My head hasn’t been in the game recently. I’m double booking here, there and everywhere, I’m forgetting important things, and my brain has reaching maximum capacity on a number of occasions. My to-do list seemed to be never-ending and I’ve not been sleeping properly because I’m worrying about everything I need to get through, for both work, this blog and life.
So I made the decision last weekend to strip back and simplify my life a little. I’m guessing some of you might be feeling the same, like you’re always playing catch-up and to put it bluntly, needing to get your shit together. Do you forget to text friends back, and then feel guilty that you hardly speak? Do you worry so much about everything you need to do, you don’t even know where to start? Or is your daily life chaos because you can’t find your keys, you forgot your dentist appointment and you forgot about a direct debit due to come out of your currently-empty bank account?
The stresses of every day life are always going to sneak up on us – there’s nothing we can do about that unless we all move to a desert island, but by cleaning out and organising the environment around us, it enables the fog in your head to lift slightly and to see things with a clearer perspective. With that said, here are six things I’ve done recently to strip back and get some simplicity in my life.
How many half empty bottles of body lotion, foundation and nail polishes do you have? If you’re anything like me, I’m guessing quite a few. You don’t need them and if you were to throw them away this minute, you wouldn’t even think about them come tomorrow. Take a bin liner and be ruthless as you work from room to room. I took two bags, one for crap and the other for the charity shop. Starting in my bedroom, I went through every single drawer and cupboard and if I knew I hadn’t used something in six months, it went in one of the bags. I can’t tell you how cathartic it is just to throw things away. I had six bottles of foundation which didn’t match my skin tone. SIX. So unless I was going to get some new skin anytime soon, there really wasn’t any use holding on to them. This goes for old magazines – I’m looking at you when I say this girl, you don’t need to keep every single magazine you’ve ever read – yes keep Vogues and ELLE magazine if you must, but Closer? Seriously, get that in the bin this instant.
Organise Bills & Budget
When I’ve not kept on top of bills and invoices, the feeling of dread is something I can’t shake. Money is one of the biggest causes of stress and if you don’t know what’s coming in and going out every month, you can find yourself in quite the pickle. I now keep all my bills and blog invoices in an organised folder in my office, and every month I have an excel spreadsheet to tell me what I need to pay out. It’s super handy for things like car tax, insurance and TV license so I’m not struck by any nasty surprises mid-month. Another tip would be to try and keep some emergency money aside each month just in case. I try and keep £100 in a separate account for emergencies and if I reach the end of the month and it hasn’t been spent, I’ll either pop it into my ISA or more likely spend it on something home related.
Closet Clear Out
Capsule wardrobes are completely underrated. I’m becoming a huge fan of fashion bloggers who stick to a neutral colour palette and have nudes, blacks, whites and grey staples in their wardrobe to mix and match. Carly Cristman and Marianna Hewitt have the capsule colour palette down to a tee. Clear out your closet and colour co-ordinate it, so when you go and look on a morning (or an evening if you’re super organised for the next day), you’ll be able to just see the pieces that fit and that you like. I don’t even open the left hand side of my wardrobe anymore because it’s a reminder of the skinny gal I once was.
Social Media Detox
This is quite an important one in my book. I think we’ve all become a little too consumed with social media – what’s happening on Facebook, what’s trending on Twitter, the latest Instagram post from your favourite celeb or blogger. But sometimes it’s nice to switch off and live in the real world. I had a huge cull recently on my social media platforms, unfollowing people who either were bringing negativity into my space, or people who I wouldn’t say hello to in the supermarket. If you’ve got over 500 friends on Facebook you need to consider whether your brain needs to be filled with mindless crap from people you wouldn’t even recognise in the flesh. Plus, not comparing your life to that of someone on Instagram is good for the soul. It’s all fake anyway. People filter the shit out of their lives, so don’t believe everything you see on the internet and certainly don’t compare yourself whilst your sat in crusty pj’s with chocolate around your mouth.
Buy a Diary
This is an old school tip, but by a diary. Not an app that you download. An actual hardback diary which you can physically hold in your hands. I became so bad at forgetting dates and not realising I had things in for the week ahead, I decided to go retro and buy a little diary for my bag. Now I’m able to see what I have the week ahead and I’ll check it every Monday. It helps clear my mind of everything that’s going on, deadlines which are due and dates to see friends. Another point to add here would be to stop saying yes to every single thing. Make sure you have some evenings free to just relax and take a breather. You don’t need to fill your week with plans, especially if you already have so much going on. Enjoy the feeling of saying no for once.
This is something I’m doing every single morning. Each time an email comes through which I’m not interested in, I click unsubscribe. I get so much junk mail every day, it blocks up both my inbox and my head. So if it’s not important, it’s not coming though again. This way my mornings can be simplified and not spent deleting pointless emails and messages. And on that note, specify a time to look through your emails. Halt them on your phone and computer for at least two hours at a time so you’re not constantly distracted looking at what’s coming through.
To-Do or Not To-Do
I make a to-do list every day, but I’ve started to cut back on what I actually put on there. I’ll start with the main task of the day, whether that’s a feature to write or a meeting I need to have. Then I’ll work with smaller tasks, such as going to the post office. What I won’t put on there are impossible tasks like “write blog post” when I know I won’t have time. It won’t get ticked off the list and I’ll feel disappointed in myself that I haven’t checked it off. Write yourself a realistic to-do list and you’ll feel a sense of achievement when it’s half way through the day, you’ve completed your biggest task in the morning and now you’re free to catch up on emails etc.
So there you have it, just some of the things I’ve been doing recently to get my head back in order and get some routine and organisation back into my day-to-day life. What changes would you make to simplify your life?