The bad habits I’ve picked up while living alone

Living alone is great; in fact, there are things that I’ll miss when I get married and have children; “oodles of ‘me time'” tops that list. However, there’s a season for everything and I’ve spent enough time in this season. But this isn’t what I want to talk about today. Oh no, today I want to tell you about the bad habits I’ve allowed to flourish in my life because I could! There’s no one to hold me accountable but me, and I was on vacation for a while, apparently!

Not having a schedule

This is huge: one of the best things about living alone is the freedom to do what you want when you want to do it. On the weekend, if I want to stay up until 5:00am then sleep in until 3:00pm the following day, I can do so completely guilt-free: I don’t have a husband whose lunch plans I’ve just thwarted, nor do I have a child who I’ll be abandoning with my “irresponsible” behaviour. It’s great. (And it’s something that I’ve done more than once!)

But…what doesn’t get scheduled, doesn’t get done and this has been my biggest challenge in 2016: I’ve been living day to day without a plan. As a result, my beautiful vision board is no closer to being replaced with new goals than it was at the beginning of this year. Now that I get home earlier than before (since I changed my working hours), I have approximately 5 hours before my bedtime, but most days I can’t tell you how I spent most of those hours.

Sooo…I took some time to plan out this week. High on the list was planning my:

  • meals (more on this next)
  • outfits
  • business time
  • tv time
  • family time
  • cleaning time (more on this later too)

Just because I’ve written it out doesn’t mean it’s going to automatically happen (hello, vision board!), but it’s a step in the right direction. Cutting down on the time spent thinking about what to wear to work or what I’ll eat already feels like a win.

Eating while seated on the couch rather than at the dining room table

If you only eat at your dining room table, I applaud you. For a long time now I’ve been enjoying my evening meal while seated in front of the tv, whether it’s on or off (as is usually the case). The couch is so comfy (my dining room chairs, not so much) and I’ve begun to associate the dining room table with “having guests for dinner”, a pretty rare occurrence.

Will eating while seated on the couch cause me to lose my table manners? No way, but I it affects how I treat mealtimes: if I take the time to prepare a delicious meal and set the table and eat there, without any other distractions, I get to savour the meal and in doing so, enjoy the experience more. Food eaten while seated on the couch is consumed rather than savoured; I don’t know why this is.

Eating snacks or incomplete meals for dinner

I’ve said more than once that I don’t enjoy cooking, but I can cook. After a challenging day of work, however, the thought of figuring out what to have for dinner then preparing it is very low on my priority list: all I want is something that will fill my stomach. This year I’ve had a bowl of homemade, stovetop popcorn for dinner, with a side of two hardboiled eggs (#whyamiadmittingthis). I’ve also had an omelette or bought a small amount of meat which I’ve fried up and eaten with a side of raw, sliced red peppers. I’ve also had a bowl of cereal for dinner.

Coming home to cook a meal after working all day is highly overrated—how my mom does it so well impresses me—she can whip up something from nothing in no time flat! Since I don’t love cooking, taking a day or half-day to do at least some of my cooking for the coming week sounds like the best way forward for me; it helps that I don’t mind eating the same thing over and over again. It’ll also ensure that my meals are more balanced.

Cleaning when I feel like it rather than on a schedule

When you live alone and you have a dishwasher, you usually find yourself either washing your dishes by hand and not using your dishwasher (because it takes too long to fill up the dishwasher when you’re the only person in the house), or letting dishes accumulate so you can use the dishwasher. I’ve been on both sides of this but lately I’ve started washing dishes immediately after using them. The kitchen looks so much better and I feel like I’ve been productive even on lazy days—love that!

But that’s not all I have to say when it comes to cleaning. Once upon a time, I used to deep-clean my bathrooms every week, and spot clean mid-week. I also used to vacuum and dust weekly. I’ve totally slacked and it’s not a good look for my house. The only cleaning I never removed from a schedule was my laundry: wearing dirty clothing is not an option.

When you live with others, messes occur more frequently, so you tend to have more of a need to clean on a schedule, whether it’s so that you have enough dishes for subsequent meals, because the bathroom mirror is covered in toothpaste spatter, or in response to the complaints of the other residents of the house. I’m more tolerant of messy conditions than I used to be, but I don’t want to slide any further in that regard. If you, like me, would hesitate to invite a good friend or family member (aka people who won’t judge you) over to your house on a minute’s notice, you need a cleaning schedule.

