how I manage my finances without a budget

2019, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

Figuring out my finances is something I’ve had to watch very closely this month – with buying a car on finance and the end of last month and spending my wages before I got them, this month has been and will be very, very tight but in the months leading up to buying my car and this month of tight budgeting I’m so proud of how well I’ve managed them that I’ve decided to share!

I’m someone who feels inclined to spend money when they’re sad so being able to tackle that and being at a point where I know I can save reliably and buy myself a car without dipping into my savings is a big step for me.

And the biggest thing for me is not having a set budget – I’ve tried apps like Yolt and Cleo and I just found they weren’t flexible enough for real life. Saying ‘I’m only going to spend £X this month’ doesn’t allow for spontaneous plans – paying for trains for a job interview,  having to pay for more bus tickets than expected or even going for a last minute coffee with a friend you haven’t seen for a long time can effect your budget and I just found that it didn’t work for me. So this is more about tracking your finances and making sure you can hit all your goals – whether that’s saving a certain amount, not spending over a certain amount (I guess that’s having a budget) or just making sure you can pay all your bills, these are my tips and tricks for flexible financing.

*obviously I’m not an expert and I’m not claiming to be, just sharing tips from someone who using half her savings to live last year and now has bought herself a car on finance*

1. Have somewhere to track your finances

I only mention my bullet journal in basically every blog post I write but for me I have a spread in my journal for my finances each month. On the left I have notes which I will expand on and on the right page is where I write down everything I’m spending as it comes out of my bank account. I don’t track cash spending because either I will have drawn that cash from my bank which I track or it’s cash that I’ve been given for whatever reason so it doesn’t effect my bank account. I tried tracking as I spent but then it got confusing with keeping receipts and it’s better for the environment if not so now I just track my spending as it comes out of my bank account.

Either way, I recommend writing it all down! Whether it’s a note on your phone, a notebook that you have specifically for finances or in a bullet journal like me, write it down!

Normally it’s neater than this, but having somewhere to really know how much I’m spending it important to me

2. Plan your month

I like to break it down with my income at the top of the left hand page, then a list of all my bills and when I’d expect them to come out (then I can tick them off and it’s very satisfying) and then a list of any costs I know I’m going to incur.

So this month I had to pay for a tattoo (because car and tattoo timing ended up being awful), two driving lessons, my savings challenge and bus fares and having it all written out makes it much easier to track.

My savings challenge, for anyone that’s interested, came from Facebook last year – you save a pound more every week for a whole year (so £1, then £2, then £3 etc) so it was really easy in January but now I’m saving just under £150 a month and by the end of the year it’ll be a lot per month but I’ll have over £1300 saved in a year which I’m so proud of and I haven’t done it yet, but it’s important to me and I want to complete it!

So knowing what my month is going to look like is really helpful – taking my bills and planned payments into account means I know how much money I have to play with and depending on how much I want to save and what it is I want to spend my money on I can figure out my spending from there.

3. Focus on what you need and not what you want

It’s so easy when you get an email about 20% off on ASOS or you fancy some Bourneville Buttons to just go and buy them, but if you really want to make the most of your finances you have to think about what you really want from them.

If a treat every now and then is in your budget then go for it, if you’ve had your eye on a jacket that really fills a gap in your wardrobe then go for it, but if you really need to save and you’re looking at buying a new notebook for the sake of it then you really need to think about if it can wait.

Another thing I find helps with this is having a post it note or section in your journal towards a ‘big spend’ – if there’s something that you want or need to spend slightly more money on. I have a big spend post it note that I transfer to each monthly finance spread with each month and what I would like to be my ‘big spend’ if I can afford it. It’s meant that because I could plan it out, I bought myself a Nintendo Switch in May, a new car in June and I’m hoping to be able to get prescription sunglasses and pay the deposit on a rented property in August. It really is achievable if you set your mind to it!

It’s a difficult skill to master discipline and nobody’s perfect, but trying your best is the best you can do.

So there’s my top advice for helping manage your finances in a more realistic way than most of the apps will let you. I personally find them all too fiddly and they never track my bills right, but maybe I’ve just not put the time into them.

I think I’ll always be a pen and paper gal myself, but I hope this helps in some way!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Advertisements

planning for moving

2019, lifestyle, organisation, student

Hello!

