Work habits and routines: monthly, weekly and daily

I shared some stories on my Instagram highlights many years ago (certainly, pre-pandemic) that still get comments and questions regularly. I’m not sure what to make of that – is it strange? is it helpful? – either way, I want to write it all down here too.

I have a few things I do as part of my work – some of these will not apply to everyone, but if it strikes a chord, do try them out and let me know how it goes with you.

Our performance discussions happen at the end of each financial year. I like having this set time to reflect and think about what’s working, what’s not, and where I need to change things. It is also fun/ scary because the budget resets to R0 so we have to start putting money on that income statement all over again.

At this time I also think about some broad goals I want to set for myself and my team for the year ahead. I hold these goals loosely because things sometimes change quickly.

However, from these goals and projects, I set monthly goals. I also do a review of the month that’s passed. Yes, exactly like I do in my personal life.

My work goals are much more out of my control than my personal goals are, because I’m largely dependent on my team. Still, they are there – I like to at least know which direction we’re steering in and where I need to put more effort.

Now for the parts that most of you will actually find more interesting 😉

Weekly rhythms

I firmly believe that a good week starts before the week actually begins.

That means I plan my week on a Friday afternoon.

  1. I look at the week that’s been and wind up any matters that need attention. This is not always possible as some things may need to move to the following week.
  2. I write a ta-da list. It is rare but it does sometimes happen that all that is on that list is “I survived”. Mostly I can think of a few things that went well.
  3. I add in focus time if I haven’t already done so.
  4. I check for upcoming meetings – do I have everything I need to run them? I might have to prompt people, put in prep time or complete a piece of work.
  5. I write my “goals for the week” list – these are things that must move along. The things I work on are not one to two step projects so are hardly things I can complete in a week, but I at least want to move things forward every week. Sometimes there’s a work event like a client lunch or workshop. I think about what I want to get out of these events and write a loose plan.
  6. Lastly, I write my to-do list for Monday (or Tuesday, if Monday is a public holiday or I’m on leave)

Daily

  1. I love the idea of using your actual calendar and rewriting it so that you feel with your body if there is actually space for all the things you want to get done. For example, if I have 7 hours of meetings, probably nothing else is going to get done, so I don’t even add anything.
  2. Some days, usually on my work-from-home days, I block out focus time in the morning and take meetings from 11 onwards. For these days, I write my “frogs” right at the top of my list. These are the top 3 tasks for that day.
  3. The bottom line is: I rewrite all my meetings in my notebook and if time allows, I write 3 things that need to get done.
  4. I almost never (I started saying never, and then I realised that on Friday, I had a splitting headache so didn’t do my full routine for Monday) end one day without having a to-do list written for the next day.

Do you do monthly, weekly and daily planning as part of your work habits? Share all your tips 🙂

(Next time we’ll talk about other habits which I am worse at than planning! For some reason, 4 years after lockdown, I still haven’t developed good in-office work habits)

Raising your money consciousness… with the 3 As

A little preamble before we start…

1. I stumbled upon an instagram account late last year; I don’t even remember her name but it was a very young girl in the UK (max 26 years old) who was a budget-influencer. Can we call them that? She inspires people to be wise with their money.

Anyway, as you do (as I do!), I went solidly down a two-hour rabbit hole reading everything she’d posted and watching plenty of her reels. In one of them she suggested a few money podcasts that had some year-end reflections.

2. I love end-of-year reflections so I popped over to Apple Podcasts, downloaded all four of them and basically listened to less than 5 minutes of them all before deleting except for The Broke Generation by Emma Edwards. I love her breezy, very practical way of looking at money and it absolutely helps that she’s a British woman now living in Australia, which always feels like a sister to South Africa.

3. I also read a fantastic book in one sitting on 1 April that my husband was decluttering (without reading!) called Manage your money like a f*cking grownup. Yes, it is a bit sweary but more for effect here and there – I didn’t let that put me off at all because the book was fantastic.

