How to not lose your stuff

How to not lose your stuff

Some people seem unable to go ten minutes without losing something, whether it’s their phone, their keys, their wallet, or just their self-respect. While we can’t help you with the self-respect, we can give you some tips on how to stop losing your stuff.

Develop (And Stick to) a Routine

The simplest way to stop losing your stuff is to always know where it is. This sounds a bit like a truism, but what I mean is that your phone, keys, and wallet should always have a place. Problems start when you’re not sure whether your phone is in your bag, the pocket of your jacket, the jeans you threw in the wash yesterday, or sitting on the table at the bar you were in last night; if you religiously put your stuff in the same place both inside and outside your house, then it’s much much harder to lose.

For me, when I’m out of my house, my iPhone goes in my front left pocket, my wallet and keys go in my front right pocket, and my earbuds go around my neck.

When I’m at home, my phone is either in my hand, my front left pocket, or charging beside my bed or computer; my keys and wallet are by the door; and my earbuds are still around my neck. I (almost) never have to root through my laundry basket to look for my keys.

How to not lose your stuff

Develop a routine where, when you go out, you put everything you’re bringing with you in its assigned pocket. When you get home, put them all in their assigned place there. Do the same for your office, your car, and anywhere else you visit frequently. Force yourself to stick to it and you’ll soon stop losing things as often.

Don’t Put Your Things Down

Never ever put your stuff down when you’re out of the house. Don’t put your phone on the machine next to you in the gym, your wallet on the table in a café, or your keys in a friends’ bag. It’s very easy to get distracted and just walk off with out them. Trust me, I’ve done it.

Keep your stuff in its assigned place. Have an armband for your phone if you use it in the gym, put your wallet back in your pocket after you pay, and bring your own bag if your keys are uncomfortable to carry. If you never set your things down outside your house, at least you can’t lose them in a random location.

And that’s an important point. If you lose something in your home, you’re really just out the time it takes you to find it. If you lose something in public, it might not be coming back.

Make It Easy to Find

90% of the time when you lose something, it’s right there in front of you, you just can’t see it. Maybe it’s slipped between the couch cushions, gotten caught up in your duvet, or is just blending into the background like a ninja in the dark. While it’s impossible to stop this sort of thing happening, you can do a few things to make it much easier to find your stuff when it does.

Dark black covers might match your phone, but they make it hell when you have to search for it under the couch. If you lose it all the time, add a luminous orange or hot pink cover to it; there’s no way it will blend into the background then. The same is true for your keys. If you lose them all the time, add a large obnoxious keychain.

How to not lose your stuff

You should also look at Bluetooth tags like Tile. You attach a small fob to your keys and then you can use your phone to track them down. It also works in reverse: if you have your keys, you can press a button on the Tile and have your phone play a sound so you can find it.

If you have an iPhone and an Apple Watch things are even simpler. You can use your Apple Watch to find your iPhone and vice versa.

Don’t Put Your Phone On Silent

If you lose your phone regularly, don’t put it on silent. This makes it impossible for you to find it by calling it. Instead, use Do Not Disturb. Both Android and iOS let you configure it so that certain notifications and multiple calls from the same person in quick succession will get through. This will make your life a lot easier.

Tidy Your House and Office

It’s a lot easier to lose something in a messy room than a clean one. If your desk is overflowing with papers or the shelf where you put your keys and wallet covered in other stuff, they’re going to go walkabout.

How to not lose your stuff

If you’re not into keeping your whole place neat, at least tidy up the places you’ve designated for your stuff. If you insist on keeping a messy desk, buy a dock for your phone so it at least stands out.

Turn On Find My iPhone or Find My Device

Find My iPhone on iOS and Find My Device on Android are great; with them you can track your phone wherever it is and, if it’s been stolen, even disable it remotely. You can also force your phone to play a sound even if it’s on silent, which is great if you’ve lost your phone under the couch.

Find My iPhone and Find My Device are a must for everyone, even if you don’t regularly lose your phone.

Don’t Bring It With You On Nights Out

If you’re one of those people who always loses their phone—as well as their dignity—on a big night out, there’s a simple solution: don’t bring it with you.

If you absolutely have to have a phone with you at all times, then consider investing in a cheap replaceable phone for nights out. It won’t stop you from losing it, but it will at least make it cheaper to replace when you do.

