Solving problems structurally: For scatterbrained people with no willpower

I have no willpower, and this lack of willpower just gets worse when I’m sleep deprived or hungry.  (Don’t tell my mom, but the only reason I didn’t get pregnant in high school is because DH was seriously responsible.)

I am naturally disorganized (with the exception of being vaguely OCD about alphabetizing spices and bookshelves). If I were living alone, my stuff would be organized by having the newest stuff on top and the oldest stuff in the layer closest to the carpet.

My ability to remember all the things I need to do or need to carry or need to have is pretty weak.  I have failed to bring my laptop cable to work two days in a row at this point and am out of battery juice tomorrow unless I go over and put that cord in my bag right now.  Despite my best efforts, I still occasionally have to buy lunch because I left my made lunch on the counter.

I am, however, pretty good at putting together a system of kludges that allows me to function and even succeed– aligning my current actions with my long-term goals.  Reading the Willpower book I was astonished with how much of, “I do that” I actually do.  If there’s a tip or trick for not allowing myself to descend into my basest wants (which are many), I use it.

It’s pointless and way too much effort trying to fix myself.  However, I can change circumstances so that I can still get ahead.  I’ve gotten to know myself pretty well over the past few decades and I’m pretty good at figuring out what makes me tick.

In college, I was forever losing my keys.  So… each time I got a new keychain or key, I would just add it to the one I carried around with me.  Eventually it got so massive that it has become very difficult for me to lose.  People often make fun of me for it, and they often question whether or not I’m hurting the ignition on my car, but the massive structure is easy to find and it’s noticeable when I don’t have it.  Additionally, when I get home, I try to put it in the same place next to the door.  This doesn’t always work, but I’d say a majority of the time it’s there in the morning.

I keep clutter down by not buying things in the first place and by putting unwanted gifts in the gift/donate closet right away.

I am very bad about forgetting things.  My world is full of lists and lists of lists.  I carry a day planner and enter things in as soon as I get them and check the planner every morning.

I have habits and rituals.  Back in college I had a boyfriend who would always say, “wallet watch glasses keys” before he left the room and it often goes through my head as well, though I keep my glasses in the car and never take them out so that I always have them for driving.  Similarly, after opening Stata, I always change the directory, set more off, and OPEN A LOG FILE.  Because the log file will rescue me from many of my other bad Stata habits and mistakes.

Mistakes aren’t limited to coding– part of the reason we have such a big slush fund is to make it so mistakes aren’t so painful.  Last weekend, for example, we got a parking ticket because we were 10 min late getting back to our car.  For want of 50 cents, we owe $43.  But that’s an annoyance more than a catastrophe (and DH has said he’ll pay it out of his allowance since he feels responsible and doesn’t want me to feel bad about it– that’s what the allowance is for, he says).

Mental accounts also help with money concerns.  Retirement savings come straight off the top so I don’t even see that money so it can’t make me feel rich.  I reconcile the checkbook as soon as I get a bill even if I delay the actual payment.  That emergency/slush fund stays in savings and checking is what is supposed to take care of regular expenses.  (And when either the checking or emergency fund number gets too low, it is time to cut back.)

I also have a huge problem with willpower.  That means I do not buy things I shouldn’t eat, unless it’s something I can totally resist (like licorice– yuck).  I have not played video games since my first year of graduate school because once I start I can’t stop.  So I don’t start.  Cold turkey.  A hard line in the sand.

I could try to make myself remember things better.  I could work on myself to try to give myself stronger ability to resist temptation when it comes calling.  Yes, it would be great if I were calmer, more productive, had a better memory.  But, ain’t nobody got time for that.

Do you have problems with willpower?  How do you solve problems structurally?  Have you been successful at changing your base self, and if so, how?

57 Responses to “Solving problems structurally: For scatterbrained people with no willpower”

  1. Practical Parsimony Says:

    Self control is tiring. Arranging your life so that you confront fewer temptations is a wise thing altogether.

