For many of us, this past year has been a real struggle. From homeschooling and navigating zoom calls to the frustration of the length of time it takes to do simple tasks like popping to the bank or supermarket, lockdown has made life even more challenging than usual. As a result, the last year has taken its toll on so many of us. Recently, I decided to make my life a bit easier by making some simple changes to address some of the stresses that lockdown has created. I’m sharing my simple strategies on how to be super-organised with an easy-to-follow, foolproof system! Even though I’m a ‘free personality’ type, I have discovered that the more structured and organised my life is, the happier I am! So, if you’ve been thinking of ways to make your life easier or simplify your life, this is the post you’ve been waiting for! Give it a go!
How to Make Life Easier
1. Exercise first thing in the morning
Since I’ve been working from home, I’ve noticed that because I can technically train at any point in the day, I tend to put it off ‘until later,’ only later quite often doesn’t happen! I am so involved with my writing, creating social media posts, going on zoom calls, and walking my dogs, that ‘whoops’ the day has gone! I then plan to exercise the next day, only to repeat the same pattern. If you want to exercise, my advice is to do it first thing in the morning. This way, you can tick it off your ‘to-do’ list, plus it really does set you up for the rest of the day.
I used to think that I had to do an hour and a half yoga class for it to count as exercise, but I have realised that I really don’t! I have swapped my hour and a half class for a shorter 20-minute session and have noticed that because I was doing it every day, I was making a lot more progress than before. A little exercise every day really does accumulate, so whether that’s walking, running or yoga, just do what you have time to do – and don’t feel pressured to do a full hour. Find my favourite online exercise classes here.
2. Create a Weekly Menu
I can’t count the number of times that I’ve got home from work late and ended up eating junk because it was easier than thinking of what I could cook and finding the ingredients. The solution? Meal prepping. Prepping in advance is the best way to save time, money and reduce your food waste! Meal prep is also an effortless way of developing healthy eating habits and making sure you always have a nutritious meal to support your health and to ensure your nutrition is on point. This way, you can plan some variety over the course of the week. Vary your carbs, vegetables, and protein, and try not to overcomplicate things! You don’t need to try new recipes every night! Grab my weekly and monthly meal planners here.
3. Try to be 1% better than yesterday
I read this tip recently and had a ‘Wow’ moment. Most of the time, we set ourselves big goals to accomplish, only to feel hopeless and down-hearted when we don’t achieve them. So, what if we break these goals down to tiny ‘mini’ goals just to make our lives easier? In fact, so small that we aim to be just 1% better every day? 1% may not seem to be a momentous change, but if you are consistently growing at a 1% rate, you will achieve things that you never thought possible. Improving by 1% per day is a mindset, and it is helping you stay consistent and focused without the danger of burning out.
4. Make your bed
Sometimes I ask myself why I’m making my bed when I’m just going to get back into it later! Making our bed is not just about keeping your bedroom tidy and fresh, it’s also about keeping your mind organised. I recently read that successful people create successful habits like making their bed. Apparently, a simple act like making your bed puts our mind into a productive mindset which helps us get things done the rest of the day! Good habits accumulate and that can make an enormous impact on our productivity, financial security, and happiness.
5. There’s no such thing as perfect
Sometimes, I feel that all women think they have to be ‘Wonderwoman’. We have careers, children, run households, keep husbands happy and always have a million things to do. But it’s important to be kind to ourselves and to remember that you simply can’t do it all! So many of us aspire to perfection when doesn’t exist. Social media posts, television advertising and films have a way of making us feel that our lives are somehow inadequate.
Being overly critical of yourself, your family and your life and constantly striving for perfection is likely to lead to unhappiness, anxiety and even depression. My best advice? Let go of perfection. This is especially hard for me as I am a Virgo and as a result, I strive for perfection and over-focus on minute details that really don’t matter! But even I am learning to let go!
6. Create a simple daily “to-do” list
It’s easy to feel overwhelmed when you have a busy schedule and there’s no doubt that life can get stressful when you have a lot to do. Creating a simple daily ‘to-do’ list can help you prioritise what you need to do, as well as helping you to feel more productive as you tick things off. It also helps you to keep track of the chores and tasks that still need to be done. Sometimes it’s easier to achieve goals when we write them down. Or if you prefer working online, there are to-do list apps on how to make your life easier.
7. Stick to a colour scheme in your wardrobe
Sometimes, I faff around for ages in the morning looking for something to wear only to discover that I don’t have matching shoes or that my colour combos just don’t look right together. The solution? Find colours that suit you and only buy items in those colours so that everything matches! Easy! I got this idea from my Dad who only wears black or navy. We have all tried buying him white t-shirts and pale blue shirts, but he simply won’t budge! His reasoning is that all his clothes match, so it only takes him 5 minutes to get ready in the morning. Plus, he only needs to do 2 loads of laundry a week as he can throw everything in together! Boring or genius? I’m not sure, but it really does make life easier in many ways! Find out how to give your look a refresh here.
8. Press pause and take a breath before you speak your mind
We are all a bit on the edge at the moment and it doesn’t take much for us to snap. But pause before you comment on someone’s social media post; take a breath before you snap your neighbour’s head off about whether they are getting the Covid vaccine. Sometimes it’s better to let things go than to end up in a supercharged situation where you feel angry and upset. Pausing gives us a chance to get our thoughts together, assess what’s really happening without being overreactive. Pausing also allows us to release our ego and the need to be right, giving us time to think about how we can respond in an articulate, responsible way. We can’t control what other people say but we can choose how we respond.
9. Keep on top of your chores and find a place for things
There’s truth in the saying ‘a messy room equals a messy mind’. Nothing makes you feel better than a clean home, freshly laundered sheets, and a fridge full of food. Sometimes, especially when we’re feeling down, it’s hard to find the motivation to do chores, and just getting started feels almost impossible. To get me in the mood for housework, I like to play uplifting music to make it as fun as possible and only do my ironing when I’m watching my favourite TV programmes! My home also accumulates clutter, from dog towels and hairbands to piles of washing – everything seems to multiply! So, I’ve decided that everything needs to have a place, and I have to say, this has made my life so much easier. When I need something, I now know exactly where it is!
10. Simplify your finances
Why don’t they teach us how to look after our finances at school? Most of us would have a lot less debt and a greater understanding of money and how to manage it if finance was part of the school curriculum. Managing money can be incredibly stressful and as a result, many of us tend to overspend, not have much in the way of savings, and quite often get into unnecessary debt. The solution is to get organised. What we really need to do is to get into the habit of understanding our finances.
Start by writing down your monthly income, then writing down all your monthly bills including rent, phone, fuel, and so on. Next, cancel any subscriptions that you don’t need. We all accumulate too many TV, music, and other unnecessary subscriptions these days! Then if you have any money left over, try to save 10%. Apparently, if we all did this from the age of 25, we would retire as millionaires! The money that you have left can be used for social events, clothes, or luxuries. If you don’t have any excess money, take some time to think about how you could boost your income.
|Natalie Shirlaw is a healthy living expert with 10 years of experience in the field of holistic health, wellbeing, and fitness. If you enjoyed this article be sure to pin or share it!|