needed to join me in the task. Rather than letting his empty drink cans stay on the coffee table, he should use just one minute to through them away. Same for putting away clothing, and the pile of shoes we had gathering by the doorway.
Instead of jumping on board and telling me how brilliant the suggestion is, he pushed back.
What if you have twenty 1 minute tasks? Won’t you neglect other things you should be doing?
Oh you mean little things like arriving at work on time? Yikes. I’d narrowed my focus so much on small tasks, I’d lost sight of the big picture.
Please don’t misunderstand. I’m still Team Throw-Away-Your-Trash-As-You-Go. However, sometimes productivity isn’t the end game. Being late to work does nothing to increase my happiness, just the opposite in fact.
As Kendra (aka The Lazy Genius) constantly reminds her podcast listeners, I need to remember my why. I cannot be successful in an endeavor if I lose sight of why I want to pursue that goal.
I originally institute the one minute task rule to increase happiness in my life. I’ve yet to net that result, and I think its time to allow myself to move on. While I don’t know exactly what that looks like in my life, maybe tomorrow I’ll start with leaving a coffee cup in the sink.