Home Forums Challenges Taking Care of Yourself Ways to make life easy: inspiration required :)

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    • #159068
      lottielot
      Member

      I’ve been reading a book on an ADD-friendly life, and one part which I really identified with was that you need to make things easy for yourself so you don’t get too overwhelmed and can focus on your strengths. So, I want some ideas! I have certain things I do which help my life run smoothly, but I think I could do with some more. My good habits/systems are:
      1. automated food shopping (some of it). I have a regular order with the milkman who comes 3 times a week. He brings milk, sliced bread and cat food regularly, and I can change the order online or add extras like yoghurt if we’re running low. I love my milkman!
      2. vegbox: I get a vegbox, fruit box, extra apples and bananas, cream, eggs and yoghurt every week. The leftover fruit is made into juice, I try to make soup with the veg, though not always successfully!
      3. For the rest of the shopping I shop at the smallest, nicest supermarket I can find, and stick to the same 2 branches depending on where I’m heading so that I know where everything is. I take my kids wherever possible because they help out a lot and make it more fun! If I ever venture to a big supermarket I get completely overwhelmed very quickly, buy crap I don’t need and have a miserable time, so I learnt to avoid big supermarkets where possible.
      4. I put on a load of laundry every morning whenever possible. Hanging it out and putting it away is less easy, but overall I feel in control of my laundry situation, especially since I allocated my boys a clean laundry basket each which they are responsible for.
      5. I trained my kids to empty the dishwasher on command. Emptying it is a chore too far for me, filling it is satisfying but I hate emptying it.
      6. I also outsourced most of the cat feeding to my kids, my cats seem to eat 4 times a day and they get annoyed when I get distracted before I can feed them!
      7. I book aerobics classes in advance and have them in my mental diary as they’re on regular days. Exercising maintains my sanity, helps me sleep and if it goes, my life falls apart and I have no energy. Making sure I exercise is probably right up there with sleep in importance to my well-being.
      8. uncluttering seems to really help with life generally, I used to always lose my car keys until I cleared enough space in my kitchen to be able to see them in the bowl where they now live most of the time. I still lose them, but it’s less frequent. Ditto my mobile and my purse, I try to keep them in my big bag which I use for uni and try to remember to check I have transferred them to my little handbag I use on other occasions.
      There may be a few more good systems I have for an easier life, but where I struggle is in routine stuff like regular tidying and cleaning, making sure I update my diary and actually LOOK at it, managing my to-do lists, dealing with procrastination, filing paperwork, that sort of thing. If anyone has any clever ways of making these easier or has any other systems which really work for them without being too restrictive, I would love to hear them!

    • #178591
      JuliaJayne
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      My mother is a very disorganized person. To deal with that she keeps her appointment book in the same place. She immediately writes down appointments, social engagements, even when I’m coming over. She keeps all frequently used and important phone numbers in the book as well.

      For the routine stuff:
      Make a list of all your routines under categories that make sense. Morning, noon, dinner time, and before bed are often helpful, but choose ones that work for you. Getting all that stuff out of your head and onto paper will help immensely. It will even help with procrastination.

      Filing papers: Ugh… my worst offense. It is said to file when that paper is in your hand. Never put it on a pile, although some people find that filing once a week works for them. Make it a routine – perhaps doing it after you pay the bills.

    • #178594
      ninakk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      There are some cleaning chores that have become a routine for me. H and I try to rotate 50/50 monthly (so far without complete success as he is extremely lazy at times, hence my flip-out the other week), but one rotation is:

      Monday:
      – wash clothes (if there are some, that is)
      – fast vacuuming (two people and a cat in a small space where I also have studied from a distance the past six months = lots of dust)
      – clean a couple of areas where kitty sits frequently
      [i]Thursday:
      – change bed linen
      – wash clothes and household textiles
      – vacuum and dust
      – disinfect kitty house every two weeks
      – clean bathroom

      The other rotation.
      [i]Thursday:
      – clean kitchen
      Saturday:[/i]
      – collect bottles that go back to the store when we go grocery shopping
      Every day:[/i]
      – wash dishes
      – take out trash (when necessary)

      Daily: H cleans the kitty house and I feed the kitty.

      It took quite some time for me to see how much textiles we produce for washing, but washing twice weekly means the drying rack isn’t standing between the living room area and kitchen all the time, cluttering both visually and physically. It soon became clear that we have to vacuum twice weekly or there’s dust and cat hair flying everywhere. We’re still working on having this become *our* routine, not just mine, but it could be worse too πŸ™‚

    • #178597
      habithacker
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Wow, lottielot, I love the way you’ve automated so much of your life. That’s the way I like to do it, too. Get things on autopilot.

      I think checklists (I use iphone or ipad) are an excellent way to cover those things you’re attempting to make routine. I did a review on my website of an iphone program that works for me (HomeRoutines) but there are tons of programs out there including the good old reliable little notebook in which you list your chores, a la juliajayne’s suggestion.

      To manage todo’s, I’ve also gone digital. I like toodledo, but rememberthemilk is also popular. If you keep lists on paper, productivity guru Mark Forrester (you can google him) has lots of good ideas.

      On chores/cleaning/etc. I used to be a key-loser as well, but now I robotically drop them into a kitchen drawer as soon as I walk in the door. I also do “half-assed housekeeping hour” every Monday, small loads of clothes daily, and use other mental crutches such as “polish your place” and “shine your shitspot” etc. etc. etc. to keep the debris moving out in a way that seems bearable. My whole system’s on my website.

