Somewhere in me is a desire to implement minimalism into my life, I am not yet ready to face this desire, so, for now these are some things I do, partially do or aspire to, which help me to be more organised. Therefore making my life just that little bit simpler, these are mainly recent things I have implemented. Some of these are just common sense, but sometimes we all need reminding. I hope you take on board and apply some of them to simplify your life, if you don’t already:
- Go paperless with any online accounts such as banks and utility bills, most have the option to turn on paperless.
- Write to the companies / organizations that don’t provide the online paperless option, advising them you do not wish to receive correspondence via post but want to receive via email, advise them that you want to reduce your carbon footprint on the environment, they should do this as it will save them money in paper, postage etc. Click to download Email Correspondence Template for my free template to get you started.
- I have created folders in my email account, e.g. Bills, then sub-folders e.g. Gas, Water etc. and as correspondence comes I simply move to the appropriate folder. I now have copies of all correspondence that is super easy to find.
You can also get a door sign from Amazon, requesting no junk mail, cold callers etc. I like this one, it’s clear and discreet, £5.50 with free delivery, click link ‘No Junk Mail / Cold Callers Sign’
- For those physical documents you already have or can’t go paperless with, invest in a small home scanner. You can scan and save documents electronically, don’t forget to back up in case your computer crashes. Alternatively you can take a photograph of the document on your phone and download on to your computer.
It works out cheaper to purchase a printer with built-in scanner than a stand alone scanner for home use. I have this one, it’s cheap and does the job ‘Canon MG3050 All in One Printer’
- Try to plan your journeys to do your errands in one go, plan your week and put in your diary, phone, calendar or whatever method you use to remember things to do. This will not only save on petrol, but time also. This is even more efficient if you haven’t got a car. By doing this you will be super productive, a top achiever some might say, well mainly me!
If anyone else is going your way, for example the post office and you need stamps, ask them to get them for you.
- Order your shopping online, create a favorites or shopping list in your favorite online supermarket. This reduces petrol, time, you don’t forget essentials and you tend not to be tempted by extras such as cream cakes, as if I would!
I have a complete list of all foods, toiletries etc. that I order and simply add to trolley delete off what I don’t need that week.
Okay, this is for the obsessive compulsive organizer, don’t look at me!
- Book your regular appointments for 6-12 months in advance, this will work for hairdressing appointments, dog grooming, dentist, health checks etc.
- Type them out to give to your hairdresser for example, put them in your diary, phone, or calendar. This avoids not being able to get the appointment date / time you want.
Set reminders in your calendar / Phone just so you don’t forget because they were booked so far in advance,
Meal Planning / Prepping
- Plan your meals at least one week ahead if you can, you can then prep to make your working week easier. I often cook 2 or 3 meals in one go, for example if I make cottage pie, I make three, have one that night, one for dinner the next day at work and one for the following evening, some people would not like the same meal on the run like that, but I don’t mind it because I enjoy the meal.
- Also prepare your work lunch the night before, this feels so good knowing you are saving precious morning time and money too.
I also prepare my smoothies by putting my frozen fruit and veg in a smoothie cup in the fridge, so in the morning I just have to add the liquid, blend and take to work, I have as soon as I get to work, easy, healthy and delicious too!
Birthdays and Occasions
- Go to the card shop and buy all your birthday cards in one go, you have them in then for the year.
If you gifting cash or gift cards buy one each payday and put in relevant card, just make sure the expiry date on the gift card won’t expire.
Planners and Diaries
Oh my god, don’t you just love planners!
- Plan your week ahead, I have a notebook where I brain dump everything, this evolves over time, some I add some I remove because I have changed my mind or simply don’t need to do anymore.
- Use a planner or diary and once a week go through your brain dump and schedule some ‘to do’s in your diary. For sheer beauty and to increase productivity I recommend the Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner by Freedom Mastery, it is undated and I use Frixion pens, so writing can be erased, click link ‘Deluxe Law of Attraction Planner’ and this link for ‘Frixion Pens’
- Some people put three tasks a day in their planner, it really depends how big the tasks are (even after they are broken down). I find I work best if I put one task in that is aligned with my goals, if I am having a particularly productive day, I will do things scheduled for other days.
I tend not to use my planner for menial must do things like cleaning tasks. I put these on one sticky note in my planner so it does not fill my planner.
- Try to make de-cluttering part of your weekly schedule, Some people like to blitz the de-cluttering, this doesn’t work for me, I am little and often as clutter periodically builds up again.
