Want to be happier? Fix the little things that bug you.
I thought about this last week when I finally wiped down the mud spattered, oil fingerprint laden, spider web coated door that leads from the garage into the laundry room. It had been bugging me for awhile (awhile being the last 10 months or so). In and out of the door half a dozen times a day or more, I’d look at the mess and think “Hey, I should clean that” but when carrying groceries, work stuff, whatever, I just never made time.
And then I remembered a tidbit from a grad class I audited at ASU a few years ago. The class was all about happiness and well being (yes, I know, a graduate course about happiness–delightfully novel). Among other things, we discussed how to increase personal happiness levels. While working on my dissertation at the time, I expected (and experienced) dismally low levels of overall life satisfaction (dissertating is no spring picnic, people), but one thing really stood out: An easy way to increase happiness is to take care of life’s little annoyances.
The dirty garage door? It bugged me every. single. day. For TEN months. And when I finally did something about it? Relief. I no longer see the door and it no longer annoys me. Magic!
Lately, life has felt crazed again with job hunting, teaching, work, book proposal writing, studying for my private pilot’s license, etc. So today, I walked around the house and fixed three more annoying things. (Let’s see if Mr. T notices that there are no books on the kitchen counter anymore, or that the crumbs in the kitchen drawers are missing, or that the Japanese Maple branch that stuck out into the walkway and hit people is gone.)
These little tweaks took just a few minutes and I’m SO excited to have them out of my consciousness (for awhile anyway, crumbs and tree branches will come back, of course).
What little annoyances do you want to take care of today?