      I have mixed feelings about the concept of zone cleaning to keep things under control (that is, say, kitchen concentration first week of month, livingroom second week, and so on). Theoretically it’s a wonderful way to do things, but in practice I’ve had trouble keeping up with it.

      I do believe having one place to put all your bills and one day per week to deal with paperwork/financial matters/other desk stuff is wise, especially if that’s the kind of thing you procrastinate about.

      And remember: the science of behavior tells us that reinforcement, or reward, is the best way to increase behavior. So why not make a list of fabulous rewards and every time you spend, say, an hour filing or doing some other activity that causes your procrastination to kick in…give yourself a beautiful chocolate bar as a reward.

    • #178598
      Parsifal
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I also use habit and routine to make my life possible (to borrow a phrase from the excellent film Memento). However, I’ve almost entirely stopped using lists except for a grocery list. If something needs to be done, I try to do it NOW. This has been a struggle for me, but finding a still-incomplete TODO list from FIFTH GRADE(!) 15 years later was sort of a wake-up call for me.

    • #178600
      habithacker
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Parsifal, I find your idea of not using lists fascinating…and frightening! I, too, carry over so many items on my lists from year to year. However, one thing I find useful in having those (to use David Allen’s phrasing) someday/maybe items is that it helps to clear my head of bouncing ideas.

      I may just do an experiment on your sans-list/do it now method.

    • #178603
      ninakk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Parsifal, To-Do lists may lead to procrastination since the things remain on the list but aren’t dealt with. The GTD idea of immediately dealing with tasks that take around two minutes appeals to me, but my routine described above forces me not to do things in an attempt to procrastinate before they are actually due. Think “wash laundry even though the machine would be only half full”.

    • #178604
      Parsifal
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I’ve started to mentally lump things into 1 of 2 categories when they come up. Take a bill, for example. Either I deal with it right away and go straight back out to the mailbox or it goes on the calendar with a specific deadline or day to pay it.

      This has helped me avoid ending up with a rolling list of two dozen items and not being able to tell what is and isn’t important. Obviously the point isn’t to be completely list-less, or I would spend half the day running from one issue to another without any sense of priority.

    • #178606
      Claycat
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Lots of great ideas in here!

      Wow, lottielot! I didn’t know there was any place where a milkman would still deliver. I don’t believe I have had a milkman since high school, in the 60s! There is no place around here where you can get boxes of fruits and vegetables either. There are some farmers’ markets, but they are too far away. That would definitely make my life easier, but it just isn’t available. I can only do a big grocery shopping about every two weeks or so. The supermarkets are at least 20 miles away, and the one where I usually shop is 50 miles away. In the meantime, I fill in with small purchases at the small, very expensive local store.

      List making is a challenge for me, because I lose it so often. I usually make a grocery list right before I go. As a result, of course, I forget to put some things on the list.

      I wish I were more organized. Sigh!

    • #178607
      Nithy
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I heartily second everything said about making lists and setting routines.

      If I go to the store for 3 things I need and I don’t have a list, I guarantee that I’ll forget one of them and not remember it until after I get home.

      I’m also a fan of “a place for everything and everything in its place,” with the phrase “and where I can see it” tacked on the end. I took the sliding doors off of the clothes closet so I could see all of my clothes at once. My stuff is either in clear plastic containers or open containers so I can see exactly what I have and in most cases just toss everything in where it goes.

      When I get the urge to clean, I clean.

    • #178612

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      One thing I have found useful is to tag a new habit onto one that I already have mastered. For example, always take a vitamin with breakfast — my bowl of cereal triggers the vitamin. You might want to tie-in updating and looking at your diary, for example, with another habit you already have — like as soon as the kids go to bed.

    • #178618
      lucy1965
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      @Claycat IIRC, our Lottie is in the UK, but I also have weekly milk delivery (the dairy’s recently gone back to offering glass bottles, even!) and I’m in the States. I have a standing order with them and with our local CSA, when they’re running — there’s a new place that’s started building greenhouses heated by a geothermal plant on site, and if they can follow through on their plans to offer fresh things year-round, I’ll switch to them.

      @Lottielot My DSP has ADD; I’ll ask her if she has any ideas!

    • #178620
      pkilmain
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Clay cat, how about making a master list of things you use regularly and putting it some where visible (on the fridge?) and checking off the items you need so when you’re going to the store you can just grab it and go. This would work on an iPhone as well, of course.

      We have a list of household thing that need to be done weekly/ monthly/quarterly/semi annually. For the last two we have months assigned (I.e. Turning the mattress gets done in March and September). When we made the list we tried to balance the chores over the year, though some are seasonal and had to go into appropriate months.

