Automate to Clear the Mind
Whilst I get some 'chill-out' time from work over the next couple of weeks, there are some things I will be doing to review and reset different areas in my life. I call this 'simplifying my life' as it lets me FOCUS on only a few KEY things, so I can give them the BEST chance to succeed in the coming year. Just like the GOALS I had set for 2021 as written up in this blog post.
Work out what the KEY areas are that you'd like to FOCUS on in the coming months.
A good one is reducing emails.
Yes, that inbox that is overflowing with news and information that you may or may not really ever need. For me, priorities are personal finance, health and reading. SO, I am culling EVERYTHING from my inbox that is not related to these 3 areas. Booktopia stays, but COTTON ON goes. LinkedIn is out! Facebook notification emails, out! I will check Facebook when I want to. Blogs not related to wealth are out. Even money magazine is out (I don’t need to know ALL the different things that are going on. I have honed in on what matters). Parenting emails are out, I have enough to help me get through the short term with my kids. I am going to trust I know enough (for now at least!).
Unsubscribe to ALL not relating to your goal. You will be surprised how freeing this is when you don’t have 50+ a day bombarding you. If you really need one, you can always resubscribe.
How to do it:
Go through your current inbox and anything that you have already, open it and unsubscribe. There is always an unsubscribe option in the heading or at the bottom of the email.
Use an app that can help cull for you. Read the fine print though as you may not agree on what information they store on you. Here is one if you wish to review https://unroll.me/
As new emails come in, make it a mission to decide to keep or unsubscribe and action straight away. Over a month, you should have your incomings reduced significantly.
Remove DECISION FATIGUE
What is Decision Fatigue?
This article offers a more in-depth explanation if you want to learn more about decision fatigue. Your life becomes so much simpler when you don't have a thousand choices a day. It allows you more time to think about what really counts in your life. Instead, simplify and automate things so you only have 2-3 choices to decide from. Contrary to what we think, less choice is actually easier.
Jody Moore's podcast Editing Your Life is another great resource for minimising the number of decisions you need to make. The way she talks about it just made so much sense to me.
Below are some handy ways to remove decision fatigue and simplify your life today.
Bills on Auto-Pilot
Level out your expenses over the year
Pay electricity, council and water rates monthly, so when the bill comes in you will be surprised it's paid for! For more about how to do this, read my Budget blog.
Pay into a 'Yearly expenses' account for insurances, gifts, pet care, clothes and draw from there when you need it. Some people call this a sinking fund.
It can take a little while to tweak, but having these on auto-pilot means you don’t have to think about your budget when these bills come in. When the bill comes in, it’s a quick check that everything is in order, possibly pay a small balance, and then file away.
WARNING! setting expenses on auto-pilot may make you forget to check if the price you are paying is competitive, as time just keeps ticking away. I would suggest you set a reminder in your calendar for once a year to ring around and search the best deal for each expense. Either a blitz all in one month where you call everyone or have 1 or 2 per month throughout the year.
Insurance – car, life, house, health
Mortgage – home and investments. Search first online so you have a ball park of the going honeymoon offers, then ring your own bank to discuss. Barefoot Investor even has a script in his book. I call and say I need them to review my current loans to ensure it is competitive. If they say it’s the best they can do, then I mention what other 'similar' establishments are offering and that if need be I would like to discuss my options with the retention team so that I don’t go down the path of transferring to another establishment.
Mobile phone plan, internet, entertainment providers
This process has been so good for us. It removes the discussions each night "what are we going to cook/ eat?" Shopping is a breeze, as we have a list and we don’t have to keep going every few days. Plus less takeaway = save $$.
To even go further, make it a fun process that the family can all decide on their own 'theme' night. That way it reduces even further what to choose! Have 3 choices for each theme night and the Weekly Menu can be done in 10 minutes! Tops!
I even have a shopping list template with the staples and the things we buy on occasion (tomato sauce, BBQ sauce, flour, tea bags, coffee etc). Tick the items and in another 10 minutes DONE for the week.
Meal planning and suggested themes. (If you have any ideas, let me know as I am always trying to make this more interesting to get the team on board 😊 !)
Monday - Meat-free night, Mexican night, or MAMA's choice night
Tuesday – Ten-minute meals or taste.com.au ideas
Wednesday – Wellness and healthy meals
Thursday - Teenager Talents or Thai style
Friday – Fun pizza night or Fast food Friday
Saturday - Sizzling BBQ
Sunday – Special roast
OR you can make a list of all the recipes/dinner ideas you know, say 14-28 ideas and just rotate them in the season. I did this as a Winter or Summer roster and that worked really well. I had the corresponding shopping list too. Yes, very detailed, however, I did that ONCE and then could forget about it for the rest of the season/year. Frees up so much time.
I find it’s the preparation that turns people off. Setting up the spreadsheet, thinking of the list or the recipes. Try just starting with the next 2 weeks plan. That will start the ball rolling, to tweak and add new recipes/nightly menu items and compile a shopping list that works for those menus.
Let me know how you go! It gets harder as the 'little' kids become 'big' kids and even us adults get bored. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!
The 10 Item Wardrobe
Intrigued? I was too! I stumbled across a TEDx Talk (The ten-item wardrobe) a few years back and was hooked on the idea of this. This is not just minimalism or Marie Kondo (which I love by the way). It's about respecting your clothes, owning great quality and not having to think about what you are going to wear all the time. Now I am not saying I follow this entirely, but I do find packing away the season's items a breath of fresh air, because each change in season, I feel like I have gone shopping again when I unpack the next season items. Also having less in the closet feels easier to choose as there are only a few to choose from. Usually, you really like what you have too.
She is very calming to watch and is intentional with her day to day living. Check out her TEDx talk and her YouTube channel.
You are mindful with the main items you have for the season and can limit to 'X' items. You would also have staples, like T-shirts, cardigans, jumpers, jackets, tights. Accessories would tie into your main palette and you would have a few shoes that work for all occasions. For example: 3-4 dresses 3-4 tops, blouses 2-4 jeans, trousers 2 jackets
In Winter you may add a few coats and jumpers depending on where you live and in summer, perhaps a few more flowy dresses or skirts.
I can say for me, this process is calming and I enjoy what I do have and don't feel I am missing out. When I do buy new pieces for the season I am intentional and don't mind paying a little more for good quality. For more from Jennifer, visit her YouTube Channel
The Power of a Clear Mind
Areas that you may have been stuck on, (like analysis paralysis), or just feel overwhelmed, will become clear when you least expect it.
Some of the above processes have allowed me time and peace in the day to day hustle and bustle of life.
What have you tried that has helped clear the mind?