Living With Intention

5 Things I Started Automating That Drastically Reduced My Stress

By Tuesday, June 15, 2021

You have another busy work week ahead and none of the “to-do’s” got done this weekend… for the fourth weekend in a row. I know this feeling better than most; I check off all the items on the procrastinator’s list. From never folding the laundry the day it comes out of the dryer to forgetting to follow up on those doctor and dental appointments after three. reminder calls. So I recently began implementing a few relatively easy changes that have helped drastically reduce my stress.

1. Dedicating A “Power Hour” A Week To My Procrastination List

I commit at least one hour weekly to turn my “I’ll do it later’s” to “DONE!” From my experience, having a weekly power hour is the key to checking off the small tasks that often cause me the most stress. Scheduling this at an appropriate time is also key. As the world begins to re-open, planning your mundane chores on a Saturday afternoon may not always be the best strategy for getting tasks down. Those last-minute patio invites can often get in the way of the important, yet easy, to put off tasks. 

Instead, I choose to schedule my power hour during one lunch hour a week, because not only do I find it easier to schedule certain appointments during business hours, but this way I don’t have to cut into the little free time that I do have on the weekends.

What my power hour may look like:

  • Scheduling appointments.
  • Decluttering my phone
  • Getting those emails down to 0 unread.
  • Folding the laundry.
  • Checking and updating my budget (e.g. online banking)
  • Tidying my workspace or similar small space  

2. Automating Payments Wherever Possible

This strategy is probably the simplest to adopt but may just be the most important. Many financial institutions now allow you to switch to automated payments right from your smartphone. By automating my payments (rent/mortgage, bills, streaming services, charitable donations, etc.) I can easily make the burden of remembering to pay bills an afterthought and avoid late payment fees or reconnection fees.

For those who are hesitant to do automated payments because their income varies each month, I highly recommend automating your smaller, more affordable bills. This may include automating credit card minimums (even if you decide to pay more later) or your wifi bill if you’re a freelancer and work from home. This way you have one less item to think about.

3. Hiring Someone To Clean Twice A Month

This was a big one for me, as I have three pets at home. The stress of constantly having to mop, vacuum, and scrub surfaces was simply overwhelming. I found a well-priced cleaning service on Care.com and decided to work this mini luxury into my budget by giving up manicures/pedicures (which was worth it for me). They clean approximately for 90 minutes and get so much done. For just $40 twice a month, I now have a clean space while working from home. To me, this act of self-care is so much more rewarding.

4. Subscribing To A Meal Subscription Plan

Gone are the days of eating the same bland chicken sheet pan recipe four nights in a row. I have saved an impressive amount of money by making the swap to meal boxes. They come with precisely the right portion of ingredients, so no more buying too much of anything and having it go bad. This service works exceptionally well for people living alone or with their partners. My partner and I have found that we always have 3 servings out of a “2 serving recipe”. By splitting the recipes into 3 servings, each serving comes down to $6-8 dollars. These meal boxes make supper beyond convenient and with so much variety, you will not feel like ordering in nearly as much. I have cut down ordering takeout to once a month (from once a week). 

(Editor’s Note: looking for an example of a tasty affordable meal subscription plan? Check out our Creative Director’s review here!)

5. Getting Up 30-45 Mins Earlier

As much as I would love to be a morning person, I am not. I, like many, am still working from home as a result of the pandemic. And who knows, this may become a permanent or semi-permanent setup for many of us. I was finding it harder and harder to get up and feel good about working from home. I realized this was directly linked to a lack of a morning routine. Rolling out of bed 10 minutes before my first meeting of the day just was not cutting it anymore. For the last three months, I have been using the extra 45 mins to do the following: 

  • Move my body for 10-15 mins (generally outside). 
  • Actually, put on actual clothing and at least a little bit of makeup.
  • Meditate or breathe for 15 mins. 
  • Journal for 10 mins. 

These strategies have been simple fixes in the grand scope of things and have drastically reduced my anxiety levels. Implementing a simple routine and asking for help when I need it (meal boxes and cleaning services), has helped me feel much more in control of my health and wellbeing. By getting up earlier and setting one hour a week to get the not-so-fun stuff done, I have found a newfound sense of excitement and zest for life.

Eugenie is a social media program manager who moved from Montreal to Saskatchewan, Canada (talk about a change).  Feel free to follow her journey on her Instagram

Image via Unsplash

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