Do you realize you’re being nudged when you drive within the lines on streets and highways? …or when you queue up in an orderly way at the theater because of the velvet ropes indicating where to stand?
“…a nudge is a way of framing choices that subtly favors the more desirable outcome. It can be a way of encouraging people to do what’s in their best interest, even when other perfectly human tendencies—such as the urge to procrastinate—are conspiring against them.” Nudge Yourself: Make Smarter Decisions with Your Money, Mark W Riepe, Charles Schwab
How can you use nudge theory to help you stay organized?
Kitchen: Using a silverware container with slots that match the shapes of the silverware.
Closets: You want family to help put things away…use labels! On shelves and containers in closets: pantry, linen closets, utility closets.
Entryway: Have dedicated hooks and/or cubbies or baskets for each person’s belongings…put their name on it if necessary. If that isn’t enough, put an incentive in the empty cubby.
Garage: It’s easy to see where small hand tools go when there is a pegboard with outlines of the tool shapes showing exactly where each one lives. Tired of having bikes and scooters all over the garage? Install bike racks and ball bins to make it easier to put things away.
Toys/Art Supplies: Dedicated containers for different types of toys and supplies with pictures on the fronts in addition to text labels.
Laundry: Tired of stepping over dirty laundry that didn’t make it into the hamper? Have multiple hampers in all the places dirty clothes get removed. One for each person if needed. Adding a basketball hoop mounted over a kid’s hamper is a great example of a fun nudge.
Mail: To encourage yourself to weed out the junk immediately when mail comes in, place a recycling bin, shred bag and trash can near where you actually stand to process your mail.
Starting a new habit: Despite good intentions, it can be very hard to start a new habit. Pair the habit with a routine task such as putting your vitamins by your toothbrush so you remember to take them every time you brush your teeth. You can also set a repeating alarm on your phone to nudge you to do a new task.
Remember, a nudge is an external cue that guides you to a particular behavior. It takes the decision to do something out of your conscious mind and makes the behavior more intuitive. Harness the power of your subconscious by setting up your environment to keep you organized.