Adulting SELF

20 Ways to Make You Feel Like You Have Your Life In Order

brighton keller wearing grey joggers and tee working on mac computer

Not gonna lie, I’m feeling very behind in life. Like, in ALL THE THINGS. Anyone else?

Adulting isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to feeling like you have your life together. Believe me, I’m literally the worst. But I have LOTS of hope, and I kind of love the mess too. And I love the constant challenge of pushing through and learning while IN the mess, you know?

One of my resolutions for this new year is to try to make some changes that will result in me feeling like I have more control over my life, like for real. I’ve realized that it’s possible to do this by making some pretty small changes. It’s more about consistency and actually FOLLOWING THROUGH. I’m getting better! Here are 15 ways to make you feel like you have your life in order:

  1. Use a paper planner: Even if you’re all about doing things digitally, I promise you there’s something about actually writing things down with a pen and paper that will make you feel more organized. I tried to do things “digitally” for 3 years and JUST started using a planner in the past year and it’s been a game-changer for me. There’s something about actually (physically!) writing stuff down that makes all the difference! I shared a little bit about my favorite planners on stories, but since they’ve disappeared. I’m currently using the Erin Condren planner, but I also love the one by Anchored Press and Graphic Image (love how there’s no spiral on this one). And speaking of being organized and scheduling how you spend your time, did you see our blog post on 9 Tips for Using Your Time Wisely.
  2. Set up recurring payments: No matter how responsible you think you are, there will always be that one-time thing that’ll make you miss a payment. To keep your credit in check, it’s better to be safe and set up recurring payments. Using one CC is even more #adultish because it’s streamlined – and when that card is lost or expired, you know you need to reset all payment. I really need to figure out my *ish in this department because I have way too many cards and way too many auto-payments at the moment. But one thing that does keep me in check is I always have a paper copy of my bills sent to my house, which reminds me to open and review them monthly.
  3. Give yourself a bedtime: Contrary to what you might think, you don’t need to be a kid to have an actual bedtime. Although I sort of wish I had someone (other than myself) forcing me to go bed each night. By giving yourself a bedtime, you’re making it easier to get more sleep, which in turn will help make you more productive during the day. Working on this myself. WHY is this so freaking hard? I have to LITERALLY force myself to stop doing stuff around 10 PM each night so that I can start winding down – there’s just always more I want to do!
  4. Wake up earlier: You know how it goes, the early bird gets the worm – or at least a lot more done! Early risers always seem to be more productive than people who wake up later in the morning. Enter, an earlier bedtime and earlier wake-up time. We shared a blog post last year with 3 secrets to have a better morning if you’d like to read more on this! And then we talked more on morning routines last week too!
  5. Donate things you no longer need: As a rule of thumb, donate anything you haven’t used or worn in 6 months. If you’re a semi-hoarder (like me), you can make your life easier by placing all of your hangers backwards in the closet and donating whatever is still backwards after 6 months. Kiiinda genius right? I actually just purged a BUNCH of stuff from my closet and am in the process of trying to figure out what to do with it. I’m thinking I’ll donate some of it and sell the rest! But thinking about that stresses me out to be honest.
  6. Meet with a financial advisor: I’ve met with one here and there, but in order to really make sure I have it all together and am on track, I plan on meeting with a financial advisor at least once a year. Honestly, I’m waiting until after I figure out how how much I owe in taxes because I think that might really make a difference in what I can and cannot invest (ha!). Being self-employed and having to budget for taxes is such an interesting and difficult challenge each year! I’m still trying to figure it out and it’s been like 4 years!
  7. Keep an ongoing to-do list: Whether it’s on paper or on your phone, make an ongoing list of things you need to get done. I’ve learned from experience – don’t rely on your memory, even if it’s just for the small things!
