3 Big Little Things

Bill Abbate

Countless little things fill our lives, some important, some not. Once in a while, little things that greatly impact us come along. Their effect can create happiness, excitement, fear, frustration, and countless other emotions.

While journaling recently, three life-related little things that can make a huge difference in us came to mind.

Little things that significantly affect our lives

While there are numerous categories of little things, the three I journaled about include those that:

  • Waste time
  • Make life easier
  • Make a big difference

Let’s look at each and how they can affect us.

“The little things in life are as interesting as the big ones.” Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

Little things that waste time

So many little things we do can waste our most precious resource: time. When you consider that time is life, they are a waste of life as well.

We tend to repeat them over and over again. Since many are habitual, we do them without thinking, requiring us to make them visible through thought.

Here’s a quick list of three little things we can work on to quit wasting time and streamline our days.

  • Why do we need to check our email and social media constantly? Little things like this can be a huge time sink, and most of us could use more self-discipline in dealing with them. Set aside time to check them instead of letting them constantly interrupt and steal from you. Schedule two or three slots of up to 10 to 20 minutes daily so you can take back some of that wasted time.
  • When someone calls or stops in “for a few minutes,” let them know you have things to do and to make it quick. Some people can become unnecessary time sinks if you let them. While some may consider it rude, you can glance at your watch as often as needed to convey the message. Make your mind up and refuse to allow anyone to suck up and waste your time and life.
  • Watching a “little TV” is perhaps the biggest time-waster of all. You may consider it minor, but the time lost can be enormous.I often refer to television as bubble gum for the brain— it may taste good for a few moments, but it will consume more energy than it provides. Why not feed your mind on something more substantive, like a book or an article online? Medium provides excellent reading material that can help you improve, so why not spend more time building yourself up instead of wasting your life on such things?

What other little things come to mind that consume too much of your life? Why not go to work on one of them and put your time to better use immediately?

“Little by little does the trick.” Aesop (c. 620–564 BC)

Little things that make life easier

Don’t you love conveniences? We have so many available today that the list is almost endless. Here are three little things that can make life easier:

· Set up all monthly bills on autopay. You will never worry about being late for a bill again or rushing to pay one at the last minute. The amount of time and worry this little thing has saved those of us who use it becomes significant within a year.

  • Use your calendar to schedule everything! A calendar is one of the best tools ever created to manage your time when you use it! A little thing I do is make appointments with myself most days to do the things I want. This helps me avoid the things I don’t want to waste time on.
  • Automation and other conveniences are some of the biggest little things to come along in years. They can add comfort and peace of mind to our lives. With IoT (Internet of Things) becoming so prevalent, you can automate practically anything to save time and worry. You can set things like irrigation systems to come on at a specific time. By using Ring doorbells and cameras, I know whenever someone approaches my home from any direction. Not only do they record, but you can interact with anyone that comes to your home regardless of where you are. I also love that I can lock and unlock our front door or open or close the garage from anywhere. No more worrying whether we locked up or left the garage open. A few other little things I love about automation are turning on and off lights throughout the house and visually checking on our cats from anywhere in the world! Oh, and I forgot about the connected fire and CO alarms, thermostats, and the automatic water shut-off if a water pipe springs a leak when no one is home.

As you can probably tell, I am a bit of a tech junkie despite my age! The list of little things you can do to make life easier and more peaceful is practically endless.Why not begin working on one today?

“When they mention great little things in life, they usually forget flossing.” Scott Simon (1952-present)

Little things that make a difference

Those little things that create good happen to all of us routinely. They can come in many forms and make an outsized impact. Three such little things include:

  • A sincere, unsolicited compliment can go a long way in someone’s life. If you have ever had one, you know what I mean. They are one of those things you never forget because they touch something inside that builds you up and is life-giving. Such compliments can come from anywhere from nearly anyone. Imagine the huge difference you could make in someone’s life by simply complimenting them in some small way!
  • Learn to listen, and I mean sincerely listen. It can make a huge impact. People are so distracted today they rarely listen intently to another person, including their spouse! How many times have you seen it in a restaurant? Two married people who barely look at one another or say a word. Too many. Try honestly and intently listening to experience its magic, especially with someone you care for deeply.
  • Read a book, then another, and another, and keep on reading. The little habit of reading has changed countless lives. Try reading a little daily; you will finish a book before you know it. The value of reading the right books is enormous — ask almost any successful person, and you will find they read plenty. The cumulative effect of reading a little each day will become life-changing. As the old saying goes, leaders are readers. Why not become the leader in your life?

What other little things can you find to make a difference in your life? Why not find one and go to work on it? You will never regret it!

“Doing the little things can make a big difference.”Yogi Berra (1925–2015)

Final thoughts

If you manage the little things that steal your valuable time, are thankful for the little things that add to your life, and do the little things that make a difference, you can change your life dramatically. You will find tremendous opportunities and discover a great deal of happiness and joy in these little things.

“Sometimes when I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things. I am tempted to think there are no little things.” Bruce Barton (1886–1967)

Although some little things may seem insignificant, many of them can create changes that will substantially improve your life. All you need do is find them! Why not begin today?


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Semi-Retired-Leadership/Executive Coach -Personal & Career Growth Expert -Editor and Leadership Writer at Illumination -Author

Richmond, VA
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