E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 3

ELIMINATE…REDUCE…AUTOMATE…SCHEDULE…EXTERNALISE ©

Part 1 and Part 2 can be found here.

AUTOMATE

Automate is actually the easy one.

It is exactly what is sounds like. Anything that can be automated, ought to be. Anything that you spend money or have to pay regularly you want to automate. You can eliminate unnecessary trips, late fees because you forgot to pay the bill or just stop doing and paying the same thing every 2 weeks, monthly etc. When you are able to set it up or organise just once to last till eternity if you wish.

This is especially useful for financial targets. Starting here consider some of the following in relation to your own home and life as examples and build from there….

  • Increasing your savings.
  • Making credit card and loan payments.
  • Paying bills. Rates. Water. Electricity. Insurance etc
  • School Fees. Day Care. Sport / Gym fees
  •  A regular grocery, bread, meat or fuit and vegetable order.
  • Vitamins.
  • Magazines. Papers or Industry journals you buy

The perfect partner to this for when Automation isn’t an option is Scheduling.

SCHEDULING

Now I have an absolute, undeniable and ongoing adoration for Scheduling. This one thing one in my opinion is the one that enables you put your life as close as is possible to set and forget. With the aid of a Calender. Planner or Word document, whatever your personal preference is where you write down everything that needs doing and give it a place in your year or life. Out of your head onto paper and then filed in your home manual. You can schedule basically any part of your life and have multiple schedules for different aspects of your life, although for the sake of simplicity and ease I’d keep them to a minimum. It may sound regimented and it is but the effect of that is actually increased ease, productivity, brain space and decreased stress, forgotten or not gotten to jobs, appointments or projects.

There are lots of jobs that may only need to be done a few times a year and scheduling is just as perfect for those as it is for the things we need to do regularly. The schedules or events and jobs I usually have in my home manual include the following

  • Home Maintenance Schedule
  • Cleaning Schedule
  • Menu. Groceries. Shopping
  • Personal / Family
  • Weekly. Fortnightly. Monthly
  • Financial
  • Business
  • Goals
  • Birthdays
  • Christmas Cards and Shopping.
  • Clean Gutters
  • Service Car
  • Service Airconditioner
  • Financials
  • Menus  [3 months worth]
  • Dental / Doctor visits
  • Windows.  Dooners. Skirting boards. Curtains/ Blinds [Cleaning of]
  • Washing. Clean the Washing Machine. Dryer. Drains
  • Lawns. Garden. Weeding ~Yard/Farm maintenance
  • Shopping ~Food. Clothes. Back to School. Christmas
  • Goals ~ Personal. Business. Financial. Home. Family/ Friends.

These actually boil down into only a few pages it’s not as unwieldy as it sounds

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These are just a couple of examples of very basic documents which is what mine are most of the time. You can make them prettier and more detailed but it is just about useability and getting it done. I always had 2 months of menus planned out and on rotation and was about to implement a third which allows you to just keep rotating without worrying you’ll become bored with the meals. You could also do it seasonally if you wanted to incorporate the heavier or lighter meals of summer and winter. You’ll notice not all the week is filled. This is because we always left at least one day but usually 2 free per week where we were using up left overs or had been invited out. There was always at least 1 super easy meal as well .. eg cheese toasties that we might put a salad with or not. Once you get this in place meal time and shopping becomes easy. What’s on the menu ?? … then put whatever you don’t have on hand on the shopping list. Done. Always make extra if you can for lunches or leftovers.

The above yearly calendar again is just an example of some of the things that can be put on it and how it can be used. The yearly calendar is one of my favourites. I never have to remember a thing. If something new comes up onto the calendar it goes and it makes sure you, your family including all pets get scheduled dental and medical visits and that machines (cars / aircon/ mowers etc) are also maintained which in the long run saves you time and money as well as getting better performance and helping to eliminate any problems or catch them before they get too big. Check it regularly, book in anything you need to and those appointment times go into your planner. The jobs you fit into your month either at a set time or when you can. Car cleaning and pet washing / clipping was always the first Saturday of the month for me. Financials the first of the month.. you get the idea. I programmed everything. My cleaning schedule I had on a weekly list that included family commitments etc. Sports. Meetings etc. The cleaning list was tacked on the end. I had a birthday list so I knew whose was coming up and planned ahead. Your life can pretty much be on remote control. Nothing forgotten. Everything planned for, done or checks in place, maintained. This in turns gives you the time and head space to start improving any areas you want to improve and / or giving you more free time and importantly working towards any goals you have.

We’ll finish off with the nice quick one Externalise in a couple of weeks.

Ever x

 

 

E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 2.

 

ELIMINATE … REDUCE … AUTOMATE … SCHEDULE … EXTERNALISE. ©

If you haven’t read part 1. Start there and come back.. we’ll wait. x

REDUCE

If we can’t get rid of something altogether the next step is to reduce. How much we have, how long it takes, how often we do it, how much it costs.  The aim is always to save time, space, money, effort. You do a big grocery shop every week. Do it fortnightly. Fortnightly.. do it every 3 or 4 weeks. YES. You can. Better yet do it online and have it delivered your time is likely worth more than the delivery cost and you won’t buy things you don’t need or get side tracked in other shops along the way. You have clothes and shoes, kids toys in more than one place… time to cull. 27 photo albums .. can you scan most of those and reduce that number. If you think you need more storage space – it’s time for things to go.  If you or your children are in so many extra curricular activities that your spending hours in cars and outside the home with reduced family time and increased take out meals. Time to reassess. If what you want to do isn’t happening if your not getting the time you want with the people you want it with but you’re spending time in gyms, meetings, committees, unpaid work hours, activities. Your just prioritising wrong. Stuff has to go….. what’s it gonna be.

