I hope you are doing well and staying healthy in this strange time. As a homebody, I have been enjoying myself greatly, working on my blog and indulging in World of Warcraft, reading, yoga, and more of my favorite hobbies. Of course, I've found myself restless at times, but staying busy and enjoying the little things while limiting screen time has helped tremendously.
I've also been using my free time to find new habits and hobbies to start incorporating into my daily life. In the beginning, I took advantage of this new "at-home" schedule, sleeping in and doing whatever I wanted. But over the past few days, I've decided to get my life back in motion.
Work and class may take place in my bedroom now, but I can still work to be my healthiest and happiest self! And what better time to start than now?
I have been incredibly eager to write this post because the following 5 minimalist tips have changed my life over the past few days--I've never felt more organized and eager to get more done. My life feels exponentially simpler after adding these tasks to my everyday routine.
1. Declutter your email inbox at the end of each workday
I don't mean check your email for important emails then log off--I mean respond, file away, mark as read, etc., until you have zero notifications in your inbox.
I was the person who would always have my email tab open (which honestly leads to unnecessary clutter in my workspace) and would check for notifications but would never read or respond to any of them. So my inbox grew, and grew, and grew until I had about 8,000 emails!
Deciding to finally go through them, I found two incredibly important emails that I had never seen. In one of them, my friend sent me an ARC of his book to review. I never saw it, therefore I wasn't able to help him out and leave a review.
I sent him a message apologizing, but still--that opportunity was lost because I didn't check my emails efficiently.
The same thing happened with my Instagram messages, which I will go into in the next tip.
Try decluttering your email at the end of the day, just once, and feel the release it brings you. It does wonders!
I have unsubscribed to so many people I didn't know I was receiving newsletters from, like swimsuit companies from when I swam competitively. I can now give more attention to each email that arrives and deceiver whether I need this subscription in my inbox or if its only unnecessary clutter.
A clear inbox = a clear mind.
2. Respond to all texts before you go to bed
If you don't want to respond, simply leave the message on read.
Here I am, being as honest and upfront as possible: I am horrible with texting. I don't know when it happened, because I used to be great at it, but I think when my life got progressively busier, responding to texts become less of a priority. I have lost countless friendships and have endured many arguments because I fail to respond to people for months.
One of my 2020 goals was to make it a priority to text people back. If I didn't want to text them, I decided I'd either leave them on read or end the conversation.
All I know is that I would hate to never receive a reply for months, so why should I reciprocate that? I'm tired of losing friends over little texts.
This same thing has happened with Instagram--I will build-up 100s of messages from followers and simply don't feel the need to respond. This leads to not only unfollows but hurting people's feelings and missing big opportunities.
For example, I had been asked to participate in a podcast by Young Eager Writers in September by fellow indie author Michael Evans, and I completely missed the message!
Luckily, I was still able to be interviewed for the podcast, which was actually conducted today! It was such a marvelous opportunity, and Michael and I had so much fun with it. Be sure to be on the look-out for its upload--I offer some great mental health and physical wellness tips for young writers and creatives.
From here-on-out, I'm making it a point to respond to each and every message I receive before the day ends.
If you're bad at texting, too, that's okay--I feel you, aha! By clearing out all texts and messages before you go to sleep, you'll end your day feeling much more released of tasks and things to do. You don't have to text back Susan--you already did!
This has been doing wonders for me. My connections with others are already growing, just by making it a point to not only respond to people before the day ends but all throughout the day. Instead of aimless scrolling, I'll text people back.
Also, with less red notifications, the better!
3. Tidy your desk and reduce physical clutter
Since I'm working from home, my desk can end up a bit messy toward the end of each day. As I'm writing this now, there's an empty mug of hot cocoa next to me, as well as books and my loaf of a cat.
But throughout the day, I make sure to tidy my space and overall limit clutter. It's so true that a clean desk leads to a clean mind, and I also find myself more excited to work.
Try getting a filing thing as I have, or a little basket containing your miscellaneous things. I also enjoy my coaster because it keeps my tea or coffee in the same place every time.
And besides--having a minimal desk space just feels so good!
Also, try tidying up all your general space as much as possible, whenever you can, so your future self doesn't have to deep clean later. For me, having a clean, minimal space reduces stress and random urges to pick up random things rather than work.
4. Keep a list of daily, healthy habits to do every day
I've been incorporating some daily habits into each day so that my body expects these habits and I don't have to think too hard or even cut out space for them. To-do lists are fantastic, but those can change and adapt. Having 3-5 daily habits to attend to every day can not only help the day feel more structured, but it'll also simply decrease mental effort.
Some of my habits include morning stretching, washing my face morning and evening, making afternoon tea, and a new one is reading for 30 minutes each day.
These are the kinds of habits that you know you should be doing more often, but don't. Therefore you have more mental clutter and perhaps even negative self-talk because you keep avoiding them.
Mmhmm. You know what I'm talking about!
So, this is your time to shine! Do your habits every day, and maybe even start a habit tracker. In order to stay accountable, follow Matt D'Avella's Two-day rule: Don't break a habit for more than two days, and soon enough, it'll stick! He talks more about this in his video here.
Find some tasks that make you feel good, and incorporate them into each day! For some more habit ideas, check out 8 peaceful (and free) things to do on your own.
5. Delete photos at the end of each day, & only keep one of the same photos
As a bookstagramer, I enjoy taking several photos of books in different positions with different props. I will take up to 100-300 photos, edit three of those, then post one.
But, I wouldn't delete any of the photos, ever. They'd sit there, gathering in my camera roll until my storage got too full. Same thing with selfies, zoo pictures, homework pictures and more.
At the end of each day, I've been deleting photos I don't need anymore, and if I took several pictures of the same thing, I'll only keep one, usually the edited one.
This has been helping my camera roll stay low (4,500 to me is low, aha) and simply reduce unnecessary clutter.
I've also been doing this with files and photos I need to download for work since I'm working from home. I delete the 5 obituaries I wrote that day (they're safely in my email if I need to retrieve them), as well as photos I've been transferring to new sites.
Just the thought of having a clean, organized filing system makes me feel so free, too. Same with a clean camera roll.
What do you do to help ease or simplify your life? How do you keep your life minimal?
Let me know below! I'd love to hear from y'all!
Also, I'll be posting blog posts EVERY Sunday and Wednesday from now on! Be on the lookout for a post those two days, or subscribe to receive updates when I post. :)
Have a wonderful evening!