20 Things You Can Do Today to Make Your Life Easier
From apps you can download to hacks to try, we have you covered.
Published Nov 10, 2018 9:50 AM
Life is hard, and adulting is even harder. If you feel like you have too many things to do and not enough hours in the day to do them, allow us to help. We’ve considered every aspect of your life—from physical health and beauty to mental wellbeing and just pure convenience—in order to find easy hacks, apps, and tricks you can try right now that’ll help make your life run smoother than ever. Read on, and let us know if you tried any!
Get a pillow that cuts down on hair-styling time.
A traditional cotton or microfiber pillowcase can give you split ends, regardless of whether you toss and turn at night or sleep like a rock. Silk pillowcases are gentler on hair, but by investing in an even more technologically backed pillow, you can reap additional benefits. The Night Pillow is made from mulberry silk, so it alleviates hair damage and bedhead alike. Plus, it’s gentle on skin and doesn’t wick away moisture, so your night cream stays exactly where it should—on your face. Consider this the ultimate accessory for optimizing your beauty sleep.
To sweeten the deal, this super-soft memory foam pillow is machine-washable, so it’s easy to take care of in spite of its luxurious construction.
Organize your day bag.
Always losing your lipstick? Constantly detangling headphones? Use small pouches to sort the clutter that piles up in the depths of your bag, and you’ll be better able to keep track of what you have on-hand. Nylon pouches designed for traveling can withstand a lot of wear and tear, and they’re easy to clean with soap and water. Plus, they can be tossed from bag to bag, so you can swap out totes or purses without forgetting any essentials.
Ease eye strain with a helpful app.
Blue light emitted from screens inhibits melatonin production—which is why you might find it harder to fall asleep after a late night Netflix binge in bed. But you don’t have to totally give up your tech in the evening hours (though we do recommend winding down with a good book instead).
When you download F.lux on your computer, the light emitted from its screen will adapt to the time of day: during the daytime, it will emit its usual blue light, but at night, it will give off a more red-toned glow that won’t inhibit your ability to fall soundly asleep.
Sign up for rewards at your favorite stores.
Store credit cards can end up requiring more effort than they’re worth, but don’t be too quick to discount rewards programs. If you look into the deals your favorite vendors have to offer, you could very well gain access to exclusive sales, get steep discounts, and earn freebies.
If you’re a makeup or skincare junkie, Sephora’s Beauty Insider program guarantees you a birthday gift at the very least, and free shipping, event invites, and additional freebies as you spend more. If you’re looking for the most bang for your buck, TJX Rewards card will get you $10 off every time you spend $200 at Home Goods, TJ Maxx, or Marshalls. And if you’re constantly on-the-go, Hilton and Marriott hotels both have free rewards programs that can help you earn discounts, room upgrades, and free benefits (like late check-out, high-speed internet, and more). The next time you’re offered a rewards program sign-up at checkout, take a second to learn more about the deal—it might just be worth it.
Unsubscribe to unwanted emails.
Without even realizing how it happened, you might find yourself at the receiving end of many, many newsletters that you simply do not want to read. Unroll.me—which is totally free!—can fix that. When you log in to your email on the site, it tells you just how many email subscriptions you’re currently signed up for, the number will most likely shock you. From there, you can easily unsubscribe to anything that doesn’t quite strike your fancy. All it takes is a few clicks—no sifting through your inbox required.
Fold your clothes with the most organized method.
Cramped drawers can make mornings extra-stressful, but luckily, some strategic folding can make your storage solutions feel better optimized for your stuff. Marie Kondo’s famed folding method is easy to master, condenses the bulkiest items to sleek, stackable rectangles, and keeps all your clothes visible for simplified dressing.
Once you’ve nailed the method for your shirts and sweaters, consider setting aside some time to neatening up your sock and underwear drawers, too. You’ll feel extra-productive, and you might even start to enjoy putting away your laundry.
Keep your photos backed up 24/7.
Never fear the loss of your digital memories by downloading Google Photos—the app automatically syncs with your camera roll to keep your photos saved and accessible from any device. The unlimited storage space means you won’t have to play by your phone’s internal storage capacity, and its smart albums make it much easier to keep your photos organized. It even enables you to search photos by date or object, so you can find what you’re looking for in a cinch.