4. In the book, I was reminded of 22Seven, an app that helps you track your spending, manage your money and identify gaps. I was on it about 10 years ago and then I stopped (it was still a website when I used it) and now it is even more fabulous. It has the most beautiful dashboard and you can generate reports. Very exciting for nerdy people like me. It had huge changes in my life way back when and I’m also gaining valuable insights this time around.

All of these things happening in such close proximity has made me be very conscious about money, for good and bad.

So where do we go from here?

There are three parts to raising your money consciousness and here is where I’d like you to join me:

Awareness

Are you happy with how you’re treating your money? To quote Suze Orman from the early aughts, if you treat your money with respect, money will flow to you. Do you know your numbers – how much you bring in, what your monthly expenses are, and what’s in your savings account? Do you know if your retirement account is red, amber or green? Are there some bits you’re avoiding in the hope they just go away? (they’re not)

Analysis

Here’s where you’re honest with yourself. Actually go look at your payslip, bank account (s), statements and start making notes. Do you know what each item means and why you have it there?

Then go deeper. What’s making you feel squeamish? Where do you need to do some work around money? When you find yourself reacting in a weird way, ask yourself, what’s really going on here?

I shared one such incident with a colleague recently – my husband asked if he could take my car somewhere far and I barked out a few sentences and then realised, hey, something’s going on. I honestly don’t mind anyone (licenced) driving my car so what was going on? It was a “filling up of petrol” trigger – not even the price of petrol, but the whole schlep of detouring from my route, doing the whole oil/ water/ tyres check. All that. We’re sorted now – we’ve agreed that he also has to do it once a month so I still do the chore the exact same amount of times (once!).

Action

Then you take action on all the steps you’ve identified. This is a work in progress because just the awareness step results in about 5 action steps. E.g. I knew what I earned but I had to recheck exactly what the monthly outgo was. 22Seven also told me what my top 5 spends every month are. I was horrified when I saw exactly how much “non-grocery grocery spending I was doing”.

That’s enough for now – more in two weeks time.

For now, how is your awareness of your money?

If you haven’t done any analysis in a while, I highly recommend an hour or two (don’t say you don’t have time; most people spend 4 – 5 hours on social media every DAY) where you objectively look at your numbers and maybe start taking additional action.

5 steps to get back on track when life tries to derail you

We’re four months done with the year and things are getting a little bit boring in respect of pushing through with your goals, right? We’re all churning along with the same old goals we set in December/ January, still striving to figure out some stuff, and if you’re in South African, no loadshedding but plenty (PLENTY) of power outages, water pipes bursting and depending on solar like it’s your lifeline (it is!). Or you’re being majorly derailed. I wrote a few weeks ago about me breaking loose with my decluttering projects.

I had some very clear health goals and guys, I’ve lost only 1.3 kg in 4 months. That’s it. My iron meets the doctor’s expectations but the cholesterol still needs work (my view is it’s the red meat I’m forcing myself to eat two to three times a week because I hate kale and spinach more…).

These two examples are not unusual, by the way; I just conveniently forget about the slump every year until I notice the pattern. You see, it’s not a matter of if you will be derailed, but rather, what will derail you.

I like to think like this – if you know that on the way to your goals, you will encounter 5 obstacles, then in your head, your expectations are managed, and it’s a “oh right, here’s obstacle 1, and here’s obstacle 2” instead of “oh my gosh, I’m a failure, why did I set this stupid goal, why did this happen to ME, I can’t do it, etc.”

5 steps to get back on track

  1. Identify the symptoms

Are you feeling tired, demotivated, frustrated or overwhelmed? Great! These are the indicators that you need to be aware, notice and most probably shake things up.

2. Get very clear on the why for your goals 

Do you still want to go after your goal? Why? (my health kick – yes! but maybe I can let loose a little on the decluttering since I have done a lot and it’s been a way of life for years so I am unlikely to stop at this point)
If you don’t want that goal anymore, here’s your big, fat permission slip to stop and change things.

