A Typo, a Move and Some Lost Habits

istock_000005291546xsmall.jpgI was hardly prepared for so many things to fall apart when I recently moved my home, and by extension, my home-office.

Things came to a head a few minutes ago when I noticed the topic of a post I wrote: “Procrasination Teleseminar.”

At least I didn’t put off fixing the typo until later…

But I did  ask myself why it is that a move is so disruptive, and why so many of my habits developed over the past few years simply dropped out of sight once we started packing

That’s not all that happened to my .

Gargling each morning with peroxide has been shown to reduce incidences of the common cold by almost 30%.

After moving almost two weeks ago, the practice disappeared.  I didn’t even remember that it had now become a habit that I was doing each morning without missing a beat.

It re-appeared only when I discovered the peroxide bottle nestled in one of the boxes marked “bathroom.”

What bothered me in particular was that I had nurtured this habit from the point where it was just an idea, until it grew into a daily ritual.  I used my habit tracker to keep it in front of me each morning, and I rarely forgot to gargle right after bathing in the morning.

That is, until I moved and the whole practice completely dropped out of sight.

Why is this important to time management?

As I have established in prior posts, time management systems are made up of habits.  These repetitive actions are  the atoms of each and every system that humans use to get their lives done each day.

They are tough to learn, yet when they are practiced enough they become second nature and in turn become difficult to change.  I do know that my habits gain a certain neuro-muscular back-bone as they take their place in the group of actions that I take each day without really thinking about them consciously.

What I learned is how that many habits of mine are actually hard-wired into their physical surrounding.  Change the surroundings dramatically, and many habits will simply cease to exist.


When the physical environment changes, many of the cues that we use to spur us into action are removed.  No prompts, no action.

For example, I had the peroxide for my daily gargle beside my toothbrush, making it easy to remember to use each day.

I had  a desk supporting my habit list for the day written into my Palm Tungsten, and each morning I’d check off the items on the list.

Now, take away the peroxide bottle and the desk and you have a problem.

At the moment I don’t have a clear solution.  All I can do is to give a warning that a physical move can  signal the demise of any time management system.