It’s only been a week since I found out I’ve been accepted onto a masters course at Oxford Brooke’s and I’ve already gone head first into planning to move because I’ve only got 2 months to figure it all out! Renting is all quite a quick progress so I don’t know when I’m actually going to find a property with the right time span

But regardless of the fact I don’t have anywhere to live yet, there’s lots of things I’m planning to do different than when I lived alone as an undergrad student so I thought I’d make a list for two reasons – 1) I love planning and thinking all these things through and 2) it holds me accountable so when I do move, I stick with the plan!

1. Having a cleaning/laundry day every week

I’ll be honest, I’m not very good at cleaning where I live – it’s something I never got round to teaching myself when I moved out but in the era of Mrs Hinch it’s not hard to learn! I just know what I’m like so setting a day aside to do the bathroom, the kitchen, hoover everything, do all our laundry will make sure I definitely do it and I think it’ll be a nice relief from uni work. Get some music on the Alexa, comfies on, sounds like a pretty good day actually!

2. Making proper meal plans

Doing one bulk shop at the beginning of the month then using stuff out the freezer to make it last (especially because I’ll probably be cooking for one most nights when my boyfriend’s away working!). Something I really want to focus on is making an effort not to buy as much food on the go – the occasional McDonalds as a treat is okay but popping into Tescos or Costa every day is expensive and not that healthy, so it’ll be good for my healthy eating and for my bank account to plan ahead!

3. Move in parts – not all at once

I have a lot of stuff – ornaments, books, personal stuff and I’m definitely not going to be able to move it all in one go. Being in the Oxford area (rather than in Southampton where I was for uni!) and being able to drive (hopefully) between there and home means I can go pick up more of my stuff whenever I want, rather than having to lug it all on trains. My plan is to take the bare minimum and then as we unpack and figure out storage we can take more belongings or buy new things (I’m hoping for a new TV at some point!). Doing it more gradually will just be easier for everyone, luckily my mum’s happy for us to leave stuff at home!

In terms of actually starting uni – I’ve got my conditional offer, I’ve sent off my references and proof of my degree and applied for student finance. Once my boyfriend and I have taken our next driving tests (lol) we’ll figure out more in terms of logistics and then my mum reckons renting property is a quick process so we’re not really going to start looking until nearer September and then it’s all packing and actually moving, which is stressful enough!

I’m excited though – this is the most progress I’ve made in the year since I graduated (which is exactly a year ago tomorrow, 10th July!). I’m so ready to live independently and go back to uni and hopefully make a start on the rest of my life. Any advice is more than welcome!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

how I make my monthly bullet journal spreads!

2019, creativity, organisation

Hello!

In my head, I’m still getting used to it being 2019 and somehow it’s nearly June? How did that happen? I really don’t know where the time had gone.

This year’s bullet journal might be my greatest pride and joy – it’s much more organised and structured than last year and each month has it’s own sections, whilst still being adaptable.

So I thought I’d do a little run down of how I start my monthly spreads! It’s nothing ground breaking but it’s got a colour scheme and I really enjoy it, therefore – going to share!

Where does a new month start?

Sounds like a dumb question, but it’s something I actually plan – so the last weekly spread I do before I start my monthly pages is where the new month starts. To explain more clearly, this June starts on a Saturday so the last weekly spread I’m doing before starting a new month is the week 27th May – 2nd June, so the month has already started when I do the monthly pages.

That might be the most repetitive and least cognitive paragraph I’ve ever written? But you get it, right?

First page!

I just write the name of the month on the right page and leave the left page blank to stick in my monthly colouring/drawing page from the previous month. Pretty simple.

Second page!

June content! Even though I’ve been pretty shoddy with sticking to schedule recently (work and mental stability has to come first!) I do actually plan to post four pieces of content a week.

On the left, I have a list calendar and colour coordinated highlighters to signify what days I need to post because it just makes it easier for my brain to comprehend it all. Then on the right I do a few notes or a reminder for my future self about what these random ideas were meant to mean.

Pretty simple, nice place for me to make notes for my next goals and favourites posts and videos.

Third page!

My monthly goals! Currently looking a bit bare because I haven’t had time to think about them yet but how I like to set them out is to write them on the left page and then at the end of the month I do a little review of how I’ve approached each goal I’ve set myself and how successful I’ve been.

Some months it’s quite discouraging when things don’t go to plan or I don’t have time or I don’t progress as I hope but some months it’s so motivating to know that I really focused and worked hard. Most months it’s a mix of the two, but it’s a format I’ve been working on and refining for a year now and it’s getting better.

