I consider myself to be a fairly organized and tidy person and I do my best to stay on top of life’s daily to-dos. While I certainly don’t have it all together, I have taken a lot of steps in my life to organize our house, my life, and my schedule. Change doesn’t happen overnight and it’s the little habits you create that can set you up for success in the long-term. I thought it would be fun to share some of my favorite simple tasks to make life easier.
13 Simple Tasks to Make Life Easier
There are some tasks that you can do today and you’ll be done for good, while others are recurring things you can start to practice to streamline your life. I’m hopeful that this list will motivate you to tackle one thing that is bothering you or interfering with your productivity.
Unsubscribe from Unwanted Emails
Yes, I am a person who always has my inbox at zero. Watching that number of unread emails creep up really stresses me out! A big part of my success in maintaining my inbox is the fact that I unsubscribe from unwanted emails immediately. In Gmail, there is often an unsubscribe button right at the top of emails and whenever I receive an unwanted email, I use that button and unsubscribe immediately. I also use unroll.me for all of my email addresses to help me unsubscribe from emails and keep others organized. I highly recommend it!
Tame Paper Clutter
Back in this post, I shared my best tips to rid your home of paper clutter. I know a lot of people struggle with paper accumulation, but Finn and I have created a system that really works well for our household. You can read all of my tips for that in this blog post. One of the easiest things you can do is tackle your mail as soon as you receive it. When you get the mail, go through it, immediately, and recycle anything you don’t want. For the other mail, I also like to take action immediately. I RSVP to parties right away and put the information in my calendar (so I can toss the invite), I pay bills right when I open them, and I don’t let anything linger. This reduces stress because there aren’t any little tasks nagging at me.
Prep Clothes at Night
I know I sound like I’m a first-grader, but I always choose my clothing the night before. Whenever I’m changing into my pajamas, I put my clothes away and get my outfit set for the next day. I always ask Alexa about the weather so I can dress accordingly. That way, I can just wake up and put on my clothes. It takes decisions and stress out of my morning routine.
Get Greens In Early
Finn and I drink our green juice every morning and it’s nice getting so many nutrients in right away. Even if I eat garbage the rest of the day, I like knowing that I got a lot of my daily vitamins in first thing. Finn makes batches twice a week so we are always stocked.
And speaking of vitamins, buy a pillbox and fill it with your daily vitamins. Every Sunday evening, I prep all of my meds for the week and organize my pillbox. Set aside time to do this and you’ll be much more likely to remember to take your vitamins each day.
Meal Prep for the Week
Finn handles the cooking in our household and every Sunday he spends hours cooking away. Luckily, he really enjoys this time and finds it relaxing (it would stress me out if I had to do it!). He preps protein, veggies, and grains so we both have lunches during the workweek. This works out really well for our family. I’m planning to shoot a video of Finn’s meal prep in the next month or so, so be on the lookout for that. In the meantime, you can check out this blog post with his weekly prep menu and this post with his best tips to grill chicken.
Set Calendar & Phone Reminders
I live by my Google calendar and put all important tasks and events right in there. For tasks that occur on a regular basis (changing air filters, changing the fridge filter, etc.) I add them to my calendar for the entire year. That way, small maintenance tasks don’t slip right by me.
Add Birthdays to your Calendar
I’m not saying that I’m perfect and remember the birthdays of every family member and close friend, but I do my best to wish the special people in my life a happy birthday. A few years ago, I put all birthdays on my Google calendar and have them set to repeat annually on that day. It took a bit of time to set up initially, but now all birthdays are on there forever!
Bonus Points: Stock up on birthday cards and stamps the next time you head to the grocery store. That way, you always have a birthday card on hand to send in the mail to those special people!
Upgrade your Address Book
I haven’t been the best with my address book and this is one task I’m definitely working on. When you go through a big life event (like a wedding) you usually accumulate lots of addresses. Well, Finn and I had been using that same list since we got married, five years ago. Turns out it was pretty outdated and lots of the baby shower invites I sent to his side of the family didn’t make it to their updated addresses! My bad.
I’ve since created a new Excel file for all of our important addresses. This is so helpful come Christmas card season because I can upload the file to Minted and it automatically creates labels for me. Score!
Bonus Points: Buy a stamp with your home address that you can use on all of your letters and invitations. This is the one I have and love!
Pare Down Apps & Reduce Desktop Clutter
Whenever I’m on an airplane (and don’t have wifi or anything to do) I go through my phone and “clean” it up a bit. I remove any apps I no longer need, I group together similar apps into folders, and I delete extra photos (random screenshots, doubles, old videos taking up precious storage, etc.). This keeps my phone from feeling too cluttered.
The same goes for the desktop of my computer. I try to keep it as organized as possible, trashing files I no longer need. And ever since I drove away with my laptop on the roof of my car over the summer (true story, it was humiliating and devastating all at the same time), I have been great about backing up my files. I have a google calendar event set for the first Friday of every month to back up my entire computer and photos so I always remember to do it.
Bonus Points: While you’re at it, give your screens a good wipe down. I use these tech wipes and they work great.
Download a List App
Finn and I use the app Wunderlist to create lists for our family (update: as of this week, Wunderlist is shutting down in May. I’m so sad. Let me know if you have another list app you like). We have a grocery list, a Lowe’s list, a Casey to-do list, a Finn to-do list, etc. This keeps us on the same page for what’s going on in our household. Whenever we run out of a particular food, we add it to the list and the first person to go to the store automatically knows what to buy. It syncs between both of our phones, so if Finn buys something off the list and removes it, my phone reflects that change. This has been a gamechanger to keep our household organized and to keep us on the same page.
Unfollow People on Social
I’m on my phone constantly for my job and sometimes it can be draining to follow people that don’t lift me up. In fact, when we were in the thick of our infertility journey I found it difficult to follow a lot of pregnant people and new moms. It wasn’t anything against them, it was just not making me feel good about myself. I encourage you to go through your social media list today and be selective about who you follow. I just hope @diyplaybook makes the cut 😉
Use My Paper Bag Trick
This is a trick I’ve been using for years and it works so well to keep my wardrobe streamlined. I keep a paper bag in my closet and whenever I put something on that no longer fits, I don’t like, or is damaged beyond repair, I add it to the bag. When the bag is full, I donate the clothing! You can read more about this useful technique in this blog post. Finn and I also have a larger bag in our car that we use for other household goods. If we want to get rid of an item, we add it to the bag in the car and once it’s full we can drive by our donation center and get rid of it. This eliminates the need for huge and overwhelming purges. Instead, we’re always getting rid of unwanted items.
Schedule Appointments for the Year
It’s really easy to forget to schedule important appointments, but I find that if I sit down for one hour, I can make all of my appointments for the year. I schedule my twice-yearly teeth cleaning, my annual checkup, my annual dermatologist appointment, my hair appointments and more, all in one sitting. Having these on the calendar well in advance ensures that I make the time for them in my calendar.
So there you have it, 13 simple tasks to make life easier. You don’t have to go run out and complete all of these today, but try to cross one or two off the list in the next week. I promise you’ll feel a bit lighter, more motivated, and your future self will thank you!
Now, what other simple tasks am I missing? I would love to hear the life hacks you use in the comments below!Casey