One thing to do list

For a few years I’ve been a productivity nut. Hack this! Automate that! Become more productive so you can squeeze ever more things into your day!

All the GTD in the world was still leaving me feel no more accomplished at the end of each day.

Why? Because I had more things on my to do list than I could possibly achieve on even the smoothest of days.

So I present to you: The One Thing to do list!

Now, of course you have more than one thing to do in each day. But things like making dinner and feeding the dog will always get done, so the idea is to plan ahead what your #1 task will be for the day and do that ahead of everything else. The key is that it’s achievable on all but the messiest days, so once you’ve ticked it off you can either put your feet up guilt-free or use your new-found motivation to get ahead on another task of your choosing.

Wrangling my out-of-control work to dos is still very much a work in progress. However I’ve been limiting myself to one task each evening. I’m spending less time trying to get just one more thing done before bed; I’m living more and sleeping more. Yet I’m finding I get just as much done, possibly more because I’m not so overwhelmed.

I’ve created a free printable for you to try the system yourself. It has six days per sheet so take Sundays off (I’m generous like that).

Download it here and tell me how you go!

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handbag notes

I mentioned the other day that my one and only handbag for this season was totally falling apart. Well, having bits of leather flaking off the outside was not the only problem. The inside was a disaster zone.

You know by now that I love lists. Unfortunately I’m not so good at throwing out the list once it’s been used. Every time I’d go out on an errands run (tell me I’m not the only one who spends most of their Saturday running errands all over town?!) I’d write a list on a scrap of paper and throw it in my bag. Along with a pen, of course, so I can have the satisfaction of crossing things off.

I then wind up with no less than nine pens and scribbled scraps of paper with shopping lists for travel gear for our Europe trip (you know, the one that was a year and a half ago). ‘Eeeek!’ indeed.

I’m a big fan of going paperless wherever possible, but for whatever reason I prefer paper and pen for my out & about lists. I picked up a cute mini notepad from Target and put it in my bag along with a single pen. Even if I forget to tear off the previous week’s list at least it will be contained in the notepad and not turn into handbag flotsam.

Are you a pen & paper girl like me? Or do you use your phone or even try to keep everything in your head?

Winter outfits

I’m a third of the way through my first 3-month season of Project 333 so I thought I’d give an update on how I’ve been finding it. I showed you my winter capsule wardrobe, well here are some of the outfits I’ve been making from it.

There are 25 outfits here and it’s not even a comprehensive view of the combinations. When you consider jackets, jewellery, tights etc there are even more outfits so I’m not getting bored at all.

Honestly, it hasn’t been a struggle in the slightest. The 33 items I chose are basically what I lived in last winter anyway (I didn’t buy anything new this year). If anything, I have been dressing better. I’m accessorising more with lipstick, hair and jewellery and wearing heels and skirts more instead of always defaulting to jeans and flats.

Remember I only actually chose 32 items as I left a spare hanger in case I found I needed something (either new or from my boxed-up spares). I haven’t needed anything else, which is nice. I’ve dipped into my excluded items for a dress for my best friend’s 30th (I allowed myself special occasion outfits as planned cheats) but apart from that I haven’t even been tempted by the rest of my wardrobe.

I’ve had a couple of casualties, though. My grey boots have an irreparable hole in them (womp womp womp). I’ll replace them with some similar boots that I already own, but they are not as versatile (not appropriate for work, for example) which is a pity but I only need to survive another eight weeks. My handbag was already in shabby condition but the daily use has tipped it over into bag lady territory. I spotted my dream handbag (which also doubles as a camera & laptop bag) at 50% off so I snapped it up.

In short, I’m loving it so far!

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Makeup drawer before & after

Decluttering is an ongoing process, usually requiring you to revisit the same areas periodically. It’s not often that I’ll do it just a few months later, but that’s what I just did with my makeup drawer.

