Sometimes, life is bananas. Like,
My life is a little bananas right now. As you know from last week’s post, I just started school again! What you don’t know is that on top of school and running this blog, I just started a new job with very weird variable hours, plus I’m working on a secret but very time-intensive creative project. On top of all that, I’m a Virgo/perfectionist/Monica who married the World’s Messiest Man (love you honey, you’re perfect to me!!) so I dedicate a lot of time to keeping my apartment clean because 1. I like it clean and 2. to keep me sane. I’ve grown up believing that a messy environment = a messy mind.
Oh yeah, I also try to have a social life sometimes too – which usually ends up meaning curling up on the loveseat and watching Grey’s Anatomy while knitting 🙂
This week I thought I’d share some of the tools and tricks I use to stay organized when I’m juggling a lot of life at once.
One thing Mr. Vik and I definitely don’t have time for is cooking every single night. Does anyone? I mean, grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, eating, then cleaning and dishes?? Give me a break.
We’ve been trying to cook in bulk whenever possible, so that our efforts in the kitchen last more than one meal. Worst-case scenario, we get a dinner and the next day’s lunch out of it. Best-case scenario, we have almost two week’s worth of meals!
Our approach is simple: select a handful of meals that are easy to refrigerate or – even better – freeze, and still taste good reheated. We try to make two or three for the week so we don’t get too bored of what we’re eating. If we’re cooking our own dish, we just make sure to cook a bunch of it. If we’re using a recipe, we typically double or triple it.
We end up cooking a lot of “main parts” of the meal, and then leave the remainder for when we actually eat it. For example:
- Indian dishes like paneer, chhole, or daal in bulk, with roti or rice cooked to eat
- Heavy soups in bulk, with bread grilled to eat
- Sweet potatoes baked in bulk, with toppings prepared to eat
- Hot or cold pasta salads cooked in bulk
- Vegetarian chili* cooked in bulk with rice and toppings prepared to eat
This has saved us so much time during the week – all we need to do is reheat, do some basic cooking, and wash dishes. I can’t recommend this enough! Find a time that works best for you – for us, Sunday afternoon/evenings are best because that’s the time we usually spend mourning the end of the weekend anyway 🙂
*This is my “famous” (according to Vikram) recipe, so if anyone is interested I would be happy to share it!
I’m a 90s kid at heart, so using a cute paper planner is in my DNA. However, try as I might, paper planners just don’t work for me to really stay organized. In the professional world, I am all about Microsoft Outlook – the perfect blend of Calendar and Tasks makes my heart happy and keeps me the most organized I’ve ever been.
But since Outlook isn’t socially acceptable (or easy) to use on a personal level, I’ve resigned myself to using Google Calendars to stay organized. One way I’ve broken it up is by color-coding my events by category, such as yellow for work, green for appointments, and so on.
I also have multiple Google Calendars for the various aspects of my life:
- One for personal, which includes work, appointments, and activities
- One for my blog, which includes my posting schedule and photo shoot dates
- One for my school, which includes homework and assignment due dates
The reason I like having multiple calendars is because I can incorporate them all into one calendar if I want to see everything at once, but I can also filter out and only view one calendar or “life segment” at a time if I prefer.
I found this app a few years ago, and life has never been the same! It’s an organization app that is very customizable, but which I use in a fairly basic way – it’s essentially a way to create and manage your own lists, which is exactly what I use it for. There are features for adding dates to list items, but if I have a task with a specific due date I’ll add it to my calendar rather than Todoist, so I don’t really use that feature. I mainly reserve this app for keeping running lists of things I need to get done, and nothing has been more helpful when it comes to my shopping list!
I have a list that I keep for items I need to shop for, and I can add and remove items very easily and from almost any device or platform. The reason I love this is because:
- It’s always with me, so if I’m at Target for something, I can pull out my list on my phone and see if there’s anything else I can grab while I’m there, such as groceries, toiletries, or household items.
- It’s cloud-based, so Mr. Vik and I are logged in with the same account on both of our phones. This way, we can each add and remove things from the list without double-buying or continually having to call or text each other for what we need – it’s the ultimate in teamwork and we really love it.
I also use this app for keeping a running list of general stuff that needs to get done, but is more or less on the back burner and isn’t super urgent. It’s nice for me to have a place to keep all the “extras” floating around in my head so that they’re organized but also out of sight (and out of mind until I have time to deal with them!).
This is also a great resource for maintaining things like a holiday wish list that you can maintain throughout the year so you know what to ask for for Christmas, or for making a list of movies that you want to watch with your S.O. because he didn’t grow up with the classic movies you did. Yes, I’ve obviously made both of these lists.
The standard version is free, with an option to upgrade to a premium membership and unlock additional features for a reasonable fee (around $30/year). I’m still using the standard free membership, and it’s working out just fine!
I am all about looking fabulous and feeling glamorous – when there’s time. Unfortunately as we all know, there’s not always time! Here are some of the ways that I save time on beauty but still manage to feel like a human being rather than a human garbage monster:
- Straighten/curl/blow out my hair – ever since I went for the chop, this only takes about 30-45 minutes, but lasts days and days. I use dry shampoo in between washes to keep my hair looking fresh and clean. The amount of time saved is so worth it!
- Basic makeup (and glasses!) – I have a very bare-bones makeup routine that I use for day-to-day: brows, liner, mascara, concealer, powder, blush, gloss. Plus I always wear my glasses to both prevent headaches from all my work and reading, and also so that my limited makeup is less noticeable.
- Take advantage of my limited wardrobe – I recently wrote about limiting my wardrobe in terms of colors and silhouettes, and this is a prime example of when that comes in handy! I can usually just walk into my closet and easily grab a cute outfit without having to put much thought into it.
- Invest in cute loungewear – if I’m going to be spending a day at home buckling down on work, wearing cute loungewear keeps me feeling like a real person. It doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg either – I stalked Victoria’s Secret’s Semi-Annual Sale and scored a bunch of sports bras and bralettes for under $10 apiece. For cute-and-cozy tops and bottoms, I love TJ Maxx and Target. For harem pants…India, obviously 🙂
And that’s how it’s done! Or at least, that’s how I do it! Do you think any of these tips and tricks will come in handy for you? Do you use another organization tactic that you think others could benefit from? Goodness knows I’d love to hear it!
Please share your thoughts, comments, and tips and tricks in the comments below! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for posts and stories between my weekly blog posts, and I look forward to seeing you again next week!