This week alone, I have added 4 new countries to my travel wish list. That’s a whole lot of travelling (and money) that I can’t afford at this time in my life.

‘How about Canada? Or Copenhagen? I’d love to go to Singapore! AND SRI LANKA!’ I fire these new countries at my better half most days. He nods and smiles and pretends to listen and share my enthusiasm. But he knows as well as I do that this list, whilst ever growing, will never be fulfilled.

To put into context, I have just landed my dream job that places my feet firmly in London. My partner is based in the City, so we are limited in what we can do at what times.

I blame social media, namely Facebook & Instagram, for this expansive list. Whether it’s friends from my hometown off on exciting escapades because heaven knows the cost of living outside London means those dream holidays are so much more attainable these days. Or it could be the enviable Instagram feed of the super rich that sees them jetting off to the Maldives on a weekly basis. It’s a morbid fascination that I’m addicted to and this is probably why my Pinterest feed is less home decor these days and more ‘places to visit’.

I read somewhere that we are one of the first generations to truly feel like we don’t have to be contained by the white picket fence and that being ok. This isn’t a new concept, Jack Kerouac and the Beat Generation embraced the idea of living without borders. But this was done with a feeling of disdain from society, a rebellion against the man. Nowadays, you are more likely to be judged if you ARE tied to a time and place.

In a super boring way, I think this feeling of discontent with ‘traditional’ society comes from the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. People realised that the jobs they had been tied to and had kept them from doing things they love in the name of security found the rug pulled out from under their feet. More people than ever now freelance and work for themselves because they realised the security they sought was never iron clad.

So I guess my growing Pinterest board and taste for travel is my own way of trying to ‘plan for the future’. If anything were to happen I am happy to up and leave for the world, but for now, I want the best of both worlds, that picket fence and the wandering soul.

But then, maybe that’s what we all want, really.

New York City skyline

John Lewis is a dangerous place for me to go to. That place should come with a warning label whenever I’m around, because as soon as I walk in, it’s futile. Goodbye, hard earned cash. Hello snazzy cushions.

I’m not going to lie, when me and my boyfriend first moved in together, I didn’t have my heart set on a red and orange colour scheme in my living room. In fact, if you asked me at the time, they probably would’ve been my least likely pairing. I’m more monochromatic, or soft neutrals. Not orange and red. However, I made the mistake of asking my boyfriend to take an interest in interiors, and he had his heart set on red and orange. So, foot-in-mouth, I had to cooperate.

And actually, now I wouldn’t have it any other way.

The highlight has to be my mix and match cushions, mostly acquired during a highly intense shopping spree in John Lewis. Geometric and stripes? I hear you ask, eyebrows raised. Why not?!

I’m always on the look out for new cushions, I love the idea of having a big ol’ comfy sofa chockablock with cushions. So whilst my JL addiction is currently dormant, it’s only a matter of time…

John Lewis scatter geometric stripe cushions

I love being organised.

Just writing that makes me feel a bit queasy. But it’s true. Nothing makes me happier than a seamless, life system. And my career is no exception.

I have a hectic life at the moment: I work full time, I freelance part-time for 2 different companies, I am studying for a postgraduate degree part-time through distance learning. And I have a social life. Somewhere… in there…

Oh and throw in a chronic illness for good measure, too.

So it’s understandable why a smooth running system floats my boat, because otherwise I would probably cry a lot.

I hate to rely on technology, and maybe one day my mind will transform into a OneNote notebook, but until then, tech is how I deal.

My schedule is extremely well-managed. That might bore people half to death, but it works (for now). And it wouldn’t work without the help of some trusty friends. So I thought I’d share these with you all!

OneNoteScreenshot OneNote

Now this programme has changed my life.

I remember first looking at OneNote when I was an undergraduate, and the whole interface threw me off and I wasn’t sure how to use it effectively. Having revisited it several years later, and I genuinely don’t know how I would live without it!

If you’re like me and have a million different areas of your life to keep track of, then creating separate notebooks to help organise your thoughts can be a lifesaver. I have one for Home & Finance, which I keep general boring to-do lists and savings goals that I use everyday. I have a notebook for my blog, one for my postgraduate and one for my career. I know I could keep all these files saved on my laptop, but the beauty of OneNote is having them all together, but still separate. Plus, you can sync it with your phone, so you can access your notebooks anywhere, make amendments, and have them appear on your laptop. Little things, sure, but a massive time saver, and key when learning how to organise your mind.

IFTTT

Ifthisthenthat was the sole inspiration for this blog post. It’s a fairly recent discovery of mine but it’s super handy if you are constantly trying to keep up with your social channels and general internet madness.

Ifthisthenthat interface

It works by creating ‘recipes’, or rules, to help streamline your work through hundreds of online apps. For instance, I use a recipe that sends every tweet I post to a Google Drive spreadsheet, so I can get an idea of the content I’m pushing out. Or another is sending Instagram posts as native posts to Twitter, so that it doesn’t come up with the link but in a preview.

These sound like really small adjustments, and yes you could spend an extra 10 minutes doing this. But if you have a million things on your mind, wouldn’t it be nice not to have to worry about certain areas?

Fantastical calendar

Fantastical iPhone App IconIt took me absolutely ages to find a decent calendar app. For a long time I wanted to use a paper planner, and I spent extortionate amounts of money on Erin Condren and the like, which works for some people. But I learnt, eventually, that I just work better if I have a to-do list or an event available on my phone at all times, rather than faffing about with a paper calendar.

Once I realised this I knew I had to find a good calendar app that wouldn’t confuse me senseless! Then I found Fantastical.

It’s a pretty simple interface, but it allows you to sync to all your different email accounts (of which I have 5 that I use on a day-to-day basis), colour codes them and puts it in a nice month/list format that makes it easy to read on a moments notice. This helps when you have to organise something quickly!

Post-Its

It might make me feel like I’m back in school, but when all else fails, you can’t beat a good old fashioned Post-It note. I go through phases of these, and they’re usually for when I’m on the phone and can’t otherwise access my digital files. I’ll scribble down my thoughts there and then to make sure I don’t forget. The only problem with this (and my long-suffering boyfriend will vouch for this), is that I end up covering my flat with them.

I’ll learn, one day.

Relaxing in my flat with a cup of coffeeSwitch off time

So this is probably the most important tip. As organised as you will ever be, it is so important to be able to switch off from everything and have your ‘me-time’. Whether that is on the commute home, a 20 minute bath, 10 minutes meditation before work, whatever.

If I worked solidly and constantly, then I would burn myself out in a week. It’s important to have balance and realise what the important things in life are from time to time.

 

Yeah, that’s the idea anyway…