  8. Hire a professional organizer (or set aside time to get it done yourself!): Even if it’s just to organize one room, hiring a professional organizer might be the best gift you can give to yourself. You’ll learn a ton of strategies to keep your stuff in order, which in turn will make you feel more in control. I did this for my closet at the beginning of next year and it was amazing! (I worked with ‘Neat Method‘ if you’re wondering). And then I also had some help when getting my pantry in order. I also did A TON of research – but that’s because I enjoy it. And honestly, I hope to create more blog content around it, so I was determined to learn! But you could also make it fun buy dedicating a Saturday, ordering some pizza, and blasting some fun music or your favorite podcast while you work!
  9. Back up your photos: It doesn’t matter which cloud storage service you use, just be sure to back them up! There’s nothing worse than losing all of your memories. I’m actually looking for an easy way to do this right. I was initially looking into using Google’s time capsule, but I’ve realized I need more of like a dump & store option (where I take my photos OFF my devices) rather than just a backup option. Anyone else have any helpful tips on this?
  10. Put things away after you use them: To avoid excess clutter, always put back whatever you use right after using it. Keeping things in their places will save you from having to clean up larger messes later on.
  11. Use a password manager: There’s nothing more annoying than having to try to remember a bunch of passwords. And it seems like the rules for creating them just keep getting more strict. Keep things simple by downloading a password manager to remember everything for you. I personally use Dashlane and love it.
  12. Unsubscribe from junk mail: When you have a bunch of junk mail in your inbox, it can be easy to skim by and miss important messages. Think of unsubscribing to junk mail as a form of digital decluttering. Unrollme is supposedly amazing! Read about more ways to get your life organized this year in this post about 18+ ways to get your life more organized in 2018!
  13. Quiet time daily: I’ve been working on this big time. I was hitting a point where my mind felt full from the moment I woke up until the minute I went to bed. Ugh, how to fix this? It was like a lingering “full” headache and it lasted all day. So, I started having quiet time in the morning – mainly with my bible and a journal, and just letting my mind settle (not be ON 24/7). (I talked more about morning routines last week!) To feel centered as an adult, think about doing something similar – and yoga and meditation are supposed to be great for this too. Do whatever works!
  14. Clean your fridge once per week: Similar to cleaning out your closet, go through your fridge to purge of anything you don’t use regularly. To make it easier, get rid of anything that’s expired (or close to it) first! Especially if you have roommates, ask everyone to do the same.
  15. Give yourself a drop zone: Give yourself one (small) area in your home where you can put miscellaneous things and not feel guilty about it. Then, once a week go through that pile and organize it. It’ll be much easier having it all in one place instead of scattered all over.
  16. Read: Try to read a few books this month – in different categories if possible. It’ll improve your vocabulary and like make you smarter. I’ve recently been reading A LOT. Did you see my post I wrote about all the things I learned from Tim Ferriss’ 5-hour Work Week?
  17. Stay informed: In that same vein, I always feel like I have my ish together more when I know what’s going on in the world (at least somewhat). It’s not my favorite thing, but I find that listening to a quick 20-min podcast like “The Daily” by The New York Times really helps here. (I also love Drudge Report for straightforward daily news!)  That way, when I’m at dinner or whatever and topics come up, I can join in on the convo. Or at least semi know what’s going on.
  18. Clean your tech devices: When we think about how much we use our tech devices (daily) vs. when we clean them, it’s pretty gross. Since it’s such a big part of most of our days, clean your stuff 1x a week when tidying your desk up on Fridays.
  19. Pick 5 go-to outfits: Even as a fashion blogger, I have outfits that I go-to when I’m just in a hurry or feeling uninspired. Have a couple for work, one for fun, one for the weekend, and it’ll come in handy – promise. Dang, I should totally do a post on this!! I mean, my go-to outfits aren’t anything special, but I do have a few items I know I can easily throw on when I don’t feel like thinking.
  20. Have YOU-time: You honestly need it to feel complete. If you’re on the go go go, you’ll never feel like you have your life together. It’ll feel like a constant race and hot mess. Be sure to balance YOU time in so you can refocus on yourself and take a breath.But I feel you if you struggle with this. It’s SO hard to make myself do it!

