When you hear the word “staging” you might think of selling a house: getting your home in order so that everything is in its place and looking ready for sale. This concept is also important for everyday living. A staging area is the place where you can put everything you need for the following day. By establishing and then utilizing this area, you maximize your chances of having a smooth morning.
When setting up a staging area, be sure to:
- Assign a separate zone for each family member. Mom’s zone may be in the dining room, an elderly parent’s might be on her dresser, a teen’s is probably in his room.
- Find a place that is “safe”, where no food/drinks/dog paws can reach.
- Dedicate this space (it shouldn’t be an area you need to repeatedly clear in order to perform other tasks)
- Provide adequate space to accommodate what you typically take along (e.g. briefcase, backpack, phone, purse)
- Remember to maximize the space you have. If you don’t have shelving/countertops/floorspace, consider a row of hooks.
- Place reminders here for items you think you might forget. (e.g. “grab lunch out of the fridge” or “bring phone charger today”)
- Use it consistently! Check it every night to make sure it has everything you will need.
Once you get in the habit, you will be able to rely on this space to hold all the essentials. This can be a lifesaver for those days when you wake up to the “unexpected,” such as a sick child, no electricity, a broken hairdryer, etc.
This same concept can be expanded for when you are planning a big event, such as a vacation. Set up a vacation staging area in the corner of your bedroom a of couple weeks before you plan to leave. This way, when random thoughts come to you about what you need to bring (“I need to remember to bring hand warmers this year”), you can act on the idea while it is fresh… simply grab the item and put it in the staging area. This is helpful because, when working up to a big event, we often recall items out of sequence – at random times other than the time we have set aside to pack or prepare.
If you are the one at work responsible for bringing the “detailed back-up”, you may wish to stage space for various upcoming meetings. Again, when you come across items you need to bring (the interview transcript, the trade show brochures, the model assumptions, etc), you will have the perfect place to put them until it is time to go. You can even have an electronic staging area on your computer where you can temporarily park files affiliated with a specific, upcoming event or client. As with all storage, be sure to clearly label piles or folders to avoid confusion.
A staging area is an easy way to bring order to a complex and/or chaotic schedule, and to minimize the regret of showing up unprepared.
How do you organize for a smooth morning?