WhatsApp was blowing up today with all the back and forth messages celebrating International Women’s Day. A friend sent a message with the line “Always Awesome, Forever Fabulous’. I immediately told her I was stealing it. I’ve been lately feeling low and unworthy and this line just perked me up.
“Always Awesome, Forever Fabulous”, huh? I know I know, easy to say difficult to follow. And don’t I know it? Maintaining awesomeness and fabulousness is hard work. There are always competing priorities, emotional messes, and emergencies. The basics of daily life are hardly a breeze – our jobs are demanding, parenting is a challenge even on the best days, and relationships require effort. Then there are social obligations, family issues, office politics, career changes, planning for the future. And let’s consider the courage needed to live a life of one’s choosing. What about the bravery involved in standing up for yourself, making decisions, and dealing with the consequences of those choices? Hard work, indeed. But so worth it!
My friend’s words have inspired me to be kinder to myself in 2018. Just because I want to continuously improve myself doesn’t mean what I am now is not good enough. I am already awesome and fabulous!
2018 has started exactly as I expected – a runaway bullet train hurtling towards 2019 at record speed. We are half way through February; I’ve broken all my resolutions, but I have come up with several new plans for a less chaotic, more ordered life. I have accepted that my house, my head, my life has too much stuff. Stuff that did nothing for my happiness; it was just stuff that needed to be kept organised, updated or tended to in some way. I figured the easiest way to deal with it was to just simply get rid of it.
I have also realised that incremental change is the way to go. I find it easier to execute small, bite-sized projects, record a success and get motivated for more improvements. Here are some of the things I call “quick wins” that you should consider for a less cluttered 2018.
- Take a hard look at your email inbox. Is it cluttered with unread newsletters, marketing emails, notifications, UBER receipts, and junk. Did you miss an important email in the sea of Did you still need a updates from meetup even though you last attended an event 2 years ago? Or marketing emails from a store you haven’t shopped at for 5 years? Or travel updates from a country you visited on your vacation last summer? How many newsletters do you really need? Unsubscribe from all but the most important or interesting. You will save yourself for having to clean thousands of unread messages or even worse, creating a new account every time an account gets too big to handle.
- Review all subscriptions. Are you absolutely using all the products and services you are subscribed to? Are you getting good value for your money? Are there subscriptions on auto-renewal that you had forgotten? Think quality and not quantity. Are they positively contributing to your life or just sucking up time and money?
- Consolidate banking and investment accounts. It’s easier to track one account instead of multiple accounts with different institutions with different terms and conditions. And you might even qualify for preferential services for the extra business you bring to the bank.
- Keep as few credit cards as possible. It’s easier to track, earn more rewards, limit the amount you could possible spend, protect against theft. Find a card that provides the benefits most important to you – cash back, points or miles.
- Plan and prep meals. Save time and money by taking 15 minutes each week to plan your breakfast, lunch and dinner for the week. Also, save yourself from poor food choices, and emotional eating by planning in advance. There are scores of articles available on preparing weekly meals. Check here, here and here. (Disclosure: I really struggle with this item. Logically I understand why I need to plan and make ahead meals but I’m still working through eating my emotions).
- Think about all the low-value, frequent use STUFF you have accumulated. Look at your stash of Toiletries, Spices and herbs, and Snacks. Are there any expired items? Spoilt? Is there something you are don’t like anymore or are most definitely not going to use again? The same principle applies to kitchen appliances, tools and gadgets, and cookbooks. I cannot adequately describe the joy and sense of control I have felt after a quick clearing out of a shelf or drawer or two.
- Lighten up the social calendar. It is tempting to sign-up for every school event and attend every birthday party. FOMO is very real when it comes to parenting. Say no when you need to. Killing yourself trying to do everything and be everywhere just takes away from the joy of the events. The same holds true for those without kids – are you overextended, overcommitted, running after too many things? Pick those that mean most to YOU.