Don’t Underestimate the Ripple Effect of Small Changes

Throw a pebble into a still lake, and you’ll see something amazing. The tiny pebble strikes the water with little impact, but still creates a cascade of change on the lake’s surface. Small change, but the ripples last much longer than the impact. 

This one example explains why the dumbest-sounding changes can make a big difference. And I’ve certainly lived it.

One push-up a day changed my life.

50 words of writing per day changed my life.

Having Problems? Follow the Ripples and Find the Solution

I had noticed a decrease in productivity recently. I chalked it up to getting cats and the obvious distractions that come with that. But it was really the ripple effect of having cats that caused the problem.

Some rooms of the house are closed off because of unsafe conditions for cats. One of those rooms? My office.

I would allow the cats in while I was there, but it was easier to use my laptop in the living room (where the TV is). There I could watch the cats and be around them without worrying about cords and leaving the room unattended. The best way to work was to lock the cats out of the room, but I am a cat-aholic. Fur addiction. Whatever you want to call it, I was never going to do that! Anytime I went into the office, I felt too far away from all the caction (cat action). Sorry, I heard cat puns were in style this year.

Despite previously designating that room as “the perfect office space,” I moved my desk to the open area near the kitchen (cat headquarters).

Now I can work in a less distracted way (no TV temptation, bigger work screen) while still hanging out with (and keeping an eye on) the fur biscuits. And I’ve set it up to protect the cats from getting into places they shouldn’t (if I’m not there).

This one small change has skyrocketed my ability and desire to work!

Small Changes Work Both Ways

My productivity struggles were brought about by a small change in behavior preference to be in the main living area (due to the presence of meowskis). The fix was the small change to move my desk there. Now I actually use my desktop the way I should!

Okay, I admit there are still some distractions involved with this move…

When you’re frustrated with an aspect of your life, your mind will probably jump to big, sweeping changes you could make to improve it. But I encourage you to look at small changes instead. They are easier to make, more likely to stick, and have a large ripple effect that can bring about the bigger change you hope for.

Also look out for one-time small changes. I only had to move my desk once, and now I can enjoy the benefits for a long time.

A few small change ideas…

  • Lay your gym clothes out the day before (to work out more)
  • Set up your water bottle next to the place you get water (to drink more water)
  • Automate Alexa or another assistant to remind you to do things
  • Move furniture/desks/etc
  • Create a cozy reading spot (to read more)
  • Hide your junk food and make healthy food readily accessible (to eat better)
  • Get a habit star for your morning routine (to make it more official and enticing to complete)
  • Choose a designated workout song that increases your energy and gets you in the mood and ask Alexa/Siri/Google to play it when the time is right!

It’s not about the initial impact, it’s about the ripple effect!

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