    This is part of my signature sent with email

    To remember what I need to take out the door, I put it all in a canvas bag, even my purse. It does not solve the problem, just helps to minimize it. I have to use a locksmith way too often. I have trouble remembering not to lock myself out of the house or car. Usually, I lock three sets of house/car keys in my car.

    Sometime, I buy cookies I don’t need and feel guilty after eating a few. I have a single guy neighbor around the block. I just put the rest of the cookies in his mailbox and call him to get them before the ants do. He thinks it is hilarious. Often I will just empty a whole bag of cookies out the window or into trash in a gas station. I do not litter, just dump the cookies near some grass. One time, I convinced a gas station employee to take cookies after I filled the tank. We had talked for years, so I was not perceived as a dangerous stranger with poisoned cookies.

  2. Jenny F. Scientist Says:

    Keys on carabiner. Google calendar to remind me of all the things. Lists, all the lists, or I go to the store for eggs and come home with zero eggs and five vegetables.

    In grad school, I figured out that some of it was my brain maxing out on steps. (like so, in fact). With any kind of job and also children, there’s just a lot to keep track of!

    My willpower in recent years has all gone to Health Maintenance for the endless chronic health problems (blergh) and forcing myself to do the remaining things in life (grocery, dinner, gym, phone calls to tradespeople, sorting out insurance woes). I can’t have chocolate in the house because I eat it all.

    So I guess I’m saying I think everyone has an organizational capacity and when life exceeds it, lists and notebooks are more important than willpower! Compensate structurally rather than succumbing to chaos!

  3. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    My sense is that you are well within the norm for forgetfulness and keeping track of things, and that pretty much everyone has to employ heuristics to stay organized and on point. I use a combination of Google Calendar and Gmail to keep track of appointments and tasks. When something needs to be done, I put the due date on Google Calendar and email myself a reminder with any relevant documents and info, which then goes in a TO DO folder in Gmail.

  4. Comradde PhysioProffe Says:

    In what alternative universe is dumping food waste out the window near some grass not “littering”?

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      This is never in a yard, just in the country where wild animals can get to it and become obese. If I found people dumping food in my yard, I would be furious. There are blocks of fields in this city on my way home. I never dump the cookie container so I have crumbs to eat. I suppose it is consumable litter.

  5. lucy4eng Says:

    Aargh, I hear you! I realized this year that everything requires a ton of willpower and that is tough for me as a scatterbrain, not disciplined person. So now I am fighting against my forgetful, laid back, unconstant personality to achieve 2 things: tenure and weight loss. I am way better at not forgetting stuff, by being more mindful and organized. So I only mess up like one a year or so…pity that single time is normally pretty epic.

    For tenure, I have turned to a huge kanban board in my office, so it’s literally in my face all day. That is helping to do stuff on time and planning.

    For weight loss, realizing that I am an emotional eater and that I have way too much energy has been an eye opener. So now I exercise to burn off stress and energy and drink water with lemon, which helps to reduce cravings…both of which means that I can now make smarter choices on what I eat.

    I laughed out loud with Practical Parsimony…I would throw away the chips in the bag, after feeling bad about buying them, to recover them hours later because I had changed my mind and really wanted to eat them. The next time I crunched them and threw them away scattered in the garbage bag. My actual solution: no chips at home.

    • Practical Parsimony Says:

      I will retrieve food from the inside garbage or even the outdoor trash if I repent soon enough, so taking out of the bag and throwing them all naked in the bag or can with nasty stuff works for me.

      When I lost 46 lbs in three months, snarky people pointed out I had no willpower when I said I put cookies back on the shelf. I suppose I did not fully understand the definition of willpower…stupid people.

  6. xykademiqz Says:

    I use the calendar on my phone for non-recurring appointments (dental, medical, baby showers, kids’ swim meets, student prelims and defenses, etc.) but do not enter standing obligations, because I can recall those (class, office hours, group meeting, two recurrent meetings I permit per week).

