After I graduated from university, I worked in a tiny shoe shop. I was promoted to manager pretty quickly and vividly remember one day when I was doing a stock take with my area manager in-store. After looking at my method and my numbers, my area manager said “You do like making things difficult for yourself, don’t you?” and then proceeded to show me a much simpler way of doing a stock take.
After that, stock takes were less stressful and I realised that there were probably other areas in my life where I could make things easier for myself.
I also know that my anxiety is triggered when that routine gets changed for whatever reason, so learning how to adapt to change and be less rigid with my routine is an ongoing mission. There are however a few things that, if I’m able to do them every week, really make me feel like I’ve got my shit together.
I thought I’d share what these are, in case you’re in need of a little simplifying or organisation. These are just the things that work for me, try to think about what you find stressful each day/week and see what habits/routines you could put in place to make them just a little less stress-inducing.
1. Prepare for the week ahead
This is something I do every Sunday, without fail. It helps reduce the stress I may be feeling about the week ahead and allows me to really relax and get a good night’s sleep before Monday morning rolls around. Here are the steps I take to plan my week ahead:
- Bring up my calendar and note any events/appointments etc. coming up that week.
- Look at my content schedule to see what’s going out when and where (blog, podcast, newsletter, Instagram).
- Use the Any-do app to make a daily to-do list for the week ahead, this covers household jobs (like ‘take out bins’), rough Blue Jay tasks (like ‘post instagram’) and self-care activities (like ‘meditate’).
Sometimes the daily to-do lists get changed and shift around, but having a rough idea of what needs to happen when on a Sunday evening brings me a lot of peace – especially when I know I’ve carved out time for self-care in the week ahead.
2. Do online food shops
When Dan and I moved to Guildford we knew we would likely have to do our food shopping online. With our work schedules combined with our location (and my driving anxiety) it just made sense for us to shop from the comfort of our living room. This is another thing we do on Sundays, aiming to have it delivered on a Monday evening so we’re set for the week.
Here’s what we do to make sure we get what we need and avoid too much food waste:
- Get a notepad and make three lists: what we have, what we need and meals for the week ahead.
- Sit down and look at our calendars to see if there are any days we’re not in for dinner and plan our meals around that, thinking about what we already have in.
- Then order what we need for the week ahead!
3. Put clothes out the night before
This is such a simple task, but one I’m really glad I’m in the habit of doing. Every night on my way to the bedroom, I check my weather app to see how cold it’s going to be the next day and pull out an outfit. I’m not a morning person at all, so anything I can do to save time in the morning is always welcome!
4. Set reminders
There are for the things I know I would 100% forget if I didn’t set reminders for and usually include money-related things, renewing important things and car things. Setting reminders in my calendar not only prompts me on the day, but also shows up as a dot on my calendar, so I know to check it on Sunday evenings when I’m planning for the week ahead.
5. Have a cleaning and washing routine
This makes me sound incredibly boring, but having a routine with clothes/towels/bedding washing and cleaning the flat means we have a couple less things to think about. I don’t have to look at my week and think – what needs washing? When can we do that? When will we clean? Who will do what?
Dan and I know who needs to do what when. It doesn’t always work out as planned, some weeks I’ll be away and Dan will take it all on, other weeks Dan will be busy and I’ll take it all on. But in general, keeping the house workload relatively evenly split helps to ease any potential arguments/resentment and saves us from worrying about when things will get done.
And there we have it – a few things that make a really big difference day-to-day. I’d love to hear if there’s anything here you think you’ll try and what processes/habits you have that make your life a little easier.
What’s important to remember is that our lives and circumstances change all the time. So, it’s good to ask yourself from time to time if the routines/habits you have are still serving you or if they would benefit from tweaking.
And if you want to see these tasks in action, I often talk about them on Instagram stories, so make sure you’re following me over there.
That’s all from me this week, I’ll be back on Wednesday with a podcast about creativity as self-care and a blog explaining why there will be a quiet couple of weeks here on the blog. Until then, take care.
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