Order your coffee ahead of time.
If you simply can’t live without your morning Starbucks, we have just the hack for you. If you think waiting in line for your Starbucks before work is a waste of time (which, let’s be honest, it is), download the Starbucks app. Available on both iPhone and Android, the app lets you pay within it, collect loyalty stars (aka, free things when you collect a certain number), and the absolute best feature—order ahead. By using this trick, you can order the drink of your choice, pay for it within the app (including tip), and then pick it up at a time you choose, or as soon as it’s ready. This way, you can spend those precious 15 minutes actually working on something important to you.
Wake up effectively.
The best way to wake up? Use an alarm clock. While yes, you can totally use your phone to set your favorite tune to wake up to, looking at your phone first thing in the morning will lead to you probably checking emails and social media—hardly the calm start to your day that you need. Instead, why not try the old-fashioned way, and use an alarm clock?
There are so many great options to choose from these days that you’re bound to find one that’ll match your decor perfectly—check out some of our favorites here. Still want to use your phone? Why not invest in an app that will actually help your sleep patterns, such as Sleep Time. This inventive app actually tracks your movement and sleep patterns to make sure you wake up when your sleep cycle is the lightest. This makes it way easier to wake up refreshed, as compared to your deepest sleep cycle, which will just leave you groggy and irritated. Perfect mornings are just a click away.
You might be hitting the gym hard and eating healthy, but if you’re not taking the time to stretch every single day, you’re going to end up with aches and pains. We crouch over our desks all the time, so all you really need is a couple of minutes per day to feel the incredible benefits, including preventing back pain, improving posture, and decreasing tension headaches.
Need some real-time help? There are several yoga classes that focus on stretching, and the app Playbook features great stretches by a number of successful trainers, including Master SoulCycle instructor Charlee Atkins and Rumble Boxing instructor Christina Jensen.
Invest in multi-purpose beauty products.
While we love elaborate beauty routines (there’s just something so calming about a Korean beauty mask after a long day), when you want to get out the door fast, they aren’t exactly ideal. While our wellness editor Kristin Limoges swears by these five products for a quick, five-minute look that’ll get you to work early for once, you can also look for other beauty products that are intentionally designed for you to save time.
A prime example? Stick format makeup products, which can actually help make makeup application so much easier—especially if you find liquid formats messy to handle. Some other great options? An all-purpose salve that will fight dry, irritated skin in a snap, or Milk’s lip and cheek stick, which can be used to add a touch of color to your look. One product, multiple uses: What could be easier than that?
Make use of your Google Calendar.
Associate digital editor Elly Leavitt loves to write her to-do lists on paper, “Writing things down physically helps you remember,” she insists. If you’re more the pen and paper type, invest in some notebooks you’ll actually want to carry around. Want some ideas? These should help.
If you’re more comfortable using a digital format (aka, me), your Google Calendar is your best friend. It’s linked to your email, so you can add everything you have going on, from beauty appointments to work and social events. You can schedule your calendar to send you reminders 30 minutes to 10 minutes prior to each event, and you can even color coordinate them based on type. It’s great to open your calendar and see your events laid out in front of you and to make things even better, it helps you never double book! You can even get the calendar as an app on the go, so you can add things as they come up, making you the most organized you’ve ever been.
Clean as you go.
If setting some time every week to clean gives you anxiety, focus instead on cleaning as you go. For instance, if you’re cooking dinner, wash your utensils immediately, instead of leaving them in the sink—and the same goes for when you’re putting your shoes/keys/bag away when you get home. If you focus on keeping your areas neat and clean at the moment, you’ll save time when it comes to your big deep cleans. It’ll also just make your home much neater to be around on a daily basis—and isn’t that what we all want?
Learn how to budget.
Living paycheck to paycheck is bound to cause serious stress to your day—especially if unexpected expenses crop up (which they so often do). And while it’s easier to spend money you can see in your bank account, try transferring a certain amount from each paycheck into a savings account that you can’t use until you’ve saved up for your goal. Out of sight, out of mind.
