How does your morning typically go? Likely scenario: you snooze through the alarm (alarms?), scavenge through your dresser drawers for an outfit, root through your makeup bag, and quickly gather up your work supplies and maybe a granola bar before you head out the door. As much as we’d like to have a calm, organized start to our day we begin with too many decisions and too many items to remember. Thankfully, I have a solution for this. It’s called “kitting”.
When assembling a launch vehicle (rocket), there can be hundreds of parts that go into the installation of a single component. On top of that you’re trying to follow a detailed procedure, monitor safety, check quality, and juggle an array of tools and equipment. That’s a lot of keep track of, especially when you consider that a single missing piece can lead to catastrophic failure. So, rather than continuously running to grab parts and tools as needed, we create “kits” containing everything we need to complete a single task. These boxes are checked ahead of time to make sure every part is accounted for, so all we need to do is show up with our procedures and get right to work.
So how does building a rocket relate to your morning rush? You can create kits of your own to make your day run more efficiently. Imagine how much more smoothly your morning would go with the following kits:
– A guided checklist detailing outfit items to pick out the night before (articles of clothing, undergarments, jewelry, footwear, etc)
– An outwear kit: scarves, gloves, earmuffs, umbrellas, rainboots, sunscreen
– An “everyday” makeup bin: foundation, concealer, mascara, blush, brushes, etc
– A purse essentials kit: makeup bag(s) containing wallet, keys, chargers, chapstick, tissues for easy switching
– A “grab and go” breakfast kit: ziploc bags containing oatmeal, dried fruits, cereal, nuts, spoon, napkin, bowl
The trick to these kits is to not only include the main items (like the oatmeal) but also the supporting items you’d forget in the moment (like the spoon and bowl). The more complete they are, the less work you have to do to use them. Here’s how to set one up:
1) Choose an action you’d like to simplify (ex. cleaning the bathrooms)
2) Brainstorm all of the items you use to complete the action. In our example that could include: glass cleaner, floor cleaner, disinfectant, toilet bowl cleaner, toilet brush, sponges, paper towels, air fresheners, mop, trash bags, toilet paper, clean towels, rubber gloves, and hand soap
3) Identify which items you can store together permanently and which would be impractical to kit (ex. mop, towels). The latter can be included via a checklist.
4) Find a container to house your kit. This can be a box, bin, basket, shelf, room section, or a bag. Make sure it’s big enough to contain all of the items you need but small enough it’s portable if you need it to be. Locate extra items close by.
5) Build your kit. Include any checklists you need (instructions and/or reminders of additional items needed).
Here are some ideas for other kits you can create:
– Study kit: pens, pencils, highlighters, white out, paper, snacks, headphones, playlists, professor contact info, textbooks, syllabi
– Craft kit: washi tape, transparent tape, scrapbook paper, scissors, ribbon, markers, loose fabric, layouts
– Home decorating kit: command strips, nails, hammer, level, pencils, stud finder, magic eraser
– Airline travel kit: neck pillow, blanket, eye mask, ear plugs, snacks, headphones, hand sanitizing wipes, chapstick, travel bottle, first aid kit
– Stationery kit: stamps, envelopes (multiple sizes), address labels, address book, notepaper, greeting cards, pens, post office schedule
– De-stress kit: journal/pen, meditation music, bath soaks, aromatherapy oils, sketchpad, emergency chocolate
Be creative and you’ll think of plenty more ways to organize with kits (for further ideas, check out my post on 10 new uses for makeup bags). The goal is to reduce the amount of time you spend searching for things so you can move through the day smoothly and efficiently. Good luck, and happy kitting!