Keys. I believe they carry more importance than we realize. “I can never find my keys.” When I ask clients about what that means – usually because I hear something in their tone – I have heard these comments:
I think it’s that I don’t pay attention. Still thinking about work. So I drop everything wherever.
My pocketbook is too big and stuffed. Like my life. [True statement.]
I can never find my keys and that’s pretty typical of me. I’m always losing things.
I’m feeling older these days and maybe it’s that. I’m just not concentrating as well.
I don’t have a system. Where would I put them. How would I get myself to remember.
As we talk, it turns out it’s deeper than that
Maybe you’re the family joke, the one that’s really doesn’t feel so funny anymore. Or your friends, clients or children have commented “You’re always late!” disappointing everyone including yourself. Maybe it’s feeling the effects of aging for the first time in your life. The stuffed pocketbook? Just like her life; many roles to play, not enough interest or purpose in what she was doing; “stuff” filling her days, but not things that felt important enough to this woman.
Get the keys under control and it’s a small step -but a first one – to believing in yourself that you can be on time again; you can find important things; you can depending yourself and be dependable; and you can do things to assist your memory or aging. As for others in your life, you may need to point out your success when you have a track record, but some will notice, too. Keep track of how many days you knew exactly where your keys were…. and here’s how to begin.
If you’re not paying attention as you arrive home
Create a spot near to where you walk in and out of the house door and put all your important things there. Pocketbook, wallet, keys, phone with charger, gym bag, laptop. A temporary “landing” and “launching” spot. A home for these things.
When at night, you need your phone or need to wash the gym clothes, leave the charger and the gym bag at the landing spot [beckoning the return of the things they belong to]. Do the laundry or use your phone and with all those important things now in the same spot, chances are very good you’ll remember to return the clothes and the phone to their “home.”
If you need to enlist support from others in your house, ask them to remind you [a few times only] to return the things to their new home.
Also, this attention issue often means it is time to work on either life structure/organization, a way to mentally transition from work to personal time, and a to do system so you can leave work truly at work.
If your pocketbook is constantly stuffed
Take on this small organizing and decluttering project: your pocketbook. Pull it all out, organize into groups of things, and see if you can’t carry less. What do you use 80% of the time?
Keep that stuff. If you’re the person everyone goes to because you have EVERYthing in your pocketbook, what’s that doing for your psyche versus the stuffed pocketbook/can’t find my keys question. Groups of things can be organized into smaller bags, whether you like Vera Bradley mini pouches or use clear plastic bags. Also minimize the switching: from one pocketbook to another one; pocketbook to knapsack; pocketbook to briefcase. Could you consider clearing your pocketbook/wallet every Sunday night? Like a “reset” for the week?
You’ll be amazed at how much power this one solution has. You’ll be on time, meeting with friends or clients. You’ll be keeping your word. No more joking about your lack of attention or absent mindedness. No more feeling like “the simplest thing” is so hard. [True words from a past client. Not mine.] But do you hear the judgment? I did, too.
It’s the simple things which sometimes go much deeper. Try it out.