dishes hooks losing lost organization trays

If you're like most of us, there's an object in your life that you repeatedly lose: Keys, phone, your favorite pen, sunglasses and other important items can be frustrating to track down.  The key (no pun intended) is to create "environmental cues".

THE PSYCHOLOGY: There's two important things about the brain we can leverage here: It feels rewarded by visually-pleasing things,  and it looks to its environment for cues about what to do next.  So, beautiful "cues" (a hook, a little box) increase the likelihood that your brain will want to put things in a consistent place, making those things always easy to find. Here's how: 

Identify the top 3 objects you use everyday (wallet,phone, keys, backpack?)

Identify the place where your brain prefers to place each item when you get home. Hint: Don’t fight your brain, if you rarely hang your bag in a closet, don’t choose the closet.


Mark that spot as its “home” with an object or "cue" that is visually pleasing to you: Examples: For a bag, hang a lovely hook; For keys, place a small beautiful dish.  Make sure these cues are easy to see as soon as you enter the room. If your key tray is hidden under a pile of mail, this trick won't work.  Tip: Come by our Pop-Up on August 27th to choose from a variety of beautiful trays, dishes, hooks and other organizational supplies.  

Next time you come home, make a conscious effort to place that item in its new home: Put your keys in their new tray, your bag on its assigned hook, etc.  Important: It will usually take three to six repetitions for your brain to get the hang of this new habit, so don't give up too early.  

Adjust as needed: You might find you need more than one dish (perhaps two sizes in matching colors) to really stick with the habit (one for keys, one for your wallet) or you may need to try a few different "homes" (some people have a tray for their phone in their bedroom and another one in their kitchen).  

Wondering how to build on this habit, or having a hard time sticking with it? Sign up for one of the four one-on-one coaching sessions we'll be offering at the Pop Up -- get individualized support from an expert in 20 quick minutes!

Share with us here: How do you keep track of your valuables, at home and out and about?

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