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Progress is but a tiny step

Want to use your dead time for something other than doomscrolling? Think like this.

The power of small steps.

And I'm not talking about tiptoeing.

I'm talking about tiny, imperceptible motions forward that add up to progress.

Like Beau Miles, who ran one mile each hour for 24 hours. A slow marathon, while "the rest of the time [I] do as much as possible; making things, odd jobs, fixing stuff. It's about running, doing, and thinking."

Sounds crazy. (But if you didn't know, that's exactly my kind of crazy. Just wait until you hear about my June race in a couple weeks.)

It's easy to disregard these small steps. Especially when it feels insignificant, like a 5-minute break.

Thomas Edison said, “everything comes to him who hustles while he waits.” So many times it's easy to take a 5-minute break. We deserve breaks after all.

But you can take advantage of that "dead time" to do something small. Something positive to take a small step.

Just think.

Five minutes a day by the end of the year adds up to more than 30 hours spent working on yourself or helping others. Thirty minutes a day adds up to over one week of the year.

Do that workout. Send the card. Say ‘Good Job.’ Learn the language. Take those steps. There's no shortage of resources. For me, I sometimes tweak or write for Circle Three. It's changed a lot over twenty newsletters!

This simple, repeated action doesn't feel like any progress is made, though. It's repetitive and can become grueling. Like Beau running a 1-mile-per-hour marathon, it's made of small increments that add up over time. Whether it's a marathon, laying bricks, or job applications, the process is mentally and physically draining.

Finally you cross the finish line and take a look back. They weren't necessarily fast, and maybe didn't feel like progress was being made. But you can point and say “I did that.”

I’m always surprised when I look at my Apple Watch data to see my exercise totals. I spent almost three full days doing physical activity last month, clocking 61 hours and 28 minutes. But spending time each day skiing, stretching, walking, or training certainly adds up quickly. It's good for the brain, good for the body, and a great way to explore.

Maybe the most rewarding part of the process is to look back, reflect, and acknowledge the progress and accomplishments that have sprung up from the process. Beautiful things can come out of the “dead time” in our days.

Beautiful things can come out of a few small steps.


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