my masterlist of ‘how to life’ tips


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:

  1. 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. 
  2. Routines and habits will help you. Trust in them.
  3. You have the potential to be an organised and productive person, just as much as anybody else. It just takes practice. 

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