You're all set and ready to leave the house when at the last minute you realize you don't have your phone, wallet, keys or glasses. On the one hand you're short on time and know you should go. On the other hand, you wonder to yourself, "What if this were the one time I didn't have my license and I got pulled over for speeding?" Or, "What if there was an emergency and someone tried to contact me?"
While not a life threatening occurrence, searching for misplaced items could certainly slow down busy schedules as we've come to rely on some things for day-to-day living.
Mobile devices: Where would we be today without our smart phones? It's how we make our plans and interact with the world. Our iPhones and tablets make our lives easier so we could have our everyday communications all in one place. We check our email and calendar, update our "To Do" and grocery lists, etc. We chat, text, Skype and Facetime with family and friends.
Non-tech things like glasses, keys and wallets are important to have on hand too. What if your vision is fuzzy while walking or driving and you can't read signs? How would you get in and out of your house or car? What if you need a valid form of ID or work ID which happens to be in your wallet? It's no wonder we're stressed out.
Studies show that the average American wastes 10 minutes a day (also 3,680 hours or 153 days in a lifetime) searching for misplaced items. The Daily News reported that lost items can cost us $5,591 according to a survey. While time isn't the only thing lost, there are other minor inconveniences. Losing things distract us from our daily routines and may cause unnecessary stress.
Here are a few ways to keep tabs on often misplaced items:
1. Make sure all your most important things have a home.
In other words, always have place for everything and everything it's place. This means your iPhone always stays in its charging station or purse when not in use. If it's in your pocket, make sure it's the same pocket (or jacket pocket) you use everyday. Keys hang on a key hook against the wall or get thrown in the same bowl or tray when you enter your home. Also be aware of which room it's in and where specifically. That way when things are lost, you'll know the obvious place to start looking and can backtrack from there.
2. Keep your spaces clutter free.
This will help you see your missing item more easily. This could mean taking a couple minutes a day to pick up after yourself. You'll be less stressed finding things when you could see a clear floor. Gretchen Rubin from The Happiness Project also suggests that when things do go missing, start cleaning because it might be in plain sight. By the Pareto Principle we use only 20% of our stuff 80% of the time so the stuff we don't use can be tossed or donated. If you're feeling more sentimental, use the "spark joy" method from Marie Kondo's KonMari method to keep what you love and let go of the rest of the stuff (after you've thanked them for their usefulness as she suggests of course).
3. Keep spares of everything you're likely to lose.
Photocopy your license and work ID and store in a locked file or safe box so you have a copy of it. Keep things like spare keys and spare glasses in one assigned place in your house like by the entrance.
4. Use apps to find your phone.
Back up your phone to your laptop or desktop computer. Also install the Find My iPhone or Where's My Droid app to your smart phones. These apps will allow you to track the location of your smart phone or tablet.
By following these tips and having a home for your most important things, you'll be better prepared for when things get misplaced.