Fourth (and final!) page!

Finances! And sometimes I write the right month I swear! (I only realised as I was writing this post that I’d written May and not June).

As with every other spread, I have a layout for each page – on the left I do more planning, this month is pretty simple because I’m trying to spend as little as possible (potentially upgrading my car this month…). On the right I document everything I’m spending as it goes out of my bank account, I find that much easier to track than basing it on when I spend the money because then things get forgotten and it’s confusing for my tiny brain to factor in all my bills and everything.

I’m not particularly strict – I don’t have an overdraft or a budget at the moment, it’s simply a case of I get paid on the first and it has to last me the whole month, but I’m trying to save as much as I can for the future and travelling etc. Monitoring my spending and putting an overall figure on how much I’m spending really helps me realise how much I’m spending and make me much more aware.

And that’s how I plan out my month! If you’d like to see more of my bullet journal let me know and I’ll write about it – I love finding new ways of organising and planning and writing all about it!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

trying something new… | bullet journalling

2019, organisation

Hello!

It’s been a little while since I did a bullet journal update or post of any kind hasn’t it? If you’re new to my bullet journal content I’ve got lots of blog posts and YouTube videos and for a very quick catch up – I’ve been bullet journalling as my main form of diary, organisation and to do lists for over 2 years and it’s not the artsy creative kind of thing you see on Instagram, but I consider it quite minimalistic and functional.

So with that in mind, what’s so exciting and new that I wrote a semi-clickbaity title about it? Well it’s a slight change to my weekly spread that will either make me infinitely more productive or sap every last tiny bit of productivity I’ve ever had. So let’s chat about it!

But first, let’s look back on how my weekly spreads have evolved…

my first attempt at bullet journalling! I had an overall to do list for the week on one side and then would make a to do list at the beginning of each day which took another three pages

the first time I tried having my whole weekly spread on one double page spread, something that has stuck ever since

the six ‘squares’ for days of the week stuck around on the right page but this was the point I started to categorise my overarching by to do list by uni work/society stuff/other etc

 

Here’s where I started my best attempt at budgeting in early 2018! The right page has now evolved into 8 squares because at this point I’m onto my second journal (my first Leuchterm) and it’s dotted rather than lined which is SO MUCH EASIER

the format was pretty similar at this point but this is what I consider my ‘most productive’ spread – I had clear categories on the left page, a budgeting box small enough that I was encouraged not to exceed it and 8 boxes on the right hand page

 

when I finished uni I didn’t need the uber productive weekly spread anymore so this is where I started to develop what I now use as my current weekly spread

I really liked having the 8 strips on the right for each day of the week (and a spare) but this is where the left hand page starts to become more formulated and less random

here I’m really starting to settle in what I want this spread to look like

and onto my third bujo! at this point, I wanted the left hand side to take the same shape every week so I didn’t fill the space until I knew what I wanted it for

and this is last week’s spread – I’ve figured out how to use all the space on the left page and the right page has stayed the same for a while (why fix what isn’t broken?)

And here we have the new weekly spread! It’s not that different, yeah I know, but it brings back what I loved about having the overarching to do list without giving me the boundaries of putting each thing on a specific day.

I’ve still got daily breakdowns of stuff and things that are bound to a certain day (work/volunteering/content/driving lessons/other fun stuff) but everything else? I’m just going to pick and choose however many things I need to fill up my daily to do list and then if I finish it all and I feel motivated to continue then I can pick another thing from the list.

I’m probably getting a bit overexcited in blogging about it literally two days into using it but I’m excited about it – I’ve been using roughly the same spread for nearly a year and that’s what my life has become now; a new weekly spread format is exciting.

Flicking back through my old journals, a lot of my habits have stayed the same – the reason I use my bullet journal is the same, it’s just the layout and circumstances that have changed and that’s what I love about bullet journalling over having a diary. I can change how my whole life is organised from week to week if I want to, it negates the need for a diary and a separate to do list book and it just combines everything into one. It’s genuinely the core of my entire life, or at least, it feels like it sometimes!

I’m excited for the day that I get a career related job where I can start adapting again and continue making my bullet journal the most productive it can be!

As always, any tips, tricks or thoughts you have (whether it’s in your own bullet journal or how you would use a bullet journal if you don’t already have one!) then please leave them in the comments or come over for a natter on Instagram!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

don’t be fooled by the fashion bloggers!