    I have totally bought junk food, eaten some, and thrown/given the rest away. My grocery store weakness are Milano cookies and Pirouette chocolate & hazelnut sticks, I have no power to resist them if I pass by them. I eat my fill and then, as soon as I get home, ask DH or Eldest to “save me” from the sweets; they happily oblige.

    When I started reading this post, I kept nodding “This is totally me!” My own tendency is also towards being what may look to other people like disorganized (e.g., I have piles of manuscripts and books surrounding me, and the pile height increases the further we get into the semester, then get cleaned after the finals). However, considering that I turn out to be more efficient than many outwardly organized people (and I am guessing the same holds for you), I am going to claim that adapting work style and habits to closely align with personality and priorities is absolutely the way to go, appearances be damned. (For instance, one thing is that I accept periods of unbelievable productivity followed by unbelievable laziness. For me, you can’t have one without the other.)

  7. Linda Says:

    Yes, I’ve had willpower problems. I used to smoke, which was totally a willpower issue. I finally quit because the social changes made it difficult to find a place to do it, and I got tired of being sick so often. Those two things still keep me away from the temptation to start again, although I rarely get the urge anymore.

    Similarly, I had a problem with kettle corn. Every time I bought a bag I’d gorge myself on it. Then I started to associate these “kettle corn events” with my recent bouts of diverticulitis (which may or may not be fact, but I’m going to use it anyway) and now I am kettle corn free. I won’t touch any popcorn, actually. Having very painful consequences — or at least associating the two in my mind — makes it easier to just stop consuming those empty calories.

    Now, if only I could find a way to associate pleasure with exercising, I’d be able to get back in shape and keep my weight stable. :-/

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      If you can figure out a way for people who don’t get pleasure from exercising to make that association you will be a multimillionaire/billionaire.

      • jlp Says:

        I used to only allow myself to watch TV while I exercised. It worked for a long while – until I got sick and had to stop exercising.

  8. Debbie M Says:

    I am a huge fan of figuring out techniques to deal with our weaknesses.

    I don’t have a big problem with willpower. However, I don’t have certain things in the house (cheese puffs) very often. Unlike some of you guys, I will always eat every single one and all the crumbs, too.

    I do have problems remembering things, so I love calendars and check lists. I pay my bills right away even though it costs me a couple of cents of interest to do so–the peace of mind is worth it. (Also, I really hate living on the edge–the wiggle room if something goes wrong is very important to me.)

    When I think of ways I have changed my base self, I think of habits. I remember having to stop sucking my thumb (finger, actually). In school it was uncool, so I only did it when no one was looking. Then when I was around twelve (slumber parties), I really should try to stop doing it at night. I tried sucking my finger on the other hand because it felt wrong and thought it would be easier to quit from that, but it just started feeling right instead. So I had to go cold turkey. (Yes, my mom tried all the things–once you lick all the hot sauce off, then it’s okay again!)

    In high school I quit biting my nails. This was a slow process. Eventually I started grading my progress by giving myself points for each fingernail in good condition so that I could see progress. I won’t say that I regret doing this, but there were many negative side effects–I now have to keep my nails trimmed, I try to keep them all the same length (unless I’m playing guitar), and they click on things like the piano keys. So now when I make changes, I ask myself what the negative consequences could be first.

    In college I started taking more initiative in making friends with people who seemed interesting. I decided it was worth the risk of having people pretend to be nice to me when they didn’t really like me. (If you’re only friends with people who pursue you, then you know they all like you–or at least see something positive about being your friend.) I decided that if they were pretending to like me but didn’t really, that was their problem and not mine.

    And lately I’ve been toying with motivation. It’s way more fun to do things when you’re motivated. But I have a friend with depression, and he does LOADS of things when he can barely stand to get out of bed in the morning. It really bugs him when people whine about not being motivated to do things. So I try to remind myself that if he can do things, so can I! (He has finally found some decent drugs, but now he has super painful stomach issues that no one can figure out–and he still does way more than I do.)

