Conscious by Chloé

Chloé Lepeltier - Conscious By Chloé

Bonjour & Welcome! Conscious by Chloé is a Sustainable Lifestyle Blog focusing on Zero Waste, Slow Living, and Ethical Fashion.

Reset your phone, reset your life

Girl with hat looking in the distance by Conscious by Chloé

You know how sometimes one little event ends up making you reflect on your life in general?

This happens to me a lot, especially when I'm clearing my closet...

This time, both a book and my phone made me re-evaluate my habits. Here is how it went:

During our road trip - which I highly documented on Instagram and that will be the subject of an upcoming article - I read many books, different kinds of books, and one of them was by my favorite happiness expert, Gretchen Rubin.

As you know, I listen to her podcast and was also very inspired by The Happiness Project, her best-seller. Unsurprisingly, her latest book, Better Than Before, was on my reading list. This time, she tackles this critical question: How can we make good habits and break bad ones?

With September coming up, a big project that will keep me busy for weeks and this general feeling of going back to school, the long hours driving along the Western States roads were the perfect opportunity to reflect on my habits. I assessed my New Year Intentions and formulated some new ones for the coming month.

But the implementation of these habits came in a funny way. I had been having issues with my phone for a while now and had postponed the inevitable restoration for too long. A thorough restoration is something you really do not want to have to do. It means losing all of your beloved settings, reinstalling numerous apps and re-entering a countless number of passwords (At least, I was glad I used 1Password. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, head out to my favorite apps article.)

In the end, it took me an entire afternoon to tackle this nagging task. What I would never have imagined though, is that evaluating whether every single app in my phone was worth reinstalling would make me reflect on my lifestyle in general.

Better Than Before helped me identify certain aspects of my personality. I'm a questioner, a procrastinator and probably an abstainer. This came as no surprise, but actually writing it down in my notebook helped me realize that what I needed was a) tools to organize my life and prompt me to do certain activities at certain times, b) an accountability partner and c) to identify activities that should be paired together in order to ensure they will be done (you'll understand what it means later).

I fell into a fitness-related vortex and spent way too much time linking well-being related apps to the Health app (I use an iPhone) and installing new ones that were suggested to me. Since my health data had completely been erased, I was motivated to start afresh and capitalize on the good cycling and hiking habits we had set during the holidays. So I reinstalled Runkeeper and Strava for walking, hiking and cycling. I also reinstalled my precious Clue app (period tracking), and the fun Sleep Cycle one. As one of my goal for the year was to drink more water, I also installed the Waterlogged app. And it's been pretty successful so far. Even Octave asks for a glass of water whenever he hears the waves sound of the app reminder.

Octave got me into mountain biking during this trip, and as we got back home, I finally managed to convince him to go indoor bouldering with me. We went to an intro class this week and got a pass for the next two weeks. Let's see how it goes. Accountability really works for me, so I hope that this fitness & fun partnership will go a long way.

As for work organization, I followed a friend and colleague's technique and set reachable daily goals in order to finish on time (duh!) and avoid the stress of the upcoming deadline, the sleepless nights, etc. I also try to wake up and go to bed at the same time, start working and stop working at the same time and take a break to listen to a podcast while walking after lunch (Rubin's strategy of pairing activities). That's basically office life at home, except that I'm allowed to make a couple exceptions.

This will hopefully give me more stability and eventually make me healthier, and happier!

Have you ever had such an experience? What happened? Did you quit your job after painting your nails? What are your habit hacks? I'd love to hear it all!

10 apps that helped me simplify my life

5 apps that helped me simplify my life by Conscious by Chloé
Using the Pepperplate app on my tablet in the kitchen has made cooking so much simpler for me

#thingsorganizedneatly could be my favorite hashtag. I mean I'm supposedly an organized person. People still talk to me about my shelf full of beautifully displayed shoes in the entrance of my 5th floor/no elevator apartment in Geneva, though now that I think about it, they might actually just remember me as a shoe hoarder and not a tidiness goddess. Anywho, I like things when they're organized, I don't like to lose time looking for them. One of my mantras? A place for everything and everything in its place. And the same thing goes for life. I don't like to lose my time, to make people lose theirs and I certainly hate it when they make me lose mine.