Do you have any tips or tricks that make you feel like you have your life in order? I’d love to hear!


Outfit Details: Joggers ($45 – I talked about these in my favorite purchases of the year post! wearings size XS, SO comfy!) // Grey tee ($39 – wearing size XS)


IF YOU LIKED THIS POST, then you might like catching up on the following posts: How to Be Awesome, 23 Ways to Get Your Act Together18+ ways to get your life more organized in 2018

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  • Reply
    February 5, 2018 at 9:13 pm

    Love these tips, Brighton! I swear that my agenda helps me keep my life in order!


  • Reply
    February 5, 2018 at 12:55 pm

    This is all seriously so true! I think the biggest thing for me is doing a paper planner FIRST then digital so I can’t forget. Another thing would be to have dedicated clean up time daily. By Thursday my house is a total train wreck!



  • Reply
    Lorraine York
    February 4, 2018 at 8:38 pm

    Loved this. Saved to Pinterest to revisit.

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 11:09 am

    I love this post haha. My life can always be described as an organized mess…so a list of ways to make me FEEL like I have my life together is perfect! xoxo

  • Reply
    Allegra Ghiloni Fashion Stylist
    February 4, 2018 at 3:12 am

    I love these ideas. Especially the drop zone and logging your passwords. Those are two areas that I find really stressful when I am busy! Thanks so much for the suggestion!

    Allegra xx

    Allegra Ghiloni Fashion Stylist

  • Reply
    February 4, 2018 at 2:37 am

    I have an eclectic taste in clothes and take a selfie of the outfits I put together as a record, then when I’m stuck for what to wear or in a rush I have a quick reference point to go to

    • Reply
      February 9, 2018 at 3:59 pm

      I do the same thing! :) I have an “outfits” album in my Photos app that I add pictures of any outfits I’m proud of. It’s feels kind of corny sometimes, but it really works for when you’re rushed or not feeling creative!

  • Reply
    Mary Spain
    February 3, 2018 at 8:13 pm

    I was so tired of trying to figure out what to cook for my husband, especially since I frequently get calls to drop everything and travel for work, i.e., I mean before I leave for work, on my way to work, late at night, etc. I made a list of all the meals that my husband and I like to have for dinner and I made up a list of approximately 70 meals and I mixed them up so that I wouldn’t be doing the same type several days in a row. When we go shopping for the next week, I go down the list and buy the ingredients for the next six dinners and I have now eliminated tons of stress and decision making.

  • Reply
    February 3, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I would absolutely love to see a blog post on putting together go-to outfits! I just started a new job and I think that that would help me out so much!

  • Reply
    February 3, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Whoa! A Drop Zone seems like a really smart idea. Toward the end of the week, I do tend to drop stuff, clothes, mail, etc. and I end up with little piles by the weekend. Having one designated spot, I bet makes a huge difference, especially in the guilt department. Definitely trying.

  • Reply
    Michael @ Mile in My Glasses
    January 31, 2018 at 3:41 pm

    I love ALL OF THESE! Thanks Brighton, I love the tips! They’re all so fab! I definitely need to get my life in order *for real* hahaha!

    I hope you’ve had a lovely Wednesday!

  • Reply
    January 31, 2018 at 11:48 am

    In order to stay informed I signed up for TheSkimm several years ago and they bring you the news each weekday morning (minus holidays) in a fun and quick little skim of the topic, as well as include links to different articles from major websites. This is mainly geared towards women and is usually delivered around 5:00-5:30am CST so you can read while you get ready for work. Their social media is also really informative too! (FB/Twitter/Insta) I highly recommend along with what you mentioned! :)

    • Reply
      February 20, 2018 at 1:40 pm

      Same! When I started reading TheSkimm’s daily email a few years ago it really increased my awareness of what’s going on in the word, which was a goal of mine. LOVE.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 9:58 pm

    Love this whole post, but especially #11 – the security girl in me is giddy right now! I highly recommend using a password manager. It’s WAY better than saving passwords in a Word doc or on post-its (or having to remember them). I’ve been using LastPass for several years now and love it! Regardless of the manager, just make sure to create a STRONG master password and turn on 2FA :D

  • Reply
    elizabeth raska
    January 30, 2018 at 9:22 pm

    Yes!!!! Please do a blog post on #19

  • Reply
    Rochelle Bailey
    January 30, 2018 at 9:06 pm

    For number 9- photo storage, I have figured out a method that I’m pretty happy with! I do back all my photos up to Google Photos so I can always access them. However I like to take the original files for the pictures off of my phone too. To do this, I always connect my phone to my laptop, along with an external hard drive. I organize them by year and type of photo (for me, I try to separate out family/ kid photos from the photos of my husband and I, our friends, or other things like that). Then, once everything is transferred safely I double check then delete it all from my phone. I then store the external hard drive in a fireproof safe, just in case. :)

  • Reply
    Maddison Jayne
    January 30, 2018 at 7:50 pm

    I am totally obsessed with this post, such fabulous ideas hun x

    Maddison Jayne |

  • Reply
    Gabriella Lundgren
    January 30, 2018 at 3:46 pm

    Great tips! Will def try this and hope that 2018 is the year I will feel like I have my life in order!
    Gabriella x

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 11:25 am

    These are great tips! I’ve never tried a password manager but I think it’s about time. And I totally hear ya on the to-do lists. Half of my daily stress comes from fear of forgetting to do something important. Writing tasks down instantly takes the stress off. I know I’ve captured it therefore it will not be forgotten.