    But meanwhile, if I do find myself motivated to do something odd (like research what it takes to buy a house) I will generally try to do it (even though I did not have the money to buy a house back then–but it was nice later on to already know some things). (Similarly, I read “Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex But Were Afraid to Ask” back when I still thought boys were kind of gross.)


    “Back in college I had a boyfriend who would always say, “wallet watch glasses keys” before he left the room….” – I’ve often thought about making a cute needlepoint with things like this and then hanging it up next to the front door. Not that we’d look at it (tunnel vision), but it would amuse me.

    • Ana Says:

      cheese puffs are my weakness too!

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Cheetos! That’s one of the ways I keep myself from eating chips– I tell myself, “Self, you are allowed to eat cheetos of opportunity (but you can never buy cheetos!). So if there are cheetos in this event lunch box, then you are allowed to eat them. But if there are chips, then you must immediately take them out of the lunch box and put them next to all of the remaining lunch boxes for someone who would like two bags of chips.”

      • Ana Says:

        See, its not cheetos. it is specifically cheese PUFFS like pirate’s booty. the puffier airier kind. Those are the kind that I can’t. stop. eating. My kids LOVE them so we do buy them on occasion and I let myself eat them so I get my fix.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        For me it’s cheetos. I like pirate’s booty, but not enough to give it a special exception rule. (Plus I’m still mad at the company for lying about calorie counts back when I was counting calories and ate a LOT of pirate’s booty because it claimed to be low calorie, back before I got in tune with my metabolism.)

      • Debbie M Says:

        Heh, “cheetos of opportunity.”

      • xykademiqz Says:

        Team Cheetos all the way! I don’t care for salty snacks and don’t like chips at all, so the safest place in the house for chips or crackers or mini-pretzels or whatever is in my desk. However… CHEETOS! I love them.

  9. Ana Says:

    So its not normal to have to have lists, reminders, little sayings (ours is: “phone, wallet, keys” before leaving the house)? Judging by the responses, anyone who’s juggling multiple things in their life needs those tricks.
    I do agree that making it easy to stay away from habits we don’t want is way easier and more successful than trying to white-knuckle your way through not eating those cheese puffs or not playing that video game every evening.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I *HATE* the way the iphone won’t let you delete the games it comes with. I had to set up an elaborate system of folders to hide them. (Also did not download from the app store and have to ask DH for our app store password. Apparently I need multiple levels of protection.)

      • Ana Says:

        ? I was able to delete any games (don’t remember the phone coming with any, actually). I have an old phone though, maybe you can’t anymore.

      • nicoleandmaggie Says:

        Yeah, you can’t anymore. Along with a bunch of other pre-installed stuff. It’s a “feature”. There’s articles and stuff written up with the dude in charge saying he will keep it under advisement and maybe the next version of iphones will allow you to delete the pre-installs.

  10. chacha1 Says:

    I am one of those annoying people who is hyper organized, almost never loses or forgets things, and is very rarely late. :-)

    Every legal job I have ever had, approximately 30% of my work time in the first six months to a year has gone to cleaning up whatever mess was left by my predecessor. My work routines are more effective than anyone’s I’ve seen (she said conceitedly) in my field. Having a freakishly high verbal processing speed (writing, reading) and typing speed conveys a huge, mostly-unearned boost to work efficiency. #BornThisWay

    Guess my organizational capacity is high. … I am also very productive in personal life, but mostly because I have eliminated from my life (or never adopted) practices and obligations that seem to eat a lot of time for other people. I have tons of what people call “free” time that is gainfully employed in reading.

    Routines, habits, checklists, calendars, and a budget – all necessary tools of dealing with adult life in the 21st century. And sometimes tricks: I too will simply not buy foods that I would have trouble resisting; much more likely to buy one cookie at the coffee shop than to buy a package at the grocery store. I aspire to do away with all clocks after retirement, but my workday-defined routines are so ingrained it may take until I die.

