It’s January and not the kindest of months. With most people on a fitness kick or abstaining from drink or meat – it can be a draining & overwhelming month. I believe we need to make life easy on ourselves. Before we get into the year fully, and the overwhelm get’s to, well, overwhelming! I thought it would be great to try a few life hacks – to simplify our everyday.
Nothing grand, I’m not going to convince you that you need to give up all the good things or for that matter FUN! Just a few ideas to float around… it could make your life a little easier.
1. Enforce the one minute rule
Tidying your clothes, hanging up your coat, texting your friend back, making your bed, opening your mail, sticking your coffee cup in the dishwasher. It’s all so easy. So why do we let little messes pile up until it’s mayhem?
Here’s the deal: if something takes less than a minute to complete, do it right then and there. Without much effort, the one minute rule will simultaneously clean up your life and psyche. Once you get in habit of dealing with the little things – like taking that pile of laundry upstairs when you go up to the toilet – you’ll find time and brain space to tackle the big things.
2. Morning mantra – keys, phone, glasses.
Or whatever it is you’re always losing. Every time I’m about to leave the house or my car, I identify where those three items are and announce it out loud as I place them in their appropriate spot. I also use this mantra with the kids. Shoes, bag, PE kit / homework – every morning before school. And sometimes after school at pick up too – coat, bag, scooter.
I know it seems like an easy thing to do, but think – actually how many times have you gone out without your phone or left that letter on the sideboard instead of posting it. Try listing things before you leave… soon you will be more prepared and never forget a thing – honest!
3. Turn on your phones ‘do not disturb’ feature
I started implementing this a few years back, when I realised that the notification ‘ping’ was interrupting everything I did. Go to cook ‘ping’ – I rush to see who it is. In conversation with someone and ‘ping’…. you get the idea. I felt I was at the beck and call of my phone. It was ‘in charge’ of me, like a needy toddler wanting a snack.
I turned on my phones do not disturb nearly two years ago, and haven’t turned it off since. Yes I do miss hearing my phone when someone is trying to call, but I just call them back when I next look at my screen. It really isn’t a big deal.
What I do get from doing this simple thing is peace. No irritating interruptions. Focus.
4. Carry three things on you at all times: a book, a notebook, and water
I’m trying to limit my screen time. There I said it. Plus I’m trying to set a good example to the boys, that reading is great and fun… we don’t have to be face down looking at a phone to while away the minutes. By carrying a book with you at all times, those short minutes between things – waiting room, waiting for coffee, waiting for friends to arrive – can be spent reading, instead of scrolling.
A notebook – jotting down those brainstorming ideas. Playing hangman with the kids. Making lists of things. Ideas, recipes – you name it.
Water – obvs. In your own reuseable bottle. Not plastic – geddit.
There are other things to add to this list – reuseable coffee cup, a tote bag for your shopping… the list goes on.
5. Stop apologising for everything
I don’t mean apologising when you truly feel sorry for something you did or said – because that is the mature, empathetic human thing to do.
What I do mean is saying sorry for just being. It waters down necessary apologies and encourages a culture that empowers those on the receiving end to think, “Yeah, you should be sorry for that completely normal thing you’re apologising for.” I think it’s time to change that.
Instead of: Sorry, I’m rambling.
Say: Thank you for listening.
Instead of: Sorry, I’m 30 seconds late.
Say: You beat me! Thanks for waiting.
Instead of: Sorry, I’ve been so down lately.
Say: Thank you for being a good friend.
Next time a friend says sorry when they shouldn’t be, say, “For what?” They’ll freeze and you can follow up with, “No need to apologise.”
6. Move more
Get up and shake that ass. Move around. Go to the gym or not. However you like to exercise, do it. As a family we love to play Pokemon. We have to leave the house and walk to catch those little creatures. It gets the kids into walking and leaving the house, without too much of a moan. Plus, 10 minutes down the road they forget about playing and get into being outside.
7. Offer mentorship
There is always someone out there who could do with help. If someone puts their hand up and ask, then give it. I regularly get asked advice on Instagram – I always share contacts, fee pricing, advice on where to start working with brands. It doesn’t devalue me, it helps another. We are all here to help each other home. Right?
If you have any other life hacks to add to the list, leave me a comment below.