There is more than one way of reducing so pick what works for you. For instance. If you have a small family or just you. Batch your washing into days.. say…  Thursday nights or even twice a week. One night clothes, one night sheets, towels etc. I’m a fan of always trying to keep your weekends free if you’re in paid employment. But if the weekend suits you – do that. Here you are reducing the amount of times you wash. If you have a large family. You may want to do a load most nights of the week so that you wash more often but you can wash, dry and get it away quickly rather than try and batch it like above and lose your whole Saturday because of the amount you have.

Before even doing this though. You also will want to seriously look at how much clothing you and your family has ( go back to elimination) and how often it gets washed. Unless your kids got in the mud, or you husband is in construction or it was a hot and sweaty kind of day most clothes can be worn more than once. Besides washing it will save wear and tear on your clothes from unnecessary washing and money when they need to be replaced less often and while you’re at it only use half to 3/4 of the washing powder/liquid they tell you… it will be more than enough. Try it for yourself and see. Again this will save money.

Social media and emails etc. Where do we even start. Maybe we save that for another post.

This is just a couple of area’s. If there’s something specific you want me to address. Let me know. Automate. Schedule. Externalise. We’ll look at next time.

 

E x

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E.R.A.S.E Everything Part 1.

E.R.A.S.E  –  ELIMINATE … REDUCE … AUTOMATE … SCHEDULE … EXTERNALISE ©

In the previous post we talked about getting your dream life and that some of the key components of achieving that were simplicity, focus and time. To get more of your life for what you want to do, you need to simplify it. I said we’d talk about simplifying further and so I thought the easiest way to do that would be to just show you the system I use.

E.R.A.S.E  is what I use in my life to free up time and streamline my life. To simplify as much as possible.  It’s how I was able to take off 2 months to go and walk the Camino (a cross country pilgrimage trail starting in France and finishing in Santiago De Compostela Spain) It is how I have now been traveling for nearly 12months months and all going well plan on doing that for just a little bit longer. It’s how I run my home when I have one and the system I used within my own family. It is how I continue to redesign and explore my own life. I have used it with friends and their houses. This is the system I developed and used as part of Managing a team and projects in the finance sector. Especially around the improvement and change management processes I became known for. It can be both incredibly in depth or simple depending on how you put it to use and how deep you’d like to take it. lets start with the simple stuff.

The truth is I’m not going to show you how to organise every single thing in your life. Only the stuff you need or want to keep. Everything else we are going to Eliminate. Reduce. Automate. Schedule or Externalise. We want to simplify our lives and get our time back NOT find a place and time for everything that’s already there. Because frankly what you usually find is much of it shouldn’t be there to start with or is taking up waaaayyyy more time than it justifies. If you want to multitask yourself into the middle of the next century. This is not the system for you. Nor is it if you want to keep everything you have and do currently.

Now  I’m more of a “teach a man to fish” person i.e. I want to show you how to do it for yourself “the system” so you can go off and use it whenever and on whatever you decide you want to or that needs it. We’ll focus mainly on home, family and life in an overall helicopter type view but if you have any questions feel free to ask. Pretty much anything I will ever talk about is just a part of this basic system tweaked and applied to whatever conditions, system or problem at hand. Once you’ve learnt it / understand it. You have it forever to use or not as your choice dictates.Lets start.

 

ELIMINATE

In relation to “things” Do I need this? Do you have multiples of the same thing. Do you have it just in case you might need it. Have you kept it because it was a gift or heirloom but you don’t really have any attachment to it. Are you holding onto it because it cost you a lot of money. ALL of these reasons are WRONG answers. Everything you own – actually owns you. It has to be looked after, maintained, stored, cleaned, whatever. It takes up the hours and space of your life, your house, sometimes money. sometimes more. You have a finite amount of hours in your life…. you should be VERY discriminating as to what warrants your time. I’m not a minimalist but I would be closer to that definition than any other. You want to be living your life, exploring your passions, building your career, having relationships and fun, having quiet time, family/friends time or adventures, trying new hobbies. Whatever it is you want to do and focus your time on. Not doing chores and looking after stuff. They are base necessities of life we’re talking about. Get in, get it done and move on to the better, more fun stuff.

Too many clothes, knick knaks, tools, committee obligations, after work activities. Donate. Sell. Get the electronic version. Give it to friends or relatives that want it. Take a photo of it and let the actual item go – if it’s there simply as a reminder of a time, place or person. Scan it and get rid of the paperwork / photo.This can be done in layers over time with most things. Start with clothes, move onto video’s, DVD’s etc I wouldn’t drag it out forever though. Aim to get it done within 6 months tops. Keep the stuff you love or is useful and get rid of everything else including any time commitments ..committees etc that you aren’t 110% wanting to be part of.

