Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Don't let go until it's done

As a corollary to yesterday's post, I'll follow up with the second half of the equation, not letting something go until I have "finished" it. By this I mean putting it in its place. To compensate for a forgetful streak I developed a habit of putting things in specific places. For example, my car keys will only ever be in one of three places when not being used, the door, the dining room sideboard, or my messenger bag. Thanks to this, I rarely misplace my keys.

With other things, mail, notes, magazines, found objects, and any number of other items I wasn't having much success until I decided to cultivate a new habit - touching these things as seldom as possible by putting them away - filing, stowing, or chucking as soon as I have laid my hands on them. I used to have tons of unfiled mail which I let stack up under the auspices of "not having enough time," and which I could never find when I needed. And then there was the mammoth project that lay ahead once I did get around to it.

Now I make sure that once it hits my hands it doesn't leave until it is put away. If I grab a screwdriver to fix a door knob, I make sure I put it back. If it's mail, I make sure to open it, look at it, take out the junk - I mean solicitations - and put it where it belongs. This could be the to read, to pay, or to recycle files at my desk. My folks never explained why I need to put my toys back when I was done, but I see now that it really does make things easier, if not more peaceful!

What tricks do you use for keeping order?

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