    I often give the “wallet, phone, keys” chant to my husband as he is hustling out the door. :-)

  11. eemusings Says:

    Yeah, pretty much exclusively with food!

    Re organisation I do not have a foolproof system. I juggle my work calendar (outlook/calendar app on phone), personal calendar (Google calendar), and both reminders and notes app on phone

  12. becca Says:

    Things I never have trouble remembering:
    *putting gas in the car (finding cheaper gas occupies mental bandwidth, but there’s no real stress about how much it costs, so it’s not a big thing)
    *putting shoes on my feet (you may laugh, but I’ve seen too many kids run for the bus without shoes to not realize this is a thing that CAN be forgotten)
    *I nearly always buy enough milk these days. This took 1) buying two gallons every time I am at the store 2) going to the store a minimum of once a week
    *I nearly always have chocolate in the house, and don’t eat it all up in shocking binges. Mostly because I strategically buy more bitter/darker chocolate than I love to binge on, and a little bit will do it for me.

    Things I remember, but have a heck of a time making myself do:
    *oil changes
    *Making my kid do X (stop playing tablet, feed the cats, get ready for bed, do homework, ect.)

    Things I cannot remember for the life of me:
    *Where is my phone?
    *I just started working in a new environment (academic lab science to GLP lab science) and I am having a *heck* of a time storing things “correctly” (i.e. against manufactuer’s instructions but according to local SOP) and *logging equipment use*. This is taking up so much mental/emotional energy right now, I hope to goodness I can autopilot it SOON.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      This list looks about right to me! Except I’m pretty good at doing laundry. And that one time when DC1 was tiny and I didn’t have maternity leave and I drove to work and didn’t have enough gas to get home. We also had moldy laundry at least once during that time period.

      • Debbie M Says:

        I air-dry my laundry. So I pretty much have to do a load every single day.

        Funny about the shoes–I have once left my slippers on instead of changing into outside shoes.

  13. Catwoman73 Says:

    I’m a bit of a dichotomy- my preference is to be hyper-organized and in 100% control of all aspects of my life at all times. I live my life by a tight schedule, I make countless lists, I do things that need to be done without allowing myself the luxury of thinking/whining about them. This is how I feel most comfortable, even though it is rather tiring at times. BUT- when I fall off the wagon, I fall far, and I fall HARD. And I have been known to survive for long periods of time living in utter chaos, with bills being paid late, grocery shopping being delayed until there is almost nothing in the house, piles of laundry everywhere, and in poor control of finances Usually, these episodes correspond to extremely stressful periods in my life. But eventually, living like that takes a toll, and I start to become very anxious. That’s when I get my sh*t together, and take control again. My theory is that I need to find a happy medium, so I’m not swinging between the two extremes all the time, but I have absolutely no clue how to let go of my ultra-type A personality. We are who we are, right?

  14. SP Says:

    This is what I (try to) do to. Although I have a problem in that I sometimes like to make up plans and systems that I know in advance I’ll have trouble following (e.g. a weekly/monthly/annual chore schedule). The concept is beautiful, execution not so much.

    Littler things work though: leaving keys in same place, bringing the same things to work every day, calendar reminders, paying bills when I get them, etc. I probably should put more thought into creating more simple systems to manage my life!

    The only drawback is that when I get out of my routines (like traveling), I am prone to lose/forget things (my systems don’t always come on the trip with me)

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      Yeah, as I get older I’m better at not even trying with things that aren’t gonna happen. (Discussion with my sister yesterday: Her: You should take a yoga class, Me: Not gonna happen.)

      I cannot tell you the number of times I’ve forgotten my hairbrush/comb when traveling. Now I just have a bag full of stuff that I leave in the suitcase. Of course, then my DH will take it out when he’s traveling and I will sometimes neglect to put it back, which is a PITA.

