At the Moment of Need
If you find yourself not having the right item for the right need at the most critical times. Here are my top three recommendations:
If everything is important than nothing is important. The less you have to remember, the more likely you are to remember it.
I have talked before about the importance of having an area by your front door, that you dedicate to JUST the items headed out of your home. That’s a good structure, but the best organizing systems are always made up of an appropriate structure and an easy habit.
The habit I would add here is, to always review your bare essentials first. I mean really bare. I often hear this sentence “Ok, let’s see if I’ve remembered everything.” Everything implies a laundry list. When you’re rushing out the door, it’s too much pressure to try and capture everything on that list and, moreover, the more non-essentials you have on that list, the more likely you are to forget the bare essentials. So let’s look at what those bare essentials are.
1. Cell phone (charged). This is no longer an option. You can forget a lot of things, but not your cell phone. It can connect you to unlimited solutions. It’s also vital to make a daily habit of charging your cell phone. Otherwise you’re just carrying around a paperweight.
2. Keys. A key connects you to just one solution, but when that solution is entry to your home, that’s everything.
3. Access to cash. If you don’t have cash, at least always carry a debit card or credit card, so you can buy any of the non-essentials you may have forgotten.
4. What You can’t buy now. Things like vital medication cannot be bought if you forget them. So make sure they are always part of your bare essentials you take with you. I keep my migraine medication in my car and in my laptop bag and I am always covered.
5. Flashlight. This is not an out-the-door item, but for emergencies in the home, you don’t need all your emergency supplies handy, just your flashlight. It should always be in the same place with good batteries, so you can find your supplies (or circuit breaker) when the lights go out.
6. Two business cards. I’m including business cards on the list because this is something I am often finding people without at critical times. My solution is to just keep two cards in my money clip, which is on me at all times. I have a beautiful business card holder which I bring to networking events, but most of the time I don’t need it, nor do I want to carry it. An opportunity to hand someone your card usually comes in a flash and it doesn’t always work to say “Hey, let me just run out to my car.” These moments do not require a stack of cards, just one. With two in my money clip, I have that instant delivery, when it’s needed.
I realize that not everyone needs business cards and that new parents, professionals, and travelers need to add some essentials to this list, but the point is, don’t let a long list crowd out the first four on this list. You are bound to forget to take things with you, but if you start with these essentials, you will increase your odds of being empowered at the moment of need.