You know those times when things are harder than they should be, or more difficult than you’d like? Pay attention to them. Because in some cases we can get stuck enduring unnecessary pain because we don’t take time to slow down and figure out how to reduce the friction.
Maybe your systems—personal or organizational—are too complicated, and as a result they don’t actually get used. Theoretically, you may have the best systems in the world, but if the friction associated with using them keeps you from doing so, what good are they?
Or maybe you’re trying to establish better habits, but are allowing unneccessary friction to get in the way. Maybe you’ve decided to eat differently, but whenever you’re hungry, there’s nothing healthy around, and so you wind up eating whatever you can find. In cases like these, removing temptations can be valuable, but it’s also important to have options in place that make doing the ‘right’ thing more convenient than the alternative. For instance, it’s one thing to remove all junk food from the house. It’s another to also prep some healthy snacks or meals ahead of time that can quickly be used in the hour of need.
Or you may experience unnecessary friction due to the expectations you’re setting for yourself. Aiming too high too soon can sometimes get in the way of getting started. You may even get so overwhelmed by what you’ve committed to do that you end up not doing anything. In these cases, it’d be better to start with something so easy you’d have no excuse to not get started, than to aim too high and not move. For instance, instead of committing to working out for an hour a day, how about starting with a daily five-minute walk? Instead of trying to read a fews chapters a day, how about starting with a couple pages? Instead of changing your entire diet all at once, how about starting with an extra daily fruit or veggie?
Yes, these are quite low targets. And that’s the point. They’re so doable, you won’t feel unnecessary friction in getting started. And in time, these little habits can grow. But at the beginning, it’s most important to figure out ways to get started and stick with them.
Not all friction can be removed, and not all pain points can be alleviated. But some can, and some are within our control. And in those cases, it’s well worth the time and energy it takes to take care of them. So, where are you currently experiencing friction? And what can you do to reduce it?