So this week was ‘simplify your life’ week, which is celebrated during the first full week of August. Since there were quite a few ‘bumps’ in the road this week–I’m going to be doing a duel post: three ways I’m currently trying to simplify my life, and the four (or possibly five) ways I’m looking at to diversify my income.

So–warning, this is a fairly long post, but hopefully it will also give you some ideas on simplifying your life and diversifying your income.

These two ideas are tied together–stressing over money is one of the leading causes of anxiety and depression. The ‘simplify your life’ week isn’t so much a push to embrace minimalism, but a ‘push’ to reduce the stress and anxiety in one’s day-to-day life.

So, while ‘simplify your life’ week is celebrated during the first week of August, it is something that can be done at any time of the year.

The three ways I’m currently thinking of implementing to simplify my life moving forward are going to take me at least a month (if not longer) to implement (and keep going), but they are:

(1) Create ‘minimalist’ wardrobes:

While I’ve tried to do the 333 clothing challenge before (where you only have 33 articles of clothing for 3 months), I usually ended up not removing anything from the closet.

Therefore I’m going to create two different ‘minimalist’ wardrobes:

Business professional and casual:

  1. One-to-two suits (one dark color and one light color)
  2. Two-to-three pairs of dress slacks (dark, medium, and light color)
  3. Five-to-ten blouses (a mixture of dark, light, and print)
  4. One pair of dress shoes (with no more than a inch and a half heel) and one pair of flats

‘Non-business’ wardrobe:

  1. Three-to-four pairs of jeans (dark, medium, and light color)
  2. Two-to-four pairs of shorts and/or capris
  3. Four-to-eight tee shirts
  4. Four-to-eight long sleeve shirts
  5. Four-to-eight sweatshirts/hoodies
  6. Four-to-eight sweaters

Then I will also have all my workout clothes as well.

When I manage to create these two wardrobes, I will probably be able to free up about half my closet in terms of space. Just by cutting down the tee shirts along (I think that I’ve boxed up about fifteen to twenty shirts that I’m currently not wearing and still have about another twenty or so hanging in the closet), would free up a quarter of the closet.

This doesn’t count the clothes that I still have in my storage unit that I used for packing material when I was moving home. If I manage to get down to these ‘two’ wardrobes before I move out of my parents house, I’ll only have to got through the other third (clothes I haven’t laid eyes on in almost a decade) and decide what I want to keep or remove.

(2) Create a single ‘workstation’ area

Since I had decided to do a reboot break shortly before the pandemic hit, and have been self isolating sense—my ‘workstation/space’ has morphed into several different areas.

I have a large collection of pens/pencils/markers/highlighters scattered around the room (without counting in the colored pencils), and I truthfully have no idea how many of the pens/markers/highlighters even work.

I have several notebooks and journals in different spots, and I still need to set up the other computer for learning coding.

So how will I create a single ‘workstation’ area?

  1. Get rid of any pens/makers/highlighters that seem to be ‘dead’ or dying (little to no ink/color when being used for more than a minute at a time).
  2. Have no more than two holders for the various pens/pencils/markers/highlighters
  3. Create a ‘sidearm’ to the desk, so that I have writing space in addition to space for the laptop(s)
  4. Possibly purchase another bookcase for the ‘reference’ books that I’ve gotten recently

Then actually sit and work at the ‘workstation’ instead of sitting on the daybed working. Also have the planner (or editorial calendar open) out so that I make sure that I’m working on what needs to be completed and not wasting my time scrolling through social media.

(3) Cut down on the other ‘clutter’

So this one is more general than the workspace or clothing goal. That is because of current living arrangements (living with my parents), and dealing with stuff within the house and not tackling my storage unit quite yet.

So, whenever I do manage to move I want to have fewer boxes than what I will currently have to take out of my parents’ house. Cutting back on the clothes will help, but then so will just scaling back on everything else.

What are some of the things I can scale back on?

  1. I’m going to scale back on the number of DVDs I own; the reason is two-fold: (1) When I move, I won’t have a TV (right away) to hook the DVD player up to; and (2) I haven’t been in the mood to watch that many movies, and I can always stream them instead via Amazon.
  2. I’m going to also scale back on the amount of incense scones, and related items. Since I have a monthly subscription to CalmBox, I’ve gotten a good number of incense scones and other aromatherapy items—and they’re currently all sitting in a box under the bed. I either need to start using them at night when I’m mediating, donate/resell, or discard them.
  3. I also need to decide on whether or not I’m going to keep all of my journals from the past few years (I currently have them boxed up under the bed as well). While I probably won’t keep them, I do need to think of the best way of disposing of them (shred/rip pages, black markers, and so forth). It isn’t that there are ‘state’ secrets within them—but one can never be too careful.
  4. Basically used candles will be getting discarded, while I had though of trying to make my one (to make use of the leftover wax)—I realized that I was ‘still holding’ on to things that should be getting discarded. Though I do have three or four in glass jars, and will need to pry out the candle wax so that I can reuse the glass jars.
  5. Finally, I will need to make my way up to the storage unit and start going through that—mainly to repack the boxes that have slowly fallen apart over the past nine years that they’ve been up there.

