Small change, significant effect

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A small change can lead to the butterfly effect, an imbalance of harmony that produces significant changes. Fragment of a painting by Edward John Pontyer “Psyche in the Temple of Love”, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool.

Small change in the environment can lead to a significant change of behavior.

A few years ago, a colleague of mine left his car at the garage and during that time, he commuted to work on the bicycle. The car repair was taking a long time; meantime my colleague started to enjoying biking, especially since after two weeks he noticed that he had lost a little weight. Encouraged by these changes, he began to be mindful of his eating habits, started to be more active, and eventually changed his lifestyle, currently using the car only when necessary.

I had a similar experience myself. Some time ago, I bought a very small purse, which I liked very much. My previous purse was already small, holding only necessary items (notebook, pen, face powder, wallet, telephone, keys, headphones and phone charging cable). It turned out that the new purse would only fit keys, a mini-wallet, a phone and headphones with a charging cable. Well, I gave up wearing all the other stuff and you know what? I do not miss them at all. I learned to take notes on the phone and do not have to look for the important notes anymore.  Switching to a smaller wallet forced me to regularly get rid of receipts and to review critically the number of cards I carry with me. Currently it is easier for me to find everything and I do not lose anything.

These stories make me think how often I stick to some solutions habitually, not checking if they are needed at all and as a result not improving anything (because if it works I don’t feel an urge to change). Therefore, maybe I will inspire you with my list of a few small changes that translated into big effects. 

No more folders

I read some time ago on Leo Baubauta blog the idea of resigning from adding files and emails into folders. At that time, I had a rather complicated system of folders, spending a lot of time looking for files in different folders and it did not feel like it is make anything easier for me. Currently, my email has only an “Archive” folder where I store all the messages I’m not working on anymore. On the hard drive, all files are located in the “Data” folder. Sometimes I would create an additional folder to keep part of data separately while working on them. It turns out, however, that I can find everything using a search engine. To implement this rule, all I had to do was get into the habit of naming files and messages so that they could be found later. For files titled “file1”, “file2”, “file3”, this system will not be possible to apply J

A small travel bag

I travel a lot (well, not anymore), and the comfort of traveling has improved at the most when I started using a travel bag instead of a suitcase (which I also mentioned in the entry about minimalist travel). It is much easier and I can go for a walk straight from the train or plane instead of going to the hotel to leave my luggage. I stopped taking unnecessary things because I just do not have space for them. When entering the plane, I no longer have to worry about whether there will be space for my suitcase in the overhead compartment. I can simply put the bag under the seat and it will not make my travel less comfortable. I do not pay luggage fees, do not have to waste time waiting at the baggage claim – I get off the plane and leave the airport!

Comfortable shoes

A few years ago, I went back to low martens shoes, my favorite shoes back from when I was at school. I wear them almost every day. They are very comfortable, match practically everything, do not get wet, are suitable for both frost, and conference speech. Thanks to the comfortable shoes, I do not have to worry about the conditions in which I will be staying and how far I will have to walk and what will type of surface the road will have. When packing for a trip, I do not have to think what shoes to take and whether they will match my outfit. +100 points to comfort improvement!

I have a few more things that I could add to this list. Some of them helped me for a while, but I stopped using them because I no longer need them (for example, the 30-day list, which I mentioned in the post about reducing the desire to buy). Others have not contributed to the changes in such a great magnitude. They all come down to calming the environment and reducing mental clutter.

I enhance you to look for such areas in your environment and experiment, it’s fun and can bring really great results!

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