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5 Organizing Tips from Ben Franklin

5 Organizing Tips from Ben Franklin

1. Make a Daily Routine

“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.”

Benjamin Franklin is often known for creating the lightning rod, inventing the bifocals, editing the first Almanac, and helping to found the United States of America. Franklin is considered to have been a polymath, or having been knowledgeable in many things. Truly, no average person can create such an extensive list of inventions, projects, and hobbies as Franklin did. However, if Franklin could somehow find the time to conquer the many tasks he had, then surely we can find a way to better manage our very own daily routines.

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The first key to organizing is to organize our time. Write down your daily routine. Here is an example of Ben Franklin’s routine. This is pretty basic, but it is one of the most important things you can do to manage your time. Seeing your daily routine on paper puts the day into perspective. We can separate our work time from our downtime and feel in control of what we are going to do.

2. Check Your Routine

Once you’ve put your routine down on paper, make sure to check it everyday. Ideally, looking at your schedule each morning helps to put the day in perspective. Overtime, you may change your routine, but it will happen naturally.

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If we let it, life can get in the way. But by writing down our routine, checking it for a minute or two each day, and continuing this habit, we can eventually find a way to not let life get in the way.

3. Write Down 13 Things to Organize

The average person has at least 13 things (often many more) that they can organize. This could be anything from your entire living room to the glove compartment in your car to your iTunes collection. Make a list of the 13 most important things that you should organize.

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Why 13?

Besides scheduling, Benjamin Franklin was also very productive. He decided that instead of working on all of his traits at the same time, he would work on one each week. By doing this, we can give our complete energy (and not just the physical energy to organize, but the mental energy to think about what were organizing) to one thing. It isn’t helpful for us to be thinking about several projects while we are also trying to work on just one project. 13 is also 25% of 52, or one quarter of a year. Which means we can create a cycle.

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4. Organize One Thing a Week

Start with organizing just one thing. Write down in your daily routine that you will devote some time each day to organizing that one thing. If it’s the living room that you want to organize, then break the room into sections and organize it day by day.

Focus on implementing a system for that one thing. If during that week you work on not only organizing, but developing a system to keep the place organized, then you shouldn’t have to worry about it as much as time progresses. A week is a perfect amount of time to organize something. It is a long enough time to organize something well and not feel stressed about it. It is also short enough to make organizing new things interesting. Organizing things week to week might actually start to become, should I dare say, fun!

5. Repeat

Once you reach the thirteenth item on the list, start again at the first one. If you make notes while you organize, then you can look back to see how much has changed since you organized 13 weeks ago. The notes will also help you to see what you could work on to make keeping the place better organized.

This process of organizing the things in your life is simple and slow. The things in your life that need order do not organize themselves and they can’t be organized overnight. It takes patience. It’s also no use in becoming overwhelmed by how much there is to organize. Take your time and work on one thing at a time. And don’t take it from me, but from the Founding Father, Ben Franklin.

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Zachary Domes

Zachary values simplicity and shares about lifestyle and organizing tips on Lifehack.

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Last Updated on March 25, 2020

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

How Do You Change a Habit (According to Psychology)

Habits are hard to kill, and rightly so. They are a part and parcel of your personality traits and mold your character.

However, habits are not always something over-the-top and quirky enough to get noticed. Think of subtle habits like tapping fingers when you are nervous and humming songs while you drive. These are nothing but ingrained habits that you may not realize easily.

Just take a few minutes and think of something specific that you do all the time. You will notice how it has become a habit for you without any explicit realization. Everything you do on a daily basis starting with your morning routine, lunch preferences to exercise routines are all habits.

Habits mostly form from life experiences and certain observed behaviors, not all of them are healthy. Habitual smoking can be dangerous to your health. Similarly, a habit could also make you lose out on enjoying something to its best – like how some people just cannot stop swaying their bodies when delivering a speech.

Thus, there could be a few habits that you would want to change about yourself. But changing habits is not as easy as it seems.

In this article, you will learn why it isn’t easy to build new habits, and how to change habits.

What Makes It Hard To Change A Habit?

To want to change a particular habit means to change something very fundamental about your behavior.[1] Hence, it’s necessary to understand how habits actually form and why they are so difficult to actually get out of.

