Theme of the week: De-cluttering

                                                                                                Source: habituallychic.blogspot.com via Caroline on Pinterest

Did you read my previous post about Life Themes – a way to organize making changes in your life? My theme for this week is De-cluttering. Are you stuck for a theme?  Let’s do it together. Team support and all that. We start tomorrow. So here’s our plan for the week, it’s pretty simple really:

Continue reading “Theme of the week: De-cluttering”

The September Clean Habit updates

Hi everyone! How is everyone getting along with their September Clean Habit?

I’m really enjoying myself! I like taking care of my stuff and keeping my shit together. Here are some cleaning tips for you to keep you motivated for our September habit.

♥ Share household duties and chores

If you live in a big household (as I do) it’s a good idea to share your cleaning duties and rotate it over a set period of time.

For example, one person could be in charge of garbage (gathering it and disposing of it), another in charge of cleaning and wiping the countertops and surfaces.  Examples of specific duties could be:

  • Bathrooms.
  • The floors: Mopping, sweeping and vacuuming the floors,
  • Dishes:  Washing, drying, loading and unloading dishwasher
  • Garbage: Collecting and gathering from around the house and then disposing of it.
  • Cleaning and wiping the countertops and surfaces and dusting.

If each person claims one duty as their own – that will be their responsibility. You must make sure that your department is taken care of (along with your own bedroom).This will cover most aspects of cleaning of your house, and also make sure it is done much faster!

The less people you are living with, the more duties you will have to claim as your own. You can rotate these duties at a time interval that is suitable for you. Just to mix things up and keep things interesting, yo.

This is also a great strategy for cleaning after a party at your house.

♥ Organize your daily and weekly cleaning.

Maintaining a clean home becomes much easier when you can develop some kind of schedule for the tasks that must be done daily, and the tasks that must be done on a weekly basis (and seasonally, and annually too.)

When you start incorporating cleaning into your daily and weekly routines, everything seems much more easier!

This is what mine looks like:

Daily chores

1. Doing the dishes – loading and unloading the dishwasher. Keeping my kitchen sink sparkling and clean before bedtime! (10-15 minutes)

2. Sweeping my bedroom floor. I have laminate flooring and it gets pretty disgusting pretty disgustingly fast. I need to buy some rugs. (10 minutes)

3. Keep your shower, toilet and bathroom sink clean. Easy. Just be more aware and present after you use the bathroom. (5 minutes)

4. Making my bed every morning. (1 minute)

5. Do routine quick tidy-ups. Simply periodically make sure that everything is in its place. (2 minutes)

6. Go through all the stuff you accumulate throughout the day and ditch them or put them where they belong. For example – magazines, fliers, receipts, mail, papers. (10 minutes)

Every-couple-of-days-chores

1. Laundry

2. Garbage control 😉

Weekly chores

1. Change bed sheets (10 minutes)

2. Vacuum (20 minutes – depending on much space you have)

3. Dusting (10 minutes)

4. Mopping (20 minutes – depending on how much space you have)

♥ Stop hanging out in bed

I know it is so appealing and that I spent pretty much all of last year doing most things in my bed. Use my laptop. Talk to my friends. Eat snacks. Watch movies.

My excuse is that with the lack of other furniture in my room, and no other real space in my apartment for chillaxing (I lived in the student residences) the only comfortable “sitting and relaxing” place was my bed.

It was gross. My bed never felt fresh and clean when I crawled into it (again) at the end of the day and I hated that.

But my bed is not made for socializing.

Try to create another space in your home where you spend most of your time. It could be your living room or dining room. It could be a giant cushy beanbag on the floor, or a big comfortable chair, or a loveseat (I want it) it could even be at your desk.

I acknowledge that other students like myself may find this a challenge, as we share with other students, the only space we have for “ourselves” is probably our own rooms. And the possibilities for furniture in own rooms is pretty limited. Believe me, I know.

The less time you spend hanging out in your bed, the fresher and cleaner it will be when you get into it at the end of your hard day!

