Did you lose your keys again?

keysAs I continue my quest to regain some semblance of control of my life, I am realizing that habits play a huge part in the process. And I’m not even talking necessarily about “good” or “bad” habits like smoking, biting your nails or controlling your eating.

I’m thinking in terms of just some of the little things we do every day that simplify life. For instance, I have a spot where I put my keys. I have learned from having lost/misplaced them too many times, that it’s important to put them in their place when I walk in the apartment, and then there’s no drama when I get ready to leave – after all, this needs to be a “drama-free zone” as much as possible!

Another habit I am cultivating is to put things on my calendar. The calendar is my go-to place for commitments, complete with the reminder chime, so I am learning that even things like “laundry” need to go on the calendar if I need to remember to wash clothes on a day other than the regular day. Sure beats getting up and not having clean running clothes because I forgot to wash the night before!

Some habits may need to change rather than just be added. I’m rethinking the value of checking email first thing at work because sometimes I get sucked into someone else’s emergency, and it may be hours before I settle in for what I intended to get done that day. If I start early and set aside an hour of good focused project work, then I can be swept into the issues of email afterwards. But I will have accomplished some good things already.

I am starting at ground level here, because issues with the most basic of routines and issues can disrupt all sorts of grand plans. I can schedule all sorts of productive work, but if I end up wasting precious time surfing online or if I’m late because I couldn’t find my keys, then I’m sunk.

As I review my current habits and look at ways to improve, here are some things worth considering:

What eats up unnecessary time?

  • Social Media: For me, social media can waste hours a day, so I’m going to set a timer when I go online.
  • Email: What do you do when your phone or computer chirps that a new email is there? Go read it, of course, and interrupt what you’re working on. I’m going to consider turning off email alerts, so that I won’t be constantly pulled away from what I’m focused on.

What causes extra work or time wasted?

  • Misplaced items: Hunting for misplaced keys because you didn’t put them in their proper place is infuriating. Putting things in their place makes life easier.

Where can you streamline?

  • Online: I’m going to start keeping a running list of things that need to be done when I’m online, so when I go online with a few extra minutes, I know what to do.
  • Meals: Plan meals that will have leftovers for lunch the next day. Or prepare parts of lunch while you cook supper (last night as I waited on supper to cook, I made pasta for lunch today).

How can you eliminate extra decisions?

  • Planning: If I plan my meals on the weekend, I will save that nightly decision of what to have for lunch and supper – plus the added bonus of having all the ingredients if I plan before the trip to the grocery store
  • Blog calendar: By spending some time brainstorming on a weekend, I can plan out topics for my blog for the next week (or more) and spend the time each morning just writing.

Training myself to do some simple things differently should streamline my life. I’ve started keeping a running grocery list through the week, so when I notice I am low on something, I can go ahead and add it. Saves the extra trip to the store later because I didn’t remember that the day I quickly put a list together.

What simple habits can you cultivate that will streamline your life?