    Chrissy |

  • Reply
    Ali Williamson
    January 30, 2018 at 9:02 am

    I’m like Ryann – switched in the opposite direction in terms of planners! Have you used the Simplified Planner [by Emily Ley]?!?! I feel like you’d be in love… A planner meant to simplify your life. Anyway, such a GREAT list!!!! I need to incorporate a few of these things… 3, 12, 13, 14, 17…lol.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 6:58 am

    Putting things away after you use them is such a great tip and can save so much time too!

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 6:22 am

    I think that life shouldn’t be closed in some frames, plans etc. Let your life to be conducted by God and everything will be fine.

  • Reply
    January 30, 2018 at 4:30 am

    Great post! I think what helps me the most is writing into a paper planner. It’s just a whole other thing ! :)

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 7:26 pm

    I really need to find some back up for my photos. I’d be curious to know what you decide to do.

  • Reply
    Kaitlin Cuevas
    January 29, 2018 at 3:05 pm

    These are some of my fave posts!!!! Question…where did you get that grey chunky knit blanket?!!

    Kaitlin :)

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      January 29, 2018 at 4:17 pm

      oh I should link that huh!? It’s actually Ugg I believe! Here’s the link for you::

      • Reply
        February 7, 2018 at 2:32 pm

        Thank you so muchhhhhh!!! Pinning it now!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 1:37 pm


    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      January 29, 2018 at 4:18 pm

      haha Thanks Caitlin! this was a fun one to put together!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 12:50 pm

    These are fantastic tips- some I focus on a lot, others I wouldn’t have thought of on my own. Love it!!

    xo Jess

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 12:45 pm

    I love using a paper planner as well…I have never gone digital except for my work meetings that are sent through Outlook. A post on your go-to outfits would be great! I need to implement something like that because as I get older I don’t try to necessarily be as creative as i used to be and need some go-to’s to make getting dressed easier & faster in the mornings! (= more sleep, less stress!)

  • Reply
    Jennie Archibald
    January 29, 2018 at 11:45 am

    I love this post!! I have found that repetition really works. Doing the same routine each day. I spend the first 15-20 minutes of each day (after a cup of coffee) tidying up my house, throwing in a load of laundry etc. That way I start each day with a clean space!!!
    Please, please do a post on 5 outfits to go! Casual ones!!! Thanks Brighton, I love you blog and look forward to it every day!!

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      January 29, 2018 at 4:22 pm

      thanks Jennie!! Okay so I’m thinking a lot of these looks would be jeans lol. Can you wear jeans? And leggings. and it would depend on the time of year too BUT I think this would be a fun post to put together!

      • Reply
        January 30, 2018 at 11:24 am

        I agree with Jennie! PLEASE do a post on “to go” outfits! It would be great to have 5 outfits including accessories and shoes that I know I can grab when I have no time or inspiration. I would love casual and work too because some nights when I try to set out my clothes for the next workday I am tired and unimaginative. Keep up the great work. I love that your blog is a reflection of you and that you are being real with your readers. More times than I can count, you validate my feelings and it’s like comfort from an old friend.

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 11:18 am

    Definitely agree on using a paper planner! I have one and it totally makes me feel like I have it together, haha!

    Anika |

  • Reply
    Charlotte Anne Brand
    January 29, 2018 at 10:21 am

    I love this! <3

    Charlotte |

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 9:57 am

    I love this post! Doing most of these already but I think the bedtime and passwords manager are ones I really need to work more on (especially because #selfemployed.)

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      January 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      ugh same!! and time management omg so hard!! Thanks for commenting Lauren!

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 9:54 am

    Yesss to all of these! I’ve really been trying to “get my life together” recently and it includes many of these!

    Emma | Seeking the South

  • Reply
    January 29, 2018 at 6:53 am

    Your tips are so good! I like especially #19 :)
    xx from Bavaria/Germany, Rena

  • Reply
    Ryann Carter
    January 29, 2018 at 6:27 am

    I actually just switched back from a paper planner to an electronic. I still use my Day Designer to get through my days, but I would have difficulty getting to periodic appointments in the morning with my paper planner. I’d wonder if I had an appointment, but not get up to check. With my electronic planner it’s always by my side and I have it set up to tell me when I need to leave depending on traffic.

    • Reply
      Brighton Keller
      January 29, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      yeah that’s a good point! but for me, idk there’s just something about having it written down that helps! But I have to use electronic too for my team so everyone can know what’s going on :)

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