Examples of 20 Second Choices that Lead to More Peace and Ease
I used to find habits hard to form. There were many that I wanted to form: reading for half an hour a day, having a morning routine, actually keeping a gratitude log and monitoring my growth as a writer.
Towards the beginning of the month it was easier, as it felt like a new start. However, that enthusiasm quickly wore off and I was back in a slump again, not achieving my goal.
What changed it around for me was the act of 20 second habits and habit stacking. For each new habit, I found one or two ways to make the process easier and less time consuming. These choices allowed me to get into the flow quicker and to get the habit to become almost routine.
A few examples:
- When I wanted to start writing on a more consistent basis-
I put the laptop on the living room table. I usually sleep on the couch which makes the laptop about level with my eyes. It’s the first thing that I see each morning, which makes it easy to just grab it and start pounding keys
2. When wanting to start a morning routine-
I put all of the supplies I wanted to use for the routine together by the couch. I had my jornal, my daily reading, and a timer that allowed me to guide myself through the morning routine without needing to make any stops or starts.
3. When I decided that it was important to start reading at least 30 minutes a day-
I downloaded Libby- an app that will allow me to borrow books from my local library onto my phone. From there I was able to choose any of the books from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh- especially audiobooks- which I spend over a half hour listening to while I commute.
By doing all of the above actions, I made the process easier on myself. I didn’t have to think too much or exert too much energy to obtain what I needed. I saved time by having everything I needed within easy access. It set me up for success in a way that sheer willpower would not have.
A few other ideas for 20 second hacks?
trying to do yoga or exercise? Keep the mat by the front door or entryway to the room you intend to use. Being able to grab it quickly and use it immediately can make a big difference.
wanting to start a gratitude journal? Put this journal somewhere you can’t avoid it. It will be both a reminder to do the list and be readily accessible
wanting to budget better? Install an app on the phone which will allow you to see every penny that you’re spending. I personally like to use one that allows you to use the envelope method. You’ll be able to see what you’re spending and what you have left right away.
All of these ideas stress setting up a simple system that will allow you to access your materials within 20 seconds instead of trying to find everything you need.
Often times when something seems unnecessarily difficult, we give up as just beginning can drain our energy and resources. By setting yourself up for success, you can ensure that same energy goes towards accomplishing the task.
No matter what habit you want to form, there is an easier way to get into the groove than spending too much time looking for resources. Think of the simplier ways that your new habit can be accomplished.
Then put the energy you saved into working on the habit. Instead of searching for a notebook for five minutes, write what you need to write for those five minutes. Doing exercise can be quicker if you’re ready to go and get it in.
The energy that you save will bring both peace and ease. It’s getting past the initial stages and into the activity that will bring the results you want to see.
Productivity always increases when using simple systems. It means more time spent on activity which will get you further both today and in the long term.
Think of a few simple systems you can begin to use for the habits and routines that are most important to you. Implement them and watch as your peace level and productivity both increase.
I came across the idea of 20 second routines from the book “The Happiness Advantage” by Shawn Achor. This idea has changed my life by giving me time back and allowing me to feel more ease and peace getting into a routine, and therefore has made me more productive as a result.