In relation to jobs, tasks, the day to day of life it gets even more exciting. Does it need to be done at all. Does it need to be done as often as you do it. Does it need to be done by you. You NEVER organise or simplify anything that can be eliminated altogether. It is also here that I would like to suggest to you that if you do not live alone you are actually part of a team who, fantastically, you get to or already should be involved in the successful running of your home. Whether that is you and your partner plus or minus children, any other family members or you and your child. Anyone who is living in the home is contributing to it’s need to be cleaned and maintained….therefor should be contributing to it’s cleaning and upkeep. If you are doing the line share of the work. Stop being a hero, martyr, victim or idiot. There is not really any lesson of value I can see in teaching your children or partner this level of expectation or failing to prepare them for or let them be fully functioning human beings in their own right.  You are creating a rod for your own back and frankly your childrens  future partners are unlikely to thank you either.

Adjust for age and ability and start but realise that ability is often just a lack of teaching. Most children by the time they start High School are fully capable of washing their own clothes especially in the age of push button programming. Show them how. This is not rocket science. Let alone other even easier tasks. Let alone if we are talking about another adult in the house. There are few things that feel as good as being part of a tight, well functioning team. Knowing there is a bunch of humans who you love and support and that love and support you. Team environment. Team participation. If you have a partner and you’re not splitting the workload of running your home and relationship 50/50. That is entirely up to you. You do not need to explain or justify that to anyone else if you are happy with that arrangement. Truly. No-one else needs to hear why, in the comments here or anywhere else. The only person you need to justify it to is yourself. If you are looking for suggestions or solutions though by all means comment away someone may have a work around or idea. Realise though – that your choice to take on more than your fair share will of course have obvious flow on effects to how much time you will have for other people, places or things in your life, including your own self.

So start with elimination… things you don’t need or want, commitments you don’t need or want… tasks you don’t need to do at all or don’t need to do yourself. Next will be reducing. Let me know if you get stuck or you have questions.

 

E x

 

New Year. New You.

Here we are. Welcome to 2017!

Let me say here straight up, it’s ok to be fine with where and who you are. Actually that is the goal isn’t it.  If you’d like a year of just going with the flow, seeing what happens, no big plans or goals. Good for you! It seems there very few people out there saying.. “You want to chill – that’s fine. Good even. Go do that.Come back if you change your mind” If however you’d like to make a few improvements or set a few goals and intentions. This is a great time to do it.

As many of us are  preparing to or already have done. Goal setting is usually high on the agenda for this time of year. Although any time is good really but flipping over the calendar to the new year in January is symbolically a time of fresh starts and new beginnings.  I’m not one of the nay sayers of this area and so I both do it myself and would encourage it for others. Goals. Ideals. Plans. Intentions. Write it down. Laminate it. Frame it. Put it in a binder. Tape it to your wall. Whichever, just put it somewhere where you’ll see your goals regularly. You can’t hit a target if you don’t know what you’re aiming for and the studies all show that writing goals down increases our chances of achieving them. I have mine in my home manual and refer to it often. The kinds of things I usually have goals for tend to fall under these categories. Health. Financial. Home. Personal. But the list is endless obviously of what it could entail.

My only recommendations would be make sure it’s a real goal. Not just something you think you should or would like. I’d like my house to be clean, fix it up a bit, reduce my debts …. I want to be fitter, healthier.. spend more time with my family, have some me time blah, blah. But something specific and that you’re really committed to. The ones I listed are too wishy washy and vague. Make them meaningful but I’d also suggest make them few. You can always add if you’ve achieved them early but picking a dozen or more especially if they are chunky, meaningful and worthwhile will overwhelm you and increase the risk of failure or abandonment. Write all your goals down by all means in a list but then just pick a few at a time to focus on for this year. You have next year as well etc So a better option goal wise so that it’s more specific would be something along these lines .

  1.  Design a weekly cleaning schedule to start Jan 9th.
  2. Renovate laundry this year
  3. Eliminate credit card debt. Reduce by $–, cut up all but one emergency card
  4. Monthly family date for movies, park, road trip first weekend of the month.
  5. Eliminate soda from my diet. Half hour daily walk
  6. Schedule Dr and Dental visits. May and November
  7. Yoga class weekly.
  8. Half hour reading before bed etc
  9. Learn Spanish

You get the idea.Of course your goals can be much grander than this, much more personal or smaller. Maybe you want to address a personal matter that is effecting you negatively. Maybe you want to build a business. Start charity work. It doesn’t matter. If your goals are more personal and less tangible say. When you’re looking for a feeling rather than an event or thing…. “I want to feel more joy in my life or adventure” say. A good place to look for help with that scenario is Danielle Laporte she is all over the desires of the heart and literally calls it.. “Desire Mapping” Other desires and wants are often a bit more straight forward to find help with. Behavioural change you can look for help with life coach’s. Things like Hypnotherapy, meditation, NLP. Phsyc K. All look towards helping you change unhelpful habits and thought processes or aid in discovering new ones. Some of the bigger names you might check out in this are people like Tony Robbins.Brendon Burchard. Tim Ferris. Jonathon Fields. There are dozens though. Other things like health, business, money there are some very targeted specific sites out there that are just great. I won’t list the options here simply because there are so many but if you’d like some hints or pointers let me know in the comments and I can throw some resources together for you all.

