I cut my finger chopping potatoes. Now I am having trouble completing normal tasks like drinking coffee left-handed. It’s an illuminating experience to see which activities I do without thinking (but now have to think about).

I guess most of these things I have learned to a level that I don’t need to think about them any more. Now that I have to think about them I have the first opportunity in a long time to reconsider how I do things.

Take drinking coffee for example. I believe that I probably learned to hold the cup left-handed so that I could multitask–coffee in one hand, book or phone in the other.

Is that how I want to drink coffee? As part of something else? It might be; I like the way coffee goes with other things. But perhaps I would enjoy it more if I just sat and drank it: right-handed coffee.

The point isn’t actually how to enjoy coffee. This simply has me wondering, how many other everyday decisions that I make are invisible to me because I have turned them into unthinking habit? How many activities do I do because I’ve practiced them? Probably many–most?

  • Toothbrushing: habit.
  • Typing: habit.
  • Spreading peanut butter: habit.

While it is inconvenient to reconsider habits, this is a great opportunity to think about whether there is a better way to do something.

I’m reminded of learning to type in the Dvorak keyboard layout back in college. It was very inconvenient to lose my touch typing ability, but after sticking with it I have been thrilled to be typing in Dvorak. It’s faster, smoother, and easier with fewer typos (or at least it is when I can use all of my fingers).

I wonder which other habits are worth reconsidering; is there a way to even notice habits without losing the ability to perform them?

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