2019, fashion

Hello!

I don’t mean this title to sound as accusing as it does, it’s just a realisation I had the other day and wanted to share because sometimes it’s easy to see lot’s of people online talking about how they do something and starting to think that’s what you want and forgetting that’s not actually what you want!

I watch, follow and read about quite a few fashion bloggers, YouTubers and instagrammers and in the age of sustainability and avoiding fast fashion, everyone’s talking about capsule wardrobes.

This is how it went for me – I started trying to plan a capsule wardrobe, I picked out loads of clothes that I didn’t want anymore (which I needed to do anyway) to donate or sell and I was looking at my wardrobe, still not very capsule, and I was watching videos or people talking about their capsule wardrobes and it hit me like a truck.

We don’t have the same style, so why am I trying to make my wardrobe like theirs?

There wardrobes were all plain clothes and patterns, mine is some of this but with band t-shirts and pop-culture-nerd t-shirts. Their wardrobe had eight pairs of jeans, I have one and a bunch of funky stripy trousers from New Look (side note: I love the Anna Edit but eight pairs of jeans?? Surely no one ‘needs’ eight pairs of jeans?? No judging, just genuinely intrigued).

My impression of a capsule wardrobe is that you have fewer items of clothing but they all match and coordinate more. For some reason, I kind of decided that meant that I had to have a wardrobe centred around one colour and if you have a shirt that you think goes really well with one pair of trousers but not really anything else, then that shirt isn’t wearable enough (if that makes sense?).

But that’s not the case!

The turning point for me is I was trying to figure out things to get rid of to make my wardrobe more minimalistic and capsule and I realised that Anna (from the Anna Edit) doesn’t wear hoodies, it’s just not something that is in her wardrobe and I literally own six or seven and they’re all slightly different and I actually wear them all, so why should I make myself throw them all away when I actually get a lot of use out of them?

I love hoodies, I love nerd merch, but I love pattern clothes and I’m a sucker for a plain white tee too and I’m integrating these in my own way!

So on the one hand, my wardrobe isn’t so ‘capsule’ because everything doesn’t quite go with everything else, but I am getting a lot better at refining it and being less precious about clothes I’ve owned for a long time or clothes I spent a lot of money on just because I spent a lot of money on them.

Living a more minimalist life and valuing the things I actually need more – thinking more about need than want is my new priority – but also, I’m a really sentimental person so I’ve got 4 or 5 photos alums and lots of boxes and I want to make sure I use everything so I’ve got lots of notebooks that I haven’t used, and literally about 50 biros that I will use in the long run and I don’t see the point in throwing them away and then having to buy new ones in the future!

It’s all a balance, a balance I haven’t figured out yet but what I have realised is that I need to make sure is that I don’t lose my own style and thoughts and opinions because I’m getting so invested in the creators I follow online.

I’m not saying that fashion bloggers are to blame – they’re not telling me that my wardrobe is wrong, I just didn’t see the kind of clothes I like wearing in the creators I watch.

Maybe I’m just being a moron and saying something that no one else had ever thought before but you know what? I might not be! It’s so easy to be influenced by social media and not realise you’re losing yourself a little bit but I thoroughly recommend staring at your wardrobe for a little bit just to figure out what you really love.

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

pushing through procrastination

2019, organisation

Hello!

Whether it be due to anxiety, having to do school work you really don’t care about or just being tired, I can guarantee that every single person in the world procrastinates, loses motivation and puts things off.

And I say this as someone who prides herself on her organisation, colour coordinated lists and post it notes, but that doesn’t mean I’m productive and on task 100% of the time. I love to think I give the illusion of having my life together but I really don’t think that’s the case!

So I thought I would put together some of my tips for how I tackle the worst bouts of procrastination, because I’ll be brutally honest – these past couple of weeks I’ve really struggled to motivate myself to do anything and I’m motivating myself to push through it as much as motivating anyone else!

1 – pick one thing that will help you with a routine and force yourself to do it, even if you don’t want to

I know this sounds like the worst tip if you’re struggling to motivate yourself, but I promise just picking one thing and making sure you do that is like rebooting your brain and reminding yourself you are in control and you can push through it! For me, when my anxiety hits and I start to feel low, it’s things like brushing my teeth than I just can’t bring myself to do. I know it sounds gross and there’s a deeper psychological reason for it but if I can push through and make myself do it, it makes other tasks on my to do list feel more achievable.

