Last week, we switched out the showerhead in one of our bathrooms. We have hard water, and over the past few years, little by little, the flow of the showerhead has slowly grown worse. Now, there was no specific moment where the pressure suddenly dropped. It was a gradual process over several years. But finally, it reached a point where it was unmistakable.

We decided to try replacing the showerhead to see what kind of impact that would have. And wow, what a difference it made—so much so that I’m still shocked by the difference every time I turn on the shower. I knew the pressure had gotten worse over time. I realized that some mineral deposits were probably affecting the flow. I just didn’t realize to what degree.

It’s like most things in life. Little choices and actions accumulate over time. They may not seem like much in the moment. But in the aggregate, their impact can’t be denied. In a relationship, a few cross words here and there may seem insignificant. But over time, they can lead to significant distance in the relationship. When writing software, cutting a corner here or there may not seem like a big deal when viewed in isolation. But eventually, these choices grow into a mountain of technical debt no one wants to deal with.

Whether it’s your health, your relationships, or your work, the little things of today matter. They may not seem like a big deal in themselves. But little by little they can become a big deal if given enough time.