    • #178621
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      wow, so many eclectic ideas, excellent! Thank you everyone! I think I’ll go through them and see what will work for me:
      JuliaJayne: I’ve sort of adopted your mother’s thing with the diary, I have become pretty good at keeping it with me when I go out and having it either by the fridge or in my bag when I can remember. I also got a family calendar for the fridge so my dh can write down what he’s doing, not sure about running 2 systems but given his terrible communication skills it seemed easiest. Just now he told me the dates he’s going to Africa so I wrote them down instantly in both places, if I keep that up it’ll work. Lists of morning/evening routines: I tried that once following flylady, it lasted about a month before I got bored and forgot it all, too much effort to follow it though the house looked nice. I do however make a point of giving my downstairs bathroom a quick swish and swipe most mornings, so maybe I absorbed something. Only once I had a nice bathroom though, it had to be pretty before I would clean it!
      ninakk, well done on getting a routine which works for you, not sure the day by day thing would work for me, my schedule keeps changing and I hate the idea of having to do a particular chore on a particular day, even if it is what I need!
      habithacker, I visited your website a few months back and liked it, I will have to visit again! And I’ll google Mark Forrester. I do seem to get on better with paper than electronic lists, because I can keep them with my diary, but I have an ipod I use a lot for emailing, surfing the internet, listening to soundblocking stuff when studying, and I’ve started using alarms and timers a lot more just to get me started, so maybe something on the ipod may work. I seem to use it at home rather than out though… I’ll think about a checklist type thing, it needs to be really simple so I don’t get fed up… I tried the zone thing too, it so didn’t work for me either! Maybe it’d be easier now I’ve uncluttered the place a bit? Re the reward: I actually don’t like chocolate very much! And I’d get fat, but maybe a list may be a good start.
      Parsifal: how do you manage without a list? What if you remember you need to make a phone call but are out without the number or you’re somewhere you can’t do it? If I didn’t have some form of recording then that thing would drop off the face of the earth in my brain! I seem to need to write things down, otherwise I keep forgetting, remembering, forgetting, remembering them again and again, drives me crazy! Kudos to you for doing it though, I do try to do things when they crop up, sometimes successfully and sometimes woefully unsuccessfully.
      Claycat: having stuff delivered is great! Where do you live? I know in areas of rural France where we’ve camped there is often a van which comes round and sells the basics once a week, like a little shop. 50 miles is a huge distance, I would never go to the shops if I had to go that far! Do you grow your own veg, make your own bread, that sort of thing? I have to say, I make bread when I’m too lazy to go to the shop to buy more!
      Nithy: your description of cleaning when you have the urge mirrors my current modus operandi. Sadly, I hardly ever have the urge! I can see the dirt on the carpet, I can count the crumbs on the sofa and still take a couple of weeks to actually haul the hoover out and deal with it. I forget about those crumbs the second I leave the room and the intention is gone.
      susan, that was one idea in the book which appealed to me, the habit-tacking. I seem to be much better at getting up in the mornings lately, so perhaps I could stick a couple of extra things onto my morning routine. I take my tablets with my coffee, perhaps the diary checking and making a to do list would fit well with that habit. Not too many things though, otherwise I couldn’t stay on task and make sure my kids are up and eating their breakfast and putting their socks on and taking their bags and brushing their teeth and wearing their clothes the right way round. Some days they are lovely, and others I have to use every speck of energy to get them to eat their breakfast so they’re not late!
      I have another idea: before my kids are allowed to eat their pudding, I am going to give them one task to do. Just then I got them to empty their laundry baskets, it took them 30 seconds and no nagging on my part. I think I’m on to something here! Pudding isn’t a reward as such, it’s just part of the meal but it’s an extra incentive to do the small task I set them. Maybe I may do that 2 minute bedroom tidy thing linked in with pudding…

    • #178626
      djk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I find that having the right tool for a task can make it that much easier or even pleasant.

      also, it is important to try systems and constantly tweak them. They need to be adapted to one’s situation, and as situations change, the system needs to be altered to fit the new reality/schedule/whatever.

      what I am working on is learning to plan. I am not a strategist by nature, but I am discovering that if I assign a date for everything that needs doing, somehow it gets done. I guess it stays at the forefront of my mind then I tend to take action just to be able to tick it off a list finally. Simply starting the first steps of a task also helps to break it down into manageable chunks, making continuing easier.

    • #178636
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      my life changed when i read getting things done by dave allen.
      i don’t do everything he suggests (the 43 folders never worked for me)….but i do a few things.
      i have learned to capture things as soon as they cross my mind and i have learned which tools are best for me to do so.
      i have also learned to CHECK my capture tools regularly.
      i am a big fan of the two-minutes-or-less rule (if it takes less than 2 minutes to complete a task, then do it right now).

      decluttering has been the icing on my organisational cake.
      with less stuff to clean, to organise, to repair, to replace, to distract me generally….i am amazed at how much extra time i’ve got.
      i am always looking for more non-essentials to carve away and streamline my life even more.
      it’s a work in progress.

    • #178639
      jmhva
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I consider myself very organized but I became even more so when my husband and I decided that we would do ALL of our cleaning on Thursday. It has changed my life. EVERYTHING gets done on Thursday. The weekend is then free to do whatever we want. I am not constantly cleaning and vacuuming. I think to myself
      “Oh that will be done on Thursday” and then move on to reading, knitting, or beading πŸ™‚
      Life is so much easier now… I highly recommend it!
      Grocery shopping on Friday.
      Then everything is done.