- De-clutter by category, e.g. clothes or books, this keeps it simple and ensures you don’t make more of a mess trying to sort everything at once.
Keep a bag in your wardrobe (out of sight) for charity, so that whenever you have a little de-cluttering session, put it in,then when a charity comes to collect you have items already sorted or you can drop off at the charity shop whilst out on your errands.
- Unsubscribe from emails you don’t want and schedule in deal with, file, delete or junk your emails at least weekly, you can even do this on your phone when you have some downtime, in a queue, waiting for a bus, the doctor’s surgery etc.
Stop over-subscribing to websites, add a site to your reading list if you want to revisit, don’t subscribe just so you remember to return to it.
- I use the pomodoro method to do things I really don’t want to do, for example I set timers on my watch say for 10 mins, 20 mins, 30 mins or 1 hour depending on what I am doing. So when I really need to iron (because I have no clothes), I set my timer for at least 10 mins, sometimes 20 mins, you iron quicker as it’s a race against the clock, I find this method works very well for me, occasionally I even keep going once the time is up (Yaay me!)
- To find out if the Pomodoro method can work for you, click link https://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/the-pomodoro-technique-is-it-right-for-you.html
Use the timer on your phone to apply the pomodoro method.
Create a Capsule Wardrobe
- I admit this is still on my wish list, once I started to research it seamed more complicated than I thought. However I have implemented some aspects, my colour palette has reduced from the colours of the rainbow to black, white, blue and pink and everything coordinates much better. I have also sold about 40 items of clothing, shoes and bags on Ebay, so my clothes don’t need ironing again once hung. I have lost count of how much I give to charity but overall I have taken the first steps to a capsule wardrobe.
Start selling on Ebay, if you don’t already, it’s not a great way to make money, but it’s a great way to de-clutter.
- I must admit, I am not a great fan of social media, I just find unless you are extremely disciplined, you can waste a lot of hours with no output. Whatever social media platform it is, ask yourself do you use it? is it good for you? or do you waste time? I recently deleted my Facebook account, because it didn’t add any real value to my life so after saying for a long time I would delete I finally did.
Facebook allows you to save all your content into one file including pictures before you delete your account, so you won’t lose everything
Learn to say “No”
- Learn to say no to things you do not really want to do, if other people are regularly taking up your time or you feel obliged to attend an event or accompany someone and you don’t want to, learn to say no. This is your life, do what you want to do.
Practice saying no in a nice but assertive way, have excuses ready.
- Apart from the physical stuff, it is important to reduce the mental traffic. The world we live in feeds our brain with stimuli overload. The best way to do this is through mindfulness, particularly meditation. I did an online course for ‘Wellbeing and Peak Performance’ on Future Learn it’s completely free,
- I also like the apps ‘Headspace’ and ‘Calm’
- Get rid (and I don’t mean kill) the people who drain you, you know, the negative people who drain your brain or at least reduce the amount of time you spend with them.
Make your bed every morning, I don’t know why this reduces the traffic in your head but it works for me.
Prepare the night before
- Pick out, lay out or hang out your clothes the night before, again I don’t know why this works but it does, it gives you that organized feeling first thing in the morning, what better way to start the day.
Check the weather forecast the night before, so you don’t put that dress on that easily rises with a gust of wind :O
Be an Early Riser
- I am usually up by 6.00am, for someone who when I was younger used to sleep until midday, this is major for me, but it just goes to show people can change with practice.
- Although I do slip at the weekends, my aim is to eventually get up at 5am, 7 days a week and use that time for me; meditation, exercise, yoga, journaling, gratitude, walking, all things that are not only good for me, but make me feel good.
Choose an ideal time you would like to get out of bed and slowly work towards it, start with getting up 10 minutes earlier than usual for one week, then 15 minutes etc. until you reach your chosen ideal time.
Only keep things you want, love or need!
My challenge to you is to choose one of the above ideas and start to implement, for example, if you want to write to companies to request they correspond by email, start now by writing a list who you want to write to. Choose an idea that you feel will have either the biggest impact or you find the easiest to do, it doesn’t matter, it’s up to you. Take action, any action, just make a start. Taking action feels so good, especially if it makes your life easier, because lets face it, life can be pretty overwhelming at times. Good Luck!
Don’t forget with all the free time and head space you clear from doing the above, make time for yourself, read, pamper yourself or let someone else pamper you, whatever it is you like to do to relax, do it!