Make It Easier For People to Return To You

No matter what you do—short of tethering your things to you at all times—there’s always a chance you’ll misplace your phone or wallet. The best thing to do then is make it as easy as possible for someone to return it to you.

On iOS, you can add medical information, including your next of kin’s contact details. This means that whoever finds your phone will at least know your name and the number of someone who’s in contact with you.

On Android, things are even easier. You can display your own information on the lock screen. Just make sure to add an email address instead of your phone number.

For things like your wallet or keys, it’s simple to add a card or keychain with your contact details.

If you don’t want to do those things, consider making sure you have contacts named things like “Mom” or “Dad” or “Home.” You’d be surprised how many lost phones get returned because the person who found them told them to call mom.

Constantly losing your stuff is basically a bad habit. With a bit of thought, you can set up a system so that it’s much harder for you to misplace things and, if you do, it’s easier for you to find them.

Image Credits: Photo by Mikaela Shannon on Unsplash, Photo by Rob Bye on Unsplash.

How to not lose your stuff

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People who constantly lose stuff live in a cycle of frustration, lost time, and wasted money. Time that could be otherwise productive is dedicated to frantically seeking misplaced items. Money that could be saved or invested is instead used to replace missing items. It’s frustrating and often embarrassing.

However, not all is lost. Absentmindedness is not an inescapable curse. You can decrease the frequency of losing things and increase the chances of finding them. Alleviate item loss with some simple tricks.

1. Increase Organization

The simplest, cheapest way to decrease the chances of losing items is to get more organized. Don’t simply throw your keys, wallet, cards, or phones onto the nearest flat surface. Try to nail down an area to store each item. Always place the items there when you return home every day.

2. Don’t Silence Your Cell Phone

Vibrate or silence should not be the default setting on your phone. Yes, you might need to silence your phone occasionally, but you should change the device to a setting that makes noise as often as you can. If you lose it, you can have a family member or friend call the phone.

If you live alone and you own a smartphone, you should download Skype or FaceTime. Both are free communication apps you can use to call the smartphone from your computer or tablet. Just make sure you set the communication app to notify you when it receives a call.

3. “Freeze It” Credit Card

Losing a credit card can be a huge hassle. You need to cancel the card and then wait about a week for a replacement card or pay a small fee for rush shipping.

It’s a pain — especially if you’re 75% sure you misplaced it somewhere around the house. You might find it if you spend a few hours looking, but every second you spend searching, someone might be gleefully embarking on a shopping spree. The end result is canceling cards that might not be lost.

If you switch to a credit card that has the ability to temporarily freeze, you could decrease the chance of fraud and prevent the need to prematurely cancel cards. That can be a huge boon for people who lose track of their cards constantly.

Right now the only company that offers that feature is Discover, but I anticipate in the next few years, more credit card and debit cards will begin to offer it as well. (See also: 10 Questions to Ask Before Accepting a Credit Card Offer)

4. iPod or Smartphone Wallet Case

If you can’t (or won’t) carry a wallet or purse around, you should look into purchasing an iPod or smartphone card storage device. The storage devices are either covers or attachments that stick to your phone.

This is a great option for people who can’t always carry a wallet or purse, especially if they have a history of losing track of their credit or debit cards. The fact that the devices only cost around $5–$25 dollars makes it a fairly cheap solution.

5. Add Device Trackers

There are a variety of key, wallet, or phone finder devices. The devices typically offer the following functions:

  • An audio alarm to help individuals locate the item;
  • GPS tracker to find objects that are potentially out of audio range;
  • The ability to ring the phone, even if it’s on silent;
  • Alerts when you are separated from an item;

The devices hook onto keyrings, slip into wallet pockets, or are adhesively attached to an object. It’s definitely an investment, but it could prevent the loss of an expensive item.

6. Wear Clothing With Secure Pockets

Most women’s pants either have ridiculously small pockets or no pockets at all. That can make carrying important objects from place to place difficult. And if you prefer not to carry a purse, it could mean that you need to either squash all of your objects into teeny, tiny pockets, or carry them. That can increase the chances of objects falling out of your pockets or placing objects down and forgetting to pick them up. (I’ve done both multiple times.)

Consider adding clothing into your wardrobe that includes larger and secure pockets (ones that zip, for example). This could be a jacket, cargo pants, or utility shirts with hidden pockets. And then there’s always the fanny back.

