Declutter your tech: computer

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Just like a smartphone, many of us tend to use our computers a lot of the time, whether it’s for work or just personal use. A decluttered computer with freed up space can help you be more efficient and experience less waiting times because of a slowed down system. Compared to a phone, we tend to stock even more unnecessary things on a computer, since it has more storage space. We tend to save old documents, family photos and videos, music and what not. Even though the files look small, it easily builds up until you get a notification that you have less than 1% storage space left. So how do you deal with the computer? Where do you start in the decluttering?

Programs & Apps

Well, I say start with the biggest (and probably easiest) first. Programs and apps. Depending on how your OS works you’ll have programs or apps installed on your computer. These you should go through, delete anything you do not need or that takes up too much space. If you have a Mac, go through the dock to see what programs you actually use on a regular basis, the others you can remove from there (I don’t mean delete completely, just from the dock). If you have the option to group programs together, this can be an idea too (I have grouped all Microsoft programs together in a folder, as well as Adobe).

Photos

After arranging the programs I would continue with photos. Start with deleting all bad photos, duplicates, etc. then do a back-up either to an external hard drive or to an online cloud service or similar. Or do both. I have previously used Flickr for storage, but unfortunately, they no longer allow free unlimited storage, so if you have a lot it might not suffice. I also use Google Photos (mostly for RAW format). I also keep an external hard drive around for extra safety. When the deleting and saving part is done you can either leave it or you can continue with organizing it all. I have all my photos organized into years and months so that I can easily find what I am looking for. Special trips are also in designated folders. Newer cameras and smartphones will also have the geotag option which is neat for grouping albums together. Whatever suits your needs best is the best option!

Music & Video

After photos, go through other files, such as films and music. If you are like me and you use streaming services for everything connected to media, then maybe you don’t need to keep your old library of iTunes songs that take up space? If you do not use them, but still do not feel ready to part with them, maybe a solution can be to transfer them to an external hard drive for safekeeping? Either way, the same procedure applies here as with photos. Delete everything not needed, back-up and then organize the remainders in a suitable way.

Documents

When all media is done and sorted through it’s time to deal with all your documents. Delete everything you don’t want or need to keep. Then back-up all (I keep mine in Dropbox). Something I try to avoid are “lose” documents. I put everything in folders named related to what it is so I can more easily find them. For example, I have folders that are called *School”, “Work”, “Important”, and under each, I have further classification like “Master’s”, “High School”, etc.. 

E-mail & Bookmarks

Finally done with all files, it’s time to take on the online stuff, like your e-mail and saved bookmarks. Go through e-mail, unsubscribe to all that “bad stuff” you do not need in your life (like online shops that spark your inner shopaholic, things you never signed up for…), create a system of how to categorize the e-mails you need to be saved (I use folder for this too, like “Work”, “Payments & Receipts”, “Important”). Then starts the big job. To get the inbox down to (more or less) zero. It’s not necessary to have a completely empty inbox (I, for one, like to leave important e-mails in the inbox as flagged as to not miss/forget them), but it’s really nice when you have had an inbox of 1000+ e-mails to get down to 20 or even 50. A good way to avoid getting a cluttered inbox is to delete the irrelevant ones directly. I try to do this immediately when I read them, so I don’t have to go over 1000+ emails every time I feel like decluttering. Also, don’t forget to go through your saved folders every now and then. Something that was important a year ago might not be today!

Lastly, go through bookmarks! I tend to save a lot of stuff to my bookmarks, which in the end can make it quite hard and annoying to find things. Go through them all and rearrange those you want to keep and delete the rest.

Now what?

Now you can enjoy a computer that is less cluttered and less stressful!

At least until the next decluttering session!

Declutter you tech: phone & tablet

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How decluttering your phone can make you feel better

Let’s face it, most of us rely on our phones a lot. We use it as a camera, we use it as a calendar, for reminders, for grocery list and all this is in addition to its original use communication.

When your phone is cluttered, it can feel crowded and stressful. There are too many apps taking up storage, you have trouble finding all your pictures because there are so many and you have no system for them. Also, you never seem to find the right number you are looking for in the contact list because you seem to have kept all contacts since you were in junior high. Then all of a sudden it starts acting up because you have no storage room left (this seems to happen no matter how many GB there are in there…).

Easily put, decluttering your phone will have the benefit of making it more easily manageable, which in turn will lead to you having to spend less time using it. This, of course, can lead to you clearing up precious time you could spend on more fun things. Decluttering your phone is similar to decluttering your home or your closet, you can expect less time looking for things and more ease of mind.

So how to go about it?

Phone

I always like to start with something easy, just to get into it a bit. For me, this tends to be apps.