♥ Laundry of death

If you have a problem of allowing laundry to mount up, invest in a small laundry basket. When you have a huge laundry basket, it’s easy to allow laundry to mount up because you have the space to do so. If you have a small laundry basket, you will be forced to start thinking about doing your laundry more frequently because your overflowing small basket will be a constant reminder 😉

This also works for your garbage cans.

Here is an example of the laundry system I use. I know all of this is awfully redundant to most of the world population but like whatever 😀 :

After I have worn something that can be worn again, I hang it up to air out. This is my “I can wear this again” part of my system.

Once an item of clothing is ready for laundry I put it into my basket – keeping my whites, colors and delicates somewhat separately.

Once my basket is full (and it’s a small basket so it doesn’t take long) I put it into the washing machine.

As you know, the whites usually tend to take time to pile up, so you can just ask the people you live with if they have any more whites to add to your load.

It’s simple. It works!

♥ Take that little bit extra time to do things right

Maintaining cleanliness is possible if you put in a little bit extra time and energy each time you need to put things away.

That means when you come home from work, taking the extra time to hang up your coat, put taking things out of your bag that you need (keys, phone, lunch) , and putting your bag and shoes where it is supposed to go. It’s so easy to come home and dump everything on the floor, the chair, or God forbid – your bed.

We all have this extra couple of minutes to do things “right”. Slowly and carefully.

Sure there are times when you literally don’t have time to put your coat on a hanger and put it into your wardrobe which is organized by colour. Like when your wife is in labour. Or when your room is on fire. Or if your grandma just fell down the stairs.

*Needing to get onto facebook as fast as physically possible is not a good enough reason.*

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It’s my first day at school today and I’m excited! Thanks to Hurricane Katia I am pretty sure I will get blown away on my walk into campus this evening.

I have not forgotten about you my blogbabies, and in fact I have a big list of upcoming post ideas, but finding the time to sit and write is proving to be more difficult than anticipated.

 How clean are your homes this month?! Do you have any cleaning tips or systems that work for you? holla at me.

malavika

7 Steps to living with integrity.

Integrity is defined as “The state of being whole or undivided” and living integrally is measured by the correlation between how you would like your life to be lived vs how you are actually doing it. That’s a tough meter stick to abide by at times. Boy, don’t we all know it.

My question to you, and to myself today is: Is your life truly reflecting your true values, your true beliefs, and your true ideals of the kind of person you want to be?

How do you know when you’re not living with integrity?

Because life hurts. And you take things personally. You create problems for yourself.

Integrity is important in business. And it’s easy to spot it, or the lack of it. It’s easy to drop your involvement in a business as soon as you feel it is not maintaining a standard of integrity. But it’s not so easy to drop your involvement in your life as soon as you feel it is not maintaining a standard of integrity. In this case, you are the CEO and the customer.

If you promise certain things in your business and fail to uphold to these standards – the shit will hit the fan.

If you promise certain things to yourself and fail to uphold these standards in your own life – the shit will also hit the fan and the only person it will affect is you. And everything about your life will reflect this. Everything!

So, as this is a personal challenge for me right now in my own life, I decided to blog about it and brainstorm some ways to start acting from a place of integrity again. My life should be something I am proud of. I should be acting in ways that I am proud of. As soon as I begin to deviate from the girl I know I could be, and settle for the “Oh-well-this-is-just-who-I-am-girl”, my life becomes a struggle.

So if you feel like your life is a little off balance, that who you are is not quite matching who you want to be, here are some steps I think can fix it.

1. Cut out the crap.

All the things you’re doing without knowing why you’re doing them. All the drama. The false friends and relationships. Really think hard about it. What is happening in your life right now that really doesn’t have a place, that really doesn’t need to be there. Out. Gone.

2. Deliver on your promises.

Keep your promises to both yourself and other people. Make commitments and deliver. Start building a trusting relationship with yourself. Become the kind of person that makes things happen. Become the kind of person who knows why they do things, and doesn’t just do things “just because”. After practicing this step, we should get to a place where you KNOW that if you put your mind to something, you will achieve it. It’s easy to say that, but how easy is it to actually do it?

3. Listen to your own advice.

We’re all excellent at giving advice, aren’t we?  We also have a great knack for giving the advice that we really need to take ourselves. So the next time you find yourself preachin’, keep preachin’ but listen as well. When you need consolation, look into yourself, and hold your own counsel. Ask yourself what you would advise your closest friend, and try your hardest to take that advice yourself.