How to not lose your stuff

Two summers ago I lost my keys for a full week. As a hyper-organized person whom Freud would have labeled “anal retentive,” this freaked me out. It was my then-9-year-old daughter who finally found the keys. I had slipped them into the pocket of her book bag while rushing frantically between assorted appointments. The keys had a relaxing week with Kelsea at pottery camp while I sweated and stewed over their absence.

All week long I wished I could “call” my keys as I do my cellphone when I need to find it. So I bought a gizmo to do just that. The product came in two parts: a little fob to attach to the item and a remote control to press so the fob chirps like a homing beacon. I attached the fob, stowed the remote somewhere I wouldn’t lose it — wouldn’t that be ironic? — and went about my life.

Last fall I lost my keys again. After searching for 20 minutes, I remembered the gizmo. “Yes!” I thought, pleased and proud of my foresight. I found the remote, pressed the button, and . . . nothing.

The batteries in the remote, the fob or both had died. I’d chosen a system that required me to remember to change batteries. I had failed both.

There are now even higher-tech stuff-tracking-devices that integrate with your smartphone via Bluetooth. They, too, require batteries that can die. If you go this route, I suggest creating a calendar alert that reminds you to change the batteries annually. Of course, you’ll need to find the little round batteries the device requires. And you’ll need to remember to reset the calendar alert after you change them. You might as well just remember where you put your keys.

Since “smart technology” failed me, I decided to consult a smart person instead: Stever Robbins, a Harvard MBA and former CEO who coaches other CEOs on productivity. Robbins also hosts the “Get It Done Guy” podcast, where I first heard him talk about how to stop losing things.

“Bluntly, a major way to kill your productivity is to have to search for the things you need,” Robbins said. “Ideally, you want everything you’re going to use close to your fingertips. If it’s lost, you have to move your fingertips to go find it.” Robbins offers three pointers for keeping track of your belongings:

1. Create a designated place for essentials.

Try this: Walk into your home with fresh eyes and look for a place where you can easily and reliably stow your essentials. Every time. If there is no such place, create one. For example, you might install a shelf with hooks beneath it near a power outlet. That way you can place your wallet and phone (plugged in) on the shelf and hang your keys from the hook. Having designated spots for true essentials like this will ward off the bulk of losses.

If you tend to lose things you use less often — say, your tool kit — the same principle applies: Create a specific place you will always keep it and then stick to it. Label the spot, if necessary, to remind yourself.

2. Create multiple places if needed.

Robbins knows our routines can vary. Maybe you enter your home through the back door when coming in from a run but through the front when coming in from your car. Stowing your stuff near the front door when you’ve just come in the back goes against human nature. So he suggests you create designated spots for your essentials near both doors.

“You want to limit the possible places where lost things can go to as few places as possible,” Robbins said. That way you never need to check more than those one or two places to find something.

3. Scan places before you leave.

What about when you’re out and about? First, Robbins quickly creates a temporary “designated place” wherever he is. At a coffee house, maybe he deliberately places his essential items on the table’s right-hand corner: “Then, when I’m going to leave a place, first I scan the area that I designated as my homeless-items place.”

Next he scans the entire room or, at least, wherever he has been in that room. For example, Robbins gathers all his luggage by the door before leaving a hotel room, then walks the room from wall to wall to see if he’s forgotten anything. He may “waste” a couple of minutes doing that, but he saves many more minutes — calling the hotel, having his lost items shipped — when he finds something he forgot.

Robbins’s guidance is gold. I decided years ago to put my wallet in the left outside pocket of my purse and my keys in the right — and I rarely lose them. But sometimes I do. What then?

I turned to certified NeuroLeadership coach Linda Cassell of Quantum Leap Coaching and Training, who has studied brain science extensively to help her clients be more effective executives — and people.

A neuroscientist’s key question is, “Under what conditions do we lose things?” she said.

“There is an old adage that says ‘never go to sleep when you are angry,’ ” Cassell said. “If you want to know how not to lose things, never put anything away when you are stressed.” This explains why my own system was derailed when I was frantically rushing. “Even if you have the good habit of putting your keys in the same place every time,” Cassell explained, “chances are, under those conditions, stress will void that habit.”

We don’t all have to practice yoga and meditation so we won’t lose our keys. Cassell offered tips on quicker, easier ways to reduce and keep track of items:

Cassell studied under Mark Waldman, a neuroscience researcher at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, where she learned about the power of yawning. “Yawning can release approximately 1,200 stress-reducing chemicals,” Cassell said. “Try worrying while you yawn. It’s impossible. Yawning resets the brain. Put away your keys now, and you are likely to remember their location.”