    • #178655
      ninakk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      djk mentions assigning dates for each thing. GTD works well around this concept as you always have an overview of all your ongoing projects on the Projects list and future projects on the Someday/Maybe one. Since you have to break down each project into its Next Action, those are really easy to put into the calendar the way djk suggests. I know that it’s hard to do something on command sometimes, but I find that I actually don’t get anything done unless I assign smaller chunks in the shape of the Next Actions. After I succumbed to this the clutter has begun to move. Just like bandicoot says, GTD changed my life too, even though I do my own version of the folders too. I just find it works for me, but anything that works for you is what you should stick to.

      jmhva, Thursdays man, Thursdays! Due to kitty there’s more to clean now, but otherwise that would be the only day when we do anything too (except for the clothes; there aren’t enough hours for everything to be washed in one evening). I tried doing what Nithy said about cleaning whenever the urge comes over me, but that seems to make things worse, push the place into a worse state than if I clean regularly even if there isn’t that much to take care of. It’s also easier to make a habit of it when it’s done on an assigned day, I think.

    • #178661
      lazycow
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Great thread lottielot. Am going to take some of these ideas on board too. Like you, I am not really bothered by dust and the odd bit of dirt (but my sister can spot it at ten paces). Decluttering makes cleaning so much easier as there are far fewer surfaces to wipe than before πŸ™‚

    • #178716
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      one more thing: i automated every bill that offered it.
      a small thing to be sure, but it all helps.
      now when they come in, i check them and file them and recycle the envelopes almost in one movement.

    • #178721
      Ann
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I don’t keep lists in notebooks…I keep cards. 3″x5″ cards work best. I have a “long term” card which I keep by my computer at home, which includes things I wish to accomplish in the next three months or so. And I keep a “daily card” which is a reminder of what needs to be done today (Bank, Get gas, pick up RX). I use one card every two days.

      I have a staffer who spends hours (wasted, in my opinion) getting her notebooks perfect.

    • #178722
      chacha1
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I think from everything I’ve read in the forum, Lottielot is already managing phenomenally well.

      When it comes to minimizing both clutter and the need for frequent cleaning, I’ve found the best thing for me is to confine activities. That is, for example, we eat in the den or the dining room, NOT in the home office or the bedroom. We take our shoes off in front of our respective closets, NOT in the living room or kitchen. We open our mail in the den by the wastebasket or the home office by the shredder, NOT in the dining room or bedroom or kitchen.

      The more different activities you have, I think the more important it is that you keep them in a confined area, as otherwise you can end up with bits of projects scattered all over.

    • #178745
      vjb
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I agree with Chacha, it sounds like you’re doing wonderfully! I’ve tried to do the same kind of thing, tho not sure if I have ADD or am just naturally disorganised. Here are my thoughts about the things you asked for help on.

      Tidying and cleaning:
      1. Every night before I brush my teeth I do a ‘Two-minute tidy’ and put things back where they belong.

      2. I do a swish-swipe-sweep every morning, like you do.

      3. And I have a robot vacuum cleaner – the higher-end models even have schedulers, so you don’t ever have to think about vacuuming again! I love mine, it’s TOTALLY worth it.

      I’m rubbish at dusting, but I have a big fun feather-duster, and that helps. I don’t do zones as I can’t stick with them: if something bugs me, like dirty windowsills after a windy week, I make a note to add that to my swish-swipe-sweep. And I don’t beat myself up if it takes me two weeks to get around to it.

      Diarising and to-do lists:
      I look at my diary last thing at night, in bed, and tick off my to-do list at the same time. And I write anything that’s been nagging me on the diary/to-do list then, if I haven’t already. I like going to sleep with that pleasant sense of accomplishment, even if it’s only one or two things ticked off!

      Procrastination:
      No idea. I’m terrible. A few people I know have suggested the Pomodoro techique (using a timer for 30 minutes on, 5 minutes off), so I might try that. But I have a feeling it will drive me insane, as once I’m in a state of flow I hate to be interrupted. Might work for smaller tasks… but I don’t procrastinate on those as much! Anyone with great tips here, I’m all ears.

      Paperwork:
      The only thing that’s really worked for me is to switch to online billing as much as possible and unsubscribe from as much stuff as possible. I now get very little paperwork, and I try to file what I do get straight away.

    • #178750
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      You are all very inspiring! My first thought about this topic is my habit of always parking in the same part of any parking lot. I might stop at two or three places after work or visit several stores across town on a weekend. If I park in my “zone”, I never have to wander around a parking lot trying to find my car.

      In a vast lot with multiple entrances, I make it a point to notice what the front of the store looks like from the car aisle I am in, for instance, directly in front of the L in Wal-mart. Then I can easily figure out where I am going by looking back at the store.

      My husband thinks it is a waste of time to circle an aisle even once looking for a space but I save hours on the other side of the visit by heading directly to the car as I leave. The older I get, the more I will need these systems!

    • #178774
      Rosa
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Another Deb, me too! I always park by the cart corral.

      My boyfriend whines but it’s his fault for choosing the grey four-door toyota.

    • #178779
      snosie
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Hey Another Deb and Rosa – I do the SAME Thing, mainly in my work carpark. I like it to be near the lift, as I sometimes have heavy items I’ve carried two blocks already. Helped yesterday when I had to get the car, and I hadn’t used it for five days – at least I knew I could pop my head out of the life, and it would definately be on a certain side, within a few cars. Thankfully, I even got the level right – it’s usually 2 or 3, so it wasn’t too much of a stretch!