2 – focus on one task at a time

Sometimes a whole list can be incredibly overwhelming, but picking one task and working on that, and then the next task can be so much more approachable than seeing a whole list of however many things.

It can just be a case of going ‘right! I’m going to work on this task for this amount of time’ – for me, I volunteer on reception at a dance school and if I’m struggle to get on with things, I’ll set myself the task of working on one thing until the next dance class finishes. Then if I get that task done, great! If I don’t, I’ve made a start. Breaking it down works really well for me.

3 – try a change of scenery

It can be so easy to convince yourself that you can work from the sofa, or your bed, or whilst your boyfriend is playing video games in the same room (this one might be a bit niche) but sometimes that doesn’t work – whether it’s moving to a desk, a different room at home or going to a local cafe or something, a change of environment can really make the difference in altering your mindset to be more productive.

If going to a cafe isn’t financially viable and moving around at home isn’t working, I recommend either having a tidy up or switch around at home if you can! See if you can move things around, maybe move your desk closer to the window or Marie Kondo your stuff so it all feels a bit less cluttered. There are lots of ways you can change up your space without having to spend lots of money.

4 – give yourself some breathing space

I’m not saying give up, but give yourself half an hour to breathe – watch a YouTube video (but only one or two, put a deadline on it), play a few rounds of Candy Crush or something or make a new adapted to do list to help refocus your mind.

I remember at school always being told to do 20 minutes work and have a 10 minute break and the same applies outside of doing homework and revising for exams – forcing yourself to work when your mind is tense and frustrated is never going to work so take a step away, recentre, take the pressure off and then step back into it.

5 – make a new to do list!

My personal favourite – even if it means having the same things written out basically three or four times in different places, being able to adapt or switch up your to do list to help your own productivity is always a good idea!

If I’m feeling particularly frustrated, I will start my to do list again and only write out the tasks I think are genuinely achievable and I might even write out some things I’ve already done that day so I can lull myself into a false sense of productivity – because there’s nothing like a half ticked off to do list to motivate you to do the other half!

Obviously, take all of these tips with a pinch of salt – it’s so personal for everyone that it will take a lot of determination and hard work to find what works for you. I tried so many different revision techniques when I was doing exams at school, then I had to adapt that to finish assignments at uni and find other new ways to be productive now that I’m working. It’s constantly changing and evolving, so if there’s anything you do that isn’t on this list please do leave it in the comments so I can try them too!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

how to make productive to do lists!

2019, lifestyle, organisation

Hello!

Thought my confidence in my ability to do literally anything right now is rock bottom, one thing I know I can do for sure is make a list and get stuff done. In the two years since I’ve had my bullet journal I’ve got a lot better at figuring out what works best for me.

How I make my to do lists has changed a lot – in the summer of 2016 I remember making lists that were 9 or 10 things long and then getting really demotivated because I wasn’t getting anything done. In the following January I started my first bullet journal and from there I started experimenting with writing a long weekly to do list so I could see what I needed to achieve over the whole week and then I could pick out tasks that I needed to do on each day.

I stuck with that structure for a while, developing it to split my weekly tasks into categories like Uni, Society, Personal, Long-Term etc just to help me focus more. But when I finished uni I felt I didn’t need the focus as much and I didn’t have the same need for tasks that were completed each week so I stopped using this around June 2018.

And between summer 2018 and the end of the year I really refined how I make my to do lists and it’s working really well for me to have a balanced productive day – not giving myself too much to do, making sure I finish all my computer jobs during the day and doing as much as I can to make sure I get everything done.

Shock horror, she’s talking about her bullet journal again. This is my nearly finished weekly spread – on the left page I write the content I want to make for the week, my monthly goals and tick boxes (because is there anything more satisfying than ticking a tick box?) for my daily tasks and this is working really well right now.

Then on the right I have my daily to do’s – each day has 4 lines for me to plan things to do and the highlighted numbers is my word goal for my writing challenge this month. I keep my Sunday box longer because I can catch up on things  I’ve missed during the week and make notes for the following week.

I think if I had a better memory and such I wouldn’t need to rewrite each list every day but I really like writing my to do’s for each day on a post it note and stick it to the front of my bullet journal so I can just tick it off without having to have it open all the time.

The way I make each list is I write the day of the week at the top, because let’s be real – I forget what day it is at least 7 times a day, then I draw 5 boxes and 3 dashes.

