I’ve noticed over the years that little changes make the biggest difference in my life. I’m always looking for new ways to streamline our routine, waste less time, spend more time doing the things I love, and reduce the things that I hate.
Here are five that are working well for me right now:
1. Charging my phone outside my bedroom. I kind of love this, kind of hate this. Because you know what I REALLY want to do first thing in the morning when I wake up? Look at my email, check Instagram, read a few blogs, maybe pin a couple of things. But when it’s on the other side of the house, charging in my office, I get in the shower instead and can be mostly ready before the girls wake up, which definitely starts my day on a better foot than knowing that Payless is having a clearance sale. But really, it’s made a huge difference to not waste 20 minutes puttering around online before I get out of bed and to not have the temptation to look at my phone while I get ready.
2. Buying snacks. This sounds ridiculous, I know, but I have been the worst snack-buying parent on the plant since Ella was born. I just never want to spend money on snacks and then, guess what? There’s nothing to eat when it’s snack time, and my children are those children sadly eyeing the other kids’ snacks at the playground (or, you know, trying to steal them), and I finally decided this summer that I was just going to buck up and start buying snacks to keep on hand. We’ve tried a lot of different snacks over the past months, and it’s made snack time and outings so much easier, because there is actually something to eat or grab on our way out the door. We picked up these Lil’ Beanies from Target this week, and Star was the happiest camper at the park (and didn’t try to eat my leftover Cafe Zupas sandwich, so definitely a win-win). They look kind of like Cheetos (minus the orange film that is impossible to wash off), but they’re made from navy beans, so they have a good amount of protein and iron and fiber, which I appreciate. Also, there is an Ibotta offer for them, so you get $0.75 back when you buy them (is it just me, or is it much more interesting to try a new snack when there is a coupon or discount?).
3. Getting outside on a daily basis. To be fair, this is not feasible when it is regularly hitting 117. But now that the weather is cooling down, I’m trying to make sure we get back in the habit. In the afternoons we often take our snacks on the front or back patios and the girls jump on the trampoline or swing on the porch swing. I’m also trying to make sure we hit the park more frequently or walk around the block to drop something off at a neighbor’s instead of driving. The fresh air seems to make everyone less crazy and also means they sleep better at night. It also means more baths because they have filthy little hands and feet by the end of the day.
4. Choosing books over the Internet. Right now, I feel like I’m drowning in good books to read, which is a happy problem to have. But it also means that I need to actually spend time reading if I want to finish any of them. I’m trying to shut my computer off after the girls go to bed and put my phone away and spend more time reading or leave my phone inside when we walk over to the park or go out on the porch swing. I’ve been really motivated to work more on this since reading Deep Work, which I highly, highly recommend.
5. Returning my library books on time. Over the weekend, Bart and I spent some time going over our budget and making some financial goals for the next couple of years, and when he tallied up all the library fines from the last several months, it was . . . quite embarrassing. I seriously paid a total of maybe $10 in library fines over the past decade, and this year has just killed me. There are no library branches that are on the way to other things, so I always have to make a special trip to return things. On the plus side, they finally got rid of the pick-up fee ($2 for every hold you didn’t pick up), which has drastically reduced my library stress. Of course, yesterday, when I was collecting books, I put the pile of books to return to the library on Ella’s bed while she gathered her books, and then forgot them there so. . . another library run today, it appears.
What little habits or changes are working for you?