3. Get clear on your derailers

Here’s where James Clear and his Atomic Habits book shine.
If you can’t seem to make progress on your goal, it’s time to analyse your behaviour. Are you derailing your efforts because you don’t pack a work lunch? Or you can’t seem to do your monthly savings goal because you’re out for a long and boozy supper every week with friends? Should you rather change into your gym clothes at work (yes, at work) and drive straight to gym instead of going home first? Which micro steps can you take to put you back on track? If you’re not sure, or you need someone to brainstorm with you, I can be that person.

4. Pivot

Expanding on 2 above regarding your permission slip, maybe you don’t want to stop your goal entirely? Maybe you just need to tweak the goal? I have slashed some things off my list (one – instead of 24 fun nights away/ in Jhb, I’m adjusting it to 12 as that seems to be the rhythm after the four months)

If you wanted to study and you missed the first semester deadlines due to finances/ couldn’t get everything to align, etc. maybe you sign up for the semester starting mid-year? If you’re not making good strides with something (me, the weight loss), change something (I am having a call with the Lovely Maureen, my Weigh-less group leader, who is the perfect combination of Compassion and Kindness, to bounce some ideas around).

5. Celebrate your successes

We all tend to look at what we have not done rather than what we are doing. Don’t forget to stop every month (better if you can do so every week) and count the things you did get done, whether they were on the list or not.Remember: we are not the things we do.

Have you done your goals review for April yet? Here’s a quick way to get that done using your Tendency.

{Money} What to do when you want to break loose from your goals

Two weeks ago I had a meeting that really irritated me. I can’t even remember now what it was about so it couldn’t have been that significant. However, I wanted to do something nice for myself (treat myself, if you want) and went to my nail polish stash to find a fun colour to cheer me up.

There was “nothing” in the same way we have “nothing” to wear.

I then remembered a colour I love (Rimmel’s Velvet Rose) which is discontinued and decided there and then to go to the shops after work for 30 minutes to browse and buy something similar.

Long story short – there was nothing similar but I did find a colour I liked (Sorbet’s Macaroon).

I was home and the colour was on my nails when I realised that I’m supposed to be on a “use up first” mission.

There was another incident where I didn’t even think about it and bought three sets of (admittedly) very well-priced miniature toiletries when again, box 1 was opened and I was like “no, not allowed”. I took the other two sets back.

Sorbet Macaroon

But now it’s finally sinking in – I am breaking loose from my challenges of using stuff up first. Why?

  • Perhaps I’m placing too many restrictions on myself? This is possible as I’m definitely a moderator with money.
  • Perhaps I need to allow myself a treat here and there? Possibly – this is week 16 and I have stuck to my no buying of body, bath and beauty products beautifully except for these two mishaps.
  • Perhaps I need to remind myself why I’m doing this again? Highly possible – I want to get back to my pre-pandemic self where I used to buy what I needed and not treat myself daily due to the “hardship” of being locked down. To be fair, it really was a hardship for me.

This colour is Essence’s Powder Room Party

Where is this going then?

  1. I reminded myself this week while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (search your podcast app – British girl in Australia) that I need to have something to work towards ALL THE TIME. Maybe I should book an overseas trip because the thought of the very weak Rand will focus my spending super quick!
  2. I wrote my goal on a post-it note and am wrapping it around my credit card in my wallet (this has been very successful for me in the past).
  3. But also, R39 on a nail polish is absolutely fine after 14 weeks when I’ve been good with my Clicks/ Dischem spending (I have only spent on boring meds and supplements).
  4. I also set myself a budget for Clicks spending based on actual averages.

Thought for the week:

Where might you be breaking loose from your goals? Why?

Did you enjoy this money post? I’m on a money kick so I’m going to be writing more about this as long as my obsession continues.

Five Senses Portrait of Saturday morning Zumba

In Gretchen Rubin’s latest book, The Five Senses, she talks about putting together a five senses portrait of various things.

Example, as we were driving home on 2 January this year from our week-long holiday in Clarens, I did the five senses exercise with my family.

