Life Lesson – Don’t screw up the little things

By | June 18, 2009

Don’t screw up the little things in life – they’re easy to achieve, and failure to do so can be expensive in time, effort, or stress.

In life, there’s lots of little things you can easily do that avoid expensive annoyance later on. Take keys, for example: failing to check that you have them when you walk out the door can lead to hours spent waiting for flatmates to come home or, alternatively, money spent hiring a locksmith. Failing to put keys in a logical place when you get home can lead to frantic searching when you’re about to go out, and might be followed by 20 minutes of time wasted waiting for the next bus, a day spent running late for meetings, and an hour or so of feeling stupid. They’re not all practical things, though; socially, the small efforts of thanking people, being civil to those whose company you don’t relish, or biting back that witty retort that you don’t really need to make can help avoid all sorts of arguments and hurt feelings later on.

I’m talking about things where the act itself is simple and easy, even trivial, and the benefit is huge. Things where the question of whether or not you should do them is obvious, and things that I, at least, frequently fail to do. Not because I don’t mean to do them, but because I just don’t have the memory or discipline. Or, alternatively, because I haven’t clearly realized that they’re a good idea. The things about which we always say ‘I should do that’, but never do.

These are the sorts of things for which it would be really nice to have some little voice in my ear reminding me to do them. Or, when it’s discipline, not memory, that’s lacking, something that helps me pay closer attention and maintain the presence of mind not to say the wrong thing.

Anyway. Today’s life lesson: A little thought about the little things can save a lot of effort, and that little thought is a little thing well worth doing.

In case you’re wondering, I haven’t actually been locked out of my house in the last month, but I have spent too much time of late trying to work out where I put my keys.