Lately, I’ve been conscious of the little things. The small tweaks I can make that really positively impact the day. It’s crazy how small and simple, yet powerful they are.
Having ample time in the morning to read. This one is the first and most important, in my opinion. I always, always wake up about an hour before I have to leave for work, so I have at least 30 minutes to read before I “really” start the day. Try it. Read more! Read a great fiction piece (uhh, Hunger Games duh) or something nonfiction and totally unrelated to anything and everything but let’s you learn about something new (Guns, Germs, and Steel?). I find that reading is a both great escape and push into the present. So instead of racing against the clock, rushing in the shower, and shoving a piece of toast in your mouth with one hand while simultaneously putting on your socks and throwing shit in your bag and washing out your mug (wow, way to go multitasker!), try to embrace that inner morning person and give yourself some extra you + book time.
Drinking a fuck-ton of water. Well, maybe not a fuck-ton (how much is that exactly?) but drinking a lot. I try to always have a filled glass with me at work, so once I’m finished I fill er’ up again. I’m probably only drinking the normal eight or so glasses a day, and while it’s still debatable as to how much we actually need, I feel an incredible difference when I drink a lot of H20.
Screwing the seat and standing. I have something to admit. As much as I despised my days in the good ol’ restaurant business, serving tables had one advantage: I was up on my feet all day. I think back to DC when I worked crazy hours and was continuously moving around, and I think I was in freakishly good shape. I’ve definitely felt a difference between then (read: standing) and now (read: mostly sitting), although my workouts have become more frequent, intense, and smart. Still, this can all be changed. At HQ, we’re lucky enough to have these things called mammuts, which are little IKEA stools that we place on our desks and plop our laptops on. I’ve been consciously trying to stand more throughout the day, and it’s working. What made me actually think about this was when reading Gretchen Reynold’s The First Twenty Minutes (in the morning) she explains that many exercisers are often more sedentary than those who don’t work out. Wait…what?! It’s because you say to yourself: “Self, I ran five miles, so I’m good to go for the day” when in fact, that only took 40 minutes of movement, leaving the other 23 hours and 20 minutes to sit. I usually workout for an hour, hour and a half TOPS, so even that’s not enough standing time! Luckily I also walk to the subway, and usually get off one stop early to have a 15 minute stroll to the office. And sometimes I take evening jaunts. It’s quite lovely.
Being nice to people. All of em. The woman who sells you coffee. The AM newspaper dudeman. The lady stuffed next to you on the subway. Co-workers. Boss. Roommates. Whomever! If you try to smile and be nice to everyone you have an encounter with (small or large, friendly or personal or intimate or remote) it really can brighten your day. You have no idea how many times I’ve just said a quick hello or how are you to a Duane Reade cashier, who in turn smiles SO wide, as if I handed him a winning lotto ticket. And that small stuff can make your day. So even though your intentions shouldn’t be to make yourself feel good, it very well will (shhhh). So be nice to people for the sake of being nice, but realize that it’s good for your own soul too.
Throwing my computer out of the bed. (Lightly.) This has been the hardest one for me, but I think it’s making the biggest difference. My apartment is tiny. And I used to ALWAYS write and do work in my bed, since it’s a pretty comfortable spot and I don’t have many other options. But alas, working in your bed is stupid and makes it harder to fall asleep. So I went cold turkey. (Or maybe I’m lying and am typing this in my bed, how would you know?) … Truth is, I’m trying. Really hard. To not work in bed. And to work in my kitchen instead.
Writing it all down. I’m slightly (and secretly, but I guess not so secretly anymore) neurotic when it comes to writing things down. From lyrics I’m listening to, to possible poetry, reminders, story ideas, to-do’s, goals,…I like transcribing bits of my mind onto paper. I make note of when I get to actually sit on the subway (does that contradict what I wrote earlier?) Or when the Mud Truck coffee guys gives me free coffee for being nice (win!). Or actually getting as much done as I plan to before noon at work. Or a surprisingly great workout. A random email from an old friend. A new joke. A quick interaction. Whatever it is, I like writing it down to steal the moment and make it permanent. No longer fleeting.