The start of a new year brings new opportunities to organize all areas of your life. Some of that enthusiasm definitely starts to wane as January drags on, so this is a good time to plan some small tasks that you can do to make your whole year better.
Here are a few items to add to your to-do list that really will help get your life on solid footing.
1. Run a Credit Report
You can request a free credit report once a year from each of three different credit bureaus. Set a reminder to do one in January, May, and September, and you’ll have a much better control over your credit. Having a credit report run frequently lets you organize your credit, check in, and make sure nothing is amiss.
2. Evaluate Your Retirement Contributions
There are many different ways to set up your retirement savings, and no matter what you do, make sure you reassess your plan each year. If you got a raise last year, you should be able to put more into your retirement savings. If you turned 50 last year, you can add extra funds as part of a catch-up plan for those over 50. If saving money is one of your resolutions, this is where you put that into action. Designate what you might give up and figure out how much that would be each month (for instance, give up one coffee a week and save $20 a month). Then choose that as a set amount to automatically withdraw from your paycheck and go to your retirement.
3. Reset Your Environment
Lots of people advise clearing out the clutter to organize and have a more peaceful home environment, but that’s an overwhelming thought when you’re working a week of back-to-back shifts while juggling family and all your other commitments. So in the next month pick just one area of your environment that would bring you the most peace. Do you have a long commute? Maybe a clean and tidy car would make you feel a sense of calm. Is your kitchen the hub of your home? Cleaning off the counters will be like a breath of fresh air. Even a new playlist each month or a small bouquet of fresh flowers in your bathroom can brighten up your mood and get your day off to a good start.
4. Learn Something
Yes, learning a new language would be fantastic, as would playing the guitar or succeeding at skiing. But if you’re short of time, inspiration, and energy, find a small goal and perfect it. Learn how to make one go-to appetizer so you’re not perplexed when going to a party. Nail down your elevator speech. Find a new route to an old place. Clean up your resume. Fine tune three yoga poses to take care of yourself. Learn how to make your signature drink (coffee, alcohol, fruit – whatever you like). Gaining control over one thing often helps launch other accomplishments.
5. Accept Yourself
This one is harder than just about any other personal commitment. Once a day (or more if you remember!) tell yourself you are good enough and that you are strong. Say it out loud so you set that as an intention. Yes, we all can get better and can improve, but we all fail. We all mess up. Humans are far from perfect (even the ones on Instagram who look like they have it all together).
What are some other ways you can take small steps for big gains?
If you’re anything like the typical email user, you have tons of emails in your inbox and spam folders. And if you’re anything like me, it drives you absolutely crazy to see hundreds of emails in your box! Who seriously needs 452 messages in their inbox? After being frustrated receiving up to 30 emails daily and not being able to keep my inbox at a manageable level, I began a quest to de-clutter my inbox and get my sanity back!
Here’s how I did it.
Unsubscribe to automatic email alerts. This was a biggie. Over the years I had signed up for so many automatic online subscriptions and alerts that my daily email totals were overwhelming. I couldn’t keep up with reading everything I wanted to read so I ended up flagging them to read later, which in the end added to my overall inbox count and left me still overwhelmed. I ended up making a decision to unsubscribe to the subscriptions and alerts that weren’t a priority in my life now. The number of emails I receive on a daily basis has greatly decreased…whew!
Delete old emails. I know this sounds cliché, but it’s the truth! Don’t hang on to old Groupon alerts or emails from subscriptions you previously unsubscribed from, it’s just a waste of space and a play on your sanity! My personal favorite trick is to use the “search” feature of my email and search for emails related to a particular company, person, or newsletter I no longer care to read. I then delete multiple emails at once making my inbox total shrink.
Use folders to organize. Most email applications have a feature that allows you to organize important emails. Organizing your emails into folders allows you to retrieve your important emails quickly. This not only saves you time, but also cleans up your inbox at the same time.
In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at www.renursing.com for more ideas on how to reinvent your career
Spring is almost here and to many, springtime equals clean time. Some may look upon this time with dread but don’t fret, cleaning can free your mind when you get rid of unnecessary clutter. Don’t think you have time to do a worthy spring clean?
Here’s how to sneak in some spring cleaning when you don’t have the time:
Focus on one room at a time and if that still seems overwhelming, divide the room into sections.
Get up 10 minutes earlier and dedicate that time to a section of a room that needs to be cleaned and organized.
Use the time during commercials to clean.
Invest in plastic containers (think milk crates and other smaller sized containers) to keep areas organized. I use milk crates to hold my laundry soap and also use them to organize my under-the-sink kitchen and bathroom areas.
If laundry day seems overwhelming, divide laundry and complete it twice weekly instead of once. You may find doing a smaller load of laundry twice a week it more manageable than an all-day fest of laundry on the weekend.
Dedicate a box for donations. When you come across something too good to throw away, but you haven’t used in awhile, donate it!
Make it a habit to clean up clutter on a regular basis before it piles up into an unmanageable mess.
Clean out your fridge whenever you unload new groceries.
Heat up a bowl of water and lemon juice in the microwave for 5 minutes while you clean another part of the house. When you come back to clean it, the dried on gunk will have loosened making it easier to clean and your microwave will smell lemony fresh!
Lastly, if you’d rather just get your spring cleaning knocked out then dedicate a day to cleaning and organizing your home. Make it fun and enlist the help of family members to make the day (and chores!) go by quicker.
After all is said and done, sit back, relax, and enjoy your clean home!
In addition to working as a RN, Nachole Johnson is a freelance copywriter and an author with her first book, You’re a Nurse and Want to Start Your Own Business? The Complete Guide, available on Amazon. Visit her ReNursing blog at http://renursing.wordpress.com
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