I’ve been thinking a lot lately about finishing things. I’m not talking about finishing a race or finishing a college degree or finishing your grass roots campaign against the evil sheriff of Nottingham. (I ask you, Brother. Are you gonna finish what you started?!) I’m talking about flushing the dang toilet and putting your blow dryer away when you’re done with it. I’m talking about WHERE ARE MY SHOES??!!
I am great at cleaning my house. Super great. I have a lot of practice because I’m also really good at trashing it. I go through phases where I’m really consistent about cleaning as I go. And then I have a hardship like a toothache, or a busy week, or a good YA novel, and I fall off the wagon.
I do better at being consistent when I’m counting Drops of Awesome, when I’m congratulating myself for every small thing I get done, but due to some of my habits and routines, I have set up a system where I need to do a million more Drops of Awesome each day than I should really have to. I make my life harder by not following through and completing basic actions. So I have to go back and clean up after myself over and over again.
Take my blow dryer, for example. I frequently have to go “clean my vanity,” which involves putting my makeup, blow dryer and face wash away. This only takes a couple of minutes to do but it’s a couple of minutes I could be doing something else. And there’s really no reason it should be its own task at all. Part of drying my hair should be putting away the blow dryer.
Think about an action or a routine that you do on a regular basis and ask yourself, “At what point do I consider my action complete?”
Can you imagine using your blow dryer and then just dropping it to the ground as soon as your hair was dry, with the machine still running? No way. Part of “drying your hair” involves turning off the dryer when you’re done. I also always place my blow dryer on the counter rather than just releasing it from my hand and letting it crash to the floor.
I get a Drop of Awesome for turning it off then and another one for placing it on the counter.
Then I look at that action and ask myself, how can I kick this up a notch? How can I get one more Drop of Awesome by taking this action just a tiny step forward? I call this a Drop Kick.
So, for me, the blow dryer Drop Kick was to, in one motion, unplug the blow dryer as I’m turning it off and place it under the sink, never letting it touch the counter. Because this was a revolutionary move and so out of my usual routine, I would say, “Drop Kick!” every time I did it. It was me, improving one of my daily routines, just a Drop.
Soon it became a habit. And I almost never have to “clean the vanity.” It has become self-cleaning.
Now, you may be great at blow dryer follow-through. I’m so happy for you. But is there anything in your life that you could kick up a notch to make your day go more smoothly?
I sat my kids down a while back and asked them to each think of one Drop Kick they could focus on for the week. They picked things like, “Don’t let my backpack out of my hands until I reach the backpack shelf,” and “Don’t let my shoes touch the ground in the front entry.” (There was some coaching involved.)
For two of the kids, this has made a big difference. The front door clutter is down and they have a much easier time finding their stuff when they need it.
Another side benefit of this common vocabulary is that if someone forgets, rather than saying, “Wanda, pick up your backpack,” I can say, “Laylee is doing a great job Drop Kicking her backpack. Wanda, did you remember your Drop Kick when you came in?”
It’s a subtle difference but the cute catch-phrase really helps the medicine go down. And we’re building new, improved habits every day.
What do you want to Drop Kick this afternoon? Pick one thing that you could do a tiny bit better!