Adulting in Times of #covid19

Future You Will Thank You

For the past several years my husband and I have had a pretty great holiday tradition: during the week before New Year’s Eve we would batch all of the “adulting” tasks that we never got around to doing. It’s turned into a rewarding habit that has made my life so much easier, and less stressful. A one time sprint and bask in your accomplishments for the rest of the year.

Since so many of us are in self-isolation, I figured it would be the perfect time to tackle a few tasks that we’ve been putting off. So, I’m breaking out my magical list to share.

*** Obviously not all of these tasks apply to you. This is just my list, feel free to add/skip/change anything that doesn’t work for you.

Here’s a printable version of the list.

General Life

  • Review and update will. It’s never too early to make sure you’ve got all the right documents in place. Sites like Legalzoom make it really easy to get your affairs sorted.
  •  Review and update insurance spread sheets.We have an excel document with a list of all major electronics/valuables/serial numbers in case of theft or damage for insurance purposes.
  •  Scan all important family documents. I use TinyScanner which lets me scan high quality versions of documents directly on my phone, making it easy to save them in the cloud.
  •  Review expiry dates for health card/license/passport. I add a note in my calendar a few weeks before it expires as a reminder to start the renewal process.
  •  Make appointments for physical/check-ups. Make sure you set a reminder to reschedule things like dental checkups or physicals once everything is a little calmer.
  •  Archive 2019 documents. I remove all bills from the previous years and file them away in an archive box, so that we’re only dealing with the current year to avoid paper overload.
  •  Update dead man’s envelope. If case something happens, we have a secured password protected folder that contains bank accounts, details of assets, instructions, contact information, will and legal documents. This is shared with our In Case of Emergency Contact.

Cell-Phone:

  •  Review contacts and delete. You’d be surprised at how many random contacts make their way into your phone over the course of a year. DELETE them. Who is “Brian Conference?”
  •  Delete apps you don’t use. I love downloading and trying new apps but that means that there are usually apps I’ve installed and then never use.
  •  Go through photos (I use Flic). This is a beast of a job but Flic lets you tackle it month by month so you can delete those 14 versions of that cappuccino you had seven months ago.
  •  Review paid app subscriptions. $15 here, $6 there. It all adds up. I always review what I’ve paid for to decide if I want to renew or delete.
  •  Review newspaper/magazine subscriptions. Did you read all those issues?

Computer:

  •  Clean out hard drive (delete old documents/file everything). It’s a good time to review your google/shared docs as well as your hard drive to make see if there’s anything you can get rid of. At some point during the year I get really disorganized, and this is a good opportunity to make sure things are labelled properly in a way that means I can find them later on.
  •  Review all app permissions. You can do this through Google, Facebook and Twitter, especially if you use your social media credentials to access other services. It’s always worth a look to see if there are any services you don’t need anymore that you can revoke access to.
  •  Make sure all passwords are secure (1Password). This might be excessive but I change both my root password and my passwords at least once a year, sometimes more. Services like 1Password help you generate strong and complex password. With data leaks and breaches happening more frequently, you can never be sure when your data has been compromised so change all your passwords often.
  •  Enable 2FA on all available services.
  •  Review inbox (delete and archive). I use Mailstrom which is like Google inbox search on steroids. It helps me easily sort my inbox by biggest attachments, and delete thousands of emails that I don’t need anymore.
  •  Review social media activity. I’ve recently started going through all of my accounts once a year (like Twitter, Reddit, etc.) and deleting all of my old comments.
  •  Make sure all back-up systems are functional (check back up drive). Whatever method you choose, whether its a physical back up drive or a cloud solution make sure it’s functional, that you can still access everything and that the settings are up to date. Your future self will thank you.

