Monday, April 25, 2011

10 tips for being organised ~ Tip #6

Tip #6
Changing Habits

This is the foundation of organisation - if you won't change your habits, you won't beat disorganisation!
and I say 'won't change', not 'can't change' because 99 x of 100 it's a choice.. maybe even 100/100?

Having said that, change can be difficult. (*still a choice though* she whispers)

When it comes down to it, it is a choice. Make wise choices to change habits, and it doesn't have to be as hard as we can make it for ourselves.

1. Don't change everything at once. Write down what you want to be doing differently in order to become more organised and pick a couple to work on for a month, then add a couple more and focus on them for another month and so on.

2. Little things do count and they do add up. So take them seriously.
I spend a lot of time washing dishes here, probably 4-5 loads a day. I spent months losing the plug - not in a big way, but my habit was to put it on the left side, where the dirty dishes get stacked. It would get lost amongst the dirty dishes in a short space of time, so every time I was starting a new load I was lifting things and moving them around to find the plug. Probably only 30 seconds, but still... that's 2 minutes a day, 14 minutes a week, and MORE THAN 12 hours a year looking for a PLUG!! I spent a few moments (while washing dishes) thinking of how to solve the issue and those moments have gained me 12 hours a year that can be better used elsewhere... for conquering other organisation issues, which will in turn save me weeks every year... which means I will be able to finally get around to those things I was convinced I'd never have time for! Gotta love that!
So now, I simply place the plug on the right hand side, between the dish drainer and the edge of the sink. Every now and then I forget but because I deliberately chose to think it through, I am quickly reminded and the next few weeks I am error free as the plug gets placed in it's 'can't get lost' place, once again.

3. Visual Reminders are great for changing habits. The key thing I found with trying to change habits is that the old habit that is not working for me is sooo heavily ingrained that I actually FORGET about the new habit I am wanting to swap it with!
A few 'system cards' on the corner of the bench has solved that for me. Anything will do, scraps of paper, sticky notes - whatever... it just has to be a short reminder of what you want to be doing, in a place you will see it often.
Let's say you're wanting to implement some of the tips from #5 Maximise Your Energy.
Take some cards or sticky notes or whatever you're using, choose the ones you want to work on first and write them on separate cards.
At the moment I'm working on drinking more water and also avoiding sugar so my 2 cards read
-Drink a glass of water, and
-Eat natural, avoid added sugar. Followed by a few easy healthy snacks that can be grabbed almost as thoughtlessly... carrot, low sugar yoghurt, crispy nuts, apple etc
Make your cards more of an instruction, not a 'nice idea'. 'Drink A Glass of Water' will have more impact than 'Drink More Water'.
Use this for other organising habits too.
Trying to keep a surface clean and decluttered - leave a sticky note saying 'Put It Away!!' is a great reminder.

4. Set Alarms. Pretty much every person has a mobile and every mobile has an alarm that you can 'label' as being for a specific purpose. Use it for changing habits!
I found us to be starting 'bookwork' at random times, and usually after when I'd like to have been starting each day. So now I have an alarm set that goes at 8.40am as a reminder for 'fruit snack and bookwork', which means we're at the books by 9am... and we can now be done by around 11am. Knowing that alarm is going to go off, also means we're better at getting the house up and going for the day. Most times it rings now, we have everything done that needs doing by this point in the day... cooked breakfast eaten, dishes done, beds made, load of washing on, bathroom wiped over, floors swept/vacuumed as needed, dinner under way and so on. Before the alarm, these basic tasks could drag on for an extra 2 hours... now add up those extra 2 unnecessary hours even just 2 days a week and that simple alarm is saving me more than 200 hours each year! And we're looking a whole lot better at 9am than before the alarm - loving it!

It may not be the things I've mentioned that you're wanting to change. So what? Pick what it is you want to change and just APPLY THE PRINCIPLE - no excuses!



  1. Some really good tips here Mrs B!
    I found though that I got used to seeing my sticky note and therefore not do what it was supposed to remind me of but look at it as just another sticy note lol! Does that ever happen to you or do you just change them around often to avoid that?

  2. Thanks for the tips. I am going to try that morning alarm idea. I already have one set in my phone for 4pm to do our afternoon list. I have written about my routine bubbles on my blog. It isn't always easy to keep them flowing though.

    How do you deal with side tracks? Phone calls, or baby moments? Or that particularly messy spot you hadn't seen yet caught your eye this morning and really needs attention?

    Best wishes

  3. @ Joyfulmum - I like to change what I use (self confessed stationery junkie here - so I have lots of options) AND change the writing or what the note is written with AND of course - work on goals for only a short time, so the content of the note is different. Doesn't always work but gives me a greater chance of 'winning' :-)

    @ Jen (Welcome!)How funny is that... I need an afternoon alarm but it was yet to cross my mind till you've now mentioned it (how blind can we be!!)

    Phone calls - I rarely rarely answer the phone. Because of this, next to no one I'd want to talk to rings me. 9/10 times it's 'business' calls coming in. Happy for the answering machine to take those. Friends and family have learned to text, FB or email me... and I reply when *I choose* to make the time.
    Baby moments... mama is boss here and older kids are great helpers. At the moment, my youngest is about to turn 3 but we have a new baby due this week... so that will put me to the test once again. My older 2 can change nappies, clean up gross things, change sheets and do 'room rescues' as needed... tis all in the training. My almost 3yo is a great helper and finishes each job with 'what next mum?' so the training is already rubbing off on him.
    Anything that only I can tend to, gets added to my lists and I make time for it in the next couple of days, noting it in the diary. If I don't make a note, it doesn't get done - I am waaay too forgetful!