Monday, October 26, 2015

Keep it simple

I don't claim to be an expert on organizing, streamlining large processes, or living a simple life. However, I recently noticed that some tiny and basic changes I've made to my every-day living have proven to be HUGE time savers and brain comforters. These are actions I've automated, items I've doubled, and small investments I've made to help calm down my frenzied, free-lance brain. Some of these things took me actual years to figure out or get around to doing, but once I made the switch I realized how silly I was to have not been doing so from the start.

*I keep a second set of all everything I need on a daily basis wherever I'm working. This includes:
   - Computer charger - I finally invested in a second charger and it has made a world of difference.
   $80 is a small price to pay for not having to check if I have my charger every time I walk out the
   - Phone charger - same as above.
   - Water bottle - gotta stay hydrated, and my bag is too heavy already without adding a water
   bottle to it.
   - Silverware set (fork/knife/spoon) - I eat too many meals at work to constantly be using
   plasticware - I say no to the set they try to throw in the bag at the salad place (it's not good for the
   environment anyway) and using real silverware makes eating dinner at my desk a slightly more
   pleasant experience.

*I have phone chargers everywhere!
   - I live in a small, one-bedroom apartment - and we nevertheless have two dedicated chargers for
   the bedroom and a third for the kitchen/living room. It is a giant waste of time to constantly unplug
   and replug chargers, and I want to be able to easily plug in my phone regardless of where I am or
   what I'm doing.

*I switched from a key lock to a combo lock at the gym.
   - This was a ridiculously small change that made a world of difference - I used to have to clip my
   key to my waist while on the treadmill, which was annoying at best and worrisome at worst (what
   if it fell off and I couldn't get back into my locker?) By switching to a combo lock, I no longer have
   a physical key to worry about. Simple, simple, simple.

*I set all of my reoccurring charges - phone, Netflix, gym membership, etc., to auto-charge my credit card
   - I've actually been doing this for a while, but I feel it's worth mentioning because I'm constantly
   surprised at the number of friends who don't do this and instead pay each reoccurring charge
   individually from their debit cards. They spend precious minutes each month figuring out what is
   due when and remembering to pay everything on time. But by utilizing the auto-charge feature,
   I have not thought about paying a phone bill in years - I simply pay one credit card bill
   each month that covers every reoccurring charge at once.

*I make use of multiple iCal calendars and their color-coding features.
   - I have one sharable calendar for J and myself that is for all of our combined activities - parties,
   weekend to-dos, etc., I have another sharable calendar for my part-time job that keeps track of
   my office hours, and I have a third calendar that is only for myself. I admit that it can get
   overwhelming if I click to show all three calendars at once and I do also have to double check that
   I'm not adding an event into the wrong calendar, but this is by far the best solution I've found to
   managing my freelance schedule.

*I use Gmail's Boomerang.
   - Sometimes I get an email that I don't need to deal with just yet, like airline ticket confirmations or
   cursory information about a project that won't begin for another few months. I don't want the email
   clogging up my inbox, but I also know that I'm not going to remember to dig through my email
   archives when I do eventually need that email - so I Boomerang it - a simple and free feature that
   allows me to set a date and time when I want any email to come back into my inbox. It takes
   seconds to utilize and saves me so much brain (and inbox) space.

*I started using a Diva Cup.
   - I'll spare you the gory details, but this thing has been a lifesaver. I no longer have to keep track of
   how many tampons I have left or waste a dinner break running out to buy more, I don't have to
   worry about running to the bathroom every few hours, and though I was initially turned off by the
   $25 price tag, it's already paid for itself after just a few months. I didn't even know Diva Cups
   existed until a few years ago and I was really hesitant to make the switch once I learned what it
   was - but I am SO glad I did.

What simple changes have you made that have help streamline your life?

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