In his fantastic book, Atomic Habits, James Clear tells the story of Oswald Nuckols, an IT developer from Natchez, Mississippi.
His strategy for ‘resetting the room’ resonated with James for it’s simplicity and power, and for how it could be used to make future habits easier to stick with:
For instance, when he finishes watching television, he places the remote back on the TV stand, arranges the pillows on the couch, and folds the blanket. When he leaves his car, he throws any trash away. Whenever he takes a shower, he wipes down the toilet while the shower is warming up. (As he notes, the “perfect time to clean the toilet is right before you wash yourself in the shower anyway.”)
Without thinking about it much, I’ve used this strategy for years.
Removing physical clutter really helps me manage any mental clutter.
I also see it as a way to be ready. Whatever issues arrive (through the door, via a never-ending list of inboxes, or on the phone), I’m constantly making sure I’m ready.
This isn’t about preparing for the worst. It’s about preparing. For anything.
If the laundry’s done, there’s an opportunity to take advantage of the surprisingly sunny day by jumping in the car and heading for the beach.
Clearly, the strategy would help for difficult situations too., But I see being prepared for anything as a way to to welcome the wonderful rather than fend off the bad.
So go forth and reset. Get things how you want them and work slowly but surely on keeping them that way. Be ready.