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The "Leave it by the Door" Trick, Ninja-Style
Matt Wood | Oct 26 2007
When we moved into a tall and narrow townhouse last summer, its advantages--more space, bigger rooms--came at the expense of having everything spread out on separate floors. Even though I'm quick to point out the bulbous calves and firmly sculpted buttocks I (further) developed from the all-day exercise of trudging up and down the stairs, I've also learned to avoid unnecessary trips.
I moved things I needed to pocket every time I left, like my wallet, keys, and cell phone, plus last-second weather-based decisions like hats and coats, to the ground floor to save me another Stairmaster session when I got halfway out the door without them. It's an adaptation of David Allen's "leave it by the door" trick, the practice of putting things like outgoing mail, important project files, the baby, etc., where you would literally trip over them on your way out so you don't forget them.
After a year of living in a house where this kind of thinking is crucial to avoiding early arthritis, it's amazing how much I've incorporated it into my daily habits. I use rechargeable batteries in my Bluetooth mouse in the office downstairs, but the recharger has to live upstairs next to my son's room, so I can swap out TMX Elmo's batteries RIGHT NOW, DADDY when he's giggled one too many times.
Last night, the mouse batteries were dying when I decided to call it a night, so I took them with me on my way upstairs to put them in the charger overnight. But I also took the mouse with me and set it on the night stand, to remind me to get the batteries on the way back down in the morning. I knew if I didn't, I'd walk all the way downstairs this morning, realize the mouse was dead, then have to go back upstairs for batteries again.
Some people would call it lazy, but I call it ninja-like economy of movement. And besides, you wouldn't believe what a turn-on it is for the wife when her husband brings a computer mouse to bed.
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