    • #178835
      ElFish1
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Ann, thanks for the 3×5 card idea. I’ve been really struggling with my “to do” list at work. It just keeps getting longer and longer and I need a better way to write everything down. It’ll also make things easier to prioritize because I put one task on one card. (And because I’ve decluttered my home office, I knew exactly where my colored index cards were, so it was easy to bring them today and get started right away. Whoo hoo!)

    • #178841
      pkilmain
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      And with colored cards you can assign priorities very easily.

      I am not a great list maker, though I really need to acquire the habit. My DH has list several days ahead of things he plans to do. I have gotten much better at writing things on a calendar, and remembering to check it every morning. My DH and I do sit down every Sunday morning after breakfast and go over the upcoming week’s happenings and talk about what we’re planning to accomplish.

    • #178852
      Nithy
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I’ve discovered that ‘put away’ is a relative term. For example, I tend to take off my earrings at my desk, so jewelery and other small things tended to be strewn all over my desk around my computer. Clutter.

      I put a little glass dish on my desk where most of this stuff ends up anyway. Now it’s not strewn all over my desk; it’s in one place, and that place is where the earrings at my desk belong. When it fills up, I’ll put everything away all at once.

      I did the same thing with a pencil cup in the kitchen where all of my pens ended up; a temporary file near the front door where all my paperwork to file ended up. It looks neater, it keeps things contained, and I don’t actually have to change any of my habits.

    • #178884
      Anonymous
      Inactive

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Nithy, I do the same thing with earrings at my desk. I put on makeup at the desk instead of in the bathroom, so I keep makeup in one section of the desk.

      My DH empties his pockets at his dresser, so he has MANY pens scattered there. I put an old mug on the dresser and now it is full of pens, whereas the desk drawer is empty! Time to shuttle pens back to their homeland.

    • #178927
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I love hearing all these ideas. I like the card idea, I could do something similar (in fact I already sort of do) with to-do lists in my diary. I should try harder to sort them into some sort of category, I did a good job of that when I had our house renovated recently, I had 2 pages just with lists of what was going to be done, what I needed to do for it and what dates, as I needed to coordinate the plumber and the other people. That worked well, as it had all the info I needed in one place. There is an idea of a ‘stubby to do list’ in the book I’m reading, you pick 3 or 4 must-dos each day and put the list somewhere obvious, so at least you get that many things done. I’ve been doing this, but it always seems to turn into more, and they don’t always get done unless they’re properly urgent, but with practice hopefully it may get better…
      chacha1: could you tell my children about your excellent habit of confining things?! They eat meals at the table, but snacks are another matter, though I shout at them if they eat anywhere near my bed πŸ™‚ Having a 3 storey house doesn’t help, my 5 year old’s favourite place to play his lego car games is on the landing between floors. But uncluttering has definitely helped a bit with keeping activities in zones, shoes and coats are much more likely to be put away now.
      vjb, you have lots of good ideas, I may steal the 2 min tidy one at teeth-brushing time, that’s the whole habit-tacking thing we were talking about earlier. I do have one good habit I started off flossing my teeth in the kitchen. I brush my teeth in the bathroom but there’s no bin in there (deliberately, it never got emptied and it’s next to the kitchen where there’s a bin anyway). I used to keep the floss in my bedside drawer, but was always too tired to be bothered once in bed. The floss somehow migrated to the ‘bits and bobs’ pot in the kitchen where my keys live and other stuff, and I see it as I’m walking past and then stop and floss my teeth. If I kept the floss in the bathroom I’d forget about it!
      I love the idea of a robot vacuum, unfortunately I don’t think they yet have a robot clever enough to do all the stairs, and that’s most of our carpet! I think having to haul that thing up 2 flights of stairs and vacuum them too is half the reason I don’t do it, I have to unplug it about 4 times even with a really long lead. If the kids are home I get them to unplug it (or even better, get my 5 year old to do it as he enjoys it!) but it’s still a real chore. I do hoover any empty surfaces though, since I have it out I figure I may as well do the dirty windowsills and the dusty table and the cobwebs and the wooden floors!
      The Pomodoro thing would drive me insane too. My problem isn’t usually being able to work for 30 minutes or whatever, it’s getting over the inertia of actually starting. I’ve been experimenting with timers for the last few days and it does seem to help to sit down and say ‘I’ll set the timer for just 15 minutes’ and then I end up in the whole flow thing doing an hour. That’s for studying though, it doesn’t work for smaller things or stuff which doesn’t require much thought, those messy little non-urgent but relatively important things which are so annoying. I’ve spotted a pattern in what I procrastinate in and what may work. My dh is obsessed with holidays and is always asking me to find out about flights and stuff, I’m not that interested and it’s all too distracting and overwhelming for me. So if he does that sort of thing then he can either book it himself or give me all the details and I’ll do it. I’m OK with doing things I’ve done before, so I already booked our holiday in August because I looked for the date I could start booking and wrote it down, then they emailed a reminder, then I filled in the booking form and did the bank transfer for the deposit and am going to book the ferries next. No problem, but I don’t have to choose from lots of options or make too many decisions, that bit I realised I just can’t deal with. I bought some vegetable seeds online last night, I’ve been putting it off because there are a million different varieties even once you’ve chosen one website. Then I stumbled on a website last night with really limited choice, just 3 of each vegetable maximum, all chosen for flavour and home-growing conditions. Perfect, I did an order on the spot and the whole thing took 15 minutes! So I think either breaking things down and getting small amounts of info together in advance or going for limited options is one way round procrastinating those sort of tasks. And letting my dh do stuff (he’s very decisive) when it matters to him!
      The other thing which works for me is keeping different bags for different activities. My kids play tennis so I have a tennis bag with shoes, racquets, balls and some books to read. Today they had tennis so I put the bag next to the front door this afternoon (after I’d remembered it the 4th time!) and just had to take that. I put some fruit in too on the day and hope it all gets eaten so I don’t leave it there to go mouldy!. Before I did the bag thing I would spend ages rushing round the house at the last minute trying to find all the contents and ending up running late. I have the same thing with my gym bag, I keep my shampoo, locker coins, gym card, emergency towel and water bottle in there all the time and then just have to fill the water bottle, put in my clean clothes and take out the dirty ones when I get home. I have swimming bags for everyone too. I have a bag for uni where most things go, and I keep paperwork for different subjects in clear envelope folders, actually I need to buy some more of those as I have more subjects now. And my Kindle has all the journal papers I need on it, with backups on a flash drive.
      Nithy: you’re so right about working with your habits, not against them. You could spend lots of time and effort trying to train yourself to put stuff away from scratch every time, or you could take your tack and work with your current habits. That’s exactly what makes life easier! Ditto the makeup drawer AnotherDeb. I worked out that quite a few of our clutter problems over the years have come from things having homes in the wrong place, I’m still working through giving things better homes where possible, though it keeps changing and will probably keep changing.