Scheduling these things is also hugely important. Get out your calendar. Mark out exactly when you want these things by. Ideally you want everything organised up and running by mid January. So break it down into chunks. If you have multiple things I will often break them up into 2 monthly periods of time. Not too long or you never get around to them. For eg you may have payments of $200 a week automated to go to your credit card debt. Doctors and Dental visits scheduled for May and November. Research for the new Laundry will be done March and April then  booked and Scheduled for May/June. Spanish classes you will start in July. Spread them further apart during the year or bring them forward earlier if opportunities present. It’s not set in stone but does give you a strong workable, not overwhelming calendar to achieve your aims. Simple but efficient systems are always the best and most productive. The more complicated, the more working parts, the more things that can break down, get lost, forgotten, go awry. Always aim for simple first.

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There are so many resources out there and bloggers, youtubers, life coaches, inspirational speakers, good old fashioned books and magazines. It is merely a case of finding one that resonates with you if you’re not sure how to go about it, need some ideas or inspiration. You can look for people in the area you are most interested in eg money, health, minimisalism, sports or life in general and look to their guidance or suggestions. Or it really is as simple as writing it down yourself. Some use smart targeted goals, some focus on desired feelings, manifesting, NLP, practicality and action steps, a word for the year a mixture of a few different things. It really is just finding one that aligns with your beliefs, goals and personality and that you connect with. Look up hash tags, ask friends for recommendations or google it. Have a look, see if it fits what you want. If it speaks to you in a way that motivates and helps you and then just go for it.

Alternatively look up areas that interest you and meander around the web following links until you find the good stuff you’re after. Bakers. Mountain Bikers. Homesteading. Runners. Gardeners. Woodworkers. Ancient battle craft. Vikings. Book clubs. Whatever it is you will find it. Just don’t waste to much time doing that. Start and upgrade later if you find a better way or site or person. But start. Don’t waste weeks or months in research and planning. If what you pick isn’t working for you just choose a different path – don’t give up on the goal. Just find a different way or person to guide you to reaching it. This is one reason meaningful goals are important. Goals aren’t always easy to hit or achieve or most likely we’d already have done it. You need to want it enough to find your way there … if at first you don’t succeed and all that.

I wish you all the very best in 2017. I’d love to hear in the comments what you are all aiming for this year.

E x

 

There is no U in Christmas

That should read YOU and this is just a friendly reminder to take a minute for yourself in the run up to Christmas.

For so many people Christmas is like a sprint to the finish line. The pressure of all the expectations we have created for ourselves, society has created for us or we think or know others have of us. Family. Work. Personal. Relationships. If that isn’t enough we also like to throw in trying to finalise projects, clients, goals – personal and business related. If we can just get everything done before the 24th and then we can really enjoy the day.. hopefully. Clean slate into the New Year. Woo!  It’s a mighty goal and a worthy one and I’m not going to tell you not to aim for that. I personally love tying off my year in a big red bow to mark it’s completion. What I will tell you though is that ambitions that big need organisation and systems to be set up earlier in the year but that’s a chat for another day. I also won’t join the “let it go” chorus because I know you’re probably going to try anyway. I definitely have in the past and would in that position again. So lets not beat ourselves up over that and just accept that as part of our Christmas /End of Year nature and move on to the YOU part of this equation.

Christmas is less than 2 weeks away. I know. I know. BREATHE. “What’s coming will come and we’ll face it when it does” [Hagrid] The point is, you arriving at the day frazzled and burnt out will help nothing. Tired we might not be able to do much about if you have toys to put together the night before or you didn’t get to the present wrapping yet [they always take longer than you think and I’ve faced many early dawns myself on this account] BUT whether your end of year is a laugh riot of friends and family. Office parties. Whether you will be spending it alone or with a few intimates. Taking some time over the next couple of weeks for yourself will help you deal with all the end of year craziness a little better. I’m not going to lie to you. Things won’t necessarily go more smoothly because there are too many factors and other people involved in the process but you WILL be better able to deal with the challenges as well as enjoy the delights of the season if you’re not in crazy town from stress yourself.

So what to do. What am I advocating? I know you’re busy so I don’t want to create unrealistic notions to add to your “To Do” list. 15 minutes a day. That’s it. When you wake up. Your lunch time. After the kids are in bed. Before starting dinner. It doesn’t matter where. If you can prioritize more – even better. This doesn’t have to be hard. Depending on the time you have and where you’ll be when you have it… some ideas.

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  • Meditate or Mindful breathing.
  • Go to the park, take off your shoes and put your feet on the grass ..very grounding.
  • Go for a walk
  • Go to the gym… exercise that stress off
  • Read a book  (Not self improvement!) All those 15 minutes or more will add up.
  • Take a bath use gorgeous scented products.
  • Buy yourself a cupcake/ fresh squeezed juice etc and take time to really savour it.
  • Get a pedicure
  • Craft
  • Ring a friend

You know you best. What is it that even 15 minutes would help you unwind, give you a little bit of time to yourself and make your wee little heart happy? Now go do that. Also sleep. I can not stress that enough. Whether you have kids or not we all know how ratty kids can get when they haven’t gotten enough or need more. Don’t fool yourself that you don’t have an adult equivalent of that. No matter how well you think you do without it. We all function at a higher, more productive level and deal with things better when we are well rested.

Add these couple of things, they take minimal effort and will make a big difference. I’d love to know what you did and how it went… you know…when you have a minute.

E x

Featured Image: Chevy Chase. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation 1989.Warner Bros

 

Naughty or Nice.

Not really. Mostly naughty or nice hasn’t got anything to do with it.