Stretching your body while you yawn is even better, she said. Take a moment to stretch, starting with your neck and shoulders and moving to your arms and torso. The theory is that stretching causes your brain to communicate relaxing signals to your body, which, in turn, helps you make better decisions. In this case, you’ll decide to put your keys in their designated spot.

3. Be present.

Cassell suggests a quick and easy mindfulness exercise. “When you find yourself preoccupied, do something to bring yourself back into the moment,” she said. “Rub the palms of your hands together, take a gentle breath, or make a Mona Lisa smile. When you are present, you are in the driver’s seat. . . . You get to choose what actions you will take.” The goal is to disrupt the “muscle memory” that allows our bodies to do things without our brains knowing what’s going on.

Now that you are calm and conscious, put away your keys, wallet, cellphone or toolkit. Chances are, you won’t lose them.

Also learn what to do when your phone goes missing and when you get it back

Find Ratings

One day, someone you don’t know may end up holding your phone. Maybe you’ll forget it in a taxi, or it will be snatched out of your hand—smart phone thefts are on the rise. And you’re going to be concerned because that phone holds a pocket-sized summary of your digital life. It has photos of the places you’ve been and people in your life. It also has a record of what you posted on Facebook or bought from Amazon, where you bank, and which restaurants you like.

Here’s how you can keep strangers from accessing your personal information, safely back up and retrieve the photos and videos you’ve stored in the device, and, with a little luck, increase your chances of recovering your phone.

Before your smart phone is gone

Step 1: Use a strong screen lock

This is your first and strongest line of defense. Skip the easy 4-digit PIN and instead create a strong password that contains a string of at least 8 characters that include some combination of letters, numbers, and special characters that don’t form recognizable words or phrases—especially those that could be associated with you. For instance, Fred1969 is a weak password, but F!ed9691 could be much harder to crack. While typing a nontrivial password may feel cumbersome at first, it should get much easier with practice.

The iPhone 5S’s Touch ID fingerprint reader, built into its Home button, is designed to do away with this drudgery. We found it faster than typing a PIN. (Even with Touch ID enabled, you should still use a strong passcode.) We were able to go from a sleeping screen to the desktop in about a second. Password protection comes with another safeguard: After several unsuccessful tries to enter a passcode, typically 10, some phones will automatically erase all of your personal data. If your phone provides this option, activate it.

Step 2: Use a ‘find my phone’ app

For the app to be useful, the phone must be turned on and have a cellular or Wi-Fi connection. Location tracking (GPS) also must be enabled in order to find the phone on a map, but probably isn’t required to erase the phone’s contents. Since thieves will probably turn off the phone fairly quickly, yank out its SIM card, or put it in a room or box shielded from wireless connections, it’s imperative that as soon you learn that your phone is missing, you send it any commands you think appropriate.

  • On an Android phone. To set up this app on a phone running Android 2.2 or later, find the Android Device Manager in Google Settings, which is typically an icon on your desktop with the letter “g” and a gear-like symbol next to it. If necessary, use the phone’s search function to search for “Google Settings.” To track down a missing phone, use a computer to access Android Device Manager in the browser’s address bar.
  • On an iPhone. Download and install Find My iPhone from the iTunes App Store, then sign in with your iTunes account. To track down a missing phone, use a computer to access Find My iPhone.
  • On a Windows phone. Find the Find My Phone app in the main settings menu. To track down a missing phone, use a computer to go to Microsoft’s account sign-in screen.

Apple took smart phone protection a step further on its iPhone models that run iOS 7, with a powerful feature that prevents anyone from using the phone—even after it’s wiped clean—unless they type in your iTunes ID and Password. The feature, called Activation Lock, is built into iOS 7 and automatically enabled when you set up the Find My iPhone feature. Activation Lock has been available for only a few months, so it’s too soon to tell if it has had a noticeable impact on iPhone thefts.

As powerful as Activation Lock is, there’s evidence that it may be less than perfect. A security firm, SRLabs, recently demonstrated how a determined thief with the proper equipment can defeat Activation Lock in some cases.

