Organizing, Redesign & Staging

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

We Are Creatures of Habit

When I complained one day to a friend about how much noise my coffee bean grinder makes in the morning, she suggested that I simply grind the night before. Easy solution, simple, smart, and yet...never done. Why? Because I, like most people, am a creature of habit. Part of my morning ritual involves taking out the grinder, getting the bag of beans, scooping out beans into the grinder, etc. to make coffee. I go through the ritual almost zombie-like, although I admit there have been times I have poured creamer into the French press accidentally or scooped whole beans directly into the coffee cup instead.

Understanding that people do rely on habits is critical to organization. As a professional organizer, I know that if I make a new system too difficult or multi-stepped for the client, it will be difficult for him/her to follow through with it. Learning a new routine or maintaining a revised, organized one has a learning curve with it -- I've read it takes 21 times to do an action for it to become a habit (although doesn't 21 seem high to you?!?!).

If you are used to setting your keys or mail on the kitchen counter every day, or are used to kicking off your shoes in the entryway, then it is hard to persuade you to do another action that is more efficient/organized/orderly because of our ingrained habit. How many times have you moved something, say in the kitchen, and found yourself repeatedly still going to the old spot to get it? Most of the time we don't even think about our habits or routines. It is the thinking about them that allows us to change them.

Bottom line as it relates to organization? Be conscious about the decluttering habit or systems you use in your life, and you'll become more organized.