    • #178942
      chacha1
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      lottielot, that’s my big advantage – a household containing just two middle-aged working adults. πŸ™‚ Oh, and a couple of middle-aged cats. AT MOST they can clutter the place only to the extent of emptying the toy bowl … which, occasionally, they do.

    • #178963
      SunshineR
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      lottielot: be careful on those stair landings (lego toys from DS2). Our big thing here with 2 middle aged adults and 1 dog is the crunchy dog kibble on hardwood floors. Not friendly on bare feet at 3 in the morning.

    • #179017
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      lol chacha1, your cats clearly aren’t as bad as mine, the amount of cat sick I seem to encounter on a daily basis…
      sunshineR: I am well accustomed to a)wearing slippers in the house so it doesn’t hurt treading on Lego and b)always checking the stairs for stuff before descending! Or children, they’re currently sitting on the stairs playing on an ipod.
      I have not done one thing on my to-do list today πŸ™ I just looked at them for about the 3rd time today and thought that 2 of them actually belong to another day (can’t do ds2’s photo when he’s at school). At least I looked at them though…

    • #180797
      Netleigh
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      lottielot
      You could try useng a robot vacuum in the main rooms, then keep your other one upstairs and a lightweight one on the third floor? Then you wouldn’t have to lug it up and down so much, it is duplication but it might help. It still doesn’t get over the stairs cleaning but keeps the living area presentable.
      I’ve got a roomba and the biggest problem for me running it is having uncluttered floors for it to work with! I’m getting there as dh and my downstairs magazine/book in progress heaps have been put into magazine racks and I’m doing one in one out on mine. Upstairs floors are still not quite clear. As you have young children and lego you could threaten the robot will eat their stuff unless they pick it up! Though I don’t think it would eat lego and the landing would be safe!

      I also find that the quick pickup and return things to places before work is better for me than doing things in the evening when I am often really tired.

      Creating staging areas on each floor for returning items to upstairs or downstairs. This works for me as my landing strip in the hall is a spot I like to keep clear and usually manage maintain this as well. Because it’s at the bottom of the stairs it’s ideal to drop things there to be taken up the next time I’m going up with an empty hand. There’s also a chest of drawers at the top of the stairs that could serve the same purpose when I’ve removed the things living on it! At the moment I balance things on the top bannister rail and hope they don’t jump.

    • #180801
      Mimi
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      thank you for this topic. it reminded me of the reason for decluttering: an easier life! thatΒ΄s what i am looking for and step by step- itΒ΄s getting easier!

      the most important thing was and still is: the reduction. i sized down in material matters like: from a car and 3 bikes for different uses (road bike, mountain bike, city bike) to one bikes. from two laptops (for work related & private issues) and an ipod to one laptop for the business and an ipad for private stuff. (unfortunately, an ipad does not work as a business supply). from a lot of clothes to some that i like to wear. etc. etc. this leads to less work: dusting. organizing. ironing. cleaning!

      more improvements are: new rules. new habits.
      # breakfast: eat a muesli at home. that prevents me from a lot of calories in a bakery or time to buy cheese, bacon, bread every morning or the evening before.
      # go by bike. i donΒ΄t need a car anymore. and i donΒ΄t have to arrange a timezone for sports. i do sports or i donΒ΄t arrive at my place of work. so i do sports. πŸ™‚
      # do laundry every day. ok, thatΒ΄s a testing phase but it seems be to easier than the hassle on the weekends.
      # automate payments. as mentioned above. takes some time but saves A LOT of time further on.
      # make clear statements. an example: i told a member of my family that i donΒ΄t want unexpected visits anymore. yes, rude me! the reason was: whenever i was asked to come or asked to be visited and did not say “yes” to the suggestion of the date and offered a later time… this person just appeared at that point of time when i had to do other things. just like: “hello, here i am. and you are at home, wonderful. i will take a coffee and two cookies.” and my laundry was not done, my lawn was not mawed, my dog was not walked, my hair not cut. so i learned not even to say “no” but to make clear statements: i donΒ΄t want you to ever come unexpected again. sorry. but this person carried it to the excess. so i got more clear. that was a hard decision but it works. and i learned: the earlier i make a clear statement, the less rude it is.
      # go home in the evening, not at night. have more holidays. just go. just do it. i cannot wait for the time when my work is finished. i cannot finish every task today, not even before the next holiday. the sun will rise every morning and there will be an ethernal flood of tasks. i will not stop it so i do the most important things and go.