Step 3: Attach a note

You may not love the idea of marring your phone’s great looks, but doing so may increase your chances of getting it back if it’s found by an honest person. Tape a tiny note on the back of your phone with your e-mail address or a work number (You don’t want to give a potential burglar your home number). In my informal tests, printing my e-mail address in a small font and taping it on with a small strip of shipping tape worked well on phones with smooth metal or plastic surfaces. On phones with rubbery or rough surfaces, neatly write that info, using a fine-point permanent marker, on a small strip of duct or electrical tape, which cling better to such surfaces. Choose a spot on the phone that’s least likely to receive constant rubbing from your palm or fingers.

On Android phones, you can also type such a message in the Owner Info section of the Security submenu in Settings. But if you erase the contents of your phone, that message will disappear.

Step 4: Back up your photos and videos

Phone carriers, phone makers, and operating systems typically offer free over-the-air backup for phone camera content, settings, and more. These options often appear when you set up the phone for the first time, though you can always activate them later. Selecting a carrier-neutral source, such as Apple’s iCloud, Android’s Google +, or Microsoft’s OneDrive will make it easier to retrieve your precious memories should your next phone be from a different carrier.

Are you tired of losing keys, the remote, and important papers? Learn how one woman stopped hiding things in “special places” and started keeping a notebook of reminders to help get organized — all while keeping a sense of humor.

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How to not lose your stuff

In life, losing things is a frequent occurrence. For someone with ADHD, though, it’s guaranteed — money back, if you surprise yourself (and everyone else) by somehow keeping track of your stuff.

When I wake up, I’m aware of the fact that I will misplace at least one thing that day. I just pray that I will find it again. I am, in a sense, notoriously good at losing and finding things I’ve lost. I always lose something, find it, lose it again, and, if I’m lucky, find it again before I have a chance to lose it one more time — or fall asleep, whichever comes first.

The remote control I just used, that little piece of paper I’m convinced I can hold onto, the keys that I could have sworn I left in my purse, or even the purse itself — I lose them all. Why lie? If you have ADHD, you’ll feel like there’s virtually nothing you can do to avoid misplacing something.

I find, though, that following a few simple rules have helped me stop losing things and made managing my home a little easier:

1. Put “waiting to be lost” items in the same place. This includes classics like the remote, keys, and small but important pieces of paper. Once I had the pleasure of searching 30 minutes for keys I was holding in my hand. Hey, readers with ADHD! Anyone beat that?

2. Don’t try to hide it … you’ve tried to hide it. I always hide things in “special places” so that I won’t lose them. But guess what? I lose them anyway. I can’t remember the special place, and then spend hours looking for something that I hid myself.

3. Keep a notebook and tape those small but important papers inside. This will work until you lose the notebook.

4. Don’t use sticky notes for messages that you’ll need longer than a day. Reason? Sticky notes evolve into un-sticky notes after 24 hours. I recently moved my desk and found about 20 reminder notes that had become “unstuck” and fallen out of sight. Use sticky notes as a “to be done today” reminder system.

5. When it comes to other people’s stuff, just don’t lose it. Something as common to ADHD as losing belongings might be enough to end a valued friendship if the belongings belong to someone else. So take special care to keep track of anything that isn’t yours.

6. Don’t rely on memory. Everyone thinks they’ll be able to remember where they’ve parked their car. With ADHD, however, if you don’t write down “Level 5, Section G,” good luck finding the car. Just hope you don’t have to be someplace anytime soon.

I’m aware that the new “key finder” gadgets are supposed to revolutionize the world of ADHD. With a simple click, you can find your keys, the remote, your cat, and so forth. I do find it ironic that they’ve decided to give the person with ADHD another thing to keep track of. “You say you can never find your remote? Let’s give you another one to help you find it.”

But wait — what if you lose that remote? Will you then need a remote to find the remote that helps you find the remote? But what if …

Different Mistakes Lots of Guys Make When Having Sex for the First Time

Sex holds a special place in modern life. It’s something that everyone seems to want more of, but no one will talk about openly.

As you can imagine, that can send confusing messages to guys who’ve never had sex before. And with all that confusion, it’s no surprise that men experience less-than-ideal first sexual situations.

People frame “virginity” as a bad title that you need to shed in order to be a full adult, and in their haste to get rid of their shameful V-card, guys can potentially stumble in a number of different ways.

Whether you’re nervously anticipating your first time or it’s something you did years ago, here are 7 common mistakes men can make when having sex for the very first time.

