In a perfect world, you’d be on top of everything all the time. You’d never miss a morning workout, much less an important meeting. Your outfit would be social media-worthy, your fridge stocked with healthy food and your closet neatly organized by color. Of course, the reality is that we could all use a little help when it comes to staying organized, healthy, happy and looking great. So we asked nine of our favorite bloggers, Instagrammers and influencers for their best tips. From a DIY hair mask to a playground workout, here are 20 hacks to help make your life easier.
1. Get Fit in 15 Minutes.
Slept through your morning workout? Take a cue from trainer and cookbook author Tina Haupert, founder of Designed To Fit Nutrition and the blogger behind Carrots ’N’ Cake. “When I can’t make it to my 5:15 a.m. class, I fit in a 15 to 20 minute HIIT (high-intensity interval training) workout during my son’s nap or a lunch break,” she says. “I do a combination of burpees, jump lunges and overhead squats that makes me sore every time. You don’t need an hour — you can kick your butt in whatever time you have!”
2. Streamline Your Scheduling.
“The secret weapon of my work life is using Trello to keep everything organized,” says Haupert. “The app lets me share my schedule and to-dos across all of my businesses and keeps everything I need to do in one place. Between that and sharing a joint calendar with my husband, nothing slips through the cracks.”
3. Give Your Brew a Boost.
Skip the shot of espresso and try this juiced-up java drink instead: “I add collagen powder to my iced coffee to get more protein. It takes no time at all and helps me feel more energized. It’s a no-brainer!” says Haupert.
4. Fake It Till You Make It.
Here’s an easy way to get a boost of positive energy if you’re feeling even slightly stressed or tired, courtesy of busy work-at-home-mom Rachel Grice, a writer, editor and the blogger behind The Sole of a Runner. “I was surprised to learn recently how much your posture impacts your emotional state,” she says. “So whenever I’m feeling stressed or sluggish, I stand up straight, throw my shoulders down and back, take some really deep breaths and smile (even if it’s a fake smile). It’s amazing how much better I feel afterward.”
5. Make Snacking Easier (and Healthier).
Finding the time to plan snacks that are healthy but still tasty and satisfying can be tough, but Grice, who secretly hates meal prep, has an easy fix. “Keeping my fridge stocked with convenient, grab-and-go snacks (like Del Monte® Fruit & Chia™) gives me more time to spend chasing my toddler around,” she says. “That way, I’m not reaching for the bag of tortilla chips all day.”
6. Turn the World Into Your Gym.
“Having a toddler means spending lots of time at the playground,” Grice says. “So I unleash my inner kid and play with her or do some of my favorite moves while she plays in the sand — triceps dips off the stairs, lunges around the perimeter, incline and decline push-ups. She also loves it when I hold her and do squat presses.”
7. Create a “Drop Zone”.
Keeping up with all your mail and miscellaneous paperwork isn’t easy. Fortunately, professional organizer Rachel Rosenthal of Rachel & Company has this tip for preventing paper pile-ups at home: “I keep a ‘paperwork drop zone’ in my house. It sounds fancy, but it’s actually just a vertical file box where I put bills, to-dos like RSVPs and kid-related forms, magazines I want to read and pretty much everything that I want to give attention to — whenever I get the time to give it attention. It takes less than a minute each day to sort through and ensures I always know where the important stuff is.”
8. Consolidate Daily.
Never leave anything important at home again, thanks to this idea from Rosenthal. “I keep a zippered pouch or document case in my purse to corral each day’s necessities,” she says. “I’ll gather up the permission slips, receipts for returns, swim goggles, whatever it is I might need when I leave the house the next day. I place it in the pouch so that all I have to do is remember one thing in the morning — not 10 different things.”
9. Hang In There.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed by the idea of getting your closet in perfect order, just take it easy. “Having an organizational system doesn’t mean that you need to color-code everything,” says Rosenthal. “Just organize each area by type of clothing, and keep your most-worn pieces front and center. That way, you know exactly where to reach to make a great outfit.”
