Cleaning & Tidying
- Make your bed in the morning. It takes seconds, and it’s worth it.
- Reset to zero each morning.
- Use the UFYH 20/10 system for clearing your shit.
- Get a reed diffuser and stick it on your windowsill.
- Have a ‘drop-zone’ box where you dump anything and everything. At the beginning/end of the day, clear it out and put that shit away.
- Roll your clothes, don’t fold them – or fold them vertically.
- Automate your chores. Have a cleaning schedule and assign 15mins daily to do whatever cleaning tasks are set for that day. Set a timer and do it – once the timer is up, finish the task you’re on and leave it for the day.
- Fold your clothes straight out of the tumble dryer (if you use one), whilst they’re still warm. This minimises creases and eliminates the need for ironing.
- Clean your footwear regularly and you’ll feel like a champ.
Organisation & Productivity
- Learn from Eisenhower’s Importance/Urgency matrix.
- Try out the two-minute rule and the Pomodoro technique.
- Use. A. Planner. (Or Google Calendar, if that’s more your thing.)
- Try bullet journalling.
- Keep a notebook/journal/commonplace book to dump your brain contents in on the regular.
- Set morning alarms at two-minute intervals rather than five, and stick your alarm on the other side of the room. It’s brutal, but it works.
- Set three main goals each day, with one of them being your #1 priority. Don’t overload your to-do list or you’ll hit overload paralysis and procrastinate.
- If you’re in a slump, however, don’t be afraid to put things like “shower” on your to do list – that may be a big enough goal in itself, and that’s okay.
- Have a physical inbox – a tray, a folder, whatever. If you get a piece of paper, stick it in there and sort through it at the end of the week.
- Consider utilising the GTD System, or a variation of it.
- Try timeboxing.
- Have a morning routine, and guard that quiet time ferociously.
- Save interesting-looking shit to instapaper. Have a set time where you read through the stuff you saved to instapaper and save the shit that you like from instapaper to evernote (or bookmark it properly).
- During your working hours, put on your footwear, even if you’re sat on your bed. (Why?)
- Have a folder for all your important documents and letters, organised by topic (e.g. medical, bank, university, work, identification). At the front of this folder, have a sheet of paper with all the key information written on it, such as your GP’s details, your passport details, driving licence details, bank account number, insurance number(s), and so on.
- Try using StayFocusd and RescueTime (or similar apps/extensions). (I promise, you’ll find that you’re not as busy as you think you are.)
- Schedule working time and down time alike, in the balance that works for you.
- Have. A. God. Damn. Budget.
- Use a money tracker like toshl, mint, or splitwise. Enter all expenses asap! (You will forget, otherwise.)
- Have a ‘money date’ each week, where you sort through your finances from the past seven days and then add it to a spreadsheet. This will help you identify your spending patterns and whether your budget is actually working or not.
- Pack your own frickin’ lunch like a grown-up and stop buying so many takeaway coffees. Keep snacks in your bag.
- Go to your bank and take out £100 in £1 coins (or w/e your currency is). That shit will come in useful for all kinds of things and you’ll never be short on change for the bus or the laundry.
Food & Cooking
- Know how to cook the basics: a starch, a protein, a vegetable, and a sauce.
- Simple, one-pot meals (“a grain, a green, and a bean”) are a godsend.
- Dried porcini mushrooms make a fantastic stock to cook with.
- Batch cook and freeze. Make your own ‘microwave meals’.
- Buy dried goods to save money – rice and beans are a pittance. (Remember to soak dried beans first, though!)
- Consider Meatless Mondays; it’s healthier, cheaper, and more environmentally friendly.
- Learn which fruits and vegetables are cheapest at your store, and build a standard weekly menu around those. (Also remember that frozen vegetables are cheap and healthy.)
- Learn seasoning combinations. Different seasoning, even with the exact same ingredients, can make a dish seem completely new.
- Don’t buy shit for a one-off recipe, especially if you won’t use it all. If you really want to try out a recipe, see if a friend would be interested in making it with you, then pool for the expenses.
- Make your own goddamned pasta sauce. Jamie Oliver has a decent recipe here, but the beauty of tomato sauce is that you can totally wing it and adapt the fuck out of it.
- Have a stock email-writing format.
- Want to start running, but find it boring? Try Zombies, Run!.
- Keep a goddamn first aid kit and learn how to use it.
- Know your OTC pain relief.
- Update your CV regularly.
- Keep a selection of stamps and standard envelopes for unexpected posting needs. (It happens more regularly than you would think!)
Some final words of advice:
- Organisation is not a goal in itself, it is a tool. Don’t get caught up in the illusion of productivity and get distracted from the actual task at hand.
- Routines and habits will help you. Trust in them.
- You have the potential to be an organised and productive person, just as much as anybody else. It just takes practice.