Security:

  •  Change battery in smoke detector. You’re home, you might as well, right?
  •  Make sure first-aid kit is up to date. Check for anything you might have used up during the past few months and forgot to replace. Staples include: Antihistamine ointment, painkillers, antacid, anti-nausea, antiseptic liquid, burn dressing, and things like tweezers, dressings/bandaids/bandages, medicine tape etc.
  •  Make sure medicine cabinet is up to date. Check expiry dates of medicines, make sure you’re well stocked up on flu/cold/headache pills and whatever else you might need.
  •  Make sure dog (or pet) first-aid kit is up to date. This is a good time to make sure you have extra flea/tick pills. Saline solutions, dressing, alcohol free cleansing wipes for injuries, bandages, latex gloves, Gauze swabs, ear/eye cleaners etc.
  •  Make sure emergency kit is stocked. This is in case of a power outage or storm. So things like batteries for flashlights, candles, blankets, extra non perishable food items and water.

Major House Stuff:

  •  Clean dishwasher (quarterly). This one is really easy, place a plastic container filled with vinegar and lemon juice inside an empty dishwasher and run it on the hottest setting. Voila, all clean!
  •  Clean washing machine (quarterly). Same as above: run a hot cycle with two cups of vinegar instead of detergent. Scrub the inside of the drum with vinegar/lemon mix. Run another hot cycle, and you’re good to go.

Mini-Housekeeping

  •  Clean out book case (give away old books, get rid of magazines)
  •  Rotate mattress & Clean(2x a year). This one is pretty easy too. Remove all sheets and bedding, vacuum it to get rid of any dust or debris. Sprinkle half a box of baking soda over the mattress, leave for 4–6 hours and then vaccum it again.
  •  Rotate couch cushions (Quarterly)
  • Check Linens. Do I need to replace anything that’s getting old or worn out?
  •  Oil leather bags and shoes. I do this for all my bags once a year (or more if needed, but generally its been enough).
  •  Oil the wood tables. (Take 1/4 cup of olive oil, 1/4 cup of vinegar, 1 tbsp lemon juice, 10 drops of your fave essential oils, add to a spray bottle. Mix well and use.)
  •  Clean the oil paintings. (Take a dry paint brush and gently go over the painting, or take it to a professional).
  •  Clean printer. Here are some instructions.

Kitchen:

  •  Check spices (expiry)
  •  Clean out freezer. I have a google calendar that’s just dedicated to house stuff. If I put something in the freezer, I’ll generally add a reminder in the calendar to eat before it expires. Always good to remove everything and clean it anyway.
  •  Make sure pantry is stocked. My staples include Tahini, tamari, nutritional yeast, spices, grains, beans/lentils/chickpeas/rice.
  •  Create 2 back up frozen meals. I like to always have a few frozen meals like soups or stews in my freezer at all times for those days when I’m feeling too lazy to cook or I’ve come back from a trip and there’s nothing in the kitchen to eat.

Travel

  • Clean suitcase. I’m always surprised by how many people don’t do this!
  • Assess travel toiletry inventory.
  • Check travel visa expiry

If you’re still reading:

  • I know this is a scary and anxious time for all of us. I hope this list helps you by keeping us grounded in the small, practical things we can do to be prepared and responsible during the year. I know that for me, knowing how many things are out of my control its comforting to know that I’m doing everything within my ability to be as on top of “grown up” things as possible, especially things like having a stocked emergency kit and medicine cabinet.
  • Cut yourself a break. If your stay at home time is already being taken up by caring for little ones, work, stress, and other family obligations please don’t add more to your to do list. This is only for people who have some extra time and energy on their hands. You deserve to rest, sleep, and recover.
  • You don’t have to do everything on the list in one day. It’s adulting week for a reason, just pick a few that are easy to do every day and find timing that works for you. We spread it out over five to seven days.
  • ALWAYS HAVE A REWARD. Pick something you really like. A good bottle of wine, a bath, a book, whatever it is and celebrate your successful adulting.
You Got This.

Sending you all good vibes, wherever you are in the world. Stay healthy and safe!

PRINTABLE VERSION OF LIST.

Rahaf Harfoush is a Digital Anthropologist and Author focusing on human potential in the age of exponential tech. Her new book, Hustle & Float: Reclaim Your Creativity and Thrive in a World Obsessed with Work is available now.

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