Question: I’m a college student and I work. I find it hard to find my important things quickly, such as phone, keys, ID cards, etc. How can I organize everything at the right place when coming home and then KNOW WHERE they are when leaving?
Answer: There are few things more panic-inducing than being in a hurry and realizing that one’s keys, cell phone or other essentials are lost. The solution is more than just putting them in a bowl by the front door (although that’s a good start). Solving the problem of perpetually lost keys involves a physical space change, behavioral change and motivational change.
Physical space change: You should have one place in which the keys, phone and ID card are always stored. This could be the aforementioned bowl by the front door, a hook on the wall, a drawer in the kitchen, etc. It doesn’t really matter what it is so long as it is convenient to you and big enough to hold everything, but not so big that things get lost in it.
Behavioral change: You can find the perfect place to store your keys, but if you don’t remember to use it, what’s the point? This is where the behavioral change comes in. You will need to create a new habit of depositing your keys, phone and ID badge there every day as soon as you walk in the door. You will need to break the habit of dropping those items on any flat surface or leaving them in your bag. It might take several weeks to develop these new habits, so be patient with yourself.
Motivational change: You might have the place to store things, you might know that you need to use that place, but if you don’t actually use it, then you may have a motivational problem. You have to make the choice to create a “home” for these items, and you have to choose to use that home. To do that, you need motivation. When you find yourself reverting to old patterns, remind yourself of the problems that occurred with your old way of doing things. Recall the benefits of going with the new way.
I hope this helps you find your keys, phone and ID card more easily now. I realize it’s kind of a long answer to a short problem, but these kinds of problems don’t have quick and easy answers. If they did, you would have figured it out by now! Good luck using your new system and best wishes for getting out the door on time more often.
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