Go through all your apps and delete the ones that are not being used or that take to much energy or time from your day (or that give you anxiety or maybe even an urge to shop!). Then arrange them in groups/folders according to what they are about, so you minimize the space needed. Then you drag them to the second and/or third page and only leave the most used/necessary ones on the home screen. It’s less stressful to be met by a clean, decluttered home screen than a crowded, messy one. I also would suggest a clean background that does not distract. If you want to use a family photo or something fun, maybe that can be used as a screen saver instead?

After apps, I suggest moving on to pictures, which if you are like me, might be a slightly more time-consuming feat. Go through all your photos! Delete old screenshots, duplicates and just plainly bad photos that you have no use or joy for. If you feel like more decluttering in the photo department you can transfer them to your computer or a cloud service and delete them locally, which will allow you to open up more storage space on your device. If you are more like me, who likes to keep things on all possible devices, or you have no problem with space, create albums that are based on happenings, what type of photo it is, or based on time (+ also make sure to have a back up anyways, since your phone might give up on you). This will allow you to find photos you are looking for quicker.

One thing I am guilty of is keeping all contacts. Honestly, will you ever again call your old soccer coach you haven’t seen in six years? And if so, don’t you think you could find his number on the white pages? Also, today you can pretty much reach anyone through Facebook, so if you get FOMO from deleting someone’s number, don’t!

Text messages. I honestly, don’t really use them anymore. Most of my communications go through Facebook messenger or Whatsapp. Still, I do get a fair share of messages for important things (or from grandma), so doing a clean here can be beneficial. You will have to decide yourself what is irrelevant here. I delete all promotional and reminder e-mails and only keep the conversations from friends and family. If you are not at all sentimental, you could always wipe it completely.

Lastly, we have video and music. If you are like me and you use streaming services you won’t really need to do much in this area, but if not. Look into what you actually need on your phone and what you can be without. Another thing I would like to add here is podcasts. I love them, but they tend to take up more space than any other app or file, so I try to make sure to “unsave” the episodes every now and then.

Tablet

This obviously only applies if you have a tablet, which I do. I use it mostly for reading, watching clips and movies, as well as playing games. This also means that I do not keep a lot of files on there.

For the tablet, the same process as for the phone applies: apps, photos, movies, and music.

Here I also keep a good amount of downloaded documents in iBooks, so going through them to delete all the old things I do not need (looking at you pdf from second year of uni…) is a must.

Extra

If you want to go even further in your decluttering, go ahead with your other tech.

If you have a camera:

  • Delete all duplicates and bad photos.
  • Transfer all photos to a computer (or wherever you tend to keep them).

Another neat thing to do is to look through all the chords and devices you have at home. Do you use all? Do you need all? Have you maybe thrown away the device that actually goes with that one chord? Then that should go too!

 

Mindful mornings

tim-foster-667115-unsplashLike for all routines, the most important thing with the morning routine is to figure out what works for you and what you want out of it. Some people like to get up at 5 am so they can spend an hour fixing hair and make up, some need time for a big breakfast, others just want to sleep for as long as possible.

The thing about morning routines is that they can have a great impact on your mood for the rest of the day. So starting the morning on a great note is good not only for your mood, but probably for your efficiency throughout the day.

My idea of a perfect morning is one where I wake up early (like 6-ish) and feel energised. No snooze, just straight up for some light yoga and meditation. After that a quick shower and some 10-15 minutes for skin care and light make up, before getting dressed and starting the day!

However, life is rarely the perfect image we envision and neither are my mornings. Still, I have found some things that have an impact on my mornings and those are listed below.

Tips for a more mindful morning routine

Avoid stressful tech

This you might hear a lot and in my world it does not mean that you should necessarily avoid all technology, but those that stress you or affect your personal mood. If you love watching the news in the morning while drinking a cup of coffee, go for it! But if you tend to get stuck in bed answering work emails or scrolling through Instagram, it might be a good idea to avoid it. Try to not start your morning with things that stress you.

Wake your mind and body

The morning is a perfect time to get some self care in (people with kids might argue with me here though…). The world has not yet woken up and it’s a bit like the calm before the storm. I prefer to do yoga, meditation or lighter work out (like a powerwalk or calm run) in the morning, since the body might still not be fully awoke, but whatever suits you is what is best. If you are not one for working out or moving in the morning, maybe a cold shower can really start your system?

Plan the day

Take some time for setting the intention of the day or simply to plan out your schedule. Maybe you are an avid journaler, live by your lists, or maybe you prefer to just set intentions for the day. I mostly use my phone to set appointments and plan the day, because I am to forgetful to remember to bring my calendar, but each to their own.