What are the things that remind us of the holiday in terms of sight, sound, taste, touch and feel?

I wish I’d recorded it because, of course, at the time I thought I’d definitely remember it and then I didn’t.

(This is now my mental note to do the same when we go to Ballito in July)

Meanwhile, I think this is such a great way to remember the other things about an experience and to force yourself to extend your memories beyond what you usually remember.

The other Saturday at Zumba, I thought that I should do a five senses portrait, so here we go:

Sight

  1. My drive to Zumba is beautiful in all seasons – summer, autumn and winter.
  2. Couples walking their dogs, parents pushing babies in their prams, some runners.
  3. The light across the hardwood floors in the studio
  4. Colours of the workout gear and the shoes
  5. Ladies – smiling, confused, impassive, or in their own worlds
  6. Mirrors – one makes me look thinner than I am
  7. Instructor – all eyes are on her

Hearing

  1. The rhythms of the songs
  2. The screech of shoes on the floors
  3. Laughter (usually when we forget things)
  4. Clanging of the barbells on the machines just outside the door
  5. “Hey what’s going on” – the last song of Wednesday night Zumba (I LOVE IT)

Smell

  1. Saltiness of sweat
  2. Sometimes body odour (thankfully this is rare)
  3. Rubber (from the mats outside)

Taste

  1. Ice-cold water during class
  2. Metal taste from my water bottle
  3. Sometimes salt
  4. Tart taste of a Granny Smith apple as I leave class

Touch

  1. Cold from the aircon (delicious in summer)
  2. Warmth of my polar fleece before I’m warmed up
  3. Feel of the beats reverbing off the floor and walls
  4. Sweat on my chest
  5. Satisfied tiredness of sore muscles during stretch time

What do you want to do a five senses portrait of? It definitely makes you pay more attention to your life when you think through each aspect.

Goals update – 24 in 2024 goals, and the secret list :)

I’m writing this goals update 3 months and 1 week into the year.

Summer – beautiful, but I have had more than enough of it.

A few disclaimers before I start the update:

  1. I have two lists this year, the main one and a few more fun, once-off items on a second list, simply because when I looked at the main list, it looked like a LOT of hard work and I didn’t want to feel burdened by a list.
  2. Therefore, when I talk about numbers done, I’ll refer to both of these.

Done

  1. Buy a new car
  2. Try a new stretch class
  3. Read Atomic Habits as a work book club (I have read it, we have met 4 out of the 6 allocated sessions and I got what I wanted from it).
  4. Listen to more music. I have listened to more music in one month than I did the entire year of 2023, so I’m calling it done.
  5. Watch more TV. Same. May I recommend Dance Life on Prime Video? I loved it! I love seeing people in their passion and hard work that goes into making that passion true excellence.

Abandoned

Do Happiness Project Revisited. Towards the end of February, I cancelled – nothing to do with the content but I was bone tired of chasing up on my playbook, nearly 3 months after ordering. The chasing up was worse than work and it was causing unhappiness instead of happiness. (nothing to do with Gretchen’s team; I am not sure why DHL decided to send it to our liquidated Post Office in South Africa – seriously, we have no post offices).

I was trying to take a photo of my favourite new summer pants; clearly I am bad at taking these pics but I still liked how I looked, so there you go

In progress

  1. Exercise going well but I have abandoned the stretch because I wasn’t getting enough cardio and that is very important to me for heart health.
  2. Reading – 30 books in
  3. 10 non-fiction physical books – I have finished 4 of the 10; 2 currently in progress.
  4. Play with photography again and post things that delight me – yes, going well! Also really looking forward to full autumn foliage, the most beautiful season.
  5. Write 24 in 2024
  6. Use up 24 beauty/ body/ bath products – this is going very well. Just this week I had a little relapse (I bought a set of body wash/ body lotions, realised only once I’d got home and opened it up so I kept one of each, and gave some to the kids and Precious). Bonus points for me for returning the other two boxes I’d also bought.
  7. Do many declutter challenges – I have now done 6 batches of 24 (you can see all of these on my Instagram highlights; I post the week’s stuff every weekend.

on my other list, I have to try a recipe every month. this is so easy because of Instagram. Also, StephCooksStuff 🙂

The other list

  1. Finish listening to last few CDs before decluttering them – done (the new car sped things up because I have no CD player so had to listen on Spotify)
  2. Make eye appointment – yay, I don’t need new specs. R10 000 saved!

