‘A place for everything and everything in its place.’Have you heard this insightful suggestion from your mother or a teacher? Maybe you have said it.
Benjamin Franklin is tagged as the creator of this wisdom. It means that the best way to stay organized is to create a location for everything and keep things in their spot.
For example, when you come home, you put the car keys on the key rack, inside the door. Place dirty clothes in the laundry basket. After making a purchase, you return your debit card to your wallet, on the left side, second pocket.
This practice has made me feel organized every day of my life, which is why, when I lose something, it drives me crazy. It consumes me. If something is not put back in its place and easily found when I need it, I feel irresponsible. That is not who I am, nor who I want to be.
Imagine my frustration when, recently, I could not find my workout bag. It was not hanging on a hook in the mud room, nor in the coat closet, in my vehicle or at the gym. There is nowhere else it should’ve been. This misplacement led us on a wild goose chase, looking in places it would never be and looking everywhere twice.
After dreaming about my lost bag one night, I woke up and began my search again. Finally, my determined and creative husband found it behind the couch.
How would it ever get there?
Well, I remembered the dogs getting in my way upon arriving home after my workout last weekend, so I threw it on top of the couch, which is on the way to the hook in the mud room, intending to move it to its proper location later in the day. Among the chaos, the bag must have fallen behind the couch, to be forgotten for the rest of the week.
All I could think was, “I should know better.” My brain will forget details when I don’t stick to my systems. Don’t put pressure on yourself to remember everything.
The lessons that I learned to avoid the frantic hide-and-seek game I played are:
- Have a place for everything. If you have not found a place for items like reading glasses, keys, wallet, phone, sunglasses or gym bag, find one.
- Put everything in its place right away. No exceptions.
- How much time do you spend looking for lost items? I spent what could have been three hour-long workouts looking for my gym bag. Imagine what you could do if you never had to search for lost items again.
Kathie Rotz is an executive leadership coach and speaker with Unity Consulting and the author of “You Have Superpowers” online learning program.