10. Take Flight (Sort Of).
San Francisco trainer Ashley Pitt may be the busy blogger behind the popular fitness and food site A Lady Goes West, but she still understands the importance of logging off. “I put my phone on airplane mode from 9:30 p.m. to 7:30 a.m. every single day,” she says. “That means I go to sleep without worrying about text messages, emails, social media or that annoying blue light that can disrupt your sleep hormone function. By the time I take it off airplane mode to check it in the morning, I’ve already walked my dog, made my bed and started my breakfast, ensuring that no matter what’s about to come my way, I’ve given myself a positive start to the day.”
11. Give Yourself a Break.
“While a lot of people like to be religious about workouts, I’m religious about rest days,” says Pitt. “I take one rest day every single week. It gives my muscles time to rest and repair, and it gives me a little bit more free time! Plus, I have better workouts for the rest of the week because I give myself that break.”
12. Repair Your Hair.
New York City-based Instagrammer Tyla-Lauren Gilmore is a pro when it comes to managing curls without spending a fortune on products. “You only need two simple ingredients to make a DIY hair mask to soothe dry and brittle strands: olive oil and an egg,” she says. “It’s incredibly easy, inexpensive and gets the job done. Just make sure to wash your hair well when you’re done!”
13. Freshen Up.
“When I feel a headache coming on — whether it’s stress-related or hormonal — I rub peppermint oil on my temples,” says Gilmore. “The pain subsides, but the minty scent lingers for a refreshing boost for the rest of the day.”
14. Just Breathe.
Whether you live in New York City like yoga teacher and personal trainer Kayla Kleinman of Kayla In The City or call the burbs home, you probably still need a strategy for staying calm. “To keep myself from getting crazed, anxious or overwhelmed (usually because the subway is going to make me late), I do this breathing exercise: Inhale for a count of four, hold that breath in for seven counts, and then exhale for a count of eight. After two to three rounds I feel the anxiety start to melt away.”
15. Schedule Sleep.
Another must for staying sane? “Set a bedtime alarm,” says Kleinman. “It sounds silly, but I swear it helps. For me it’s my cue to stop mindlessly watching home-decorating shows on TV and start getting ready for bed.”
16. Have a Seat.
“When you’re sitting and watching TV or scrolling through social media at the end of the day, try some seated spinal twists,” says Kleinman. “Just reach behind you on one side and then the other. This motion is thought to aid digestion, but it also helps release lower-back pain and gets you moving in the smallest way.”
17. Make a Statement.
“I always make sure to have heels, a clutch, a statement necklace or earrings and some red lipstick stashed at my desk or in my car,” says personal stylist and blogger Christine Cameron of My Style Pill. “Adding killer accessories and a bold lip can take you from work to an impromptu dinner or drinks without even having to think about it, and each individual piece alone can freshen up a work outfit for daytime when you need just a little bit more badass in a pinch too!”
18. Practice Your Wardrobe Math.
“Before I buy anything when I’m shopping, I always ask myself one question: Will I wear this with at least five things already in my closet?” says Cameron. “There are always exceptions like incredible statement blouses or special occasion dresses, but that simple self-check keeps me from buying a bunch of random stuff and ensures that the pieces in my wardrobe will all work with each other organically.”
19. Ditch the Packaging.
Make a preemptive strike against clutter with this tip from Monica Leed and Melody Medick of Simply Spaced: “Remove and recycle all the extra boxes, packaging, envelopes, plastic and tags from anything that comes into the house immediately at the door. We’re talking everything from makeup and mail packaging to shoe and grocery boxes.”
20. Be Travel-Ready.
“We are not big fans of inessential duplicates, but keeping a bag permanently packed with travel needs like toiletries, flip flops, PJs and other essentials makes last-minute and inevitable frenzied travel packing so much easier,” say Leed and Medick. “Rather than packing and unpacking every time, double down on this pro organizing tip and keep your go-tos packed inside a suitcase or grab-and-go bag.”
What Do You Think?
Would any of these life hacks work for you? Do you have any additional tips for staying organized and getting everything done?
Read more: 8 Tips for an Afternoon Pick-Me-Up