In this post from our old home five months ago, I got rid of a ton of rarely used and out of date cosmetics. The ‘after’ photo was looking ship-shape but it wasn’t the whole story: I still had a couple of zip-lock bags filled with spare items (samples and gifts) and several lipsticks in every handbag.

So while I had already done a big declutter before we moved, starting Project 333 has made me take a closer look at other aspects of my getting-ready routine.

I chucked* a whole pile more items, this time focusing on getting rid of colours that don’t suit me, samples I’ll never use and spares that could have lasted me two lifetimes (seven blushers/bronzers – really?!).

I consolidated my lipstick collection and now only put the current day’s product in the single handbag I’m using this season. There are some similar colours in there that I do use but could live without so I won’t replace them when they’re used up.

Apart from getting rid of the zip-locks, the biggest downsizing was the eyeshadows. I managed to find the ultimate (for me) silver-taupey-grey palette that suits everything from a subtle highlight to full-blown event makeup so I was able to get rid of four others that were less versatile.

The only non-everyday items I kept were a couple of super bold lipsticks and a crazy eyeshadow palette that I’m keeping for costume parties. I put them in the difficult-to-access section at the back for now but I could even move them to the costume box.

I moved my brushes to a jar on the vanity as they kept jamming the drawers, but apart from that, this is now my entire makeup collection. Still not minimalist by any means but it’s a far cry from what I used to have.

My next task will be to consider my toiletries and hair products to further streamline my mornings.

Do you like to have a lot of variety in your makeup or do you have a simple routine that suits you everyday?

* Put aside to donate to a women’s shelter.

Winter 2014 capsule wardrobe

Following on from my post last week discussing why I’m experimenting with Project 333, here’s a look at my items for my first capsule wardrobe.

I actually found it surprisingly easy to pull together my 33 winter items – much easier than dealing with all of the leftovers, which is still a work in progress. I bought a handful of items last season that I wore a ton and work quite well together. A colour scheme emerged quite naturally so I stuck with it for easy mixing-and-matching of outfits.

I’m very lucky in that my office job is only two days a week and it’s not too corporate so I can wear the same items to work as I would on the weekends. We also experience relatively mild winters here in Adelaide too, which makes it easier.

My 33 winter items

Here’s what I ended up with:

  1. Navy jeans
  2. Black jeans
  3. Cream lace skirt
  4. Patchwork skirt
  5. Black tulip skirt
  6. Turquoise dress
  7. Black knit dress
  8. Black long-sleeved tee
  9. Olive long-sleeved tee
  10. Teal bow top
  11. Blush sequin sweater
  12. Plum knit sweater
  13. Black & white stripe jumper
  14. Plum knit cardi
  15. Charcoal chunky knit jumper
  16. Turquoise turtleneck jumper
  17. Purple trenchcoat
  18. Blush leather jacket
  19. Olive green coat
  20. Black & beige handbag
  21. Purple clutch
  22. Purple skinny belt
  23. Tan plait belt
  24. Turquoise chunky scarf
  25. Pink/purple chevron scarf
  26. Multi-coloured floral scarf
  27. Tan heeled ankle boots
  28. Turquoise heeled calf boots
  29. Grey slouch calf boots
  30. Black buckle heels
  31. Two-tone pink flats
  32. Black & white stripe flats
  33. Mystery item

The handbag really should have gone out long ago but it was the only remotely neutral one I owned so it had to be included. I’ll try to stick it out with a terrible worn-out bag for this season and maybe pick up something new for spring. The olive top and plum cardi I’ve both had for years and worn them to death so they’ll likely have to be replaced mid-season.

I’ve also included a ‘mystery’ item in case I find I’m really missing something, either an existing item or something new. In particular I’m thinking a nice top for work / dinners out could be a worthwhile addition (maybe this one?).

Exclusions

I applied the normal exclusions of Project 333 including:

  • Underwear
  • Sleepwear
  • Work out gear
  • Loungewear
  • Everyday jewellery (e.g. wedding rings)

Admittedly I was tempted not to include shoes, bags and accessories but figured I should try to challenge myself and did end up counting them.