      Of course the other direction I’ve lost the ipad, my laptop chord, various chargers, etc. etc. etc. At least the hotel in Canada was nice about sending the ipad back!

      • SP Says:

        OK, I’m so glad there are other smart accomplished people out there who are scatterbrained. My husband is so NOT scatter brained and is endlessly perplexed by my ability to walk away from locations without all of my possessions. (So if we travel together, I’m usually covered!).

        My husband has the “bag of stuff” thing too, but I don’t travel quite enough to have implemented that. Maybe thats an easy life improvement step!

      • lucy4eng Says:

        Hehe, I just finished sewing 4 pouch bags of different sizes: one for phone cables, another for laptop stuff like mouse, cables, laser pointer, etc., another for medication for headaches and whatnot and a last one for toiletries. I am the happiest person now with my very organized bag, with everything in pouches instead of scattered all over the place. Super easy to check when traveling too :-)

  15. jlp Says:

    Willpower has a curious history in my life. Prior to my kids being born (and they were born back to back – they’re 18 months apart), I had, I would say, complete willpower. If I decided to do (or not to do) something, I did it (or didn’t). I also remembered things without writing them down and was generally organized.

    Immediately after my second child was born, I developed a uterine infection and had multiple massive courses of antibiotics (for months). This may or may not be relevant.

    Post kids, I have almost no willpower – unless I go cold turkey on sugar. Once I cut sugar out (for about three days), I have all my willpower back. I realize this makes me sound like a bit of a nut, but I have a suspicion that my microbiome is somehow involved, and that it may all harken back to the months of antibiotics. But who knows – maybe it is just the years of sleep deprivation, or the added amount of things to remember with two small people and all their stuff to keep track of.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      My willpower was better before my second child as well (in most respects– my willpower to not have another child is higher now!). And it’s better when I’m eating right because refined carbs cause me to go into a sad place.

      • jlp Says:

        Ha! I have also had that domain-specific surge of willpower after our second. (I still can’t figure out how other people have three or more kids, though I also have to remind myself that our first kid is genuinely not just 2E, but 3E, and all three dimensions require extra attention/energy.)

  16. Cloud Says:

    Thanks for writing this! It is fascinating to get a glimpse into how other people’s minds work. I’m almost the polar opposite- willpower is one of my strengths, and tricks almost never work for me. I just find a way around them. If I’m going to avoid doing something, it is almost always easiest to figure out the root cause of why I’m doing it and address that instead.

    As I start working with other people to help them improve their project management skills, though, it is really useful to understand other ways people work. I’m going to come back later and re-read this post and all the comments and really think about them.

    • nicoleandmaggie Says:

      I’m #2 here, and I have sh*t-for-working-memory. People keep moving my keys in attempt to be ‘helpful’ and give them to me when I’ve left them in a certain place. NO DO NOT MOVE THEM, THEY NEED TO STAY THERE! If you give them to me I will not remember where I put them.

  17. Postdoc Lurker Says:

    I have terrible willpower, which I think surprises people because I get a lot accomplished and appear to be hard-working/diligent. It just so happens that usually the things I’m supposed to be doing are things I want to do, no willpower required. For everything else (including flossing and cleaning my apartment), I use an online game that rewards me for accomplishing habits. Generally I stay away from avoid games, TV shows, and addictive substances because I could very easily get addicted.

  18. nicoleandmaggie Says:

    If you want to watch us struggle with willpower, look at our tags ‘motivation’ and ‘writing’ and ‘productivity’.

  19. Revanche Says:

    Hm. I have greater willpower for not doing some things (spending money, eating out, leaving the house) and for doing others (answering work emails {sometimes}, having work brain on, walking the dog) but it varies day to day. Mostly I go with whatever the willpower (or the ennui) is strongest because if I neglect any area long enough, that gets under my skin and poof! Burst of extra productivity!

