Creature of Habit

Most of my habits are innocent enough, even helpful. I brush my teeth at least twice a day and clean the dryer’s lint screen after every load. Yay, me!

But sometimes habits control me. “Autopilot,” I call it, because that sounds so much better than “not thinking.”

For example, consider my “office habit.” Brent’s and my desks are set up in opposite corners of our computer room, which is actually a spare bedroom. I had done most of my work there, day in and day out, for two years or so. Every time I needed to throw something away, I would roll my chair back and to the left, lean way over and attempt a bank shot off the south wall, into the wastebasket by Brent’s desk in that corner. (I missed about half the time, but then it’s a little bitty wastebasket.) Being a bit of a perfectionist, plus using lots of little reminder notes to myself, I had plenty of drafts and expired reminders to throw away. The roll / lean / bank shot sequence became a habit.

Then one day we happened to be in a Container Store in north Dallas, and I noticed these really cute wastebaskets woven of newspaper. A brilliant idea began to take shape. Maybe I could have… my own wastebasket! Beside my own desk! Think of the time it would save! And what could be more perfect than a really cute one woven of newspaper? Minutes later, the deal was done.

When we got home, I sat down at my desk hugging my prize, and reached for my scissors to cut off the hangtag. The next step, of course, was to throw away the hangtag. So then, with my new wastebasket in my lap, I rolled my chair back and to the left, leaned way over and started to attempt a bank shot off the south wall…

Stopping myself just in time, I looked down into the empty basket in my lap, said “Oh,” and dropped the hangtag into the very receptacle from which it had come.

I am happy to report that it took very little time for my habit to change. These days I drop those drafts and expired reminders into the newspaper basket without a thought. Wrappers, bits of junk mail — in they go.

Now, if I could only remember to turn left when I’m heading toward town, rather than my usual right turn out of the neighborhood. Remember, it’s called “Autopilot”…

Thanks for reading,

I am linking up with Jen and our Soli Deo Gloria friends
Company Girls Coffee, with Rachel Anne.

About Jan C. Johnson

Welcome! If you like food, reading, laughing over life's little disasters, and maybe thinking about the bigger things of life, you have come to the right place. Besides blogging, I write humorous fiction, though real life tends to leave fictional humor in the shade. But I'm not a total goofball. No, really. I'm also working on a biography project. I live in North Texas with my husband, Brent. We enjoy bicycling, Mexican food, and traveling to visit our kids and grandkids.
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11 Responses to Creature of Habit

  1. Jen says:

    I ALWAYS laugh when I come here. Well, except when you are baring your soul…but then, sometimes you still throw in a funny sentence. Love how well you can write about anything! (yes, even fiction!)


  2. jean Wise says:

    Funny funny post and one I really identify with. I like the word autopilot – too much of what I do in life is in that mode.

    anyway you did bring a moment of joy into my life. Thanks!


    • Jan says:

      Thanks, Jean! I know what you mean about spending too much time in autopilot; I’m afraid I could write many sequels to this post, myself. Thanks for visiting.


  3. Kathy Falley says:

    Hi Jan! You are so special! Thank you for your sense of humor. It makes for a great read.
    I miss Texas, but most of all our grandson, Thomas. Next Month he’ll be a year old! We hope to see Thomas, Betsy and Jason at Christmas. I hope this note finds all of you healthy and praising God for his many blessings!
    With Love,


  4. joyceandnorm says:

    I’m sure we can all relate! Now, if you ever see that wastebasket in any of our weekly photos, you’ll know where I got the idea! =p


  5. Kelly C says:

    At a seminar one time the speaker suggested we move our trash can at home just to prove to ourselves how hard old habits were to break. You proved he was right.


  6. Pingback: Creature of Habit (Part 2) | Joywriting: Everybody Has a Story

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