"Smart Home" Routines Without The Tech

When I initially began working on the 2nd-Place concept, I really wanted to learn more about smart-home gadgets. I thought if only I could set my place up perfectly with the aid of technology, I could save hours in my day! It didn’t take long fiddling with some simpler devices to know that while there are benefits to using the gadgets, it’s a craft in and of itself. This made me think – are there techniques that I can use that don’t involve smart-home devices at all? Can I switch around my layout in my home to move around faster? Do I even need to switch around my layout?

I read some morning routine blogs, but they all pretty much say the same things Ie) Lay your clothes out the night before, have an automated coffee maker etc.

As a designer and EXTREME morning procrastinator, this got me thinking more critically about how to use my architecture and systems thinking background to create the simplest techniques to get out of the home faster. I knew that I wasn’t planning any major renovations at my house for first 6 months – one year that I lived there,  So I wanted to see if I could just work within my existing environment. 

I began by making a list of the specific obstacles I faced getting out of the home in the morning, then I made a list of where these activities were taking place. From there, I looked to consolidate these activities or find techniques that would streamline my morning based on the layout of my home. I was already drawing the first floor level and I know most of my activity happens there, so I made an animated diagram for the first floor level below and listed out some of the techniques that I used to pair my morning routine (which includes a short intense 5-10 minute workout) from 1 Hour and 15 minutes down to a lighting fast (for me) 28 minutes.

1.) Wallet, keys and phone

If you don’t have them you can’t leave your home is a rhyme I made up years ago and subsequently never followed until now. Always place these to the strike side of the door for immediate exit.

2.) The Landing Dock

The landing dock is NOT so much about the morning as it is a helpful tip. Years ago working in construction, I remember an older contractor yelling at me to never take two trips to do the same amount of work. My bathroom and bedroom and storage area are all upstairs. If I need to take a number of things upstairs, I do it one time and place them on the landing dock so I don’t take multiple trips.

3.) Charger in the car

This is possibly my most important tip. Never and I mean never have less than 3 phone chargers. You should have one at work, one at home and one in your car. You should never be concerned if you forgot to charge your phone. It’s the easiest ~30 dollars you’ll ever spend, so get a few extras and over the long haul you’ll probably save at least a few minutes/day.

4.) Keep your medication and supplements in the kitchen, not the bathroom

Having breakfast, water and coffee are all important to get your morning started, you should never have to move more than necessary for any consumption of these. Also in my case, the bathroom is upstairs and a far trip.

5.) Layout your clothes the night before

This one is a more obvious tip, but I included it because while my dresser is upstairs, I actually lay my clothes out downstairs. Admittedly, it is  lot easier to just change in the living room when you live by yourself at home, but stick to the concept that less movement is better regardless of your situation.

The Sweep: Once you are completely ready to go, do one sweep of all electrical and heating devices in the spaces you normally use. I don’t use the term OCD lightly, but let’s say many of us have a “checking problem”, we will check devices multiple times and some of us even go back into the home to check again. Leverage the fact that your memory for at least a minute, is usually good enough to trust yourself, so make it the last thing you do.

6.) Arrange your shoes for easy access on the strike side of the door

so that once you open your door, you can throw them on and be out. Make sure they are in a clear area so that you won’t trip!

At the end of the day, there is no one-size fits all method and your strategy will largely be impacted by the layout of your home. I am always interested in new tricks to improve the quality of my space, so let me know if this blog post helps or if you think I am missing an even better way to do things. You can reach out at Info@2nd.Place