Just because the calendar says you're officially an adult doesn't mean you have your shit together, or that you even feel like you do. Trying to balance work or school, friends, a partner, and your own health is a lot to handle! There often are not enough hours in the day to check off everything on your to-do list.
Thankfully, feeling more put-together doesn't have to take a lot of time or effort. In fact, making just a few small changes to your daily routine can help you get more organized and looking (at least on the surface) like a full-fledged grown-up.
Want to know more? Read on for my top tips to make you feel like you have your head on straight!
1. Sort Your Mail
When you are tired at the end of the day, it's easy to throw your mail on the table and forget about it. But then you have a huge pile to dig through and tons of clutter that, frankly, isn't a good look if you have a guest over. Instead of tossing it aside, sort through your mail every day.
To deal with mail as quickly as possible, sort it using the FAT method. Decide if each piece needs to be Filed, Actioned, or Tossed. Mail that needs to be filed includes things like insurance claims, tax returns, and other documents you may need later. Action mail needs to be dealt with ASAP, like bills or wedding invitations. Mail you might want to Toss is any kind of junk including coupons and ads. Don't forget to recycle all that paper!
Sorting through your mail daily only takes a few minutes and will save you tons of time later.
While it is all well and good to say you are “filing” something, that needs to actually mean something. Having a filing system in place can help you feel even more grown-up. Now I'm not saying you need to buy a legit filing cabinet or something, having a designated place for important papers and documents makes it easier to find them later. Even if you just use cute kitty cat folders like I do, you'll be way more organized!
2. Meal Prep
Eating healthy meals is a surefire way to make you feel like you have your shit together. While it may be easier much of the time to grab convenience foods, they just aren't good for your body. Plus, they cost a lot more money than ingredients you have to put together yourself! I'm not saying you can't ever indulge in treats or frozen foods, but learning to cook nutritious, yummy meals will make you feel like a real adult.
Even if you already know how to cook, finding the energy to make healthy meals three times a day is hard with the busy millennial lifestyle. Meal prepping is one way to make sure you get nutritious meals every day of the week without feeling drained.
Whenever you have a large chunk of time available (weekend afternoons are good for many people), use it to prepare big batches of your favorite healthy meals. This can be anything from soups to roasted veggies to lean meats. Then divvy them up into containers and pop them in the fridge or freezer for later. This way you can just grab an individual meal to slip into your lunch bag or chow down on when you get home from work. Gone will be the days of fast food and delivery!
Need some meal prep recipe ideas? Check out the book Smart Meal Prep for Beginners!
3. Organize Your Cupboards and Closets
Reducing clutter of any kind instantly makes you feel like you have your shit together. Even if your house still doesn't look like it belongs in Better Homes and Gardens, knowing what you have and where it all is will lower stress levels and make you feel like you are a real adult.
Cupboards and closets are huge clutter catchers. Cleaning and organizing them can feel like an impossible task, but it's so worth it. Take it to step by step and it won't feel so daunting!
First, clean everything out of the closet you are organizing. This will make a huge mess but it really is necessary. Then separate your stuff into “keep,” “throw out,” and “donate or sell” piles if possible. After you deal with the last two piles, it's time to organize the stuff you want to keep.
Order some baskets, containers, or bins. These items let you utilize your closet space better. If you can sort like items into the different bins and label them, you'll know where everything is as soon as you open the door. No more digging through the entire closet!
4. Start a Gratitude Journal
Rather than focusing on all the ways that you're failing, you can force yourself to feel like you have your shit together by recognizing all the ways that that is true. Sure, you may have eaten fast food three times this week, but you have stopped skipping breakfast. Or maybe you let your laundry sit in the basket for a week but you finally cleaned that nasty bathroom mirror.
Gratitude journaling has been a thing for decades, but it's recently come into fashion with society's shifting focus on mental health. This practice varies from person to person but always involves taking a few minutes each day to jot down the things you are thankful for. This can be everything from your significant other to a short commute to getting your favorite barista that day. Recognizing all of the things that you have achieved or that have gone right sweeps all those negative thoughts right out of your brain!
