really little things

On one hand, it’s the really little things that annoy us most. The bird call at 5:00 which wakes us up and keeps us awake. The decision over whether to buy a Snickers or a Take 5 bar. The line in the back seat between your side of the car and your sister’s (“Mo-om, s/he’s on my side”).

On the other hand, the little things can give us tremendous delight. The glint in my daughter’s eye after successfully driving us to Border’s and back (after only 2 weeks of driver’s training), the one encouraging email, the screws being preattached to the fan blades.

Why include the last thing? I mean, parenting, friends and a ceiling fan?

Yep. Because it is the little things that matter.

Because of [long story which will be left out in the interest of you], I’ve installed two ceiling fans in a month, with the last one going up today after a week of projects. I wanted to get it done quickly between other commitments, but fans can be a hassle. When I examined the bundle of pieces that connect the blades to the rest of the fan, I discovered that Hampton Bay fans have the screws that hold the blade assembly to the fan already attached. This means that as you are reaching over your head trying to get everything lined up, you do not need a third hand to hold the screw, the driver, and the blade assembly. Your two hands will work.

I was ecstatic. It doesn’t take much to amuse me anyway, but realizing that some designer understood that real people don’t have three hands and figured out how to save us frustration made my afternoon. Even after I struggled with other parts of the installation because of my own lack of coordination, I was still excited about the elegance of practical design.

So what are the little things that I can do that will make other people’s lives simpler? How can I add in the one email of instructions that helps everyone on the team to know what is coming? How can I label the cords so we don’t have to struggle to remember which one goes where? How can I cause delight somewhere down the chain?

We’re looking for lifehacks that enhance our own productivity. I want to find the things I can do to help other people’s productivity…like the fan designer.

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3 responses to “really little things

  1. Pingback: Really Little Things - lifehack.org

  2. Classic “Stumbling On Happiness.” Our brains quickly adjust to big events, but the little things slip past our “emotional immune system.” That’s why a lot of little pleasant surprises has a greater impact on happiness than a single big surprise. Alas, that’s also why a lot of little annoyances can ruin even Kevin Federline’s day.

  3. Pingback: not the popular one « Levite Chronicles