Easing into the New Year
This season, our theme is CREATE. Around The Uncommon Creative Studio, we are creating new ways to serve you, new ways to engage with you, and new, intentional ways to structure our time. On top of these exciting new ideas, we have also been thrown quite a few curveballs recently! In all honesty, the trials we’ve been facing have zapped our time and energy, cost more money than we could have been prepared to spend, and have taken a serious emotional toll. But we are keeping our heads held high and moving forward!
All the while, we have been thinking about YOU. Many of you are embarking on new adventures of your own, trying to uphold your New Year’s resolutions, or navigating tough times. So this month, we are sharing our best pointers for making things as easy as can be during times of transition! We’ll keep this short, sweet, and worth your while so you can get back to doing your thang.
For starters, reduce your to-do list down to what truly needs to get done. Read through your list once, close your eyes and take a few deep breaths, then read through it again, looking for anything that can realistically wait until later. Yes, we’re sharing many productivity tips with you today, but at the end of the day, deciding that a task doesn’t need to be done now (or maybe at all) can be more helpful than anything!
Pay attention to the time of day that feels the toughest. If mornings are hectic, pack your lunch or set your outfit aside the night before (more on this below).
As much as you can, enlist help from people you know and trust. In many cases, they will be happy to help lighten your load for you! Can a spouse or roommate take over some household duties, or can you borrow an item from your neighbor so that you don’t have to run out to the store? If we know anything about our generous readers, we know you will absolutely return the favor when you can do so.
A girl’s gotta eat! How to make meals easy-peasy.
Rather than starting your grocery list from scratch each time, keep a running list on your phone wherever you store your digital notes (Evernote, Notes, Google Drive). Each week, just bold or highlight the items you’ll need during your next grocery run. Voila - list made!
Utilize grocery pick-up or delivery services - they are definitely helpful in a pinch!
Try some super easy recipes, like these! Crockpots, Instant Pots, and air fryers are great if you have them on hand. Or keep it simple - one-pan recipes in the oven are perfect go-to’s in times like these!
Try a meal delivery service or other pre-made options, like these! Take a look at prices to see what works for your budget, and keep in mind that these services often have you fill out a survey when you sign up, so it can take a bit of extra time to get started.
We hate to break it to you, but there’s no way to make it stop. We’ve tried.
One way to make it easier is to throw in small loads throughout the week, rather than letting it all inevitably pile up.
Two tips for shaving off some of your sorting time:
Keep separate hampers for lights, darks, whites, delicates, etc.
If you’re keeping one hamper, you can clip small mesh laundry bags inside of it. Use one for socks and one for undies, and then use the main basket for the rest of your clothes. You’ll sort as you go without taking up the extra space of multiple hampers. PLUS! It will keep your socks all inside one bag that you can throw into the wash aaaand you can say goodbye to the mysterious sock scavenger hunt. Life changed!
Other Everyday Tips
Each time you come home, make a habit of putting your purse, keys, sunglasses, etc. in the same place so you can limit the amount of time you might spend searching for them!
Group everyday items together based on when you’ll need to use them. Place toiletries together by category in the bathroom cabinet, and place all of your favorite breakfast/morning items together in one place in the kitchen.
Finding it tough to fit in a workout but feeling like you need some movement? Try something like this foldable stationary bike. Slide it in under your desk and get some revolutions in while you work on something else!
Simplify your wardrobe! Take a look at your closet and select pieces that are comfy, easy to interchange, and that make you feel good. Pull those babies to the front and put them on a regular rotation for as long as you need. It will free up some of your time and mental real estate for more important things.
Your NOT-To-Do List
It might be a bummer but eliminate or reduce the time you spend with the TV on. It may seem harmless to have it on in the background, but you’d be surprised by how much more you can get done without that extra distraction.
It’s also probably time for a social media break. Well, for a lot of reasons … but especially at a time like this. If you’re not ready to cut the cord completely, set daily limits on social media apps in your phone’s settings.
Take a break from people who drain your energy! You don’t need to audit your entire friend list right now, but postpone spending time with anyone you know will make this already challenging time even more difficult for you. Try these:
“Could I take a rain check on our dinner plans? I really need to get caught up on things this week.”
“I have a lot on my plate right now, and I’d like to spend time with you when I can be a little more present. I’ll reach out again when things calm down a bit.”
“I just need a little extra time for myself right now. I hope you enjoy your week and that you get to take some time for yourself, too!”
Keep it simple, honest, and polite. You may feel some guilt, and that’s okay. Just try to remember that taking care of yourself is a way of taking care of the people around you.
Sometimes, we have the luxury of planning ahead for a time of transition - like having a baby, starting a new job, or moving into a new place. If that’s the case, try to implement some of these tips *before* the rubber meets the road:
Stock up on the toiletries, cleaning supplies, and pantry staples you know you’ll need. Better to have a refill on hand if you can! You can also “subscribe” to certain purchases on Amazon and they will automatically send products you select as often as you’d like for a discounted price.
Set up auto payments for your bills as you are able. We still recommend checking in on your accounts to keep an eye on anything out of the ordinary!
Unsubscribe from email subscriptions you don’t want! This is a great tip in general, but it is especially important to reduce the unnecessary noise when you need to focus on what’s important. No big overhaul necessary - just notice the next time you receive an email from a list you no longer want to be on. Hit “unsubscribe” on the email or in your inbox, and move it to your junk mail rather than just deleting it.
We hope you can walk away with solid ideas for how to truly make things easier on yourself. We know that you are capable of SO much, but there is only one of you, and you are, after all, a human being. Show yourself some grace and give yourself the gift of simplifying when you need to. For more tips on how to get back to basics, check out our previous blog post! In the meantime, know that we are here for you and cheering you on. Always!
Keep on keepin’ on,
The Uncommon Team