Have a filling breakfast

Or skip it all together! That’s what I do. I have been doing intermittent fasting during the workdays for a few months now and it saves me a lot of time and stress in the morning. No matter how early I got up, I would always end up stressed and almost inhaling my breakfast to make it on time. In addition, I am not really a fan of “breakfast foods”, so I decided to skip it! And if you, like me, have grown up hearing that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, I encourage you to Google intermittent fasting. There is a lot of research on the topic.

If you’re someone who won’t make it past 9 am without food, go for a healthy and filling breakfast, that will keep you steady until lunch. Oatmeal topped with berries and fruit or whole grain bread with hummus or avocado are my two go to’s. Try not to eat to much sugar in the morning as it will only result in you feeling sluggish later in the day.

The most important tip for a mindful morning?

A mindful evening

If we are too stressed and revved up in the evening, we risk ruining the following morning and day. Stress tends to impact our sleep and if we do not get our 7-9 hours, there is no morning routine that will save us in the long run.

Except for going to sleep on time, I like to plan my outfits the night before and if I have breakfast to prep it. This saves me a lot of mental effort in the morning (we have all stood there in front of the closet not knowing what to wear…) as well as precious time overall.

How does your perfect morning routine look?

Apps for a mindful life

duo-chen-751601-unsplashDo you want to live a more mindful life and to introduce meditation and other mindfulness techniques in your life?

My intention for February is to meditate daily, to build some sort of practise that will stick or at least teach me enough techniques so that when times get rough and I need coping techniques I’ll have them. My experience meditation is very sporadic and not very deep. Most of the meditation I have tried, has been in the form of yoga (or chanting in yoga class), so a type active or moving meditation. I also had a period in time where I would do guided meditations with my gymnastics team, most often leading up to competitions. These were mostly some type of body scan and about setting intentions and I never really got the hang of it.

Later years, my meditation practice has turned into guided mediation apps. I tried the first one about 3 years ago when I was going through a really hard time mentally and even though it didn’t “heal” me, it did help me get through the worst panic attacks that would arise. Since then I have tried a few different options and now I wanted to share some of them!

Which apps do I use?

Like I mentioned above I have tried a few different ones and these are the ones I like.

Buddhify

This is the one I have used the most out of all the apps. When I got it, it was offered at a fixed price (around 5€), but now it seems to be offered with a subscription. Buddhify is all about meditation on the go and they offer guided meditations for “work break“, “being online” and “eating“, as well as some more classic ones like “going to sleep“. This is also what I like most about it! Whenever I open the app, suggestions show up based on time of day, so if I open it at night it might show the “going to sleep” (or if it’s really late rather “can’t sleep”) and within that topic you can then chose between 4-5 different guided meditations of different lengths.

Smiling mind

This app is FREE! It is a non-profit and they believe that everyone should have access to mindfulness!! And it’s actually pretty good! It has different programs you can go through, like introductions to meditation and mindfulness, programs for mindful eating and what not. It also gives stats on your progress so you can track you yourself. This one also offers different programs and modules for all different ages, so great for those who want to introduce their children to the practice.

Headspace

This one is probably the most known one of the ones I have tried. Headspace is offered with a subscription, however, the first “module” of 10 meditations is free, which allows you to try it before signing up. The interface is simple and understandable and they offer themed sessions for example sleep, anxiety and focus. I have only tried some of the free sessions, but I really did enjoy them.

An extra one worth to mention:

Calm

This one I did not try, but it is the #1 app for Meditation and Sleep, so I figured it was worth including. They offer guided meditations for all levels and even has “sleep stories”, a kind of bed time story but for adults. The biggest con is that it is pretty expensive and you have to sign up for the trial, so if you do not cancel the service before the seven days end, you are bound for a yearly subscription…

January challenge: Veganuary summary

So a month of the year has passed. When did that happen?? I don’t know because it still feels like NYE was yesterday. Anyways, the January challenge was Veganuary. My goal for the month was to inspire you to eat more vegan and to eat as much vegan as I could myself. Like I told you in the beginning of the month I have been in a particular housing situation this month which made it tough for me to eat fully vegan, so that is why my goal was not to eat 100% vegan as I wanted to be realistic this time around.

So what posts did I share this month?

I started off with sharing some of my favourite vegan accounts and some vegan recipes to try out (btw if you haven’t tried the creamy noodle, you have too, it was AMAZING!!).

Then I continued with a post of my best vegan staples and one of good vegan protein sources.

I finished out the month with giving my best tips on vegan snacks and also how to make your own vegan “milk”.