The Biology

Habits form in a place what we call the subconscious mind in our brain.[2]

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Our brains have two modes of operation. The first one is an automatic pilot kind of system that is fast and works on reflexes often. It is what we call the subconscious part. This is the part that is associated with everything that comes naturally to you.

The second mode is the conscious mode where every action and decision is well thought out and follows a controlled way of thinking.

A fine example to distinguish both would be to consider yourself learning to drive or play an instrument. For the first time you try learning, you think before every movement you make. But once you have got the hang of it, you might drive without applying much thought into it.

Both systems work together in our brains at all times. When a habit is formed, it moves from the conscious part to the subconscious making it difficult to control.

So, the key idea in deconstructing a habit is to go from the subconscious to the conscious.

Another thing you have to understand about habits is that they can be conscious or hidden.

Conscious habits are those that require active input from your side. For instance, if you stop setting your alarm in the morning, you will stop waking up at the same time.

Hidden habits, on the other hand, are habits that we do without realizing. These make up the majority of our habits and we wouldn’t even know them until someone pointed them out. So the first difficulty in breaking these habits is to actually identify them. As they are internalized, they need a lot of attention to detail for self-identification. That’s not all.

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Habits can be physical, social, and mental, energy-based and even be particular to productivity. Understanding them is necessary to know why they are difficult to break and what can be done about them.

The Psychology

Habits get engraved into our memories depending on the way we think, feel and act over a particular period of time. The procedural part of memory deals with habit formation and studies have observed that various types of conditioning of behavior could affect your habit formations.

Classical conditioning or pavlovian conditioning is when you start associating a memory with reality.[3] A dog that associates ringing bell to food will start salivating. The same external stimuli such as the sound of church bells can make a person want to pray.

Operant conditioning is when experience and the feelings associated with it form a habit.[4] By encouraging or discouraging an act, individuals could either make it a habit or stop doing it.

Observational learning is another way habits could take form. A child may start walking the same way their parent does.

What Can You Do To Change a Habit?

Sure, habits are hard to control but it is not impossible. With a few tips and hard-driven dedication, you can surely get over your nasty habits.

Here are some ways that make use of psychological findings to help you:

1. Identify Your Habits

As mentioned earlier, habits can be quite subtle and hidden from your view. You have to bring your subconscious habits to an aware state of mind. You could do it by self-observation or by asking your friends or family to point out the habit for your sake.

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2. Find out the Impact of Your Habit

Every habit produces an effect – either physical or mental. Find out what exactly it is doing to you. Does it help you relieve stress or does it give you some pain relief?

It could be anything simple. Sometimes biting your nails could be calming your nerves. Understanding the effect of a habit is necessary to control it.

3. Apply Logic

You don’t need to be force-fed with wisdom and advice to know what an unhealthy habit could do to you.

Late-night binge-watching just before an important presentation is not going to help you. Take a moment and apply your own wisdom and logic to control your seemingly nastily habits.

4. Choose an Alternative

As I said, every habit induces some feeling. So, it could be quite difficult to get over it unless you find something else that can replace it. It can be a simple non-harming new habit that you can cultivate to get over a bad habit.

Say you have the habit of banging your head hard when you are angry. That’s going to be bad for you. Instead, the next time you are angry, just take a deep breath and count to 10. Or maybe start imagining yourself on a luxury yacht. Just think of something that will work for you.

5. Remove Triggers

Get rid of items and situations that can trigger your bad habit.

Stay away from smoke breaks if you are trying to quit it. Remove all those candy bars from the fridge if you want to control your sweet cravings.

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6. Visualize Change

Our brains can be trained to forget a habit if we start visualizing the change. Serious visualization is retained and helps as a motivator in breaking the habit loop.

For instance, to replace your habit of waking up late, visualize yourself waking up early and enjoying the early morning jog every day. By continuing this, you would naturally feel better to wake up early and do your new hobby.

7. Avoid Negative Talks and Thinking

Just as how our brain is trained to accept a change in habit, continuous negative talk and thinking could hamper your efforts put into breaking a habit.

Believe you can get out of it and assert yourself the same.

Final Thoughts

Changing habits isn’t easy, so do not expect an overnight change!

Habits took a long time to form. It could take a while to completely break out of it. You will have to accept that sometimes you may falter in your efforts. Don’t let negativity seep in when it seems hard. Keep going at it slowly and steadily.

More About Changing Habits

Featured photo credit: Mel via unsplash.com

Reference

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