17 August 2009

The small ideas add up

In my family, we place a high value on Big Ideas, but most of the time it's the small ideas that go the farthest. Mama made a cheese slicer out of a piece of thread, and Dad cut gaskets out of a sheet of cork. We made clothes out of bigger clothes.

Sometimes I forget to look for improvements and continue to do something the same old way, even though it's tedious or obnoxious. I need to remember to look for those small ideas that improve your life in little ways and add up to a small pile of happiness.

For example, I need three keys to get into my office. One opens the door to the building, one opens the door to our area, and one opens my office door. For at least a year I kept the keys on my keyring in an order other than the one in which I used them. Every morning and every evening I would grumble and try one, two, sometimes three keys for every lock I encountered.

I did this for at least a year, fumbling through three nearly identical keys for every lock.

Then one day I had that small idea. I switched the order of the keys to reflect the order in which I would use them. My frustration level plummeted. Such a little thing to make such a big difference.

I also used to have cell phone anxiety. I'd worry all the time: will my battery run out today, will I forget to bring my charger to work, will I leave my charger at work when I need to use my phone at home? I worried more when I decided to give up my land line and use only my cell phone.

Finally one day while I was buying batteries at the Mart of Wal, I saw a phone charger exactly like mine for $15. My gosh, I've been torturing myself foolishly when all I had to do was have one charger at work and one at home! I thought. I bought it and took it to my office. I've probably saved an hour a week not having to obsess about the level of the juice in my phone.

So next time I find myself stressing over some minor irritation, I'm going to look for the small idea that will fix it.

I'll keep you posted.


Mel M. M. McCarthy said...

Ahhhhh brilliant reminder of looking for ways to make life simpler. Your writing is fantabulous!

Tristan Robin Blakeman said...

wonderful - and easy! - solutions!

Leslie Hanna said...

I do this! My mailbox key is right next to my house key since I always check the mail on the way in. One time when I picked up my car from my mechanic, when I put the key back on my keyring, I accidentally put it BETWEEN the mail box and house keys. I was a mess. All better now! :-)

powdergirl said...

It really is a great feeling when a small change makes such a big difference.

I lose my keys about a hundred times a day, or I did, now I keep them clipped to my clothing with a carabiner, so I only lose them once a day,in the morning, and then all I have to do is figure out what I was wearing the previous night, and then figure out where I dropped those clothes.

It really is nice to have you back : )

Evil Twin's Wife said...

I am gifted with resourcefulness myself. It makes life interesting and fun! ;-)

Jane said...

I am an occupational therapist, helping people make those types of adaptations are part of my daily life. For as disorganized person that i am, i always know where my keys are. It frustrates me to no end to visit my parents & spend time searching for the keys or my moms glasses. Mine are organized in order of use too. Your blog made me laugh because I have been fasinated by keys since I was a child. My dad was a night janitor at our local high school & he had a set of keys to die for. I always used to wonder how he kept track of them all.

Lydia said...

Isn't that hilarious? I need to put my glasses in the same spot every night so I don't stumble around in the morning pawing at things. The charger deal is brilliance. Although I'm horrified that you had to go to the Mart of Wal