The Path Of Least Resistance

I had a random epiphany recently.  It started when I woke up feeling rather manic and hyperactive.  During the hour my partner was away at an appointment, I got my usual chores done… then about 20 other things.  (It was a really good day!) 

One of the things I managed to do was organise my bedside cabinet.  I was just wrapping up my headphones and popping them in their zippered case, to go in the top drawer when I realised, that was dumb!  Let me explain….

the path of least resistance |

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The Dilemma & Solution

Okay, maybe “dilemma” is a bit extreme, but anyway… I use my headphones almost every night.  (I’m one of those weirdos who can put a Netflix show on my phone, pop in my headphones and be asleep in about 10mins) 

So why was I packing my headphones away inside a case, inside a drawer that I’d have to root in later on?  By storing my headphones neatly away, I was adding all these extra steps to my night routine and I almost always head to bed tired and brain-foggy.

So I simplifed the system.  I found a little pottery pot and sat it on top of my beside cabinet, and just wrapped up the headphones and plopped them in there.  No case, no lid, nothing to get in the way for when I needed them.

As epiphanies go, it might not have been massive but it did make me realise that I do a lot of things out of habit, rather than out of function.  It made sense to put the headphones in their storage case, and then put that case neatly in the drawer (which, let’s be honest, never stays neat for long!)

We all treat things differently and we all work differently.  I, personally, need to see things, I like clear and/or labelled boxes in my room.  If I put too many things in cupboards or boxes without labels, they will probably never see the light of day and I’ll forget their entire existence!

So, I try and choose the path of least resistence, and use clear boxes on shelves that I can see inside instantly.  I now put my headphones in an open top container for a quick snatch and go.

What About With Our Writing?

So, having that realisation about my need to make things work better for me.  I started thinking about how writers can use The Path of Least Resistance too.  How we need to make things as easy as possible because our brains will always seek out that least reisistant path.

Think about it, cooking a good healthy meal can take time.  Grabbing a pot noodle and bunging in some hot water, takes minutes.  Ordering takeaway online, minutes!  Now I’m not saying we all do this, but we can have moments of it.  Especially after a hard day, a busy week, a rough month. 

We are naturally drawn to doing things that take the least amount of effort.  It’s why people invented convenience foods, robotic vacuums, dishwashers etc.

So with this in mind, if you have to do specific set of things just so you can sit and write… it might be causing you issues.

For example:

  • Are there clothes piled on your desk chair?
  • Do you need to get out your laptop and set it up?
  • Does your desk have other items like homework or house papers covering it that need to be moved before you start?
  • Are all your notes and files hidden away in cupboards or stacked under other things?

So what you need to do is identify your path of least resistance.  Is it creating a condusive workspace? When I set up my writing space originally, I made sure I had things that were always to hand. 

Think about whatever you can do to reduce as much friction as possible in order to write.  One of my changes was to keep my pendrives out. 

Much of my writing is stored on pendrives and I used to pack them into little boxes and put them away in drawers every day.  They are now always out and always plugged into my USB hub so I have access to them instantly.  If I want to unplug them to remove my laptop, I just unplug the USB hub and leave it on my desk.

A Life In Chaos

For the last few years, my life has been full of friction.  Since we relocated to Northern Ireland in 2017, I’ve worked in a tiny attic, moved house, then spent most of the time sorting said house, emptying and refilling different rooms to allow workmen to work, packed up and stored my office off-site, brought it all back again, etc.

There is just one area of our house that has been completed (the bedroom), while the rest is in stages of progress that make everything stressful. Even just getting into the bathroom for a shower is hard due to the amount of boxes in our hall following work being done upstairs.

It makes doing anything painful and our brains love to go “fuck it! let’s go watch TV, that’s easy!”

So the last thing I want is to continue making things more difficult.  I want to follow those Paths of Least Resistance, but only so far as the paths that help me work – NOT the paths that lead me to watching too much TV!


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So what areas in your life create friction?

Happy writing

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6 thoughts on “The Path Of Least Resistance

  1. I am a fanatic about organizing things. Purging and straightening a junk drawer brings me peace and serenity. It’s almost a meditation like experience. I’m not OCD, mind you, just like things orderly. HOWEVER, I spend a great deal of time sorting and filing little notes of paper. Perhaps keeping notes to myself, etc in a notebook would help. Hmmmmm. Thoughts?

    1. There is something so enjoyable about taking a messy cluttered space, emptying it, organising it and putting it back neatly.

      I fear I’ve lost that talent recently and am trying to get it back. lol

      Urgh notes of paper are such a pain – my desk is forever covered in post-its as I jot down something useful to remember.

      I have tried putting them into a single notebook, but then the damn thing always gets moved or misplaced so out so out come the post-its again.

      What I have done is use the digital post-its and transfer all the little paper notes to the digital post-its with a note in my calendar to check them every 3 days. I also colour coded them for different things – black for business, purple for personal, yellow for social media and newsletters etc.

      Would digital post-its help you do you think?

  2. I’m an out of sight, out of mind person too. So I keep the jewellery I want to wear out in a bowl by my bed. Of course, that is all I wear, even though I have a drawer full of lovely jewellery. So every now and then I exchange it. My notes, papers etc that I am using for my current WIP are on my desk so I don’t have to look for them. It looks messy but, who cares at this stage. Not sure I could handle a renovation. Great tips.

    1. Oh I completely understand this. I have several jewellery pieces in a large trinket box. Never wear them, instead I wear my silver dinosaur rings (yes, I am serious), my pendant and…that’s it! Everything else is just stored.

      I need to get my desk back in order and do what you do, get the writing notes onto the desk for easy access.

      Seriously, renovations (especially ones that are taking over a year) are so stressful. I just want it all done! And everything organised and in its place! 😀

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