Ways Guys Can Screw Up Having Sex for the First Time

1. Rushing Into It

There’s this common narrative that guys are exposed to growing up about how sexual prowess makes you manly, and by the same token, male virgins are considered embarrassing and weak. While that’s not true, if you hear things like that when you’re young, it can seriously influence how you see sex — as an achievement you need to unlock in the video game of your life, rather than a special moment between you and another person.

As a result, lots of young guys try to have sex for the first time despite not being ready. Even with a willing partner, that can lead to all kinds of negative consequences. They could regret their actions in retrospect, realize it was coercive in nature, potentially lead to an unplanned pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection, or even change the nature of a relationship or friendship in a way that they might not be emotionally prepared for.

2. Pressuring a Partner

That urge to have sex as soon as possible can also have negative effects on a guy’s partner. Having sex for the first time is an incredible intimate, personal and potentially powerful thing — something you’ll probably remember for the rest of your life — but too many people experience being pressured into it by a partner who doesn’t want to wait for them to be ready.

Don’t be that partner. You’ll never know whether they’re agreeing because they’ve decided they really want to or to escape the feeling of being pressured. People shouldn’t do anything sexual until they’re ready, and making demands, bargaining or pleading are not going to make someone feel ready. You want your first time to be a good time for both of you, not something the other person resents you for.

3. Not Using a Condom

Condoms aren’t necessarily exciting, but they are important. Being protected against potential pregnancy is important for guys having penis-in-vagina sex, and being protected against potentially contracting a sexually transmitted infection is important for guys having any kind of sex.

Having sex for the first time without using a condom isn’t just a recipe for potentially negative outcome, it’s also starting off on a very bad foot. You might be tempted to keep skipping the condom the next time you have sex, and the time after that until you get hit with the consequences.

4. Not Talking About It First

In the heat of the moment, you might not be in the headspace to have a serious conversation about sex. Understandable, sure, but if you’re in a relationship with someone that you hope to have sex with for the first time, you owe it to both of you to engage in a serious conversation about sex beforehand. It’s necessary to find out what you both think about it, what your wants, needs and fears are, and what you find gross, weird or confusing.

Knowing what the other person thinks and feels about sex is paramount not just for having a good first time, but for having good sex at all at any point in your life.

5. Not Knowing Anything About Sex

A lack of adequate sex education growing up means that guys can enter their first sexual encounter without really knowing how everything works — what their partner’s body parts look like, how to treat them, how long sex is supposed to last, and so forth.

This can be especially pronounced for guys whose first experience is with penis-in-vagina penetration. If they don’t have any familiarity with vaginas, they might be lacking crucial details about the need to make sure their partner is well-lubricated before attempting penetration, or even fingering.

6. Not Understanding Consent

Even more important than understanding the physical mechanics of sex is understanding how sexual consent works. Consent is the cornerstone of sex, meaning both partners feel like the other person has their interests at heart, and neither person is scared of what the other person might do.

Consent is not just a good sexual practice to understand and follow, it’s necessary. Without consent, you have traumatic experiences; you have sexual assault and rape. Even if you want something really bad, you need to understand that the other person has to genuinely want it too for it to happen.

If you don’t understand consent, you’re likely to cause your partner traumatic experiences that could qualify as sexual assault or even rape. If your partner doesn’t understand consent, you might be the victim. Understanding consent is the most important thing you can do when it comes to preparing to have sex for the first time.

7. Bragging About It Afterwards

When you’re done having your first sexual experience, whether taking, giving or both, the instinct can be to tell people. You’re feeling overwhelmed or excited, and you want to share that that feeling pure happiness with others.

However, the ways in which you share your good news can end up making for a negative experience, especially for your partner if they’re not expecting to have details of this intimate moment spread around. There’s still the sexist double-standard known as “slut shaming” that often means women get shamed or punished for the exact same things men get celebrated for.

If you’re excited by what just happened, great! But before you go sharing all the details, check in with your partner about who you both agree gets to know and who doesn’t. Screenshots of text messages, snippets of overheard details (or worse, photos or video), can spread quickly through a social group’s gossip chain, and once the information is out there, it can be difficult or impossible to fix that.

Get tips on how to stop losing things you have a habit of misplacing.

