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Life: it’s all in the Details

By • Apr 30th, 2008 • Category: Habits, Lead Article, Productivity

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The saying, “God is in the details,” is often attributed to the architect Le Corbusier. Other creative souls also use it when speaking about the intricacies of their work. On the flip side, some say, “The devil is in the details” to imply that the details might cause or result in failure or some other negative outcome. Then there is the school of thought, “love is in the details.” However we look at it, it’s the details, the little things, the extras, that make the commonplace, special.   
You know what a big difference it makes to our spouses, parents, children or friends, when we do just one small special thing for them? Details can change moods and attitudes, put smiles on faces and lighten burdens. When we take time to add details in our own daily routines, we enhance the quality of our life and make each day at home and at work special.
But how often do we do the little things that count to our own benefit? When last did we add one thing extra to put a little sunshine in our day, make our jobs easier or lighten the burdens we bear? Little things count for us too. We should take the initiative and add some details to the simplest task or the normal everyday run of household chores or workplace duties. Even the unconscious natural human life habits such as sleeping, waking, dressing and eating for instance can be meaningful. We need only to give the process significance by infusing it with some carefully thought-out details. 

Here are some suggestions.


Details at home.

Housekeeping can be a thankless job. When you have children and must also juggle a fulltime job outside the home, well, you could be talking about overtime work with no overtime pay. It is an endless round of the same set of almost daily chores. And you can quickly find yourself moving through them like a robot.
Meal preparation is one area where you can add simple details to make it less of a chore and more of a pleasure. Clean the kitchen and assemble the ingredients and utensils. Half of the problem with cooking is our tendency to want to rush through it. Get a handle on that tendency by taking a shower first. Pour yourself a refreshing drink and keep a nutritious snack nearby to nibble on while you cook. Slip in your favorite CD, put on an apron for a change and start cooking.
I’ve found that when I approach cooking like they do on the Food Network, it is enjoyable and I can actually smile through the process. For instance, no more walking back and forth, I assemble everything I need before hand. Sometimes, I even talk my way through the preparation. And, if you hear, "Bam!" or "Oh yeah babe! " that’s me imitating Emeril Lagasse. 


Details at work.

Just thinking about having to get up long before the crack of dawn is enough to make you bury your head in the pillow and wish for the night to last a few days. But since it will never happen, you might as well get up and go. Just be sure to add some special personal details to your day to keep frustration and overwhelm at bay.
These details were some of my favorite and really helped to keep me focused on my dreams. Try to reach the office at least half an hour before opening hours to have some time alone for breakfast or to sit awhile, just you, God and a cup of coffee perhaps. Make sure there are clear reminders on your desk of the people you cherish and the goals you aspire to achieve some day. Such details help set you up right for the day ahead and to smoothen out the usual kinks that always crop up.


Details for yourself.

Adding and tending to details in our personal routines raises our awareness of how much little things matter in the midst of the big picture of life. It doesn’t take a lot of money or a great deal of time, so why not start today.
After a hectic day, you’re almost always wiped out by bedtime. Nevertheless, this part of your daily cycle can be more relaxing when filled with little details. Don’t settle for dropping into bed like a battered log when you just can’t do any more.  Schedule a set time to sleep, give or take 30 minutes or so. Then, before you throw your tired bones on the bed, engage in a little personal night-time details. Even if you don’t wear makeup, treat your face to the recommended cleansing regime of cleaning, toning and moisturizing. It may seem like just another “to- do” you could do without, but it is in fact, a self-care detail that says that your face is as important as the dishes that must be washed everyday. Stop wearing baggy old clothes to bed. Put on something comfortable and pretty. Fluff the pillows, light a candle, read, write. These are just a few of the details you can incorporate to make bedtime just a little more special.
Have you been rushing in a busy daze of sameness from day to day with its attendant obligations? Consider what kinds of details you can infuse in the commonplace activities in your life. After all, the best quality of life, is all in the details.

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