And that’s it – very happy with my Q1 progress. On my main list, I am tracking at 33,3% for the year, which is ahead of  my budget. Good thing, because it looks slow hereon out unless I actually get around to planning my 50th, booking a weekend away or doing that no-spend month. Hmmmm.

How are you doing on your 24 in 2024 goals?

Whole – how it’s going, one quarter in

I’m really going to do my best with continuing to recap my word of the year throughout the year, hopefully every quarter.

Here’s where I wrote about whole and why I chose it.

On the whole I’d rate myself a 6 out of 10, making progress but not doing particularly great in all of the areas.

Body and health

  • This has been an unbearable summer. Even for people who enjoy summer in Johannesburg, this one has been “challenging”. For me, it has been absolutely horrible. Imagine spending your weekends in the coldest rooms of your house and in bed due to headaches. Yes, that is me. I only felt whole at the office and on cooler days at home.
  • I have lost about 1 kg and I am disappointed that it’s not moving faster.
  • I made and had my eye appointment and… the difference is so slight that there’s no point in getting new glasses made (yay, R10 000 saved!). Apparently I need to make behaviour adjustments like not staring at a laptop for hours on end, make the font bigger on screens (I did my iphone that very day) so that there isn’t such a strain.
  • I had my cholesterol and iron checked and I was honestly despondent until my doctor called me back. Yes, my cholesterol was higher but she is not concerned yet. Apparently the double iron supplement is doing what it needs doing so keep on keeping on. I feel like it’s swings and roundabouts – eat more red meat for iron, but red meat leads to higher cholesterol. Ugh. Perhaps this next quarter will settle things down?

Mental and emotional

  1. I have started the year with great work boundaries. I have a number of hours I’m prepared to work every week to both 1) keep on top of things but still 2) have a life and I’ve been tracking and keeping to it.
  2. I’m still behind on a lot of self-imposed things but I’ve just had to tell myself to focus on the things on my actual scorecard.
  3. I don’t know if the teens have just settled better into school but they are a tad more communicative. I still struggle with “this is not how I envisioned parenthood”.

Financial

  1. I bought a car. Love it, happy with it.  The disciplined savings is worth it every day I get to drive in its deliciousness.
  2. I did some good money thinking while listening to The Broke Generation podcast (I want to write a post about one of the episodes) and had a realisation: I think I’m spending money recklessly in a few places because I don’t have a clearly-defined financial goal. So, am pondering…
  3. Therefore, I haven’t done the no-spend month yet but my plan is still to do one this year.
  4. Until then, I’m spending lots of money on good things like people’s birthdays, gifts and fun things.

Fun

  1. I’m finding fun in music, writing, reading and photography, all of which make me feel whole.
  2. I can’t wait to do more photography in autumn, the prettiest time of the year.
  3. I still need to decide on a celebration for my birthday in August that will be fun and will feel like me. Who are these people who like big parties to celebrate milestone birthdays? (As an aside, I read a book called Are we having fun yet? by Lucy Mangan where Liz, the protagonist, said to her husband something like, “what were we thinking organising a big wedding? We’re both introverts, hate crowds and being the centre of attention. No wonder I was unhappy the whole day)

In summary, I’m thinking about whole enough that it’s top of mind, and I am filtering a lot of my decisions through the lens of “is this going to make me feel more whole? does this look like whole?” which is the whole point.

And that’s how my word of the year is going. How about you?

Do you still remember your word?

Is it guiding your decisions and choices?

