Select Page

Creating more ‘defaults’ in your life

I use Evernote for any ad hoc writing, notes or reminders, and their web page clipper and tagging tool is great for storing articles you want to review later. You can create custom ‘Notebooks’ in Evernote, but there’s a ‘Default’ notebook where any new note is stored if you don’t assign it to a specific notebook. It enables you to just start writing, so that you don’t get bogged down in perfect classification or tagging.

I wish my life had more ‘defaults’. I feel like I have wasted a lot of time trying to figure out the exact optimal thing to do, instead of just doing something as a ‘default’ that gets me closer to my intended result or gives me a net positive effect.

I’ve put off exercising because I don’t have access to a gym, bad weather, no training goals etc. when I really would have benefitted if my ‘default’ was just that I… Do X push ups, squats, sit ups, pull ups and 10min of yoga every day, no matter what. If I have access to a gym and whatever else I need for a ‘perfect’ workout scenario, great, otherwise just go with the default.

As I think about it now, I do have some unconscious defaults in my life that have helped me tremendously… I never drink alcohol if I’m in a bad mood. I don’t entertain internet trolls, racists or people pushing their religious beliefs. I look strangers in the eye and greet them when we’re in close proximity eg. elevators, planes, events. I never order seafood pasta. Just think about it.

We’re supposed to have great habits in order to succeed, but I’ve found that I often try to setup the ‘perfect’ habit and fail, instead of just having an easy default that gets me to net positive.

You could contemplate the perfect line to say to an attractive girl/guy and miss your chance, or you could just smile and say ‘Hi, how are you?’. You could search job sites hoping for your perfect opportunity, or you could create something of value for the 3 companies where you would love to work and send it to them every month. You could plan the perfect family holiday, or just spend 20min every day talking to your kids without any distractions.

My friends in stand up comedy have slots every week at different clubs. That’s their default. Their material isn’t always prepared, polished or proven but their default setting will ensure they still improve in the long run as performers. I have another friend who said that he avoided getting divorced by using a default of walking into the house after work, smiling when he saw his wife, pulling her closer and giving her a big kiss. This is really simple, you create your own defaults.

I just revised my goals and the parts of my life that matter to me and created some defaults in each area, some of them are laughably simple, but if that’s all I do, I’ve only gained. Why don’t you try it out and create some defaults for yourself. Good luck!