4. Think before you act.

Before opening your mouth ask yourself two questions:

(1). What do I really want?

(2). Is what I am about to say or do, going to get me closer to what I want?

Try to see the bigger picture. Try to look at the life you are creating for yourself. These are your seeds and you are sewing them right now, in every moment. Try to bring an air of consciousness to your decisions, actions, and speech from now on. By being conscious we can make better decisions, and spend less time and energy running around in circles.

5. “First say to yourself what you would be; and then do what you have to do.” – Epictetus, Philosopher.

Is this what your “ideal you” would say? Is this something your “ideal you” would do? If the answer is no, then forget about it. Whatever. It isn’t worth it. The short term gratification might feel good but it will damage who you are becoming.

It ain’t worth it.

Everytime you act or say something that is different to what your “ideal you” would do or say – you make a bigger gap in your integrity.

6. Now is the best time EVER to get busy with your life.

It doesn’t matter if you just started a new job, new course, just had a child, are on vacation, just broke up with your boyfriend, just got into a new relationship – there is really no excuse for not getting busy with your life. This is the best time to do it. I want to fill my days with things that interest me and help me grow.  Getting busy with your life means getting involved. It means exploring what matters to you, and discovering areas in your life that you can and want to build integrity. It’s all about finding your element. The more involved you are in yourself, the more likely it is that you will live with integrity – because integrity starts with you.

7. Building integrity comes from building present-moment awareness.

We need to get in the habit of being self-aware. We need to make more conscious decisions, and with our conscious decisions – we can start taking more responsibility. A sense of responsibility is a symptom of a life lived with integrity.

Building present moment awareness is a habit and it takes time to cultivate. It means you have to call yourself on your shit every time you dish it out. 

The more “Aware” and “Awake” you are in your day to day life, the more likely you will be doing things that are aligned with who you want to be.

I hope you will benefit from this list as much I have! I have come to the realization that I need to grow up in more ways than one. I have realized that you cannot live a happy life if you life a life without integrity. I have realized that when I am not being true to myself, it’s easy to start making up problems for myself. I have realized that I need to get lost in my life again, the way I was before. When I am lost in my life, and chasing the colours of my mind, I create big beautiful spaces for love and possibilities.

(I’ll let you know how it goes!)

Which areas of your life could you stand to be a bit more honest?

Life is good.

I saw this video on facebook and I fell in love with this cutie!

A quote from one of her other videos:

“Life is just everything I ever wanted. Life brings me to this wonderful place. It shows me this wonderful stuff I love. “

To me, this says that life is good.

Continue reading “Life is good.”

What I’ve learned from waking up earlier

 

 

I recently finished my monthly challenge of rising at 7:00am every day. Including weekends.

Including days I went to bed at 3:30am, after dancing the night away.

There was one day I took off, due to me being sick all night 🙁

So, here is what I have learned for my challenge. Hopefully this post will help you decide whether you would want to take part in a similar challenge one day.

I wanted to share with you what I thought of my experience, from the challenges I had to the benefits I gained! I hope to review all these new “habit challenges” I implement into my life, so that if you haven’t yet joined the challenge, you can see how it plays out. Because I’m nice like that.

The basics

In short, I have to say that it was completely worth it. I love this new habit so much – I have to say it is probably one of the best decisions I have made for myself in a long time.

When I started my challenge, the thought of waking up every day at 7:00 truly scared me. I was a self proclaimed night owl. Not really a morning person, though I longed to be.

I usually would wake up with just enough time before my first lecture to get ready and get there. And even that was hard most days! I always wanted to stay in bed for longer and longer.

I seriously looked forward to the weekends JUST for the fact that I could sleep in. Talk about aiming low! I also felt so much resistance when I knew I had a 9:00am lecture because it meant waking up early (and this semester, I have very few of those).

The first week was tricky. It was very up and down. Some days were okay. Ish. Other days were HARD. It was just my body getting used to it.

But I got up anyway.

