A New Year, A More Effective Me!

I was told recently by my optician that ‘I made things so easy.’ Now to some this might sounds like an assault on my character (trust me it wasn’t, I’m not *that* kind of easy), it was however a compliment to my attitude and organisation of life. Which got me thinking. I love finding new ways to simplify my life, I quite often watch motivational videos and listen to podcasts on organisation and simplicity, but for me I also like to be firmly in control of my life and my time as well as have everything in ordered whilst staying as laid back as humanly possible. There’s an inner conflict right there! What better way to share this with you all than a little post about my top tips for making your own life a little easy every day.

1.       De-clutter…EVERYTHING.

clutterI’m not just talking about that junk draw or sifting through you wardrobe.  Get rid of stuff. This year (well the later part of this year) I have adopted a more minimalist approach to clutter. I’ll save you the time of reading the KonMari Method and just highlight one point – only keep the things that spark joy. Keep the stuff that makes you FEEL something. But it’s not just gig tickets and old school jumpers that I’m asking you to de-clutter. Look at your finances, a gym membership that you don’t use to its full potential (or at all!?), a subscription to a magazine you don’t care much for anymore, Amazon Prime free trial that you forgot about and now pay £50 for (Yes I did that!) get rid of them all. As for subscriptions, look at the traffic into and out of your inbox. Ok so you brought something from SportsDirect a million years ago, do you really need their weekly deals in your inbox every Monday? Unsubscribe. It’s my favourite technology-related word.  Thin out your commitments, can you really fit all that into one week? Would they miss you if you didn’t go? You have to think about this seriously, are you going because you actually WANT to be there or because it’s become habit?

Once you’ve done all of that you will notice that both your bank balance and time for other things has increased.

2.       Start as you mean to go on.

I’m going to say it and you might not like to hear it but – make your bed every day. Every morning when I get out of bed, stumble into the bathroom and do all that business, I get dressed then make my bed. It’s become second nature to me now and trust me, when you’ve had a hard day and want to go home and collapse in your blanket fortress you’ll be grateful that you pre-plumped those pillows and levelled the duvet! My time in a morning is a premium so that’s why I have even started getting my cup of tea all ready before I go to bed. In order for all these pieces to fit together that includes washing up after dinner too!

What are you putting off doing now which will make things easier later on?

I like, and often fail at, the one touch method. It basically means putting things away instantly rather than kicking your shoes off in the lounge, throwing your coat on the chair and dumping your bags in the kitchen (guilty!). If you’ve got a place for everything, put it back. I have a little de-robing station by my front door. Shoes go on the rack, coat and scarf get hung up, and my bag goes on the shelf.  Then I know where they are if I want anything or if I don’t it know that tomorrow morning I do it all in reverse and I’m ready to leave the house. It’s as simple as that. 

3.  Diaries and Schedules.

I’ve had an ‘agenda’ or whatever you want to call it forever. I think it stems back from having a ‘homework diary’ at school which helped me keep track of my appointments and commitments. I’ve carried this logic on into adulthood and now I write everything down, I plan ahead and refer pack to previous plans too.

This year I became a fan of the Bullet Journal System. Now don’t get me wrong I don’t 63580370make it pretty and colourful for me it’s there to do a purpose. I work from a plain notebook in which I dedicate one page to a monthly list of major events then each subsequent page is a variation of a standard weekly to do list, week at a glance or daily breakdown. The joy of a plain notebook is its versatility. Each new page can be anything I want. Some weeks all I need is a list of tasks. Other weeks I need a proper breakdown of what I’m doing every day. I plan my weeks on a Sunday and make sure that I check off everything completed and carry over stuff I haven’t managed to do. The key here is to stick at it.

For 2017 I have a new TOAD personalised diary which I am so excited to use. It’s a molten orange and gold glitter hardback book. It’s in a larger size than I would normally carry around (my bad on the ordering front) but I’ve gone for a more structured page, after 9 months of working out what works me for I’ve picked a half schedule (time slots down the left) and half notes aka list column. This should satisfy my need for daily planning and my listing obsession.  I’ve also scribbled in a month to view on the note pages at the back because I’m an awkward little shit like that.

Not only can see my free time instantly but I never miss anything important and it can keep a historic log for those times when I need to check dates or occurrences (i.e. procedural appointments, payments, periods etc.).

4. Pick a system and work with it.

I’m talking about financial commitments here. I have a specific day for my direct debits which coincided with when I get paid. All money comes in on the same day and all monies go out on the same day so within a 24hr period my finances are in check and I know exactly where I stand. It’s quite easy really if you’re paid monthly like I am. I have a set date for being paid a set amount. It makes it easier to plan around.

This system would work for you too if you’re paid weekly. Make sure all financial commitments are on a date that works for you. Don’t put yourself at risk by having a huge DD due the day before you are paid. Late payments or missed payments cost money!

Also as an crap-app-user by Mobile Banking App is literally one of the ONLY apps I actually use regularly.

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5. Learn when and how to say NO!

This is a tough one, it requires discipline and control over yourself and your time. The power of NO is wondrous but be delicate when and how you use it. By having an organised diary you can answer an invitation honestly and prevent double booking or last minute bailing. If it’s something I really don’t want to do then an honest ‘no’ is the best thing to say. I love honesty and people who are to-the-point. I never make promises I can’t keep or fulfil (thanks for teaching me that Mama!) so I don’t expect that from others.

One thing I am quite bad, and something I’m always working on, is taking time for myself. To read or meditate, to exercise or visit something new. I really find it difficult to schedule in time for me to do my things but during my Sunday night planning session I try my best to factor in time to do the important bits and find that by diarising a walk with the dog or an hour to work on my novel it really helps make it happen. If it’s in the book it happens (…well most of the time).

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I hope you have found these tips useful. It’s become a longer blog post that initially expected which kind of smears the fact these are supposed to make your life simpler but one has to ensure she gets her point across. If you’ve got any tips for simplifying your life – I’m all ears!  

One of my new year’s resolutions is to work on this and get it perfect to a fine art. A New Year a New Me? No, a New Year a More Effective Me! 

A little Lionel to diffuse the festive cheer – you’re welcome.

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