“Why can’t I ever keep track of my keys?”
“Will we ever be on time?”
“Just once, I’d love to have a morning that’s not total chaos.”
Clues. Little (or big) signals shouting about parts of your life aren’t working. When you find yourself in a pattern, pay attention.
Routines highlight your hurrahs and expose your flaws. When your morning is rushed Every. Single. Day.... analyze it. What parts of your morning preparation can be changed or completed the night before? Which part of the morning is making you craziest and why? Something as simple as getting up 10 minutes earlier might be the key for you to feel more successful and peaceful. Look for the clues that expose where the problem lies.
Most of organizing and consulting is about being a superb detective. Recognizing patterns and habits is the first step. Repetitive activities are the perfect opportunity for simplification.
Anything you do over and over can be systematized to relieve re-inventing the wheel day after day. For example, I realized I wrote every email from scratch when a potential customer contacted me. Why not create a basic template that answers all their questions instead of typing them? (Every. Single. Time.)
I never used our fabulous Kitchen-Aid mixer because it required 20 steps of moving things out of the way to get it out of the cabinet, finding all the parts and pieces, then putting it all back. Now, we have the parts in its bowl and it sits directly below the space on the countertop where we use it. One step. Simplified.
Simplifying provides you with the luxury of more time, energy, and emotional investment where it’s truly needed. Giving your kids reassurance, time to talk, and an extra hug before they go out the door is much more beneficial than frantically searching for keys or stopping at the store for granola bars because you couldn’t find the ones you just bought yesterday, making everyone late.
Every day, kids come home from school. Every day, papers walk in the door with the book bags. Every day, breakfast gets eaten. Create simple systems that work for you like a "landing strip" for the backpack unloading, hooks where the backpack live, a small desktop vertical file for the school papers as they get unloaded -- simple steps that make the process smooth.
Become the house super sleuth and pay attention to the patterns and routines -- look for redundant steps that can be removed to simplify your processes and habits. When your simplified systems work for you, you complete the task and have more time for the people!