As creative types, we live pretty hectic lives. When you are looking for work, you are managing a day job (or day jobs), looking for work, trying to network, and making sure that all of your materials are in order for when someone might have a job for you. When you have a job, you can be working 12-16 hour days and then in your off time have to promote the work you are doing and maybe even look for new work if this particular job is ending soon.
So when your professional life is crazy, it’s super important to make the rest of your life as calm and easy as possible. I’m currently working on doing this myself, so I thought I’d share the 10 things I’m doing to make my home as calm as possible.
1. Schedule schedule schedule!
I seriously have to schedule everything into my life. If it’s not on my schedule, I might forget that it is something that I have to do and then before I know it, it’s too late. So things like grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning my house, and doing laundry all get put into my calendar (I use the calendar app for my iPhone/iPad/MacBook Pro since they all sync together so nicely). I have to do my laundry at 8am on Sunday so it doesn’t become an emergency laundry situation.
2. Bulk cook as many meals as possible. This goes along with my scheduling idea. While I started bulk cooking as part of my weight loss plan, I’ve realized that by doing this, I remember to eat when I should and I’m not grabbing food that brings my energy down or puts me into a sugar coma. I typically cook the same thing for dinner all week and then put them into individual containers. Then I have easy to grab things for my breakfasts and lunches. I’m getting all the nutrients in that I need to and I’m not stressing about what I’m going to be making for dinner when my auditions run long in the afternoon.
3. Exercise to de-stress. This is something that I started over the summer and have been amazed how much it has changed my life. Again, I started working out as part of my weight loss effort, but since going to workout regularly (I go to Orangetheory), I’ve noticed that my stress levels about everything else in my life have gone down. You have to find what works for you. For some people, it might be a calming yoga or pilates class. For me, it’s a tough treadmill and weight lifting class where I struggle during the class but feel super proud and accomplished afterward.
4. Clean out your closets. When you don’t have as many outfits to chose from, picking an outfit for the day or an audition gets so much easier. I’ve been doing lots of searching on Pinterest on the idea of having a capsule wardrobe. While I do need some “weirder” clothes for some of the audition notices I get, there’s no need for me to have 4 black t-shirts or 6 pairs of jeans. Cutting back helps to me to make faster decisions and to not worry about what I wear to my auditions. As long as it’s in the right idea (business clothes for office worker auditions or jeans and sweater for “mom” auditions), it doesn’t really matter what you wear. Your talent is what needs to stand out.
5. Digitize your life as much as possible. In the same idea of cleaning your closets, ridding your life of a lot of clutter helps to de-clutter your mind as well. I’m slowly working on scanning and digitally storing lots of the paperwork that I’ve had around my house (like instruction manuals for various household items). You don’t need to save scraps of magazine articles all over. Scan them into your computer (or take a photo of them) and then use Evernote or a similar app to store and organize them all. While I still have a lot of paper on my desk, it’s getting better and I’ve noticed that I’m able to focus more when there isn’t as much stuff around me.
6. Automize what you can. I guess this kind of goes along with scheduling, but making things happen without you having to do anything is the greatest! And by that, I mean having a series recording on your DVR or having your bills automatically paid by your bank. By not having to worry about those things, I can focus on building my career and not managing the little things.
7. Make your home someplace that makes you happy. I know a lot of us rent spaces that are tiny, have little light, or are just uninspiring. When you rent, you are a bit limited in what you can do to change up your space, but there are some options. Invest in nicer lighting fixtures to make your space bright. Have your sheets or furniture in colors that you love. Hang framed artwork (not unframed posters) on your walls. And if you have something that you collect that makes you super happy (I collect and love etiquette books) have them on display somewhere that you can see them. When the world outside is crazy, having a safe bubble inside your home can help.
8. Make your computer set-up work for you. Many of us don’t think about how our computers are set up even though we are using them hours each day. By having the folders on your desktop organized and documents you need to use often easy to find, you can make your digital life calm too. I also highly recommend making your background picture either something that makes you happy or something that motivates you (I chose my word for 2015, Bold, to be my desktop picture).
9. Apply as many of these rules as you can to your car. I’ve talked in the past about how you can set up your car to help for your auditions. My car has basically become my second home, but I haven’t really spent any time making it a calming place like I have for my house. While this is one that I really need to work on, I wanted to make sure to share it with you all.
10. Ignore any advice that doesn’t fit for you. One of the biggest things I learned recently is that I don’t have to follow advice that doesn’t seem right for me. And if you are reading this and don’t think that any of these tips will make your home calmer for you, don’t do them. By trying out what everyone else was telling me to do, I made my home as hectic as my life. But by listening to my own needs and letting other’s fade into the background, I have found a way to find exactly what I need.
I’d love to hear in the comments if any of these have worked (or not worked) for you in the past! Here’s to us all having calmer homes in 2015!