PS these photos are all from years past as it is still a few months too early for proper cold weather 🙁

11. Listen to more music

This is an entry from my #24in2024 goals list.

For some people, it might be confusing that I put on my goals list to listen to more music. However, for nearly the last 10 years I’ve been listening to podcasts and audiobooks in my car, and the only music I’ve heard is either in my Zumba class or while watching on Instagram stories.

Also, while writing, as I’m doing now. For that, I play classical music, either a mix or something specific (today I’m listening to Aja Gabel’s The Ensemble soundtrack on Spotify – I highly recommend the book, by the way, I’ve read it twice and it’s a 5-star read)

I’m currently listening to Jessica Simpson’s Open Book now (I should finish tomorrow while driving to work) and I have never heard a Jessica Simpson song. Or a John Mayer track. Or a Nick Lachey song. That’s how limited my musical knowledge is.

To be fair, this doesn’t bother me much because I know what I like.

Occasionally when the Zumba instructor uses new music, I LOVE it. Or when I hear some 80s music in a shop (is it me or do most shops not play music anymore?!), it puts me in a really good mood.

So going into 2024, I thought I need to listen to more music. It was also on the back of Christmas season, which has been the only regular time I’ve listened to albums and songs every year.

All of that is my why.

Spotify also started playing way more ads and so I signed up properly so I could enjoy the Christmas music instead of only enjoying every 2 – 3 songs.

They do their jobs so well and suggest such good mixes where I like every single one of the songs so I signed up and it feels like R65 of happiness every month when the money leaves my credit card. I can’t say the same for every subscription!

I now listen to music, even just a song or two, if I need to destress immediately after leaving work before settling into my audiobook. I listen while cooking most nights. And I follow little prompts of delight – if I hear something that triggers a chord or a snippet of a song, I search for the familiar song or the new one and I just follow those breadcrumbs.

The other morning, a new Zumba instructor played Hey What’s Going On as we cooled down and he stopped the music right at the chorus before the good part. Another lady and I turned to each other and kept on singing. Such a fun moment and… I immediately searched and added that song to my playlists.

The bottom line is I could cross off that item now after two and a half months and be happy with the progress.

Have you added any items of whimsy to your list?

Do tell all – I’d love to hear.

How I track my annual goals

A few weeks ago I wrote about the many different types of goals you could put on your #24in2024 list. When I shared my end-of-year #23in2023 list on Instagram, I had a lot of questions as to how I do my tracking.

Here’s how I do it:

There are once-off items and there are monthly/ weekly/ quarterly items. Or maybe even items with known multiple steps, like take 3 family holidays.

I have a spreadsheet where I keep a list of my goals. Here is a snippet of the bottom of the 2023 sheet.

20 Apply for passport 1.00
21 Listen to one month of Let’s read the gospels podcast 1
22 Keep up with my Project Life 0.75
23 Write a monthly blog and newsletter 0.42
19.53 89%

 

  • I like to colour-code my goals into a few separate categories – health, family, house, work and fun. You could have different categories depending on what’s important to you in a particular year.
  • I set up the spreadsheet with formulae for the items that need completion more often than just once. E.g. Apply for passport involved multiple steps but once I had my visit at the bank, I was done. I earned 1 solid mark.
  • The same with listening to the podcast. Once I finished the 31 days of listening, I was done. Another mark.
  • However, for an item like “keep up with project life”, that is a 12-step goal. Every month I completed it, I earned 1/12 or 0.08. If I did it the following month, I changed it to 2/12 which added another 0.08 to the total.
  • For quarterly items, it’s 1/4 until done… or not, as the case may be. And so on.
  • You’ll realise a few things now – too many monthly goals means that you’re inching your way through, only 0.08 every month. This is why I suggest that you have a few once-off goals so when they’re done, they are done. Instant motivation.
  • In the example above, I did Project Life for 9 out of 12 months (I abandoned it at that point as my album was done and I’m not pursuing it again this year). I wrote a monthly newsletter 5 times.