(not the greatest picture but gives you the idea of what my lists look like!)

The 5 boxes are for me to write the must-to do’s and those are my kind of bare minimum tasks for the day – it’ll include things like any editing or writing I’ve got to do, if I’ve got a dance class or work or anything like that, it all goes on the list with any other tasks I want to do for the day.

Then I use the dashes for tasks that aren’t too important or wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t do – things like my daily writing challenge that I’m doing at the moment, any tasks I could do if I finish everything else on my list and any little jobs that really need doing but it wasn’t worth a tick box.

And this system works really well for me. That’s not to say I get everything done on my list every single day – I have bad days that I just can’t bring myself to do the things I need to do and I’m frustrated and tired. But this is the best system I’ve found so far – some people get 10 things done every day, some people get three things done a day, some people go to the gym at 6am, work 9-5, volunteer at a food bank after work and have a solid mental health so comparing your productivity to mine or anyone you see online is utterly pointless. It’s all about things like substituting phrases like ‘I was so productive today’ to ‘I got everything on my to do list done today!’ – productivity is so highly valued in society and on social media right now but every person is different and everyone works differently.

Conclusion – to do lists are great and all and I’m really happy with how I make mine now but we shouldn’t compare productivity because everyone is different.

I hope this has been even a little bit helpful! I do love talking about organisation and things like this so if there’s anything you’d like to hear my two cents on, let me know!!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

making yourself a routine

2019, lifestyle

Hello!

One of the things I consistently find myself yearning for in day to day life is a routine – when I left school I found it weird so at uni I made myself a more structured routine. Then again when I finished uni I struggled taking each day with no plans and no idea of what would happen.

When you’re freelance, self-employed, unemployed, a graduate struggling to find a job, whatever reason for being home a lot, often on your own and an expanse of uncertain future in front of you, the weight of that uncertainty can make it hard to find a reason to get out of bed. The only definite timings you have are breakfast, lunch and dinner and that’s assuming you’re not sad binge eating, snacking all day and have a healthy relationship with food.

So here’s where the routine bit comes in – I’ve always been the person who thrives on structure, will pull a to do list of things I need to do out of the air and keep myself busy so I thought I’d share what works for me. This is a little disclaimer that it’s exactly that – what works for me, everyone is different; some people don’t care about routines, some people really struggle to stick to a plan they’ve made and sometimes other factors come into play, I’m just sharing what I do to structure my days.

There are some tips to how I motivate myself to get out of bed every day and give myself a purpose.

#1 – writing to do lists

Is this a shock to anyone at this point? But seriously – making my monthly goals which feeds to my weekly bullet journal spreads and daily to do post-it notes make it so much easier to make a routine that doesn’t become stale too quickly because each day is different from the tasks I set myself. I then feel more productive and feel mentally prepared to do it all again the next day.

My lists are filled with things like filming videos, writing blog posts, working on my freelance career, but also includes things like doing the laundry, selling that pile of stuff that’s building up in my room etc. Obviously I can’t write a list of things that you could put on a list because it’s so personal, but if you don’t have projects to work on or you struggle to think of things you could put on a list then even things like having a shower, making lunch, making your bed can be a place to start – it’s something to tick off (which is so satisfying) and you can build on it from there.

#2 – have set times for food

It sounds ridiculous, but if you can give yourself time markers throughout the day it just breaks the day up a bit. I aim to eat my breakfast by 9am, I let myself go for lunch at 12pm (I normally count down the minutes) and then depending on what we’re having for dinner I usually start cooking about 5pm for dinner at 6pm. That’s when I stop for the day – I come out of the office, leave my computer and have some off-screen time. Which is ironic because instead of looking at my computer screen I watch TV and scroll through my phone but it’s a work in progress, I’m cutting down my scrolling! An attempt was made!

#3 – plan stuff for the future

This isn’t so much for having a routine but for keeping yourself sane – whether it’s a diary, a bullet journal or a digital calendar on your phone, getting through every day when you have to make stuff up for yourself to do is so much easier when you’ve got days with friends or a weekend away or a job pencilled in, especially if you’re unemployed and don’t have any friends that live nearby, having something to look forward to can make finding a routine in the now much easier.

It’s a bit like #2  – rather than breaking up the day, it breaks up the future so rather than this expanse of ‘no plans’, there’s something coming up. Obviously this is based on the things that I struggle with – some people see a blank calendar as relaxing or exciting but it scares me, to be honest. What I’m saying – take these tips with a pinch of salt!