I did allow myself a couple of additional exclusions:

  • Dirty clothes (for painting, gardening etc)
  • Special occasion clothes (for weddings and such)
  • Sunglasses, winter hat and gloves
  • Jewellery

Despite my cheats, I haven’t given myself free rein: I’ve selected a limited amount of jewellery (so hard!), two pairs of gloves and one hat. I only have one pair of winter dirty clothes and one pair of sunglasses so that was easy.

So, if you see me between now and August 31, I’ll be wearing some combination of the above. Wish me luck!

Have you ever done a capsule wardrobe or clothing challenge?

Project 333: Getting started

Let me begin with some back story.

We had a built-in robe at our old house. It was not huge but we’d had it refitted to maximise space. Along with a dresser each and a nightstand with drawers for me and we were fine for storage space.

Our new home has no built-ins so we opted to purchase a pair of side-by-side freestanding wardrobes from the vendor as an interim solution. We do plan on installing some nice built-ins eventually but we want to wait until we have de-wallpapered the walls and ripped out the carpet.

This pair of wardrobes physically takes up a lot more room than our old built-ins, however it has maybe a sixth of the hanging space (one unit is hanging and the other unit is all shelves). Half of my clothes were still in the boxes we moved house in, which made it difficult to find what I was looking for (and when I did, it was all crumpled).

Project 333: Getting started

So I got to thinking about how to make things work with what we had. I remembered something about Project 333 via the creator Courtney Carver’s main blog Be More With Less and started to mull over whether it would work for me.

Why Project 333?

The premise is wearing a ‘capsule’ wardrobe of 33 items (including jewellery, accessories and shoes) for 3 months.

I realise the irony since this time 12 months ago I wrote a post titled The case against a seasonal wardrobe. But with all matters of household organisation, I believe in changing approaches that are no longer working for you.

In addition to the limitations of our new storage space, here are some other factors that influenced my decision:

An uncluttered bedroom

  • I love the spacious feeling of our new home and don’t want to clutter it up simply because we have room for more stuff.
  • Purely decluttering with regular clear-outs of my clothes has only got me so far. To get the streamlined closet of my dreams I need to try doing the reverse: removing everything and only putting back in what I really love and suits my body, life and style.
  • I dislike some of our bedroom furniture and how it’s laid out. Paring down the amount I own will give us more flexibility to create a room we love.
  • Of all the rooms in our home, I want the bedroom to be clutter-free. No, it’s not a public space that guests generally see, or a room that we spend much (waking) time but I want it to be a restful sanctuary.

Making it effortless

  • I find it a daily struggle to keep the bedroom tidy, with piles of clothes on the floor and a mess of shoes under the bed. Having fewer items makes it easier to put everything away.
  • My change in lifestyle (going back to work in an office part-time) means pulling together a good outfit quickly is more of a priority.
  • I want to make it easier for me to look nice on my work-at-home days. I don’t want to have to get changed just to go to the post office or to be embarrassed when a courier or print rep rocks up on my doorstep.

Finding my style

  • I’m in my thirties now, people. It’s time to find my signature look. I know it’s in there in my wardrobe but it can be hard to see amongst the impulse buys and throwbacks from my partying days.
  • Similarly, I’d like to get away from trend-based dressing and create a more classic wardrobe. I’ve never considered this before because ‘classic’ to me meant boring (because I adore colour and pattern which goes against most ‘classic dressing’ advice). This will enable me to focus on creating my own classic look from clothes I already own and only buying new items that I know can mix’n’match with the rest of my wardrobe.
  • After I quit my full-time job we cut back on a lot of areas of our budget and clothing was one category that was slashed. Even now that my income has gone up, I still find myself buying cheap and nasty clothes. I want to get back into the mindset of investing in good quality pieces again. I don’t want to increase the clothing budget, so I need to buy fewer things and again, make sure they work with other items.
  • I enjoy choosing outfits and would feel frustrated and deprived if I had an all-year simplified wardrobe. I am hoping switching it up every three months will prevent me feeling bored.