Not doing business work at a table (ideally at a desk in my office space)

This one is just like eating while seated on the couch: I take my business a lot more seriously when I’m working on it from a desk. As I mentioned, my dining room chairs are uncomfortable, so sitting at the table makes it clear to my body that it’s time for business rather than comfort. Secondly, working at a table prevents me from turning on the tv on the rare occasion that I feel the need for a little distraction while I work. This is good because I’m a terrible multitasker, which means when the tv goes on, I’m no longer working—this probably explains why I wonder where my evenings go!

I have an office nook, but it’s completely covered in craft supplies that I need to sort and give away or otherwise discard. Once it’s cleared off I can set up the cute office space I’ve always wanted.

I’m sure you’ve seen those memes that compare mere mortals to people like Beyoncé or Oprah with regard to how much time we have in a day. The memes don’t impress me because these celebrities have a ton of help for their menial tasks so they can spend their precious time on things that move their empires forward the most, those things that only they can do. However, when I see regular people killing it online or offline, stretching their hours in ways my hours have never seen, I’m inspired. And if you pay attention to what they’re doing you’ll find that they are all about planning and focus. These may not be fun concepts but the results speak for themselves and I for one would like some results.

Do you have any bad habits that are stopping you from being great?

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11 thoughts on “The bad habits I’ve picked up while living alone

  1. I feel usually relaxed reading your piece of write-ups!

    I’ve lived in both states – alone and with people. And I can tell you, I prefer living alone because my life is more organised living alone than with people.

    I pray more, organised schedules, spiritually at alert, accountable to myself, more concious of everything about my life and even eat better while living alone!

    It all depend on you, and what your discipline level is, besides, when you’re married and have people living on you, you’ll wake up and those habits would be gone!

    • Thanks, Sesan: comments like this give me life!

      I don’t blame you for preferring to live alone: depending on your “roommates”, living with people can be a trial. I don’t mind living alone either but I definitely don’t like the bad habits that I had developed unchecked because I live alone so I’m working on them.

      You’re right that it comes down to discipline, and I can tell that you’re more disciplined than I am! Living alone appears to help you stay organized, which is fantastic!

  2. Hey girl! I can totally identify with these habits… Kudos for identifying the things that need to change, which is the first step 👍🏾
    From my experience, having a meal plan saves a lot of brain power and prevents one frombsimply soaking garri (my default) when you find yourself hungry with nothing to eat. It also keeps the grocery bill down as you know exactly what you are shopping for. There will be days when you don’t feel like eating what’s been scheduled, and that’s also okay imo 🙂.

    As you’ve rightly summarised, being disciplined and having a schedule / plan is the ish, but don’t think you are alone in how hard it is to put into consistent practice! We just have to keep on trying and trudging along 😀😇.

    • Thanks, Bash! Good point about the financial benefit of meal planning. I won’t tell you how many times I’ve tossed food that I bought (usually veggies) because I didn’t have anything in mind for them when I bought them.

      Heehee, soaking garri is the equivalent of me having cereal for dinner. :)

      It feels great to have you relate on the consistency front…we will get there, one day at a time!

  3. Good to see you back GNG!
    You’ve been away like a very long time to me. I sometimes type your url on my browser to check your latest post but was usually dissapointed :/
    So back to biz, i have the issue of PROCRASTINATION, i even mention it in the 7 facts about me in my bio. From composing blogposts, to meeting and talking with a publisher company or someone, cooking special meals, catching up with schedule, and few others. I really really really wish to CLEAR this bad habit once and for all!

    • Don’t mind my inconsistent blogging, Tunde: it’s an embarrassment to me as well!

      Like you I need deliverance from procrastination. If we could force ourselves to focus we would be better for it.

      Have a brilliant week!

  4. Yay! The joys of being alone….such freedom! I never really stayed alone…well if you count the school days, NYSC and the period I worked outside Lagos….I was always in my parents house…then hubby’s. ahaha.

    My best part was less cooking then! I could drink tea throughout the day without a care! Read so much novels because I was an introvert…but now…sigh! ahhaha.

    • Nitty, my mom can relate to you: she also never stayed alone.

      You know, I really am enjoying eating what I want when I want, without having to eat at specific times due to having to feed the kids. That being said, I know that getting into a routine will actually serve me well, even while I’m single: it’ll give me more time for the things that I need to do (that I keep procrastinating on!).

      Thanks for dropping by! :)

  5. Nice post! first time here and thanks for visiting my blog.
    like Sesan said, i love staying alone because i plan my life smoothly and easily, decide when to cook and eat without anyone bugging me to cook this or that, i know that changes once the hubby comes in and stuff. but not staying entirely alone. i mean, i can stay in a flat and have flat mates but we should all have separate rooms and bathrooms and i am good to go.

    like it was said, consistency is a task that has to be achieved daily. and what can truly cure procrastination is to be deliberately conscious of it and make efforts to do what you have to do even when inconvenient.

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