This is a long one folks which I try to avoid where possible but we don’t have the luxury of time to break it into smaller chunks this year with Christmas nipping at our heels. So…

4 weeks and counting down. I hope you’ve finished your shoppin barring the fresh food, but if not… lets talk. To present or not to present? That is the question. I am going to encourage less. Less presents. Less money spent. Less food. Less. Period There you have it “A vague disclaimer is nobodies friend” if this isn’t what you want to hear.. click away now. I’ll love you just the same.

I love Christmas. I love it for the time I get to spend with my people, neighbours, volunteer groups. Down time, drinks, food, outings, slow quality time spent with each other laughing, catching up, planning…enjoying each others company and time off work. For the rest of it though. I think Christmas is a commercialised feeding frenzy. Ridiculous in the extreme, our wallets haemorrhaging money in every direction. Encouraged by every retailer,  product producer, interest group and credit provider in the land. That’s not what we are here to talk about though. We’re here to talk time, ease, money, peace and meaningful connection. I want you to take a look at your present list like we did for the cards list  here.  If you missed that one read that first and come back.  If you are buying just for your nearest and dearest already. Well done. Go enjoy your Christmas we’ll see you next year. If not, is there any you can eliminate. Really look at the why of each person.

Everyone is different but some common ones seem to be extended family, service providers, work colleagues, teachers, friends old and new far and wide, friends children, people that buy you presents and so you return the “favour”, people who are coming to your home for Christmas, neighbours etc  It can really get out of hand but even if you consider your list reasonable have a look anyway. The exercise won’t hurt and will either just confirm how sorted and solid your list is or bring you further time, money and effort savings. Also good.  Eliminate any straight away that are just old habits -people who you send things to but haven’t heard from in years and/or aren’t doing the same with you. Too easy. Gone.

From here in a few hard conversations and a bit of honesty will make this so much smoother and easier. Lets start with work colleagues. Secret Santa is the devil! you all know it and how much nonsense have you gotten over the years. See if your colleagues are on board to ditch this -time, money, earths resources whatever your reasons. if they don’t want to stop altogether perhaps they’d be into buying a group gift for eg everyone throws in a few dollars only and buys an office plant, or coffee maker, sandwich press or a lunch. you get the idea. Something useful or wanted for the team. No muss, no fuss. No individual presents. No cheap nasty candles, scented anything or gag gifts. If you have some close friends from work.. by all means buy a present and give it to them privately. Even this though, why not have the conversation. Why not just spend some time together outside of work. So many people want to reduce the clutter and gifts and time and money of this time of year but aren’t sure how to bring that up. For every gift we give or receive often creates that feeling of having to give in return, your good intentions may be creating a burden for them. Financially or otherwise.  Why not be the brave one to ask the questions. You may be surprised at how many Yes’s you get to stopping or to changing the status quo around this. I know I was surprised how often it was embraced and how easily in many cases when we started doing this.

Extended family. Here are some great alternatives to the everyone gets a present option. If you have more though. Let us all know.

  1. You all agree to stop giving to extended family. Just your own partner and children. Maybe one for Nan and Pop.
  2. The Children only option. No adults. Age cut off of 16, 18 or 21. Your call. Because we are adults and can buy what we want ourselves or our partners can.
  3. The family present. One family. One present. Here’s where movie tickets. Zoo passes or Gift vouchers to favourite stores are fantastic.
  4.  The hat draw. Each family member gets one other family member. Set a $ limit so it’s fair for all. If you’re a family of 5 you’ll get 5 presents. Buy five presents. If your the single bachelor / bachelorette same thing. Buy 1 get 1. If you all want to throw in and get the grandparents something bigger because it doesn’t feel right for you not getting your mum and dad something because you didn’t draw there names – go for it. Maybe a gift from the whole family for them.
  5. Friends /close acquaintances children or your children if that applies. Is it really needed? Honestly?!

Honestly most of the people I’ve ever talked to are fine with getting  less stuff both for them and their children. Truly, have the conversations. You may be surprised. For those who can’t bring themselves to do this. Perhaps a first step for you and or family is reducing the amount spent so at least the cost is not quite so large. If any of this is increasing your credit card debts or overdrafts it is absolute insanity to not have these conversations and cut costs. Don’t make your future harder and less secure next year for one day of festivities this year. Moving on …

Service providers and or Teachers etc. Only you can make the call here on whether this is really warranted. Here’s a couple of thoughts though. The don’t need any junky cheap presents or bath salts anymore than you do. Enough stuff already. If you are going to go the expense, give them something that will actually be of use to them, think gratuities, gift cards, grocery / bottle shop vouchers. Vouchers to local coffee shops or eateries. If you can keep it locally owned and provided even better and of course you can always ask.. “Hey little Joey’s teacher {insert teachers name}. We’d love to say thank you for the time and efforts you’ve taken this year with a small gift. Our family is giving gift cards this year so everyone can choose what they’d actually like and use is there a particular place you’d like one for?” Home baked goods.. also a winner. Cheap and reasonably easy if you have the know how and time and want to extend the gift and thought but at a more controllable cost.