    • #180820
      Netleigh
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Mimi, i love your improvement
      # go by bike. i donΒ΄t need a car anymore. and i donΒ΄t have to arrange a timezone for sports. i do sports or i donΒ΄t arrive at my place of work. so i do sports.

      I used to bike everywhere, now I drive and I really need to cycle to work again to get the exercise into my daily life without having to find some separate time to do it in.

    • #180828
      pkilmain
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Last summer I was doing well biking most days, but it turned in such a lousy weather summer that I lost momentum. At the peak I was doing 9 miles roundtrip to the gym! πŸ™‚ Need to get back to that – once this snow stuff is done.

    • #180850
      Mimi
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      thank you, netliegh. and- just do it. once you have clothes to wear when it rains, its just a habit to go by bike. i ride 10km in the morning, 10km in the evening. to be honest: when we have really bad wether (snow and ice) i take the bus after i fell on sudden ice last winter, ouch.

      ah and i have something to add.
      #put a sticker on my letter box: “no junk mail, please” it stops to reduce the amount of paper that i dont need in in my space . and every time a get a catalog that i once ordered, i inform the company not to send catalogs again.

    • #180871
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      i reckon the single thing that takes up the most energy around our place is the daily matter of feeding ourselves.
      planning, shopping, storing, preparing….it is all very time-consuming and there is no way around it.
      sure, we can resort to prepared foods, but i am not interested in loss of quality, or in flavours designed to please a wide audience and therefore blander than we’d like.
      i am always looking for ideas on keeping our food *real* and delicious and SIMPLE.
      i have found the stonesoup blog to be a tremendous resource, even though i always add a variety of herbs and spices to the recipes!
      the stonesoup rule is “five ingredients or less” and while i admire that, i don’t want to live it at every single meal.
      but as a starting point, it’s a fantastic concept for the time-pressed and indeed anybody just looking to simplify things in the kitchen, without losing quality/flavour/nutrition/variety.

    • #180902
      Netleigh
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Feeding ourselves is much easier since I started getting the shopping delivered by Ocado.
      1. I make a meal plan for weekday nights, the delivery is on Monday, the fresh things generally have a long enough life for the weekday nights.
      2. Weekends I’m more flexible as we may eat out, have friends or family with us and these things mostly happen at the last moment. I have enough shops, not too far away, to go and get the things I need then when I have more time.
      3. If I know we are going to be rushed one day I can order a ready meal for convenience and because Ocado do Waitrose stuff I’m happy about the food quality.
      4. We tend to go for quality not quantity and I like to have some idea of the provenance of meat, Waitrose have different relationships with their suppliers than all the other UK supermarkets.

      PS I have nothing to do with Waitrose, not advertising just a fan!

    • #180904

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      For me the stress of putting meals on the table is greatly diminished if I have a weekly meal plan. I only have to think about it once a week instead of every day. I usually sketch something out on Saturday and we shop on Sunday morning. I spend a few hours on Sunday preparing — if a stew or a casserole is on the menu I’ll assemble it then. I also make a couple composed salads that keep well (like 3 bean salad.) I might also half-make some things: if we’re having quiche, for example, I’ll make the crust, line the quiche pan and caramelize the onions. A side benefit is a lot of the “messy” cooking is done all at once: after I’m finished with the Sunday prep I mop the kitchen floor. I normally have to make a mid-week run for more fruit and lettuce, but other than that, it’s all prepped and ready to go.

    • #181128
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      bandicoot, I will check out the recipe website, sounds good. Right now meal planning is not working, I really give up on it. Dh got home at 9.30 on Monday night, I’d made a lovely risotto for his usual home arrival time of 7pm and he wouldn’t answer his phone or ring me to tell me he was late. I know he didn’t want to be home late, but really, it drives me crazy trying to plan for people who don’t like what I cook, complain about it or just don’t turn up to eat it when I’ve put effort into it. My kids are currently living on eggy bread, pancakes or baked bean toasted sandwiches, all with lots of carrot sticks and tomatoes πŸ™‚ Or picnics, which are a lot less stressful and still perfectly nutritious. This weekend my dh went shopping and cooked us steak and chips and stir fry for the kids, so at least he’s attempting to make up for it! Still, it would be really nice to be able to plan meals a bit more… I did also ask him to buy some gammon for a roast dinner today, so I can use up all the veggies we have waiting to be used.
      Netleigh: I just downloaded the Ocado app, I love Waitrose food πŸ™‚ Now I need to put in that first lot of effort to get everything sorted that we usually buy and I will try to use it regularly.
      I know we were discussing habit tacking. I lapsed a bit on reminding my kids to do their 2 minute room tidy before pudding, but they recently resurrected it themselves after a week’s hiatus. They’ve been really good about it, plus if there is something else which I really want them to do like tidy another room or whatever then I can get them to do that too. Their rooms are moderately untidy right now, the 2 minute thing just stops chaos from descending but I’m happy with ‘moderately untidy’ rather than ‘complete tip’ status…
      Oh, another thing I’ve been doing is using my dustbuster a lot more instead of the big hoover. It’s one of those Dyson ones so it actually works, and I’m finding it really good for doing a quick going over of the stairs or getting the kids to pick up their crumbs from the lounge room.

