A couple of years ago, I was talking to two colleagues about how organization is really a critical part of feeling happy and not too stressed. One of my colleagues, Paul Hammerness, MD, is a psychiatrist and ADHD expert at Harvard Medical School. He noted that many feelings of being overwhelmed, even in people without ADHD, have to do with how well your thoughts are organized. He also noted that brain organization has both internal and external factors that help us to feel less stressed.
We talked more and more about publishing a book from Harvard Medical School about how to organize your mind in order to get your life in order. We recruited a well-known executive coach, Margaret Moore (known as “Coach Meg”), to offer practical solutions that would complement the brain science.
I just attended a standing room only book signing for Paul’s and Margaret’s book, aptly titled, Organize Your Mind, Organize Your Life. Listening to all of the people discussing this new book, I thought back to advice that Paul and Margaret had given me two years earlier about one simple change that can make a huge difference in people’s lives.
Two years earlier, Paul was telling me about how many of his patients don’t get “launched” very well in the morning. These are folks with ADHD, and they are looking for their cell phone, their keys, and assorted other things that they need to start their day. I don’t have ADHD, but I recognized myself in this scenario – scrambling to get my kids off to school and myself off to work. His advice: Get a launch pad.
What is a launch pad? According to Paul, it is a specific place, where everything you need to leave the house is contained. I loved this tip and immediately bought a metal tray to put on a table that is near the door to the garage. When my kids saw my new “launch pad” they teased me about it, but I didn’t waver. I was going to get everyone launched more smoothly.
What’s does my launch pad hold? My keys, cell phone, rings, earrings, lipstick, watch and pedometer. Sometimes it holds letters I need to mail, folders I need to take to work, signed forms I need to give to my kids, and assorted other things that are required for the next day’s launch.
Paul also told me that my launch pad is my “landing pad.” Which means that I have to dump all of my stuff onto my landing pad when I enter the house, or I won’t be able to easily launch myself the next day. Good advice!
So, as I stood listening to all of the people excitedly talking to these authors, I thought about how fun it was to watch their book launch, and how much they’ve helped me get launched every morning for the past couple of years!