Remembering the ultimate aim is to eliminate where we can. The alternatives are just for where that may not be possible. Also. There is nearly always an aunt, uncle, family member or friend of some description who is just hell bent on keeping everything as it’s always been. make them the exception to the rule. For everyone that is on board .. stop the presents or reduce DO NOT avoid changing where you can because of a few or even many people. Eliminate everyone who is happy to do so and let them eliminate you. It does make a difference and you will nearly always find more people come on board every year as others realise you’re serious and see the benefits. Also they may feel a wee bit silly insisting on presents when so many others don’t require them.  No presents does not equal naughty. Presents do not equal nice nor do they equal love and the good news is there’s tonnes of ways to show that.

Keep your Christmas present list as tight as possible. Once you’ve gone through it this year and eliminated and reduced where you can… stick that list in your home manual. With keeping these lists in the home manual of course our aim is time efficiency and simplicity. Making things easier, cheaper, simply or less time consuming with every step we can. This way you will have a starting point next year and the process will be more streamlined and less time intensive. If you are not able to do this this year because it’s too late and you or others have the presents. Keep your list from this year anyway and put it in the binder for next year if there is some you can still eliminate or reduce make the effort it will be worth it.

I would love to hear any ideas or successes you’ve had with this or ideas you’re trying out in the comments below. Good luck with eliminating and reducing.

E x

Making a List. Checking it Twice.

Who’s organised? We’re on the countdown folks. 5 weeks till Christmas. Not surprisingly my love affair with lists is in full swing along with the joy of the season.

The two I would encourage immediately are

  1. Christmas Card List
  2. Presents List

Here’s how I tamed mine. Simplifying and organising is always the way to go in my opinion. If you want to try it out for yourself. here’s how…

When you make up your lists this year keep an original copy a master list if you will. File it in your home manual. Do an electronic copy if you wish or both. From here on in it will just be a matter of adding or deleting people each year. Wracking your brain to remember everyone or going through your address book each year is a waste of your precious time when we can make this quicker and easier for the future with next to zero effort.

Next though see if you can reduce it. Here’s the thing … time and money. When we are looking for ways to free up more time for ourselves and the people we want to spend the most time with it has to come from somewhere. Everybody knows we all have the same amount of hours – we’ve all heard it – we all know it and if you have ANY kind of debt at all you should be looking for ways to reduce your spending and increase those debt repayments. YES. Even at Christmas. For some people Christmas is an absolute goldmine of opportunity for looking for savings and every little bit counts.

Starting with your cards list. Cards like presents should come from a place of genuinely wanting to wish someone a great festive season and new year. Eliminate anyone you send cards to out of habit, that you barely know and aren’t likely to get to know any better. That you send out of a sense of obligation or that you have grown apart from or no longer spend time with. Years ago when I started this I realised there was people I still sent cards too that when I sat down and thought about it,  I hadn’t heard from or barely heard from in years. People that I hardly knew but thought “I should”. People. Organisations. Places I thought would expect one.  I immediately stopped. The earth didn’t end. In fact absolutely nothing changed except I saved a lot of time, energy and money on buying, writing and posting cards.

After you have eliminated look over your list again. How many of those can be emailed cards? I am not advocating this for your nearest and dearest. By all means buy the beautiful cards, hand write, send. For those on your list though where you want to send cards but they aren’t on your nearest and dearest list and you have email addresses there are plenty of quality free sites around now.  You don’t have to buy cards, leave your house and postage is zero.  Load up the addresses pick a date in the future or send immediately. You care. You want to let them know you’re thinking of them and you are. You are also though prioritizing the time and money you have on yourself and those closest to you. Which is as it should be.

Work mates. Have the conversation. Ask… “Hey would you guys be happy to forgo cards, gifts etc” Time, money, clutter and the earths resources all will be saved. You will surprised how often the answer is yes, yes please or even HELL YES when you’re brave enough to be the one to start that conversation. Alternatives if you can’t eliminate .. REDUCE ..throw in a couple of dollars each and buy a team/office plant, box of something scrumptious to share or group cards as opposed to bunches of individual ones.  E.g “To the Marvelous Maintenance team” or To my Fabulous fellow team mates…etc etc… Mucho Love…. You (or your team) x” How many cards do we throw out, recycle or repurpose every year… wouldn’t it just be better to eliminate that as much as possible to start with.

Next I want you to repeat the elimination process with your presents list for the same reasons, using the same criteria. Presents can be a bit trickier but there’s plenty of ways to look at action and simplify that too. We will look at that next. This week though, do your lists, buy your cards, load up your emails.

Do you have other ways you’ve addressed this. I’d love to hear them.

E x

 

The Home Manual

 

Ready. Set. Go.

 

So as discussed previously, what we are trying to achieve is firstly just to collate everything in one spot. Responsibilities. Tasks. Goals etc.  Then when we’ve let that settle in we’ll start to dissect everything, ask questions, put some processes in place and ultimately simplify everything. Make it all quicker. Easier. Start kicking some goals in the game of life. Adulting level 10 and yes I’m kidding. You can adult however you wish to – or not. Whatever works for you.

 

You can have as many sections or lists as you want but I would recommend keeping it simple to start with. If you try and do or solve everything at once you’ll most likely just end up in overwhelm not the simplified, efficiently running life we’re working towards. Your manual will get more refined over time. But start simple and then we’ll get more simple but maybe prettier.  I don’t recommend multiple manuals for different things. You’re just making it more complicated and time consuming than it needs to be. We want everything in one place.  The exceptions to this is if you run an actual business, blog etc or have a real estate or shares portfolio for example that you manage. You not going to put something so large in your home manual. If you have a few shares  or a couple of properties for example then you can keep track of them under a section within  your finances section. The sections I would recommend to get started and possible subsections under those.