Now that we’ve talked about the how, I want to address the most important part of this post, the why.

In an ideal world that is full of fantasy, you’d end up with 23 or 24 goals achieved (for this year) and a 100% score. However, life is complicated and things happen, so this system I use allows you to see the progress you’ve made instead of what didn’t get done. In James Clear’s language, you’re voting for the type of person you are (a goal getter) instead of only focussing on whether the goal was achieved or not.

If I didn’t do things this carefully, I’d just end the year and say “no, I didn’t write a monthly newsletter” or “no, I didn’t finish project life” but my way, I can say I did it for 5 or 9 months of the year, which all counts.

Does this method of tracking resonate with you? Will you try using it for your 2024 goals?

4 insights on stockpiling toiletries from The Year of Less

 

 

I read a book called The Year of Less by Cait Flanders in August 2018. I’ve just gone to read all my highlights on Goodreads (19 of them!) and now I think I need to re-read the book 😉

But that’s not what I came here to tell you about today.

When I originally read the book, I remember one piece very vividly, the section on stockpiling toiletries.

It completely changed how I think about things now.

Many people (I daresay, 98% of you reading this post) buy extra toiletries when they’re on sale. The sales captivate us all – 3 for the price of 2, the summer/ winter sale, and so on.

In the book, she asks us to consider how long specific items take to use up and how long you really need to keep spares.

Stockpiling is not great for at least 4 reasons:

1. it wastes money

if your money is held up in “stock”, it is not available as cash (remember Accounting in high school?). I prefer to have the cash rather than bottles of shampoo, conditioner or similar. Yes, I’m aware that the prices of things have increased (especially in South Africa due to loadshedding) but I would still rather have cash in the bank than two extra speedsticks in my bathroom vanity.

2. it is clutter 

This one is fairly obvious. Stuff you have and that you need to store because you’re not using is called clutter.

3. waste of product 

if you buy 3 products, they might go old before you can actually use them (this has happened to me once with speedstick deodorants)

4. most of the world lives about 5 minutes from a store

and now… there’s online delivery too. If you run out, I promise you it will be a 5-minute detour to get what you need and for most of us, you will know beforehand that you’re going to run out in a few days.

A personal example

I use Olay day moisturising liquid (with SPF!). One bottle lasts 6 months. Given that there are often sales, it used to be tempting to buy extra but I am no longer tempted. Why? I can tell that I’ll run out within a week or two both because of the weight of the bottle and the fact that I write the date on the bottle with a permanent marker when I start using a new bottle.

But also, it just makes no sense to buy 18 months’ worth of product on a buy 3 for the price of 2 sale. What if they change the formula or make a pretty new bottle or (I don’t think this will happen but…) I want to try something new but I’m stuck using the old stuff for 18 long months.

Upholders love self-imposed rules

  • I will  keep one spare speedstick deodorant in summer because the consequences are immediate if I run out (!)
  • I do buy the 3 for 2 shampoos because 1 bottle of the brand I use lasts me just under 2 months
  • Keeping a travel toiletry bag stocked is not stockpiling because it actually saves me so much time when I travel for work or pleasure. I’m on holiday now and I will have to replenish some items (on my list!) once I get back home.

In the 17 years of writing this blog, I have still not managed to convince people to stop stockpiling toilet paper. I personally don’t get this obsession as in my house, I “budget” on about 5 days per toilet roll per bathroom, so I know how long we can go before stocking up.

My goal is not to change your mind but I do want you to consciously know that:

  • that is actual money in your cupboards
  • money you can never recoup
  • and you’re probably going to take years to go through your backstock 🙂
  • also, you don’t need to take hotel toiletries with you (I only take bottles that I deem perfect in function or form, or if the fragrances are particularly compelling)

Tell me, where are you on the stockpiling spectrum? 

I didn’t want to go there but I will say that a certain very popular Netflix show and Instagram account has made it very appealing to have lots of backstock in clear perspex containers. Why?

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