Small Step No. 06

There’s an oft-referenced marketing rule that, to encourage impulse purchases in consumers, desirable products should be neatly organized at eye level, preferably as an end cap. Make it eye-catching, make it obvious. Make it impossible to ignore.

And this is why I’ve stopped placing my phone on our kitchen counter.

It was eye-catching. It was obvious. It was impossible to ignore, all too easy to impulse grab. My phone now happily sits in my nightstand drawer, pinging and flashing to no one at all.

And so, a small reminder for myself, instead:

Place an open book on the kitchen counter.

I’ve been reading through Proverbs over and over and over again, and I’ve found that I’ll return to it more often throughout the day if it’s already open, already inviting — right there on the kitchen counter, right where my brain has trained itself to seek out my phone.

It’s the simplest shift that has proved to be a more useful, more productive, more wisdom-packed resting place for my eyes – and my soul.

Tell me: what small steps are you exploring these days? I’d love to hear!


p.s. These are a series of small steps that will (hopefully) provide one giant leap to greater things. Not for mankind, but for me, and perhaps for you, which will always be good enough in my book. First five are here, here, here, here and here.

  • Beautiful idea! These days, I’m taking the extra 10 minutes to include my 15-month-old daughter in feeding our animals morning and evening. Her joy and pleasure at seeing the horse and goat bring back my own. Now to keep her from eating the chicken feed instead of scattering it…

    • What a LOVELY small step!!! I’m sure it’s far more effort, but what a beautiful reward. :)

  • SUCH a good idea! Thank you. Also, what Bible is this in the picture? I love how much space there is around the text!

  • I started this recently, too! My phone used to charge on the counter and I would find myself picking it up without any reason and then…well, there went more time than I can track. One day, I placed it in my desk to charge and left a book in the kitchen (or a list of ideas or tasks) and it changed my day so much! I don’t even know what prompted it, but I plan to continue.

  • I LOVE this idea!! I have been trying to exchange my weekday time on social media (only checking instagram on the weekends) by using that time I would normally reach for my phone to read for a book to read instead. But, I love this idea of taking it a step further by placing my phone out of sight for periods of time. Thanks for the inspiration! :)

  • This is such a profound and small step in being able to disconnect; a way to bring focus to the present moment instead of falling into the sometimes mindless scrolling. I can’t wait to put it into practice and see the impact it has. Might try with my Magnolia Journal magazines, since I don’t always prioritize sitting down to read them! Thank you, Erin!

  • I do the same type of thing with my phone. I always keep it in my charging drawer in the mudroom. I have turned off the sound of all notifications or dont get most of them. I often reply to the texts I recieve the next day because first I have not seen them and second because I tend to not disrupt what I am doing in order to reply. And one reply requires another one and so you end up caught in completely useless back amd forths. I am not always good about it, sometimes I do get cauht up and when I do I feel depleted. Hence my techinque of leaving my phone in my magical charging drawer.

  • Great idea! One small I have recently taken is to delete most apps from my phone. Now if I go to look at my phone, I’m reminded to be present with the ones I am with instead of scrolling through social feeds!
    Also, I need to know what kind of Bible this is. I have been looking for one with lots of space in the margins for note-taking!

  • When my three boys were little, I’d put a Bible by the toilet. It was the only place I could be alone for a few minutes anyway,, until I felt their breath warming my ankles. “Momma, what you doing in there?” …REALLY?

  • This is brilliant. I would have never made the leap from the marketing ploy to what is working in my own life! Applying this to my own life immediately.

  • I LOVE this. Tomorrow morning the phone is stay by the bed! And to have the Bible open to Proverbs is a beautiful way of incorporating it more in my day. Thank you so much for this!

  • Yes! Leaving my Bible out for the same reasons as putting my phone out of sight and the dark chocolate sea salt caramels out of reach!!

  • I love how this one simple action can change your day’s focus. I miss the days when I wasn’t as easily reachable (distracted).

    I’d love to do this. What’s holding me back is not having my phone handy (though I could pick up the DSLR instead) and missing impromptu park meetups with friends. I’m also a recovering people-pleaser, so taking a long time to respond makes me feel badly sometimes. Did you experience similar hurdles?

    Thanks, as always, for the food for thought!

    • i can totally understand that, michelle! i’ve found that those who are closest to me know i don’t always have my phone on me, so they’re likely to stop by unannounced instead of sending a text. i can’t tell you how many times i’ve missed the “want coffee?” text from a friend only to have her show up with it anyway after it goes unanswered. ;) if you feel badly about long response times, i think it’s totally fair to just explain your relationship with your phone with the recipient. the beauty of technology is that we all have different comfort levels and priorities, and it’s ok! i’ve found that being rarely available to my phone makes me more available to the people in front of me, so more often than not, my relationships are strengthened rather than harmed. :) i hope that’s helpful!

  • This is such a smart idea, Erin! A great way to retrain habits. I’ve taken to printing out Bible verses I want to learn and clipping them to a decorative clothespin I hung on the wall in my office. This allows me to reference the current verse at any time during the day and, hopefully, eventually memorize it.

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