We all have habits. Some are good and of course, some aren’t so good.

Now of course you’re thinking, “I CAN’T change my habits. I have tried.” We know it’s hard, but we’re not talking about changing your whole personality. What we mean are the habits surrounding where you put objects or tasks. We are also talking about replacing non-functional habits with functional ones.

An ineffective routine as you arrive home might be to toss your keys, coat, briefcase, mail and the groceries wherever you can find a horizontal surface. The problem with this “surface abuse” is that later, you must go back and figure out where those items are located. At this point, they may have been moved or covered by other stuff.

So to Develop Meaningful Habits around your arrival and departure spot, we suggest you pick a “home” for each of them. A) Hooks by the door for the keys B) coat in the hall closet, C) briefcase in the closet or somewhere near the door and D) mail in a basket on the kitchen counter. If you can teach yourself to put each item away in its home each day, you’ll rid yourself of the frantic searches for the keys when you’re already running late.

Photo by Cherry Ride.

By the way, if you’re often running late you can Develop Meaningful Habits around organizing your time. You may need to schedule more time for or between appointments and activities. You may need to use timers to help keep you on track.

“Broken” habits abound in the workplace. You listen to your voicemails and take notes about the names, numbers and messages. Then, you pick up the phone to return calls, taking more notes as you go. When you finish your round of calls, you don’t have time to deal with the notes so you put them aside. A few hours later, they are lost in the jumble of papers on your desk.

Two ideas to Develop Meaningful Habits: first, create a better system for taking notes. Maybe you have one Telephone Contact Form where you record the message and follow-up conversation. Second, create a home for things to go when you are interrupted. Think of it as “bookmarking” your spot. You don’t have time to enter the names, numbers and information from that page into your address book/contact list or pertinent documents on the computer now. So you’ve essentially been interrupted in this work. Therefore, this item goes on the left corner of the desk (or wherever) so you know where to look later.

Here are some more great ideas for developing meaningful habits. Or, watch the video to get some other from Janice.