#4 – have a space to work

This one I struggle a bit to explain, because for me it meant not being in the living room, not being in the kitchen and not being in my bedroom but I know that a lot of people don’t have the luxury of turning a spare bedroom into an office – I definitely didn’t at uni! But if you can find or make a separate space to work on your tasks I find that really helpful. At the moment, I’ve got a little office space at home but when I was at uni I found going into a local cafe or into uni (not the library, it was soul destroying) really helped my productivity.

Sitting somewhere as comfortable as the sofa is probably not going to work in your favour if you’re trying to get out of the slump of binging Netflix and having an afternoon nap. Also then, the sofa is not a work environment and it can be exclusively for binging Netflix and taking an afternoon nap.

#5 – have a strict sleep schedule

I don’t mean strict in the extreme way that you can’t stay up late sometimes and adapt, but having times to wake up and wind down make a routine and structure so much easier.

Personally, I start planning to go to bed at 10pm, by the time I’ve actually got up from the sofa, changed into my PJs, brushed my teeth, read a couple of chapters of my book I’m ready to settle down for sleep between 11pm and 11.30pm. I’ve also recently started not looking at my phone after I’ve plugged into charge before I start reading (except to update my Goodreads progress) and that’s really helped too.

I am to be up between 6.30am-7am but that doesn’t always happen, I’m usually out of bed by 8am at the latest and having that structure is so helpful for my routine.

It’s all a work in progress – I’m still learning, I accidentally spent three hours watching YouTube with breakfast the other day but I mentally reviewed it and planned a way to combat it. It’s about self awareness, noticing the things that aren’t helping your routine and deciding how to work on it.

I hope this has been helpful, it’s turned into a proper long ramble but these are my favourite kinds of posts!

Thank you so much for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

October Goals!

2018, lifestyle

Hello!

How another month has flown – I’ve only got two more of these posts to write in 2018 and oh my god that’s a scary way of looking at it!

October is looking to be a pretty quiet month – it’s getting considerably colder and the leaves are all starting to change colour on the trees, the nights are drawing in and I’m starting to feel all snuggly and cosy so let’s jump right in and have a ramble about the things I want to focus on this month shall we!

[ O C T O B E R   G O A L S ]

  • focus on balance – I want to make sure I spend an even amount of time on a variety of things rather than trying to squeeze doing a bit of everything every day – I want to make time to work for my mum, continue making content 4 times a week, job hunting consistently and doing other things that I want to do! Balance is definitely something I need to work on.
  • sort and decorate room, clear old office – this month I’m hoping to redecorate my room – paint a feature wall, repaint the other walls, get a new carpet and a new wardrobe but first I have to tidy and clear the contents of my room as it is currently and I need to clear the spare room I’m moving stuff into. And the spare room has all the stuff I left behind when I went to uni that I need to sort through and decide whether I’m keeping, donating or getting rid off. Overall, lots of household sorting and maybe some painting.
  • finish my scrapbook – I started my scrapbook in first year, took a three year break and worked on it a bit at the end of August/beginning of September but I’ve got a few more bits to put in and then I can just do a page when something happens or I have enough to put in it! It probably won’t take me more than an afternoon but I just want to get my scrapbook and my photo albums sorted this month.
  • try new recipes and continue eating well – for a whole week now I’ve been eating really well, I’ve been really strict with not snacking between meals and eating as healthily as I can being such a fussy eater but I want to try new meals! The way I’m doing this is by mostly letting my boyfriend and my mum choose things they like and trying new things that way, so if I find anything I’ll definitely share it on Instagram (linked below).
  • have evenings off – I spent an awful lot of my time beating myself up about not being productive enough and I so often convince myself ‘I’ll work in the evening while watching TV’ but the TV I’ve been watching at the moment has been so addictive that I haven’t been able to tear myself away from it. So I want to give myself the evenings to be properly relaxed and not feel pressured to do anything! That’s not to say I’m sacking off the things I’ve not done on my to do list, it’s a double edged sword – I want to be more productive during the days so I can have the evenings off, but if I don’t get everything done I want I need to give myself a break.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

dotted Leuchtturm 1917 – starting my second bullet journal

2018, lifestyle, photography, student

Hello!

