One of the biggest Cold Weather challenges for me (aside from the cold, snow, chapped hands and lips, etc.) is… too many pockets.
Have you ever noticed? Too many coats, too many layers, too many pockets – these make it difficult to keep track of things like receipts or car keys or that one thing that I just had… a minute ago… in my hand… hold on, maybe it’s over here… no, not there…
Well, you get the idea.
We can wait for Spring, certainly, which will solve the too-many-pockets challenge with fewer layers and, dare I say, coat-free days, but we may still be challenged with too many places to put things and no habit or routine to help us take care of those things.
The challenge of losing things in pockets can be addressed and resolved, like so many challenges, with better habits.
Working with a new client yesterday, we talked about Routines and checklists, and a Landing and Launch Pad for getting out the door on time. Keeping track of our time and our stuff relies on Routines and habits, and setting up space in our homes and offices to nurture those routines and habits.
When you get home from your day, what’s in your pockets? An informal survey this morning (thanks, FB Friends, for playing along!) reports many of us are walking around with:
- debit card;
- car keys;
- straw wrappers;
- lip balm;
- those little dental picks;
- tissues, clean and dirty;
- loose change, ranging from 30 to 76 cents;
- dog treats;
- key card for work;
- Jewel monopoly pieces “that are probably duplicates”
- good luck penny;
- business card (cards to give out, or perhaps a card just received?);
- flash drive;
- “my precious” (thanks C!)
- “my hand” (thanks P! And standing up, yes, it’s probably in your pocket!).
To track and manage the stuff in our pockets and in our lives, we need to
- Create space to deal with the stuff;
- Create habits around dealing with the stuff;
- Encourage others around us to create space and habits for dealing with stuff; and
- Maintain the habits once we’ve created them.
First, create space to manage the stuff in your pocket. Near your entrance, have
- a garbage can (for things like straw wrappers, lint, tissues, dental picks, etc.);
- an envelope for catching receipts until you are ready to deal with them;
- a jar for loose change;
- a bowl or basket for the really important things you may need while you’re home, like your CELL PHONE or READING GLASSES;
- a bowl or basket, or the habit to put-in-your-handbag, for the things you will need again when you leave, like KEYS, WALLET, SUN GLASSES.
- For me, these all reside on my desk, right next to the back door.
Create the Habit for yourself:
- The items listed above offer a visual reminder for me when I walk in the door to empty the stuff out of my pockets. Even if I’m not ready to deal with it all, at least it is out of my pockets (ever run pens or lip balm through the laundry!?! Or cell phones?!?!).
- I take care of receipts and bookkeeping items with just a few minutes every day – it’s easier to recall details when I do this daily!
- While I wish I could be one of those people who slips on a coat not worn recently and finds a $20 bill inside, I much prefer to be one of those people who knows where her money is!
- Let me encourage you to establish this Space and this Habit near your entrance (instead of on your dresser or in the laundry room), since much of what you brought home with you will also probably leave with you.
If you live with other people, encourage them to create the space and habit for themselves, too. For example, with 4 drivers in our house, there is a specific place for car keys to live, so we can find what we need when we need them!
Once you’ve created the space and the habit, Keep Up Every Day. And if you or a family member start to lag or drift on the habit, be ready to re-commit with reminders and routines until emptying out your pockets, taking care of business and preparing for a seamless next departure becomes a natural and comfortable action to complete!
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