I recently bought my 6-year-old daughter day of the week socks. When I wrote a post on my personal blog about the system she spent an hour making to store them in a labeled shoe box, I loved the education I got in the comments.
We spend a lot of time dreaming up systems to make our lives more organized and better. And then we have to form the habits to use them so that we don’t have to pointlessly overthink everything. As Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act but a habit.”
Here are some of the lessons I gleaned from the comments on the post:
- Only touch it once: We can increase our efficiency by making decisions and taking action on things when we have them in hand. This applies to both physical and digital assets – putting away our coats when we walk in the door and filing/acting on our emails the first time we read them.
- Eye level is buy level: Our systems are most effective when they are visible and seen. So even if they are obstacles to our progress, we will use them if they are front and center. And if they are pretty or attractive solutions, we might be motivated by the aesthetics to continue.
- Habits are harder to form if we live with others: Psychologist Wendy Wood studies the formation of habits and found that people that live with others have fewer habits because of the disruption, especially caused by children.
- We can do well in one area and still ignore another: We may be organized at work and have chaos at home. Habits change when our context changes so it’s not whether or not we are self-disciplined people or not, just that we need to establish the habits we want for every context.
- Systems are foundational: Author James Clear has a great tag line – “We don’t rise to the level of our goals, we fall to the level of our systems.”
Now that my daughter has the sock system, I just needed to find one for the school backpack and coat. I hung a rack not six feet from the front door and am hopeful it’s a system that will stick!
What are your habit forming tips and tricks?
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(featured photo from Pexels)