    • #181138
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      hey, good to see you lottielot…..sounds like a hectic couple weeks at your place!

    • #181172
      djk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      A big help to keep my life running smoothly is preparing the night before for the next day. I don’t always lay out my clothes but I look at my schedule for the next day, pack up my bag, and set up the coffee maker.

      Something else I am figuring out (better late than never, I guess) is that I get confused/overwhelmed easily (cotton-wool brain) when I haven’t had breakfast or lunch. Astonishing how productive and efficient I can be when I have eaten. Not to mention less grumpy. Am trying to eat low-carb, so with the ease of bread out of the question, this requires quite a bit more planning. I also don’t like to eat in the mornings, as I am not remotely hungry until about 11, but I don’t get my first break until about 2 pm, if I get one that day. So some major lifestyle shifts are in order.

      The bar-none supreme tool to make my life easier has been my iPhone. It is such an all-in-one asset. I use it for work and personal tasks. The NOTES section is invaluable. When I need to replace toner, or the HEPA filter in my vacuum, or need the measurements for a tablecloth, etc., I have all the specs in a note.

    • #181194
      pkilmain
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      djk – I used to think I wasn’t hungry for breakfast, and when I moved in with my DH he always ate breakfast. He fixed it himself, but I would get up and drink my coffee and keep him company. Pretty soon I started eating a little, maybe some toast or a bit of cereal, or yogurt. Before I knew it I was ready to eat when I got up. Now I wouldn’t think of not eating breakfast. I think you need the baby steps to make the habit. πŸ™‚

    • #181196
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      eating at an early hour is repugnant to me too.
      but i can always manage a smoothie and big latte.
      consider the smoothie:
      seeds
      nuts
      oats
      fruit (usually half a banana per person and a couple of dates)
      cinnamon and turmeric
      yoghurt
      ice
      a little water
      man, that is some serious nutrition, right there.
      lately i am adding a spoonful of barley greens powder as well.
      provided this isn’t thick and gluggy, i can drink it at 4am if necessary.
      and it is a decent amount of food, and i am not starving and dizzy by mid-morning.
      i know that cotton-headed/overwhelmed feeling….in me it manifests as a slightly panicked irritability and then i realise…..ooops, starving.

    • #181200
      pkilmain
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      so bandicoot, did you ever try the spinach in your smoothies??? Hmmmmm?

    • #181202

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I’m gonna try that smoothie as soon as I’m on phase IV of my eating plan 8P

      I use barley greens powder or wheat grass powder in smooties and love the taste of it. I also LOVE putting cilantro in my green smoothies – yummy! I also like the taste of matcha so sometimes put some of that in (but it’s expensive and the greens powders sorta taste the same so I usually just use the greens).

      Today I just tried a smoothie using coffee, ice, a T of evaporated milk and vanilla stevia drops that for me was quite satisfying.

      My vitamix is kinda acting up. Have you had that or any problem with yours and how does one deal with it?

    • #181203
      irishbell
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I just bought a kitchenaid blender after having been without one for months. You people have me craving smoothies…. I have some fruit I’ve been tossing in the freezer for awhile now….I can’t wait Til morning…..

    • #181205

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      Just remember the greens too – kale (the leafy part only)

    • #181216
      bandicoot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      pkilmain….the barley greens was my compromise until the wet season is over and we can plant again.

      ntch, if my vitamix acts up, i swear i will have a cow.
      it was too expensive to act up.

    • #181221
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      mmm, that smoothie sounds both delicious and nutritious bandicoot! Could be improved only by adding a spoonful of malt extract and some wheatgerm πŸ™‚ It’s so true about breakfast, this morning I made my porridge but had to rush the kids to school so couldn’t eat it till I got back. I was sooo grumpy going to school! On the days when I have to leave really early and don’t have time even for a small bowl of muesli, I take a banana with me to eat on the run.

    • #181544
      djk
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      I also love a smoothie in the morning, but more in the warmer months. It was a cold, cold winter. Usually I make one a couple of times a week, but sometimes even that takes too much time:(

      sometimes I soak oats in water (or milk) overnight in a pot on the stove, then turn it on low when I shower and then I can manage to eat it when I’m out of the bathroom.

      on the general topic of making life easier: after my shower I give the tiles a fast spritz with a mix of vinegar & whatever essential oil I have on hand, usually tea tree or eucalyptus. It cuts the soap scum and calcium buildup; the weekly scrub is considerably easier as a result. The smell of the vinegar doesn’t bother me, as it disappears quickly, but I like the smell of the e.o.’s too.

    • #181551
      lottielot
      Member

      Ways to make life easy: inspiration required πŸ™‚

      djk: I’ve taken to wiping down my shower with a dry cloth after every shower. It takes 20 seconds and means almost no cleaning. I use vinegar and water in the sink and to clean the shower upstairs but didn’t think of adding an essential oil to it, will do so, nice idea. Dh complains about the vinegar smell but at least it’s better than the chemical cleaners which give me a headache.

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