Hit Refresh

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I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions for myself, but I do love the overall feeling of freshness that comes with this month. I've been cleaning out our closet and drawers, reassessing our finances, budgeting for a possible vacation (!), and refocusing on my health (see below post, if you need some motivation too!). Also, I just love being organized - what girl doesn't love a brand new planner?! - so January is kind of fun for me ;)

So I thought I would share a few things that really help me to simplify. I can be a bit of a gatherer... hoarder of lists... so finding tools that help me keep my clutter to a minimum really help me focus. There are some emotional things I'd really like to recenter on this month - my spirituality, friendships, my marriage - so being able to easily assess the day-to-day stuff helps a lot. And let's be honest, we could all use a little more simplicity & joy in our lives! Here's to some apps that provide just that.

 
6 Apps to Simplify Your Life | That's Pretty Ace
 

Some of these are new to me, and some are tried-and-true! The Nike Running app is perfect for my personal exercise routine. I never did anything athletic growing up, and just got into running the summer of 2012. I don't have it synced up to show other runner's stats - I start to compare myself when I do that - but it is a great way to track how much I've done, and I love that it tells me when I've hit a new mile.

Messages is actually on my Mac, but it connects to my iPhone - did you know you can text from your computer? This has been revolutionary for me. I work so much faster when I can quickly respond to texts on my computer - or quickly ask someone a question. I have it set up to pop up in a small banner in the corner of my screen when I have a new text. I can quickly read it and close it or respond and keep plowing along on my work. Efficiency!

Duolingo is something I started using this Christmas. It's a free language-learning app, with short lessons. It encourages you to go through at least one lesson a day. I've been wanting a good brain exercise lately, and this is perfect! Plus, Chris has been wanting to learn Spanish for a long time, so now we're learning together (it's also a good refresher course). I'd love to learn Italian or French next.

Calendar is standard on every Mac and iPhone, but if you really put it to use, you can unlock some great stuff! I have all of my events color coded (work/church/home) and I have alerts set up to remind me to do things (ex. pay bills, pick up meds). I love that it syncs between my work desktop, home laptop, and phone.

You may have heard of Mint before, but I'd never really used it until recently. It is rocking my world. I love that I can visually see where we are spending our money, and it's really helped me to discipline myself in our budget. I also set up a savings plan for a vacation, and I'm so excited about it! This tool is really going to help me have more peace about our finances this year.

Lastly, this "app" is actually just a webpage saved my home screen... if your church has access to RightNow Media, you should really consider using it! I'm not just saying this because I work for them ;) I mostly use it on my computer - I set up a sermon series in my queue and listen while I'm doing more tedious work. Chris and I also love watching together on the weekends. I just recently added it to my phone, but I'd love to listen while I run. There's so much great content from great Christian speakers. If your church has a subscription, check it out!

 
My Home Style Pinboard | That's Pretty Ace
 

I've also been attempting to assess what we have in our home. I feel a little all over the place, since merging Chris and I's styles... do any of you feel this way too? I want to be sure that any purchases we make in the future are the right fit for us, so I've been a little curious about what that is exactly. I started a pin board at the end of last year, and it's been a great visual aide. The only things I pin to this board are things that I 100% would see in our home. I'm also trying to keep some key words in mind on how I want it to feel in our home - simple, happy, calm - and that's been helpful, too. So often I pin things to my "home decor" board that don't really fit Chris and I; I just think they're interesting or unique spaces. So this board is a little more focused. 

 
All I Need Print by Lara Casey | That's Pretty Ace
 

Lastly... prayer. I've been redirected time and time again to see that this is the key to simplifying my life, my mental clutter, my emotional baggage, my unnecessary guilt & worry. I'm doing my best to remember to devote my drive to and from work to prayer (and a little less singing along to the Frozen soundtrack; though that's pretty fun!). It's easy for me to just go through the motions and say thanks to God, or to pray and get sidetracked and never get to the "Amen". Praying out loud, praying for specific people, and praying specific praises sets my day on the right track, and brings me closer to Him and His peace. 

So what about you? Do you have any habits or apps that have helped you simplify? Or anything you're giving a try for 2014? I'd love to know! We are all busy gals, so it's great to share what helps you make what matters happen ;)

Top image via The Glitter Guide, all other imagery via That's Pretty Ace, third image via Lara Casey Shop.