Hello from the midst of an especially busy period of work!
Last week, I wrapped up a three-day Report for America virtual training that I helped to organize and co-lead; yesterday and today, I’m emceeing the annual meeting for The Rosalynn Carter Fellowships for Mental Health Journalism. These events are all-consuming: It’s a lot of spending time on Zoom, a lot of presenting to and learning from impressive journalists, a lot of keeping track of all the little details and big-picture observations that make an event run smoothly. And, when they’re over, it’s a lot of catching up on all the other work I missed.
Needless to say, my time for other responsibilities has been limited, which is why I’d like to try another newsletter discussion thread this week.
(If you missed last month’s thread, on our relationship to work when life gets hard, it was a great one.)
Like everyone else, I keep a running list in my head of things that would make life better. They’re things that, if I had the time to do or energy to prioritize, would likely make me happier, healthier, and a generally better person.
Some of these things are relatively big, like picking up a new hobby or planting a vegetable garden. But a surprising number of them are small, like meditating for a few minutes a day or making the bed every morning. In theory, those small things would be easy to do. Yet oftentimes I find that some kind of barrier or bit of friction gets in the way of making them happen.
For the longest time, one of the small habits I wanted to adopt was consistently taking my various supplements each morning. I’d purchased a colorful pill container, but would still miss out on taking my daily doses because I rarely had a glass of water with me in the bathroom. I’d tell myself to return with water and take the pills later, but would often forget. I’d only remember the next morning, when I saw the previous day’s pills still in their compartment.
This, as you might be thinking, was not a hard problem to solve! Eventually, I figured it out. A couple of weeks ago, I started keeping a small cup for water by the bathroom sink. That’s it! It was the easiest, most simple solution ever, and it was exactly the reduction in friction that I needed. Now, I never miss taking my supplements. It feels like a small victory, an important step in taking care of myself.
Which brings me to my question: What’s your cup by the bathroom sink? In other words, what’s one small tweak you (finally) made that led to a bigger, better change in your life?
This newsletter is called My Sweet Dumb Brain for a reason. Sometimes it takes a long period of banging our heads against the walls—shoot, I forgot to take my pills again!—until we eventually figure out a better way to approach things.
I can’t wait to hear your a-ha moments.