An what about my Veganuary result? Well, the first part of the month I was very motivated and was more in charge of my own eating situation, so during that period I would say 9 out of 10 meals/snacks were vegan. For the second part it went a bit downhill. Because of some unexpected travelling and events and just getting a bit lazy I did not eat as much vegan as I would have liked to. Still, I found some nice recipes to add to my repertoire and I look forward to trying even more during the year.

How was Veganuary for you guys?

Vegan “milk”

rawpixel-1149532-unsplashVegan drinks or “mylks” that substitute cows milk have become increasingly popular and today there are more alternatives than ever in the stores. Did you know that making your own is both easy and can save you money? It also allows you to exactly control the ingredient list and to make just enough for you!

Almond, rice, soy, oat, cashew

My favourite is oat milk, partly because I like the taste, but also because it’s the best option for me living in Northern Europe. We grow a lot of oat here (none of the other crops are grown much in these areas) and in general oat milk is one of the best options since it requires less water than many of the other options and have quite low emissions.

So what you need in order to make some home made vegan milk is:

  • A blender (A strong one is advisable)
  • A cheese cloth or strainer
  • Water
  • Oats, cashews, almonds or whatever type of mylk you are making
  • Sweetener if wanted (dates or vanilla powder are great options)

Start by soaking the oats (or nuts etc.) for at least 30-60 minutes. A great idea is to soak overnight. Then drain and wash them.

Mix 1 part oats, with 3-5 parts water (depending on how thick you want your drink to be) in a blender.

When it’s fully blended, strain the mixture. If you want to add sweetener or to make flavoured mylk, put the mylk back into the blender and add spices.

Store in an air tight container in the fridge for a few days. I can’t tell you exactly how long it will last, because I always go for the look, smell, feel, taste when it comes to food. So as long as it doesn’t look weird, smell weird, has a weird-ish consistency or tastes bad, I drink it!

The leftover oats or pulp that you are left with in the strainer/cloth can be used in other recipes like pancakes, bread or protein balls, so don’t throw it away!

Vegan snacks for when the cravings set in

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I don’t know about you, but I am a huge snacker. In the evening I like to have a light snack to satisfy my cravings or simply because I am still a bit hungry after dinner. Sometimes I just snack because I think it’s nice, like on a Friday night in the sofa watching a movie or for having friends over for some drinks and quality time.

So for this Veganuary I am sharing some of my favourite snack idea with you!

Popcorn

I think everyone knows about this. When times is cramped or the energy low, popcorn is the way to go. It takes zero chopping, mixing och baking and is done in a matter of minutes. I usually go for the stove popping ones which reduces the use of material and contain less additives compared to microwave popcorn. If you want some “cheesy” flavour my best tip is to top off the hot popcorn with some nutritional yeast. Oh and salt!

Veggie chips

Chips are probably my biggest craving ever, in all categories, but as we all know they are usually not the most healthy option, as well as often containing dairy. So if you want a healthier option that is sure to be animal-free you should make your own! You can make chips out of many different veggies, but my best ones are kale chips, zucchini chips and of course, the classic, potato chips. Slices them up thinly, massage with some oil of choice and spice them up with your favourite flavours and then just spread out on a baking sheet and bake on a lower temperature until they start getting some colour. All ovens are different but I tend to go somewhere between 75-100°C depending on what type of vegetables I am using.

Veggies and dip

When I feel like a slightly healthier snack I turn to veggies and dip. For the dips you can either just take some vegan sourcream/fraiche and mix with spices and herbs or you can make your own (or bought) hummus, guacamole, artichoke dip, bean dip or green pea mash. For the hummus I like to switch it up with some different flavours like smoked paprika or sun-dried tomatoes. You can also make hummus with avocado in it, edamame, green peas or any other thing you like. As long as you have mixer or blender only your imagination can stop you. My best veggies to dip are carrots (A MUST!), cucumber, bell pepper, radishes, fresh broccoli and sugarsnaps.

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Nice cream

If you crave ice cream a lot, nice cream is your best bet. It’s like ice cream, but instead of making it on cream, you base it on frozen fruits. So it’s almost like a sort of sorbet. The classic base is with frozen banana that you mix up with other fruits and berries. If you like you can mix in chopped nuts or even chocolate. Whatever suits you!

Baked goods

Most of your favourite cookies and cakes are doable without dairy and eggs. Oat cookies,  raw berry pies with a nut crust, chocolate chip cookies, whatever you can imagine. When it comes to baking vegan, some recipes are fine with a 1:1 ratio of dairy – plant milk and chia eggs, but since baking is quite complex I would always try to find a recipe, there’s nothing worse than craving and baking something, only to have it fail!

So those are my best snacks for anyone feeling a slight craving but wanting to keep it vegan. Do you have any vegan snack faves?