I got a new bullet journal for my birthday back in September – having filled a lined notebook that I already owned between January-November, I’d seen a lot of hype around the Leuchtturm 1917 journals. Since I knew I wanted to continue bullet journalling, I asked for this journal for my birthday.

So, considering I was trying out a new journal, transferring the relevant stuff from my old journal and it was my first time starting a journal and it not being for the first time – if that makes any sense at all? – I thought I’d talk through how I started this new journal with the admin-y bits, how I’ve adapted my weekly spreads and then my thoughts on the Leuchtturm journal.

Having had two months to think about how I wanted to format this journal. I knew I wanted to change how I presented my future logs and they’re now much more concise and more for noting important or fun dates and I’m really pleased with how they look and how I’ve used my pastel highlighters. They make me very happy.

My monthly logs I’ve kept much the same as my old journal – they look much nicer then my first journal because there’s more smaller lines in the Leuchtturm and I like them. Hence why I kept them the same. Truly thrilling.

My first spread it about university hand ins and grades because I’m not obsessed with grades sshh. But this is where the dotted part of the journal first came in really handy – making the boxes on the results page was much simpler and I really like how it looks. I can fill it in and cross bits out as necessary which I find really useful.

I have a lot of temporary lists like what I wanted to get people for Christmas, rehearsal schedules for a drama show I was in before Christmas and financial plans for the next year (it was a lot of maths on one page, not interesting at all).

This isn’t a ‘final layout’ of how I want to make my content  planning spread but it’s the first full one I’ve made – I like the calendar and being able to see nearly a full month at a time on one side but the right hand side needs work. It’ll be different in February when I’m not catering for the last couple of weeks of the previous month but I’m really excited to use these spreads throughout the year, see how I can adapt them and if they work with helping me to maintain my content.

This page isn’t massively relevant to how I set up and use my journal but I like it a lot.

And this is what my weekly spreads look like now – it’s very minor changes from where I started in November but it’s really useful for me. Rather than splitting the right page into six sections it’s now split into eight which means every day gets their own section, I can make a note of things to remember for the following week and it also limits how much I can set myself to do each day. The biggest problem with the previous design of the spreads is that I could give myself seven or eight large tasks to do each day and that’s just not feasible, so having fewer tasks and more space to organise works really well for me.

I also now have a Money Tracker on the left hand side – since being made redundant last year and getting the next instalment of student loan has meant I’ve had to be very strict with budgeting to make sure I don’t run out of money before the next instalment in April. This spread works really well for me and I’m getting much better at checking in with my journal (which was one of my new years resolutions!)

My boyfriend and I made this list of goals for the year and I’ve left the other page blank to act as a kind of scrapbook if and when we do the things we can tick them off and stick something in, I’m so excited about it.

And that’s about it for the important relevant pages from my new journal! I’ve used nearly 60 pages of about 250, so I’m not sure this will last me the entirety of 2018 but it would be nice if I could start a new one for 2019!

My thoughts on the Leuchtturm 1917 journal is pretty positive – I definitely like the dots over the lines because it’s so much more adaptable in terms of drawing boxes or grids and splitting up weekly spreads but I personally find the space between the dots is a bit small. I have rather large handwriting so I find that some of my spreads feel a bit crowded.

The pages, though advertised as being heavy duty, I find do bleed quite a lot and you can see that quite clearly in these pictures – I have to be careful with how much coloured pen I use on a page as to consider the next pages. I’ve seen people saying they use Sharpies to bullet journal but I can’t imagine that going very well in this book. Not a massive deal for me, but worth mentioning if it’s something that’s important to you!

I do love that the pages are already numbered because I always forgot to do that in my old one and it made the index much harder to maintain. I also like that the index is part of the design of the book so it looks much more formal and neat. I like it a lot – at this point in time I would definitely repurchase and use it again (especially since they’ve just released a soft cover one, so much more convenient than a hardback one) but who knows, I might find something even more convenient by the end of the year. We’ll see!

I wrote a post about starting a bullet journal and a bullet journal update in early 2017 and I wanted to do an update having moved on to my second journal. Do you like this kind of content? Would you like me to write more about bullet journalling? Let me know in the comments!

I’ve put a full bullet journal flip through on my second channel unlisted so you can only watch it with this link! How exclusive. If you want to see my journal in full I’d recommend watching that.

Thank you for reading,

Sophie xx

 

YouTube | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Uni blog | The Student Seat
Snapchat: SophieALuckett