Oh baby, do I love baby steps.
Grand leaps across a chasm are thrilling, but when it comes to daily life and better habits, I’ve really seen the rewards of small changes done consistently.
Here are some itty-bitty ways I am rocking my chores and managing my days, from my mindset to what’s in my fridge. My hope is that you find an idea here that works for you--or one that inspires your own little life hack.
If the latter is the case, please share! Let’s be petty micromanagers together.
1. Starting with my mindset
I am trying to be more intentional with my mornings, based on advice from life coach Mel Robbins. She’s NOT married to Tony Robbins, but she’s kind of the chick equivalent.
Mel recommends a quick morning journal exercise. You take a minute to note how you’re feeling physically and emotionally—so you can think of how to address it. You decide your priority project for the day and pick one thing you’re grateful for.
I am not a morning person, but this is five or so minutes well spent. It certainly feels better than scrolling through other people's social feeds with one weary eye open. And when I get a chance, I can go back over my sunrise scribbles and identify patterns to work on, and better yet, see grateful moments that make me smile.
2. Tracking my every move
I’ve written about this before. It’s a strategy brought to me by James Clear’s “Atomic Habits.” I am tracking everything from how often I take my blood pressure to whether I get at least 10 minutes outdoors each day. Setting the bar high, that’s me.
I am also tracking what I call “dry days.” That's when I forgo the cold beer I want in the evening to soothe myself. I am an unapologetic Brewsister, but a nightly habit isn’t the best for my overall productivity. As I am fond of saying, “Beer: The Great Demotivater.” T-shirt, anyone?
So while I am still happy to raise a pint, I want it to be on my terms, thank you very much. And I am delighted when I set a new dry-day monthly record. Cheers to me!
3. Getting a little pick-me-up
This was one of my first RYC games and posts, and it’s still one of my favorite daily habits. I put away 10 items each morning before I leave the house for work, most often in my bedroom where clothes, shoes and whatnot can create a disaster area quickly.
4. Playing a drinking game
Dry days are great, but a human needs to stay hydrated. So I came up with this little tactic to encourage me to drink more on the job. Water, that is.
At the bottom of my daily calendar, I write “WATER” and put two square boxes. I get to fill in a box when I drink one full water bottle. I aim to down one in the morning and another in the afternoon. If you see me pounding water at quitting time, it’s because, dang it, I want that box.
5. Practicing daily clutter control
What’s Every Little Thing? It’s a dice game where you micromanage your clutter on a daily basis.
Here’s the gist: You make a list of six areas of clutter in your home (clothes, kitchenware, books and magazines, etc.). Each day, your first roll of the dice is your category. Your second roll is how many items to part with that day.
Simple and effective—isn’t that the best combo ever? Read my previous post to see what else I really love about this tiny habit.
6. Sneaking in micro-exercise, because #btn (better than nada)
My inner critic tends to be unimpressed with my exercise habits. She envisions me an athlete who should get her booty out of bed and go running or at least for a walk. To soothe and shut her up, I try to squeeze in wee bits of workouts.
What does that mean? You might find me doing squats while curling my hair. (Well, I hope you don’t because that would be embarrassing, but it happens.) Waiting for laundry to fluff? Use the dryer for some quick standing pushups. You get the idea.
I am toying with the idea of earning social media minutes with sit-ups. Abs before IG. My inner critic says that she'll believe it when she sees it. My future self says, "How about tomorrow?"
7. Fighting food waste in the fridge
I am not a fan of food waste. That's likely thanks to Sally. My mom would save toast with two bites left. No joke. And don’t even think about tossing that baked potato skin.
In our fridge, I help us use our food more intentionally with these two tricks:
Filling the first-and-foremost tray. We put items here that we need to eat sooner than later.
Date-stamping dairy products. Milk isn’t generally our beverage of choice, so we don’t go through a lot of it. So when I open a carton of dairy, I use a sharpie to note the date on it. That way I can find a use for it before it goes bad, and it also saves me from spoiling my morning coffee. That’s a tragic mistake.
8. Streaking for small daily wins!
If you don’t want to go all in on a logbook of your daily habits, this RYC game can be a great starter strategy. Pick something you want to do more consistently—say, make your bed or do the dinner dishes—then track how many days you do it in a row. It’s a tiny and fun way to motivate change.
Here’s some riveting content about the dinner dishes—my favorite streak to date.
9. Posting forget-me-not notes
I came up with this tactic, when I kept leaving laundry in the washer. It was during the summer and that was a stinky and wasteful problem.
I made little reusable notecards to post in my kitchen to remind myself when there was a load in the washer or dryer in our dungeon laundry room. I also put one on the coffeemaker when I want the hubby to wake me up to skip the WBD and walk Boomer. He's the best, most-lovable alarm clock.
There you have it. Little tricks, long post.
All these small steps are pretty low effort, And even when done kinda-sorta consistently, they add up to a better life.
That’s pretty big, my friends.
Wishing you all the petty powerful things. XO, M.
I am Margie Reece. I am here to help you rock your chores and have some fun doing it.