So, how does this tie in with looking into ways of diversifying my income? Well—I can try to sell things online (DVDs, clothes, unopened incense scones, and other things), which would bring in a little bit of money. Mainly, it would help free up the mental energy needed to focus on pivoting and creating an online career.

One thing I’ve realized over the past eighteen months—it is extremely important now that I ensure that I have diversity in earnings (i.e. how money is coming in). Prior to my ‘reboot break’—I had a single source of income, my nine-to-five job. While I’m not averse to having another nine-to-five job, I know it needs to be supplemented/balanced with other sources of income, that way if there is another lockdown (or the position is terminated), I still have money coming in.

Right about the time I was getting ready to start my reboot break, I found an article on Forbes that dealt with different ideas for freelancing (55 in fact), though the article is no longer active. I ‘highlighted’ the type of jobs that I thought I wouldn’t mind doing, and they included:

Blogging; teaching; advertising copywriting; tutoring; stock photography; magazine article writing; photo editing; online research; editing; business management; voice acting; grant writing; wedding photography; wordpress site consulting, data analysis; and possibly college admission essay editing.

Though these can basically be grouped into the following:

(1) Writing/editing (blogging, advertising copywriting, magazine article writing, online research, editing, grant writing, and college admission essay editing),

(2) Photography (stock photography, photo editing, wedding photography), and

(3) Other (teaching, tutoring, business management, voice acting, wordpress site consulting, and data analysis).

I then found a book earlier this year that was on the same topic, and it was: ’25 Ways to Work from Home: Smart Business Models to make Money Online’ by Jen Ruiz

I’d mentioned in the review on ’25 Ways to Work from Home’ the twelve (combined) ways I’d like to work from home:

  1. Freelance writing (high yes, with moderate to high anxiety)
  2. Self-published books (high maybe, again with a moderate degree of anxiety)
  3. Start a podcast and/or a YouTube channel (high yes/maybe with moderate to high anxiety)
  4. Create online courses (high yes, again with high anxiety)
  5. Affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content (high yes, again with moderate to high anxiety)
  6. Graphic design/video editing (maybe–these are areas that I would be learning as I go)
  7. Selling photographs (high yes, with moderate anxiety)
  8. Creating and selling jewelry (high yes, moderate to high anxiety)
  9. Selling clothes (high yes, moderate anxiety)

One might notice a running theme in the above ways of working from home—the moderate to high levels of anxiety. I’ve always dealt with some level of anxiety depending on the situation—tests (mainly standardize, then certain subjects) the anxiety levels are high, social situations—levels are moderate to high, stepping into the ‘unknown’—high levels of anxiety.

I realize that it would be overwhelming to try to focus on all the different ways I could bring in money at the same time. Therefore, I’m going to focus on four of them to begin with, and then after they’re all ‘up and running’ for at least six-to-eight months (of steady income coming in), I may add in one or two additional streams.

I’m currently going to focus on the following ways of trying to diversify my income:

(1) Freelance writing (focus is going to be science, personal/professional development topics)—I just need to figure out who or where to pitch ideas to, while also trying to increase traffic to the blog.

(2) Affiliate marketing/advertising revenue/sponsored content

            See above for the first few things I need to try to focus on doing

(3) Selling Photographs

            Determine the best sites for selling photographs and which ones I’d be posting. Currently, I’d be focusing on nature/wildlife/outdoors, historical, and possibly architecture.

(4) Creating and selling jewelry

            This is listed last, due to the fact that I haven’t created any jewelry in awhile. The main two things I’d need to do are 1) create a certain number of necklaces, bracelets, and ear rings for sale; and then 2) either set up an etsy store or determine other sites to sell on.

I may even try selling quite a few of my tee shirts online as well. I’ve realized that I really don’t need to have over sixty different tee shirts, as I probably only wear about five to ten of them during any one month (and since it is summer time—I’m living in the tank tops).

These are going to be my ‘pillars’ or the foundation of my online career. I know that all will take work getting up and running, and that I may not see results quickly and shouldn’t get discouraged as I work towards that career of freelance/online/remote/consulting blogging career in science education/communication/advocacy, with a touch of hobbies/crafts, and other topics as well (personal/professional development and history/geography/anthropology/archaeology topics).

So, I’m simplifying different areas of my life to help bring calmness and clarity as I strive to step into the online world of freelance/remote/contract scientific writing/editing/education/advocacy, while also focusing on crafts/hobbies and other subjects as well (to keep the learner and multipotentialite in me happy).

So question—how are you simplifying your life to make room for change?