My current emphasis: how to make good habits and break bad ones (really)

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This Wednesday: a quiz–are you organized or disorganized?

Usually Wednesday is Tip Day, but surprise, today is a quiz instead.

Most people understand that it’s a pain to be disorganized. Disorganized people spend a lot of time hunting for their keys; they have to order a replacement birth certificate; they know they must have a dozen hammers, because it’s always been easier to buy a new one than to locate one in the house.

Often, however, people don’t realize how disorganized they are. Are you? Take this quiz.

At a minimum, you should know exactly where to find these possessions (assuming, of course, you own them—and you should):

 stamps
 your passport and if you’re married, your spouse’s passport
 a corkscrew
 Bandaids
 a safety pin
 a flashlight
 a functioning alarm clock
 paperclips or a stapler
 your phone charger
 a spare set of keys
 your doctor’s phone number
 cinnamon
 your tax statements from 2003
 fabric stain remover
 a pair of mittens
 spare AA batteries

Congratulate yourself for being well-organized if you can also say exactly where you’d find these objects:

 a tape measure
 your high-school yearbook
 a Swiss army knife
 a pencil sharpener
 a copy of Pride and Prejudice or The Da Vinci Code
 the instruction manual for your camera
 silver polish
 a vase the proper size to hold a bunch of tulips
 food coloring
 a tube of lip balm
 a cheese knife
 an extension cord
 a recipe for a favorite food your mother or father used to make
 a pack of playing cards
 a pad of sticky notes (Post-Its)

One observation: disorganized people often aim to put things away approximately. They’ll keep something “in a kitchen drawer” or “in my office.” It’s much more satisfying to put things away in an exact location—like a particular kitchen drawer. It takes some effort, at first, to decide where everything belongs, but once you’ve put objects in their proper places, it’s much easier to return them there.

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