Buoyed by all these benefits, I thought Project 333 was a worthwhile experiment for me to try. I have created my first capsule wardrobe (which you can see in the header image) and have been wearing it since a bit before my official start date of June 1st.

It’s definitely a big project so over the next week or so I’ll share the details of how I chose my first capsule wardrobe and what I’m doing with all the leftovers.

Have you done Project 333 or another wardrobe challenge? If so I’d love to hear about your experiences!

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workroom-before-05

Happy Monday! We had our first weekend of actually feeling like we were living in a proper house for the first time in, oh, four months. It wasn’t packing central, or renovation central, or party central. We’ve had a couple of people over for dinner and finally set up the couch and TV.

That said, I did spend a bit of time up in the attic sorting out my stock. As I mentioned last week, I’m no longer doing any more readymade stationery products for my business Akimbo so I am clearing out all of my existing inventory.

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I packed up a bunch more of these Lucky Dip packs (thanks to everyone who’s ordered one so far!). The piles are shrinking a little every day so I’ll soon be able to start painting the space and making it into an extension of my shiny new office!

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You can pick up a Card Survival Pack or one of the other themed Lucky Dip packs here.

Thanks for your support, everyone!

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In last week’s post of 20 things I’ve learned in my 20s, the last and most important thing for me was to ‘Trust your gut’.

That’s what I did recently after a lightbulb moment told me I should completely cut out one major aspect of my stationery business Akimbo. I’d been trying to build the retail and wholesale side of the business (after all, who doesn’t love making money while they sleep?). But in truth it just took time and energy away from what I really love doing: designing wedding stationery.

I’m normally an overthinker and a planner (there’s the Type A for you) but in this case I made the decision as soon as the idea formed. Perhaps I would have come to the realisation much sooner if I’d not been working myself so hard last year. It took me forcing myself away from work on nights and weekends and a moratorium on new projects for that to happen. My gut already knew what to do, I just needed to stop and listen to it.

Of course, my timing is laughable since we have just bought a new house with a big studio for me and now I won’t be needing all this space to store inventory and packaging. Ah, well!

It’s pretty amazing how well our intuition can guide us if we only let it.

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With the decision made, I am clearing out all of my remaining stock and get ready for this next phase of my business. I don’t normally do any promo for my business here but I know there are plenty of stationery lovers among you so I didn’t want you to miss out.

You can find all of my regular sale stock on my web shop as well as a bunch of special ‘lucky dip’ clearance packs over on my Etsy shop.

 

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DIY clay ring dish

I don’t know whether my body is just in shock after a week in a tropical paradise, but it is feeling like a very chilly autumn here. Perfect weather for a craft weekend, no?

Here are some cute clay ring dishes that you can whip up between cups of tea this weekend. Find the full tutorial over on Polka Dot Bride.

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Speaking of crafting funky gold things, a little birdie told me that Megan Morton’s The School would love to bring the watercolour and gold foiling class by Peaches & Keen to us here in Adelaide. BUT they need minimum numbers to make it happen, so if it’s something you’d be interested in make sure you let them know!

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Earth Hour 2014

I haven’t done a ‘Why don’t you…’ column in a while but when the rep for Earth Hour got in touch to spread the word I thought it would be the perfect reason to do so.

If you’re not aware, Earth Hour is an annual event to encourage us all to switch off our power for just one hour to combat climate change. This year the focus is on saving the Great Barrier Reef. My parents took us when I was 13 and I want to be able to do the same for my kids in future but it won’t be around if action isn’t taken now.

The Man and I have already been going very low-tech recently, with renovations simultaneously rendering our lounge and kitchen  almost unusable. So we enjoyed a candlelit picnic on the floor (and may or may not have polished off a bottle of red on a Monday night).

It felt like such a relaxing treat we’ll be doing it again for Earth Hour this Saturday at 8.30pm.

 

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