…because our plans for last year went so well, right?
*This post features a collaboration with Appointed
Ok 2021. Where the hell are we supposed to start? I like a plan, I love a routine and goal list work towards is absolutely heaven for me, but all these things don’t feel realistic, practical, nor particularly motivating right now. So what do we do? Firstly I have to preface this by saying that if organisation just isn’t your vibe in general, or right now – then skip past this post and you do you boo. We’ve all got to do what’s best for us right now and if that’s steering clear of the ‘P’ word that is just adding more stress to your plate right now then thank you for stopping by and I’ll see you next week. However if you’re anything like me and are feeling a bit lost without the usual structures of life in place, but still want to feel some sense of control over your plans, then here are some ideas.
Obviously they are a little different than usual, but I’ve put fingertips to keyboard and here are my ideas. Firstly, investing in some tools might help you to up your organisation game in 2021 – I’ve got a list for you below. Or maybe there are a few (albeit super flexible) plans you can make for the coming months – those are in the ‘Things To Do’ section. If neither of those are singing to you, then why not skip to the ‘Mini Tasks To Make You Feel Good’ list, which features five tasks to try that won’t take up a lot of time, but help to spread those feel-good ‘I’M READY’ vibes, without a huge time strain. It’s time to throw out the rulebook and mix it up…
THINGS TO BUY
A NEW DAILY PLANNER. For the past two years I’ve used the Appointed Year Task Planner as my daily planner of choice and it’s been brill. It’s THE BEST I’ve found. So imagine my excitement when last year they got in contact to say that they’d love to collaborate with me. *INTERNAL SCREAMING*. It’s basically a dream come true. So say hello to the Appointed x The Anna Edit ‘Smart & Sorted’ Collection for 2021 – released next Monday 11th January, available to order worldwide from appntd.com. A four piece collection, available to buy separately or together (for a juicy saving and some an exclusive gift), that will have you sorted stationery wise for the next 12 months. Of course the Lavender Grey Year Task Planner is included. It’s my favourite colour they’ve ever released and it’s been so tricky to find in stock over the past couple of months, so they’ve held some back for us – I got you covered. I love the week-to-two-page view and it allows me to plan my week effectively, without ever feeling too list-y and overwhelming. Then we have the Natural Linen Workbook that has The Anna Edit ‘A‘ on the front – *SQUEAL*. A simple lined notebook that’s great for any additional to-do lists you need to keep handy, or for making notes on calls, keeping track of meal plans – anything like that. We have the No.2 Pencil Set, again with a little white foil stamp ‘A’ – perfect if like me you’re always making slip-ups in your Task Planner. One thing I’ve been able to exclusively design for them is a To-Do Notepad that you won’t find anywhere else. It’s got the same lavender grey bookcloth header as the Year Task Planner and I’ve put tick boxes on every line because that’s something that I usually draw in myself – everyone loves a tick box right? And I just love that it matches the planner. All of these items can be purchased together as part of the ‘Smart & Sorted Set‘ which comes in a reusable envelope box – great for office storage – and with a 2021 gold-foil font calendar to pin-up on your wall that’s exclusive to the set. Honestly, I’m over the moon and I hope you enjoy these pieces as much as I do. It’s been so exciting to team up with my favourite stationery brand that I’ve used for years and hopefully there’s more to come. More good news is that they now have super speedy and much more affordable shipping to the U.K and Europe, so you won’t have to wait too long to get your mitts on it once it’s released. To be the first in line, sign up to the Appointed newsletter here.
ADDITIONAL THINGS THAT ARE HELPFUL. Of course stationery is the epitome of organisation for me, however there are a few additional things that are helpful when it comes to organisation around the home:
A label maker*
Matching hangers* for your wardrobe – makes the whole thing look so chic
Speaking of which, underwear organisers* are handy too
I’m always asked what photo albums I use – these Paperchase Albums are my favourite
The MUJI containers are so good for drawer organisation
THINGS TO DO
YOUR YEARLY PLAN. Normally we’d sit down at the beginning of the year and plan out our year – any holidays we’d like to take, when we’d like to take some time off work, how long we’re taking off for Christmas, adding in birthdays, parties, anniversaries, weddings. HA! 2021 = *tumbleweed*. Instead we’re going to break the year into quarters. We usually have quarterly reviews anyway to look over how the past 3 months have gone, but this year we’re going to check in both professionally and personally every 3 months. That gives us a nice balance of flexibility as things (hopefully!) change throughout the year, but then focus for the immediate months ahead.
THROW OUT THE RESOLUTIONS. Personally I’m completely throwing about the resolutions this year. I usually love them and I’m a complete sucker for ’em – write them out, pin them up, all 1789 of them! I break them into categories, I log them in the Habits app on my phone. But over the years I feel like I’ve incorporated a decent amount of fitness and wellness into my daily routine – I just sort of do it these days (and yes I’m obsessed with my Peloton). I feels unrealistic to make any sort of financial goals aside from save as much as possible and be sensible (which again we sort of already do – thanks Money Manager Mark! – see below). And in terms of travel and additional hobbies I don’t think we’ll be going anywhere anytime soon and I read a tonne and heck, I’ve even taken up knitting during lockdown. It’s coooooool. Instead of making a long list of resolutions that will weigh on me and stress me out I’m going a year without them. Be safe, be healthy, be happy – that’s enough for me.