 

 

PERSONAL

Goals

Health / Well Being

Self Care

 Responsibilities. Committees etc

Lists

(eg. Books to read. Movies to see. Sports / Hobbies to try.)

FAMILY / FRIENDS

Goals

Birthdays

Holiday Events

Family Holidays

Contacts

HOME

Goals

Shopping List

Meal Plan

Cleaning Schedule

Bills / Utilities

Maintenance

FINANCES

Goals

Debts

Budget

Accounts

Net Worth

Now you just brain dump. Everything in your head, half done schedules, goals, ideas, things that need doing, things you want to do… out of your head onto these pages. Start doing that a bit at a time as things come to you… into the home manual they go. No more trying to remember. No more notes and bits of paper everywhere or worse .. forgetting. There’s no need to make it pretty at the moment. If you want to, great, but only if it doesn’t delay or side track you from getting the actual information down. Information first. Pretty second. Title page for each section, maybe list your goals right there on that front page , a picture, a positive affirmation. Whatever inspires you. Write up everything you can straight away and then start putting some thought and research into what you don’t know, aren’t sure about or need to do some research on.

Also in the front of your folder stick

  • Yearly Calendar  – for reference.
  • Life Goals List {AKA a Bucket List – but I never call them that}
  • 2 Month Focus {This is where you pull goals from your other lists that you are going to hyper focus on to completion where possible over the next 2 month period eg. Jan / Feb 2017 }

 

You’ll notice there is a goals list under every section the reason is simply that you can not hit a target that hasn’t been defined. So under finances you might have. Credit card paid off by . $5,000 in savings by December 2017 etc. . Personal Goals might be .. Learn to knit or make a perfect croissant. Home…. Clean out the closets. Add a fruit tree to the garden. Replace the guttering. Family .. Take a vacation to… Write down Aunt Edna’s fabulous recipes for.. Monthly picnics in Spring/Summer. Catch up with the Girls quarterly… You get the idea. These are goals for the current year mainly.Or you may just want to put them under one general  list at the front. “2017’s Goals”. Don’t do this for your personal ones though they should always be separate. Growing you as a person. Enjoying your life and special moments or things you’d like in it. Life Goals are for the BIG stuff. Blue sky dreaming if you want. Stuff you’re not quite sure how you will pull off or that may take a while … but wouldn’t it be freaking cool if you could stuff. Like.. Visit the Pyramids. Own my own farm and grow organic veggies. Compete in First Grade level Football. Meet Arnold Schwartznegger. Run a magazine. Own a Mr Pearl Corset… whatever they are for you. Think Big!

 

The Home Manual is both an extremely simple system and a very detailed one in time. Somebody would be able to walk in off the street and run your house – that detailed. It’s the home equivalent of the Corporate Worlds Procedures and Processes Manuals. Updated periodically it allows your home and life to run like clockwork. Fewer surprises, saving time, saving money, much more peace and ease. It’s not set and forget but it comes close. Lists and Routines become your best friend. It eliminates so much rework and redundant nonsense and adds much more efficiency so that we can get on with and have more time and money for the things in our lives that excite us, intrigue us, light us up.

 

Start collating your lists, gathering your bills and debts, thinking about your goals and getting it all down in this one place. We’ll talk about it all again, each section more in depth as we go along. This will start us thinking and focusing and give us a central point of reference. Even just this first step will start to work for you as your brain starts pulling the ideas and possibilities out for you. I always had so much fun and deep love for this home system and it is the first step in saving time, money and effort. If that’s sounds hard or scary or you don’t think you can… stick around, we’re gonna work it out. That’s what community and family is for right!

 

E x

Lets start at the very beginning

“A very good place to start”

Lists are one of your best friends. If they’re not, they should be and we’re going to get onto that right away.

Keeping your council, making your life easier and freeing up brain space. Lists are awesome. When done well they can help streamline and run your life. If something needs doing or remembering, seriously… Get it down on paper – or electronically. Whatever suits your personality and preferences best. What we´re talking about today though is a little bit more in depth than your standard To Do, Shopping or School Needs list. If you’re not already using these regularly … stick around, I’m a big fan and you will hear, learn and be encouraged to use them in many situations. Lists when collated into a system can become a whole lot more. Designed. Analysed. Structured. Streamlined. It’s so exciting, but if you can’t see how just now… trust .. just for a bit.

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As I’ve said previously the whole point of doing any of these things, and the main purpose behind the blog, is to free up your time and energy and resources so you/we can spend more time doing what we WANT to do or to have the time to EXPLORE, research and FIND what we’d like to do… where passion, joy, fun or relaxation and contentment may lie for us. To streamline, remove or make quicker and simpler the dreary, boring or monotonous. To get organised. To get a life. If you’re just after an extra hour a week so you can read a book   or you want to completely redesign your life. I’m in for both. Good on you – lets get started.

I have been thinking how best to get the ball rolling for you. Where did I start? What was the most beneficial to me? How do I make this as simple and stress free as possible for you because no-one needs an extra job or less time or complicated systems. How did I put together the systems at work, at home that achieved these things. What am I continuing to learn and improve myself. I’m excited to bring it all together here and when I thought about one of the major things that made a difference and kept everything on track and simpler over the years it was the manual I used to run my life and home. A manual .. when broken down to its basics .. of lists. Lists of contacts. Lists of jobs. Schedules. Finances. Personal. Home. Events. All of it. There was very little I ever needed to remember. It was all in the manual. I had a lot of fun building it and tweaking it and in turn life was so much simpler and easier and like a company manual, I could have walked out of that house, someone new walk in and take up running my life and home without missing a beat.