If you don't know where to start with gratitude journaling, check out The Five Minute Journal. This handy little book has pre-printed daily pages with exercises to write both day and night. It helps you set goals for the day and later reflect on the good and bad of that day.
The best part?
As the name implies, these exercises take just five minutes to complete. Even the busiest gal can spare that time to get her mental health in check!
5. Be On Time
There is nothing that will make you feel and look like you have your shit together than being on time to things. Showing up late might have been a cute quirk when you were younger, but now it just makes you seem unprofessional and like you don't value other people's time. If you are a chronically late person, fixing this bad habit might be tough, but it is so worth it.
To ensure you are always on time, plan to leave 15 minutes before you “have to.” Many of us figure out exactly how long it takes to get from point A to point B and leave with just that much time. However, you never know when you will run into traffic, a late bus, slow walkers, a missing shoe, you name it. This way no matter what obstacle stands in your way, you should still arrive in a timely fashion.
It gets better:
Not worrying about being late all the time can also reduce your stress levels. No more running around like a chicken with your head cut off! You won't feel frantic and no one will get angry waiting around for you.
If making it to work in the morning is your biggest struggle, I feel you. Setting an earlier alarm obviously gives you more time to get ready, but if you value your sleep, there are other ways. Just get everything ready the night before! At one job I had to be to work by 6:30 A.M. so I did everything I possibly could before I went to bed. That meant laying out my entire outfit including shoes and accessories, packing my lunch, getting my coffee maker ready, and organizing my work bag. I often even put my makeup out on the counter to save a few precious seconds!
6. Declutter Your Bag
Whether it's your work bag or purse, clutter just seems attracted to women's bags. We need a lot of stuff! Unfortunately, when you are hurrying to get out of the checkout line or leave for the club, things can get pretty unorganized in there.
To make it easier to find your stuff fast, clean out your bag at the end of every week. That means throwing out any gum wrappers, receipts, and other trash and wrangling any loose cash. Simply not having to dig through your bag for 10 minutes every time you need something can make you feel like you have your shit together instantly.
One easy way to keep your purse's contents organized forever is to use pouches. Grab those random coin purses and makeup bags you have lying around and use them to sort your stuff. Makeup goes in one, first aid items in another, and hair accessories in another. Don't forget a wallet for your money and cards!
7. Make Your Bed
When I was a kid, my parents forced me to make my bed every morning. Even though I don't do it every morning, this habit has stuck with me pretty well. There is just something about coming home to a made bed rather than rumpled bedsheets that makes your space feel more clean, grown-up, and relaxing.
Even though it only takes a minute, starting the day with this simple task can make you feel accomplished. That positive feeling then encourages you to be productive for the rest of the day. If you trick your brain into looking at your day as a series of small tasks you need to complete, you have already ticked off the first one by making your bed. Go you! Getting into this good habit may also make you more disciplined over time, which can lead to the development of other good habits too.
Want even more reasons to get your act together and make your bed? Check out the video from Clean My Space below.
8. Schedule “Me Time”
Here's the thing:
As millennials, we have been taught to live a “go go go” lifestyle. Ever since we were kids we have been encouraged to associate being busy with being a good person. In reality, though, always having something to do and somewhere to be can have a major negative impact on your health.
When you are feeling overwhelmed or sick from having too much to do, take a step back. Everyone needs me time to recharge! But don't just leave self-care for the times you're about to have a breakdown. Instead, try to schedule dates with yourself to do whatever you want each day. Even if it's just 10 or 15 minutes, having quiet downtime to chill out will stop the madness and let you get back on track so you can have your shit together.
Jot this down in your calendar like you would any other commitment so you actually do it! Then, write in your journal, listen to music, get your nails done, or meditate. You will feel much better! The easiest way to feel like you have your shit together is to let it all go for a few hours.
Setting out on your own for the first time can feel like a juggling act. So many people and things want your time and attention! It can be hard to know what to prioritize. This often leaves millennials feeling drained, stressed, and overwhelmed.
But with my tips, you can feel a lot better about your life! Take just a few minutes to change a habit or organize something for instant feelings of successful “adulting.”
What's your favorite way to feel like you have your shit together? Which of these ideas was your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!