And make sure to watch out for those group expenses, too. Associate style editor Lily Sullivan loves having apps Splitwise and Tab App for keeping track of expenses between friends. Splitwise helps you calculate percentages and split costs for everything from trips to utilities, and for big group dinners, you can’t beat Tab App: All you have to do is snap a picture of your receipt and type in the number of people, which allows users to claim what they ate. Tax and tip are calculated for you as well.
Disconnect or meditate.
We know, we know: Meditation is great (check out its whole host of benefits here, including less stress and better concentration), but starting is pretty near impossible. For instance, you may claim you’ll wake up earlier in order to give yourself those extra 15 minutes of calm in the morning, but by the time morning comes around, that snooze button just looks so much more satisfying.
The easiest way to start, though? Maybe just make a pact to yourself that you’ll delay checking Instagram the second you wake, in order to give yourself more calm time in your day. Otherwise, consider starting meditation just two minutes per day instead of the whole fifteen, or try a meditation app on your morning commute. By incorporating small changes that you’ll actually be motivated to continue, you can make meditation a seamless part of your day, instead of an arduous task you need to complete. Need more advice? Check out the complete beginners’ guide to meditation here.
Learn the art of meal prep.
You know it as well as we do: Not only is making your own meals cheaper, it’s healthier as well since you have complete control of the ingredients used. But with recipe planning, grocery shopping, cook time, and cleanup, it’s easy to waste money on Seamless. Enter Talia Koren, founder of meal prep site Work Week Lunch, who developed a meal plan service for this very reason.
Meal prep makes life so much easier because it allows you to eat healthy food you have full control over multiple times a week (or day) without having to spend lots of time in the kitchen. It makes your healthy, home-cooked food more accessible and easier to grab than fast food or takeout, when you don’t really want to eat that stuff,” the converted meal prepper shares with Domino. “Plus, less time the kitchen means more time for working out, Netflix, and spending time with friends and family! My weekly meal plan service takes the thinking out of the planning and finding good recipes, which tends to be the hard, not-so-fun part. All you have to do is shop, cook, and live your life. The meals are different every week, so you’ll never get bored, either.”
Sign up for a delivery service.
It’s hard being an adult, especially remembering all the things you need every month to keep your life running smoothly on a daily basis, such as makeup, skincare, toothpaste, and groceries. Social media editor Alyssa Clough recommends that you sign up for a delivery service that will automatically send those products directly to your door so that you don’t have to keep remembering to order them every week or month.
“I do Lola Tampons, and am going to sign up for Billie, which is razors and shaving cream,” she says. “Some of my friends do makeup samples too.” Birchbox is another great option for makeup lovers, as it sends a mix of makeup, skincare, and fragrance samples every month—and while yes, your grocery needs will change every week, if you order them on Instacart or Foodkick, they’ll help you avoid the long lines at Trader Joe’s.
Try an effective home workout (found on your phone!).
Going to the gym is a noble goal, but sometimes, life (or rain or snow or meetings) gets in the way. When that happens, it’s easy to just skip the gym altogether—but then, you just feel guilty and upset that you skipped your sweat session. In order to make sure you get those endorphins in, why not use the trusty device you’re surrounded by all the time—your phone? These days, most workouts can easily be downloaded using some incredible apps: As long as you have a mat, some free weights, and bands or straps, you can get a killer sweat session at home.
Aside from the apps listed in our article, also look into a few other favorites. I love Become by celeb trainer Bethany Meyers: It’s so easy to use, all you need is yourself (no equipment), and according to Meyers, you can even do it in your underwear! Above mentioned Playbook has workouts by several trainers you can choose from, and NYC-based barre studio Physique57 offers on-demand videos you can stream to your TV for easy viewing.
Get a great dry shampoo.
While, yes, you shouldn’t use it too much, if you don’t have time towash your hair
every single day (or if it gets super greasy super fast), investing in a great dry shampoo is key. All you have to do is spray some into your hair, brush or rub it in, and blow dry for additional texture (but only if you have the time—you can also completely skip this step).
Want to take this time-saving tip an additional step further? Our wellness editor is obsessed with Ouai dry shampoo, which is (wait for it)… a foam. It’s easier to apply than a spray, absorbs extremely fast, and gives you bouncy, shiny hair in 30 seconds. Compare that to the hour (or more) that washing and drying your hair takes.
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