In my previous post, I talked about how making things more inconvenient can be one of the keys to breaking bad habits and reducing opportunities for negative outcomes. In this post I’m going in the other direction, how we can use convenience to develop better habits and increase the opportunities for positive outcomes.
I’ll open with an example from my home life. It’s a cliché that men leave their socks and underwear lying on the floor and his wife tuts and scolds him about it, while constantly picking them up. It’s a cliché because it happens a lot, even in my home. I would get changed for bed at night and leave my clothes on the floor, planning to pick them up and put them in the laundry basket. My wife was not a fan of this strategy, as I could forget in the mornings if I were in a rush or got distracted by something else.
My wife scolded me and we even argued about it. I would be more likely to do it when I was tired or something was on my mind, I wasn’t consciously leaving my clothes to upset her or make a point.
She didn’t want to scold me and complain, but she also didn’t want to be missing laundry if she put on a load, or have clothes lying around on the bedroom floor all day, funking the place up.
One day I took the laundry basket and put it in a space near my side of the bed, between the wardrobe and the wall. Ever since then, I have put my clothes in the laundry basket every night, and am now doing more laundry runs myself.
You see, the key lesson here was not to change myself, learn to become more thoughtful, keep making an extra effort even when I was tired. The key lesson was convenience.
By making it super easy for me to put my clothes in the basket, I ensured that I would be able to do it every time, and by placing it in my space, I ensured that I had more awareness of when the laundry needed to be done.
We can apply convenience anywhere we want to make success easier. Sometimes we avoid it for sake of appearances, perceived costs or simply because we don’t see the option that’s right in front of us.
When you make success the easiest option, it starts becoming your most used option, and that’s surely a better way to live and work?