Launching and Landing Pads
I would like to share some organizational ideas about launching and landing. When you learn to launch and land effectively, you save a lot of time, frustration, and hassle. There is no home too small for the application of these principles. There are three important concepts: where we will launch and land, the methods by which we will launch and land, and the timing for our launching and landing.
As I work with women, one of the challenges that keeps them from the capacity to be more organized is they simply do not have designated places in their home for launching and landing. Yes, they have a kitchen counter where they do put things if the counter isn’t already “busy,” but they don’t regularly plan to keep a place free for launching and landing.
Landing Pad Place
As an example, if you have a kitchen counter upon which you regularly put the groceries when you come home from errands, this counter should be relatively clean and clear (at all possible times) so when you come in the door with grocery sacks in your arms there is a safe place to put the groceries. This is a type of landing pad. One of your landing pads might be near your back door, it might even be in your garage, or maybe it is near the front door. But again, it is a flat surface that is left empty except for anticipated items that are being landed. Since we land something and often many things each and every time we return home, this will be a well-used counter.
Other useful landing pads are located in the master bedroom, master bathroom, and office. Usually, in these rooms, it is best to make the landing pad a cupboard or drawer so the messes are kept to a minimum.
In the same way, there needs to be a place for launching. This is where you will put items you are going to take when you run errands, when you go to a meeting, or when you have another obligation.
If you don’t know when you will be launching an item, choose a cupboard to keep it in. This will keep the item out of sight until you need to retrieve. However, because of the mistakes I have made in my own life, I have chosen NOT to use my desk (near the back door) to be my “today” launch pad because I walk right past my desk and all its neatly stacked items and go off on my errands or to my meeting with everything still sitting at home. And so for me there’s only been one good “today” launch pad, and that is the back of my vehicle.
Second, we must think about the methods we use for putting things away and for gathering things up. For instance, when you bring groceries home do you not only put the groceries away but also take the time to put those bags or sacks completely away in their designated home? And do your receipts find their way to your special “receipt” receptacle? In other words, when you land, do you finish?
In the same way, do you have a method for gathering up and preparing to launch? For most people, it is very important to have a sturdy, over-sized bag or another container for each regularly repeated activity or project. For instance, there might be Church teaching bag (with manual, visual aids, crayons and extra paper) or a bag for going to the dentist/doctor (with toys and books to read children) or even another bag for yourself when you get your hair done (with a book or crocheting/knitting) to occupy you while you wait.
By having this “grab and go” bags in your life, you will be ready to leave at a moment’s notice (an all too often occurrence in our lives). One of my favorite places to keep my bags is on a set of hooks spaced about 18″ apart and hung about shoulder height on an unused wall (usually behind a door). This keeps the launching bags up and out of reach of small children and high enough for you to slip a last minute item into without much hassle.
Finally, we will want to think about launching and landing timing. Successful home managers plan for and allow time for launching and landing. Launching is the hardest of the two because we are usually so stressed and in a hurry, we don’t take the time to think well or thoroughly. This means launching is best done quite early: tonight for a tomorrow morning’s needs, in the morning for an afternoon appointment, today for tonight’s needs.
At the same time, please, if you can in your life, try to allow a few minutes to wind up before leaving as you will usually think of some last minute “to do’s.” And, allow time to come down or “land” after you arrive home from anywhere. In other words take time to land after you have come home from an activity, a project, or another emotionally draining situation.
It is taking these little bits of “time” spaces for launching and landing, in these methods that we learn about the best way for each of us to launch and land, and it is the specific places that we designate for our launching and landing pads that will make “L&L” (launching and landing) a more successful process in our strivings for a more orderly life.
Photo from sxc.hu. Used with permission.