the power of nudge.

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nudge defined lillibridge dakota

I read about this great behavior study program to help students be more successful during college IDEAS42 (link below).  With the school year approaching and entirely different rules of engagement nipping at my heals, I’m looking for strategies. This site is well worth checking out if you have kids of any age.  It really made me think about the partnership between parent and child required to aid success with transitions.  I’ve come to realize that NUDGE is a pretty swell word.

ideas42/nudging toward success

NUDGE is different than telling someone WHAT or HOW or WHEN to do something.  It’s a little bit gentler and it’s quieter.  NUDGING is setting up the possibility of a beneficial behavior being implemented.  And sometimes that’s the best we can hope for with ourselves, our loved ones or colleagues…the possibility.

I think about the use of NUDGE with food, money, exercise, reading, chores and so much more.  If I wash fruit, cut up vegetables and make them front and center when the fridge is opened by hungry customers…I’ve nudged them (or myself) to a good choice.

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If I leave out books that I think the kids would love or magazines opened to an article I think they would enjoy without saying a word…I’ve maybe nudged them into reading something I think they would be interested in.  This is way more effective than telling them. I read things to my husband Jeff and pretend I don’t want them to hear it.  I do that a too much.  Ask my kids.  It drives them bananas. A nudge is better.

This year I’m going to fill a basket with graph paper, binder paper, paperclips, tape, highlighters, pens, a stapler, a zip drive, a ruler and whatever else they may need to be successful…NUDGE them toward self sufficiency.  And potentially avoid a run to Staples late at night.  This helps me too.  Having a shelf with cards, envelopes, stamps and an address book makes it way easier to get a message in the mailbox.

As a WIFE and MOM, I don’t want to be a NAG.  I would much rather NUDGE.

I have a college age son and I know that I need to be on top of deadlines for him. I don’t mean schoolwork, but other things…dentist, applications for trips, health care, financial management, family birthdays (so he can call or send a text) and so on.  I won’t do this forever, but NUDGE is the right thing to do for a lot of young adults.  And they can have a sense of accomplishment.

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When I lay out my sketch book, charge my ipad, phone and put a note about my intentions for the day next to my coffee cup…I’m a tiny bit closer to accomplishing what I want to get done that day.  When I don’t, I’m less likely.  The same is true with automatic savings plans, laying out our exercise clothes, making to do lists or putting reminders in our phones, on the fridge or on a calendar.

I’m hardly saying I’ve got this organizational stuff nailed.  It’s an area of profound struggle for me.  But, NUDGE…well, that I can wrap my highly disorganized head around.

The power of NUDGE.

 

 

 

 

 

pay yourself first

I know a lot of people hate Mondays.  I’m sorry.  I’m not one of them.  I’ve always loved Mondays and I like them even more when it’s raining or cold.  I feel really productive and I think, “Well, I have to get my work done, so why have the pull of great weather taking my attention.  Crappy Monday weather simply makes it easier to get at what has to be done.

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So, on this cloudy (with a good chance of showers this afternoon) April Monday in Vermont I find myself with one of these such days. However, I’m rested, coffee fueled and hitting the ground running.  These are rainy day images from Brooklyn I shot over the weekend.

I’m trying a new process to get myself organized and I would love to hear how others do this as well.  On Sunday nights I write down a list of my intentions for the week—day by day.  This practice has uniquely organized my “highly disorganized” brain and has allowed me to relax a bit because the week is laid out for me.

I have to get very specific because I’m easily distracted.  I even write down my food intentions for the week because it sets a tone…especially after a rather indulgent weekend with friends eating and drinking beer in Brooklyn.  I pencil in writing, homework, appointments, exercise, breaks, errands, projects, phone calls, tasks, quiet time and family time.  This may sound rigid, but there’s plenty of wiggle room.

I’ve started paying more attention to what I do when and this has been a real game changer for me.  I’m highly creative in the morning and I have a lot of clarity and energy.  So, the tasks that require the most of my brain power I do first thing.

I can complete other things later in the day that require much less of me.  I don’t want to waste my most creative time doing laundry, cleaning the bathroom or paying bills.

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I was reminded when I started this practice that my Grandpa Louis used to say; “Pay yourself first, Lisa”.

He said this in regard to my savings account when I started working my first job at a grocery store when I was eleven.  However, now I realize that Grandpa meant so much more in that simple statement.  Setting my intentions for all aspects of my life; work schedule, social activities, food, exercise, creative and quiet time is paying myself first and it’s been quite effective for me so far. Thank you, Grandpa.

one corner of my studio: before & after

Yesterday I didn’t feel remotely creative.  Over the weekend I showed my studio to my niece and she thought it was cool but really disorganized.  I usually don’t mind my space messy but when I stepped in to the studio yesterday I realized she was entirely right.  It was not very inspiring. There was a lot of garbage around.  And I didn’t know what textiles I had for working on a current project.  So, yesterday when I cleaned and hauled out two large bags of garbage and recycling I did sort of feel like an organizational Rock Star.  When I don’t feel creative, I clean.  I still have a lot of spaces to organize, but it’s a start and doing one chunk at a time is so much less overwhelming than thinking I need to do the whole space.  I was told once that when you have the desire to get rid of things that you are making room in your life for new possibilities.  I wonder what’s next?

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