I was tired throughout the days too. I felt like it wouldn’t get better and I would just never get enough sleep. But keep reading because it gets better!

The second week was interesting too. At times challenging, but not as much as the first week. It still didn’t feel “natural” but I did it anyway.

The third week was when it started getting good. Waking up started to feel close to effortless. There was maybe a 10 second period of discomfort – and this usually is for the 10 seconds after my alarm rings and I am stil in bed. I might still be a bit tired until I get wash my face, but at least I was up!

By the fourth week, it was a piece of cake.

Waking up at 7:00 feels effortless now. Maybe a 5 second period of discomfort. But when my feet hit the floor, all my tiredness is gone completely. Like my body was ready to be awake. Like my body was saying “come on, lets go!”

At first it was like my alarm clock would say “GET UP MALAVIKA!” and I would say “HELL NO!!” but now it’s like my alarm clock just says “…okay.” And I say “ok.” And I get up. It’s a mutual understanding. No more yelling.

Don’t be afraid of this challenge. Really. It just takes some will power. I really did not like waking up early in the morning at all. I was not a natural morning person. But it’s a natural progression, and you can do it too!

 

 

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Some observations and experiences from my challenege

 

 

–          We are not necessarily training ourselves to make waking up earlier than our usual time a painless experience. We are training ourselves to overcome our inner dialogue and conflict. We are exercising our will power.

–          Getting up earlier gets easier over time.

–          When you first start waking up earlier, at first it is a very conscious effort – even the night before. You start thinking “Oh god, I have to be up at ____am tomorrow!! I am already dreading it.” After awhile, those thought patterns cease. It stops feeling like an unnecessary option and instead becomes just “how it is”. You just stop thinking and start doing.

–          It has opened up my life in many ways.  I have more time to do the things that are important to me.

–          My mind is quiet in the morning.

–          Being a self-proclaimed morning person or night owl, is varied rather than fixed. It’s relative. It depends on who you want to be and if the habits you are keeping are aligned with that. So don’t use “But I’m a night owl, I don’t function well in the mornings – I could never do it!” excuse with me!

–          Even if you are a total night owl, seriously, nothing feels better than getting all your important tasks done before midday.

–          In the first week you may feel tired throughout the day, but as you keep going with your challenge, you will find that you have tonns more energy in your day. The first week is just an adjustment week. You can’t take it too seriously.

–          You get to watch the sunrise. Every day. What better way could there be to greet the day?

–          All those things I used to rush or skip in my morning routine, can be done now with ease and joy.

–          There’s no stress about having things done for the day. I have plenty of time in the morning to do it.

–          You have to take the thought process out of waking up early, and instead strip it down to just the physical act of getting your butt OUT of bed. Don’t think about it. Don’t rationalize, convince, excuse yourself. Just step out of bed. Like a robot. OUT. And to the bathroom. And do your thang. Waking up early can be the easiest thing you can do. A friend told me “Waking up early is the easiest thing to do ever. In fact, I think getting out of bed is easier to do than thinking about it and rationalizing it.”

–          Placing your alarm clock away from your bed is a killer method of getting you up!

–          Unless you are a seasoned pro, don’t convince yourself that you will simply “meditate” in bed after your alarm goes off. We all know you’re gonna go to sleep.

–          The suckiness of waking up is completely outweighed by the awesomeness of your productivity that day.

–          I actually now look forward to waking up at 7:00am on the weekends.

–          After a while, instead of condemning yourself for inappropriate or poorly made decisions (like going out till 3:00am and having to wake up at 7:00) you start to become more aware of your decisions and the consequence they deliver. Instead of feeling angry, or disappointed in yourself, you simply make better decisions for yourself, or you learn to take responsibility for the ones you do make without too much fuss.

 

 

So, now what?

 

After taking part in my challenge, I have decided to keep going!  It was HIGHLY successful experience for me.  I will continue waking up at 7:00 every day. The only difference is, that I might be more lenient on myself, allowing myself to sleep in a couple of hours if I didn’t get much sleep the night before.

Starting from January 2011, I’m going to do a 6:00am challenge. Join me!

It’s the best. I feel like such a rockstar! And I am also soooo proud of myself and to all of you who joined me for making it through the month!