    Used to remember everything, now remember… Only the essentials but darned if my brain will stay consistent in that front. The number of times I’ve locked myself out of accounts because I’m crap with passwords is not to be believed. My attention can either be totally on or on a tilt-a-whirl so I may book every detail of a 3 week trip but manage to forget to pack my pants, chargers, hairbrush (almost every time). I’ve actually had nightmares about going on a trip and discovering I failed to pack anything at all. It’s totally plausible some days.

    My system is a hodge podge: GCal, paper planner, laptop sticky notes to self, notes on the notes program. And the ever present pile of “things to do, you can only put these away when you deal with them.” It’s like my inbox, I keep it there til I deal with it so I can NOT afford to have more than 50 emails at a time.

  20. MutantSupermodel Says:

    I’m pretty much like you are. This year, a friend got me into using a paper day planner and I feel like it’s changing my life. I used to rely on digital calendars and to do lists but they just weren’t working– mostly because it was too easy to dismiss the reminders, even accidentally! At work I tend to be super organized but this new job was pushing my limits too. The day planner really changed that and I appreciate it so much. I used to always lose my keys so I put up a set of hooks by the door that’s sturdy enough for purses and backpacks too. Sometimes it gets too crowded so like every other month or so I lose my patience and clean it out. Even with hooks, I sometimes mess up like if I come home with my arms full I just run to the dining room table to dump everything and the keys inevitably get stranded there. But at least it’s helped me big time in that if they’re not on the hook they’re usually by my purse wherever I stranded it which is usually on the dining room table or in my bedroom. So that helps. I started doing some yoga a couple of weeks ago because I really felt like I needed some kind pf physical outlet. I found this instructor who has a bunch of videos on Amazon Prime named Kanta Barrios and I LOVE it. Even her long videos are broken down into small routines and they are complete with a small meditation at the end. They are all less than 35 minutes, most less than 30. This has been exactly what I needed. I don’t force myself to do two routines or anything like that and I find I actually look forward to doing it. Some of her routines are harder than others so that’s been fun. I haven’t even gone through all of them yet and I love that because I love variety. Yeah I’m not doing crazy exercise or anything but I’m doing something and it feels GOOD. I’ve never had that experience with exercise before and I’ve even tried yoga before. My hugest lack of willpower is unfortunately with money. I have fought with this for years and even though I can go through a couple of years of reigning it in, it is BRUTAL for me. It makes me absolutely miserable, gives me major anxiety, and just exhausts me. I have been reading personal finance books and blogs for YEARS and have tried every trick in every book and I just can’t get it to click once and for all. This past year I sort of gave up and allowed myself to live a little less responsibly financially speaking and you know what? It’s been great. I have as much as I can financially on auto-pilot to help. I LOVE automatic payments.

  21. Linda Says:

    I guess I do a few things to stay more organized when it comes to certain personal belongings. I’ve never had much trouble losing my keys, but I’ve always kept them in the same place: in a designated place in my purse. Now that I’m using a Tom Bihn bag every day as a purse, I keep them clipped to the bag with the included key chain strap. Even if I drop them, then, they stay attached to the purse.

    As for travel stuff, I have a little bag of commonly used travel grooming aids like a small hairbrush, sewing kit, ear plugs, etc. When I travel I toss that in my suitcase, so I never lack for a hairbrush. I also have a little pouch designated for charging cables and such, so I don’t forget those. I try to have an extra set of cables for my electronics, but even if I don’t I just check the pouch first to verify if I have a cable for everything.

    Maybe I don’t have the same issues with being scatter brained? I don’t know, but these kind of things are rarely a problem for me. Now, willpower…there’s another issue, as already noted.

  22. Ask the grumpies: How do you decide on donations? | Grumpy Rumblings (of the formerly untenured) Says:

    […] down by the, “Look, do you want to stop crying right now or not?” voice, because I have very little impulse control. And since I don’t have a set budget constraint on charitable giving, there’s more […]

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