Here are my 14 ideas to get it done
2020 is finally packing its things, getting ready to say goodbye. I do not like wishing my life away, but this year couldn’t be finished fast enough. It was a tough year and if I never see the likes of it again I will be one happy chappie. Don’t ask me why because I cannot really put my finger on it. Maybe it was the fact that my marriage ended, we moved into a new house, moved our business, started a new business, had 2 toddlers to deal with as a newly single mama, the kids’ dad almost immigrated, then came back, Covid-19… and those are only the highlights. There were many smaller irritations, insecurities and issues. See – long year! Not all of it was bad, but I am so tired of 2020 that I cannot think of one single good thing. Ask me in a few years time, maybe by then, I will have an answer.
So what will make 2021 different? Focus. A very good friend told me that we must stop aspiring to be someone or something, with a list of steps or goals that we believe will lead us to that ideal. Rather, we must decide who we are at this moment and then plan our lives to fit in with that person. So if you want to learn to play the piano, decide that you are a pianist and then get lessons to ensure you actually become a pianist. In this coming year, I will be a mother, a good friend, and a successful small business owner. To actually become those things, I need to focus my energy on activities and things that will be of value. Because there are only 24 hours in a day, and we cannot live 2 days at the same time, I will need to simplify my life even more. And that is also my wish for you for 2021 – simplify your life, get rid of the clutter and be done with trivialities. How you might ask? Well, it is actually not that difficult.
My tips for a simpler, easier 2021:
1. Cut down on your time spent on social media
Social media eats our time, our energy, and our willpower. Stop it. Decide on times that you will turn off your phone or tablet or computer, and do not go onto social media at that time. You will not miss anything important – if it is really important the person can phone you (which is also the courteous thing to do)
2. Create routines
Knowing what to expect makes it much easier to actually do. This works wonders if you have kids! Have routines for mornings, sleep, weekends, whatever you need to keep you sane. If your family knows what to expect and when they can also fall inline without you having to shout or threaten or beg.
3. Stop multitasking
Focus on one thing, complete it, then move on to the next. We have this false idea that if we do a few things at the same time we get done quicker. We don’t. We end up doing everything less than perfect, which usually mean having to go back and fix things. So do one thing, and do it well. If you need to do a few things at the same time, plan the activities in such a way that they don’t actually overlap. So if you need to do the washing while cooking dinner and answering emails, make sure you focus on each individual task for as long as possible before running off to do the next one. This way you won’t end up putting the spaghetti spoon in the washing machine and the wet clothes in the pot and the spaghetti on your laptop…
4. Create a capsule wardrobe
Decide on your style, then work out a few “uniforms” to make getting dressed really simple. For more info on capsule wardrobes, see my posts here
5. Budget and keep track of your expenses
Knowing what you have to spend, and what you need to spend it on, takes the frustration out of finances. Live within your means to make sure that 2021 is the year of no extra debt. You might even start paying off some debt.
Get technology to do some of the things you have to do, e.g. paying bills. Sign up for debit orders to make payments a breeze. Other things that you can automate include social media publishing (for marketing purposes), email unsubscribes or even roll-ups, etc.
We do not have to be everything for everyone. If you already have a few balls that you need to keep in the air do not allow others to add more. Or if there is something that you hate doing, or cannot do, pass the task on to someone else. We are not lesser because we want to do less. That is my motto for 2021 – make it yours as well.
8. Schedule digital cleaning day every month
One day a month, take time out to download all of the media from your phone or tablet. Save what you want to keep, and delete the rest. This way you keep your storage space available, ensure you save the things you want and get rid of the useless or unwanted items. I do this religiously.
Get rid of all of your unwanted goods. Clutter makes us anxious, which impacts our mood, productivity and general humanity. Get rid of it. If you cannot chuck it but it is in the way, rent storage space somewhere to at least get your home clutter-free.
Schedule time to take care of yourself. If you are not whole, you cannot be there for others. Invest in yourself first.
Read my posts about self-care here.
11. Time block, with timers
Set out chunks of time for certain activities. This goes hand in hand with “do not multitask” – set aside an hour for tidying the house, then the next 4 hours for work, then an hour for lunch or a gym session, 2 hours for making dinner and catching up with the family, etc. This method of scheduling is very effective in making you efficient and effective. It helps keep you focused and because you are not jumping from one task to the next and back again, you finalise things a lot faster than normal. Read some of the science behind this method here.
12. Meal plan
This was one of my sanity savers to the end of 2020. A wrote a post about meal planning a while back, you can read it here, but have since tweaked our process a bit – I now make a list of what we have, and then I plan from thereon. This helps us to waste less, cook more, eat better, and all in all stress less!
13. Prioritise people, not things
How sweet are memories? We get to keep them forever. Unlike those piles and piles of things that end up breaking or not being wanted. This year, spend time with people and not money, do things and not buy things, make memories and not debt. Your family and friends and bank manager and self will thank you!
14. Throw out!
One of my favourite things to do! Every time I pack away the laundry, I quickly check if there is anything in the kids’ closet that is stained, has holes in, is too small, or unwanted. Stains I try to get out, holes I will try to fix, too small is passed on and unwanted is donated. I do this with my own closet, the fridge, the kitchen, basically anything and anywhere in the house. It keeps my house clutter-free and reminds my family that we should love what the keep, and so only keep what we love.
None of these tips is revolutionary, but they will change your life. Try them, and let me know in the comments.