How to not lose your stuff

Some of us are absent minded. We lose stuff. We forget where we keep it; we forget where we leave it. We leave our cell phones in the coffee shop, our wallet in our car, our glasses on the bureau, and in my case, I sometimes run around looking for my keys with my right hand, not noticing I’m holding them in my left. There’s a reason the neighborhood kids weren’t allowed to play with me growing up.

How to Stop Losing Things

I try to help myself remember. I always think, “This time I’ll put my keys someplace special, so I’m sure to remember.” Of course, “someplace special” is different every time, so this strategy just becomes a wonderful way to lose the things that I care most about keeping.

Next time you visit a zoo, look around. You know what you’ll never find? You’ll never find an elephant’s wallet left on the concession stand cash register. Why? It’s because elephants never forget. They can’t or else they wouldn’t be able to find the nuts they stored up for the winter. We aren’t so lucky, but we can learn a lot about memory from elephants.

Make a Place for Everything

How to not lose your stuffElephants are creatures of habit. Many live in small artificial zoo enclosures without a lot of storage space. Most even have to share a closet. So they’re meticulous about giving everything a place. And I mean everything!

They have a little grassy nook right by the entrance, where their wallet, keys, and coin purse goes. Every time they come home, they drop things there. It takes practice to create a habit, but it’s well worth it.

Learn the elephants’ lesson. Create a place for your most important things, like your wallet and keys. Use a test run. Walk into your house carrying your things, and look for a place you’ll be able to put them every single time you get home. Your keys, for instance, could always go just inside the door in that priceless Four Dynasty Chinese Urn you found on eBay.

Create Multiple Places If Necessary

If you use both your front door and your back door, create a home in both places. Buy a second priceless urn and put it by the back door. When you get home, you always put your keys into the nearest urn. When it’s time to leave, you know your keys are in one of two places.

My class ring got lost for years at a time. Now, it only has three homes. It lives on my desk to the right of my computer monitor when I’m typing. It lives next to my iPod charger at night, and it lives in a special pocket in my luggage when traveling. When I need it, I only need to check those places. If it’s not in any of those, then it’s probably on my finger, so I check there.

Teach Your Brain to Remember

It’s often immature and petty to try to put people in their place, but it’s extremely good form to put things back in their place. Here’s how to train yourself to put things where they belong. Once you’ve decided where your wallet will live, make a mental picture of you putting it there. Next, imagine the view into your house when you first walk in. Put a tiny dot in the center of that picture. Imagine the dot rushing towards you super-fast, getting bigger and brighter and turning into the picture of you putting your wallet in its place.

Blank your mind and do this again, faster. See the view into your house, add a dot, and woosh! into a picture of you putting it away. Do this ten times, faster each time, until you do it in under a second. If you come in multiple doors, repeat this for each view. You’re teaching your brain to remember to put your wallet away as soon as you get home.

Stop Leaving Things in Other Places

This is great for putting things where they belong at home, but what about leaving stuff in unexpected places? That’s simple. Do it again, but instead of starting with the view into your house, start with a mental picture of your wallet, itself. Teach yourself that any time you see your wallet, you immediately think of putting it away. That can be very helpful if you’re trying to save money.

As a final check, create a habit of scanning places before you leave. Always. So you don’t think about it.

Quick and dirty tip: Before leaving a hotel room, I put all my luggage by the door and do a final scan through the room from wall to wall to catch anything I may have left behind. Even when I know I have everything, I do the scan. By making it a habit, I may do it when I don’t need it, but I’ll also do it when I do need it.

You lose things that don’t have a home. Give everything a place, and train your brain with imagery to remind you to put stuff away the moment you get to your home or office. Add a habit of doing a final sweep whenever you leave somewhere, and pretty soon you, too, can be an elephant.

Work Less, Do More, and have a Great Life!

About the Author

Stever Robbins is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.

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How to not lose your stuff

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Losing all the stuff on your phone used to be no big deal a decade ago. These days, it’s practically a Netflix horror movie plot. Wondering how to switch your iPhone, iPod, or iPad successfully, without losing anything in the process? If you’re looking to upgrade your iPhone ( these are the best iPhones to buy right now) to the newest model, it is possible to do so painlessly. Your photos, contacts, videos, message history, music, calendars, mail accounts, and many of your apps can all be transferred from your previous device to the new one. We’ve outlined the steps below.

First you need to back up your old phone, which can you do via iCloud or your computer. You used to be able to use iTunes, but that app has since been replaced by three apps—Apple Music, Podcasts, and Apple TV—on Macs running newer operating systems. The computer backup steps are similar.