Things get planned, improved, taken care of… and for bonus points … all with EASE. I want you to take a deep breath and now as you slowly exhale say.. EEEEEEASE. Like Omm but replaced with the word ease. This is what I want more of in your life. This word. This feeling and time. So I thought we’d start with the home and go from there. If there is something you’d like some ideas on.. by all means use the comments. I can look at addressing it on the blog or perhaps some other readers will have some handy tips. For now, I just want you to grab a binder. 2 ring. 4 ring it doesn’t matter, don’t get wrapped up in perfection – it’s the enemy here. Making it perfect will waste your time and energy which is EXACTLY what we are trying to avoid. There is plenty of time for redesign and pretty etc when we’ve saved some of that precious time we’re talking about. So, one you have lying around the house that can be enlisted for the project is fantastic or just pick up something cheap for now. Get some dividers for sections or just some post-it notes you can put at different intervals to  denote the different sections and some paper. We are just going to start from scratch for those in total overwhelm with life or who are not just not sure how to begin.

Going back to the beginning of this post I use both paper and electronic organisation and management systems. Electronics only minimally though… I am a paper girl… all the way. I may design it electronically but then it is printed more often than not. That being said, the system I will show you is paper. This also has the added benefit of others (partners, children etc) having access to this information and being able to use it. They don’t have to have access to your electronic files.  Use whatever system suits you though and that you will actually use. Don’t overthink it.

home-manual-2

See here the absolutely ad-hock binder I started to help keep all the balls in the air while I’ve been on the road .. a few months into my travels and I couldn’t cope with all the stuff I was trying to keep track of without a system in place and I couldn’t find a planner I found useful for what I needed. They were beautiful, gorgeous even .. but mostly impractical for what I was wanting to achieve. This folder is quite literally the least pretty thing you’ll ever see… but you know what … it’s working like a dream and that is the point I want you to remember. Just start . Do pretty later if getting it “right” or “perfect” is going to hold you up or take more time than absolutely necessary.

Go get the stuff. Next post.. we start. Big love. E

Featured picture from the absolute classic… “The Sound of Music” – Twentieth Century Fox 1965

Redesign It..

What?…. Well your life of course.

We’re all looking to have a life we love. I haven’t met a person yet aiming  to create the most tedious, boring or overwhelming life possible. I know people who have ended up with that – including me, but it was never our intention.

The whole point of getting organised, streamlining etc is to free up the time, energy and resources you need to redesign your life. To  “Get a Life”  One that you’re in love with and that fills you up rather than drains you. Why else would we bother. Firstly though you need to decide where you want to start and for that the easiest way to start is to categorise. Define what you feel make up the important parts of your life. There will be sub categories of course but lets not make it more difficult than it needs to be and overwhelm ourselves before we even start.

Here are mine: Copy them or choose your own. You know what you want to focus on and if you’re not sure. Just pick one and the rest tend to reveal themselves when you’re ready. Without further ado , here is my list and why

  • Home

We all have one in some form. Permanent. Temporary. Shifting. It includes all the people (family/friends/lodgers/you) and pets in it and anything associated with keeping all that running as smoothly, efficiently and effectively as possible. This can have a little bit of crossover with the personal section in regards to your people – but you’ll quickly work out which category you want different things under. Don’t overthink it, trust yourself and go with your decision. There is no right or wrong.

  • Business and Finances

This is a no brainer and includes all aspects related to your work or job. Money makes the world go around.. and pays the bills. Apart from outstanding individuals like Mark Boyle and Daniel Suelo most of us will need to work this out. The more successfully we do this the more freedom and choice we have in our lives – freedom and choice is the whole reason I do this.

  • Personal & Lifestyle

Under this you will find things like. Wellbeing. Health. Relationships. Joy. The parts of our lives that are personal to us that make it enjoyable… or not. Other things may include travelling. Adventuring. Exploring. Hobbies. Goals and challenges you have or want to build into your life . This would also include commitments or events such as: Birthdays. Weddings. Christenings. Holidays. Christmas. Stuff that’s not everyday. A bit larger and therefor usually needs more planning and organisation.

  • Community

I feel this one is so important and increasingly rare. People coming together in groups to achieve, attain, fix, overcome, change, enjoy, socialise, support. What can’t be achieved by a group of dedicated, committed people. Whether that commitment is to having fun. Relaxing. Learning. Making sure a group in your area doesn’t fall through the cracks. Feeding the homeless. Local Farmers markets. Sports clubs. Environmental or social. I’m not talking large groups even … there is no end to the importance of local community based groups. Your contribution is important.

These are mine as I said. I am by no means an expert in these.  I have systems that work and systems I’m learning or searching for how to make more successful or efficient. I’ll pass it all along. Including what I have done so far that has allowed me to take this little life pause to travel for an extended period of time. Or as Tim Ferris would call it a Mini Retirement. Follow along here and lets have some fun.

Put your categories below to give us all more food for thought and ideas. What do you want to look at? Our .. Get Organised. Get a Life. Community.. lets build and use it.

E x