WORK OUT YOUR BUDGET. There are many reasons why I married Mark, but his ability to pull together a realistic and extremely detailed budget is right up there. LOL – THIS IS 30!!! He’s made us a budget that has really helped us to hone in on what needs to be done around the house and the costs involved and when we can afford to do what – it’s a long game that’s going to take us years to complete and that’s ok. From this we’ve been able to break down our monthly personal spends (I spoke more about my personal budgeting in this post), and create a sensible budget for the year that should allow us to continue with our renovations, decrease our monthly personal spends and increase our savings. Adulting, huh? I count ourselves extremely lucky that we have some savings to fall-back on, but even just getting a handle on your current financial situation is a nerve-calmer for sure.
CREATE A 2021 ROUTINE. Our routine has been a little all over the place this year. It started well, sort of crumbled when we entered lockdown and then we packed up our flat, moved in with my parents for three months and then we’ve started afresh in a new home just before Christmas which is notoriously a weird time for routines – I mean I’ve literally watched approximately 278 episodes of Real Housewives in the past two weeks. And although I’m trying to be chill across other aspects of planning, I feel like a realistic routine is something that personally helps me, keeps me motivated and keeps me moving. It might sound dramatic but it keeps me sane. So here’s how I’m going to be breaking down my working days:
MY 2021 WORKING DAY ROUTINE
7:00AM – Wake up
7:30AM – Start work
9:00AM – Breakfast & get ready
10:00AM – Work
12:30PM – Break for lunch
1:30PM – Work
4PM – Wrap up work & workout
5PM – Freshen-up
6PM – Start dinner & evening
…now I do have the luxury of working for myself and setting my own schedule, but maybe it’s something that you could tweak for yourselves if you’re not self-employed. I personally work best first thing in the morning so it makes sense for me to get up and at it before I’ve even had a shower. I’m completely useless after around 4pm – especially in the winter – so it’s better for me to cram my working hours earlier in the day so that I can wrap up earlier. Also with workouts I’ve just found them best for me in the late afternoon so I have my energy for the working part of my day and use it up after that’s over. It’s a nice bookend of the working day to have a workout, let go of any stresses, have a nice shower and mini pamper and then come downstairs for the evening and FOOD. Basically, find a routine that works for you.
MINI TASKS TO MAKE YOU FEEL GOOD
SORT YOUR WARDROBE. It might sound lame, but it’s one of my feel-good tasks. Just before the Christmas break I went though my newly hung wardrobe (see a video on that here), and did a proper sort-out. Being without the bulk of my clothing whilst we lived with my parents for three months really helped me to hone in on the pieces that I missed, the pieces that I go back to time and time again and what didn’t fit right or no longer felt like my style that could be passed on. I did a huge charity shop drop, mailed pieces to friends and did a Depop sale (which is a great way to raise some funds too – or head to Vestiaire Collective* to sell any designer pieces).
ORGANISE A SMALL AREA. Organising a large area or a whole room can be a really daunting process, so why not stick to something small? It might only take you 10 minutes but will leave you with a great sense of accomplishment at the end. Why not reorganise your spice rack (these lazy susans* are everything?) or sort through your underwear drawer (these organisers* have changed the game for me)? Maybe you need to streamline your skincare stash, or want to go through your Christmas decorations box before you pack it away for another year? Keep it small, get it over with quickly and marvel and your neat and organised space.
DO SOMETHING YOU’VE BEEN PUTTING OFF. We all have things we’ve been putting off. So why not pull off the plaster and bloomin’ do it? You’ll feel FAB. I’ve been telling Mark that I’ll sort out curtains for our curtain-less rooms since we moved in and last week I DID IT and I spent the next few days wandering into those rooms just to admire my handiwork. If that thing you’ve been putting off isn’t that terrible and won’t take that long then put it to the top of your priority list and complete it for sky-high levels of satisfaction.
WRITE A ‘GREATEST HITS’ MEAL LIST. This is something that my Mum has and it’s kind of genius. Take 20 minutes out of your day to write down a list of recipes and meals that you love to make. Then next time you’re feeling a bit uninspired in the kitchen, whip out your list for a ready-made greatest hits list to cook from. You might like to write this out by hand, or store it digitally which is helpful if you do a lot of your cooking from recipes online. Never have that ‘What shall I eat for dinner?‘ afternoon slump again.
IMPLEMENT A MINI ROUTINE. I’m not talking a full-on daily routine like I mentioned earlier, but something that’s small and maybe something you do every week. Perhaps you want to go on a weekly long walk on a Sunday? Or want to start making soups for lunch that you can eat all week long on a Monday? Turn Tuesday into a face mask day? Make Wednesday your laundry day? Maybe Thursday could be your time for a lengthy weekly stretching session? Yoga on a Friday morning? Saturday morning brunch is always pancakes? Oh I like that one. Just something that you can add into your routine weekly and have something to look forward to, or just something to add some routine and structure into your weeks.
Photos by Mark Newton