To back up your iPhone using iCloud, first be sure your device connected to Wi-Fi. Then go into your phone’s settings and click your name at the top, which will take you to your Apple ID page. Depending on which phone you have, you will either choose iCloud > iCloud Backup > Back Up Now, or after clicking onto your Apple ID page, you’ll see a list of devices your ID is signed into. If that’s the case, click on your iPhone. From there, choose iCloud Backup, toggle it on, click on Back Up Now, and let your phone back up while it’s still on Wi-Fi. It might be worth setting your new phone to automatically backup daily, but be aware that the cloud only stores 5 GB for free.

To back up your iPhone using a Mac computer, plug your phone into your MacBook or iMac and open Finder. On the left you should see your phone come up under Locations. You’ll be able to go through all your saved data, from music and podcasts to photos and files. If your photos have been saved via iCloud, they won’t show up here unless you turn that feature off. Under the General tab, you can select Back Up Now. To save Health and Activity, choose the option to encrypt your backup or else it will not save it; not saving unencrypted Health and Activity data is a default privacy feature. All iCloud backups are encrypted automatically.

To back up your iPhone using a Windows 10 computer, download iTunes for Windows and plug your iPhone into your laptop or desktop via USB. Click the iPhone button in the upper left, then go to Summary > Back Up Now. Encrypt your backup by clicking “Encrypt local backup” and setting a password. Encrypting allows you to back up your Health and Activity data, as well. To find your backups, click Edit > Preferences > Devices. Apple also goes through the steps here.

Once you’re fully backed up, turn off your old device. If you have a SIM card that you want to use, you can switch that from the old to new phone now. Lightly pushing a paperclip into the SIM tray hole will help you open it up.

Turn on your new phone and follow the steps on the Hello screen until you reach a screen that asks if you want to join a Wi-Fi network. Choose the network you wish to join.

While still on that Wi-Fi screen, you can choose how to restore your backed up data.

How to not lose your stuff

Have you ever received an email from a client, customer or coworker that was rude, irrational, demanding and unnecessary? Or had an employee make a costly mistake? Your first instinct may have been to react immediately — to angrily hit “reply” or chide your employee in front of the entire office.

Keeping your cool, especially during stressful situations, is one of the most important attributes of a good leader. These five tips will help you keep a clear head and an even temper, no matter how stressful your day.

1. Take a step back. Try to view the situation as a third party. Pretend you’re a representative of yourself and evaluate the problem from a logical point of view. An emotional reaction or angry tirade will almost never solve a dilemma. At best, losing your temper may cause an embarrassing situation and you may need to offer an apology for your behavior. At worst, you’ll intensify the situation and add to the list of consequences. Ask yourself, “Is this something I’ll still be angry about a year from now?” If not, let it go and move on. Many seasoned entrepreneurs will tell you that the things that used to upset them don’t even register on their radar anymore.

2. Be the voice of reason. When someone raises his or her voice to you, take a deep breath and remain calm. Keep your voice steady and speak at a normal pace. Most people will quickly realize they’re the only aggressor in the situation and will bring their voice and their temper back down. Some may even apologize for their outburst. At the same time, be prepared to apologize if you say something you didn’t mean to say.

3. Think carefully before you speak. Once something comes out of your mouth, you can’t take it back. Saying hurtful or nasty things can be risky or dangerous to your professional reputation. It can also shatter your credibility. Watch what you say, how you say it, and where you say it. It’s best to confront someone in private, whenever possible.

4. Don’t take it personally. Entrepreneurs care deeply about their business and take extreme pride in their products and services. After all, they created the entire company from the ground up. Because of the emotion tied to your business, you may take negative feedback from customers as a personal attack. Instead, try to put yourself in your customers’ shoes. You never know what kind of personal stressors someone may be dealing with on a daily basis. Try to practice patience and understanding and always treat everyone with the same level of respect you’d like to be shown.

5. Walk away. If you find a situation pushes you to your breaking point, step away until you can return with a clear mind. If you’re in the middle of an argument, simply tell the other person that you feel the conversation has gotten out of hand and you’d like to table the conversation for another time. Take time to calm down. Go outside and take a walk or take an hour and go to the gym. A break from the office and physical activity will help you relax. When you return to the problem, your fresh perspective will help you find the best solution.