I still remember vividly when my terminography teacher first made us students use Doodle to schedule classes with her. It was mind-blowing! No more group emails, no more hassle to find a date & time that suit everybody. And I still get a little thrill every time I introduce it to someone who's never heard about it. By the way, I just read about Tossup. Does anyone already use it?

When smartphones entered my life, I slowly but surely introduced apps into my life. Some of them for general organization, others for health reasons, and last but not least, for peaceful cohabitation.

Indeed, moving in with someone who might not share all of my life principles has somewhat been a challenge, and to restore the balance, I looked for solutions that would work for us both, or, let's be honest, for me.

5 apps that helped me simplify my life by Conscious by Chloé
The touch ID for 1Password allows me to access all my sensitive data by the touch of a finger

Here is the list of the apps that make my life so much simpler:

1. 1Password
I think I'm gonna write this for every single app that I'm gonna put into this list, but seriously, this one has been a light-bulb moment when Octave first installed it on my computer + phone + tablet. I mean, how would I keep up with my passwords any other way? Nowadays, you have to have a password for everything, and each one of your logins and passwords have to be different, whether you want it or not (this one requires a number, that one a special character, this one no special character, aargh!). So now, I only have one password to remember, it does not get any simpler. With 1Password, all my data is encrypted on my devices, so no one besides me can access it. 1Password generates different passwords for each one of the services I use. They're usually long and complicated, but it doesn't matter, because the only password I need to remember is the one for the 1Password app. But, if by any chance, someone gets ahold of one of my passwords, I only have to update that password in the app and not all the passwords of all the services for which I would probably have used the same password in order to remember it more easily. All the data is synchronized between my devices, so if I add a login & password on my computer, I will be able to access it on my phone or tablet almost instantly. What about those annoying forms that you have to fill with all your personal info, what about your credit cards, bank accounts, passport number, etc? Now all you need is this app, your 1Password and everything will be filled in automatically when required. Did I mention that I now don't even need to enter the password on my phone? My fingerprints are the password (is this genius or scary?). Now, tell me if you know by heart 50 different logins with their respective passwords (please don't tell me you have an Excel file with all this info on your computer!). If you can give me this list, you have my eternal respect. If you can't, get that app and forget about the rest. You're welcome!
Category: Productivity

2. Wunderlist
A to-do list app like many others that exist on the market. This is the first one I used, I tried to switch to another one later on but came back to this one. It does the job, there's no need to change what works. I mainly use it to share our grocery list. It synchronises the data in real time so that we both know what to get when one of us decides to stop at the store, even unexpectedly. I have to admit that we use it less and less now that be both work from home and usually shop together.
Category: Productivity

3. Pepperplate
Octave and I keep sending each other recipes that we want to try. I didn't know how to store them until I found this app. What I love about it is the fact that there is now a bookmarklet that makes importing the recipe so much easier by filling in the fields automatically. The fact that the app is also on my phone makes grocery shopping so much simpler. Now I just need to stop importing recipes and start cooking them...
Category: Food & Drink

4. Think Dirty
It all started with this article on Garance Doré's blog. I started scanning my beauty products and ended up either throwing all my beauty products away or deciding to finish them and never buy them again. Two years later, my bathroom is way less cluttered. I still have a blush stick, a few lipsticks and eye shadows from that time (now that I write this, I realize that they might be way past their expiration date...). And I only bought mascara from a brand I trust. Otherwise, now that I try to lead a zero waste lifestyle, I buy shampoo, conditioner and soap in bulk at the coop and make the rest of my beauty products at home (toothpaste, hair spray, body butter, lip balm). My make-up routine is now minimal. I would just like to learn how to make mascara, and maybe liquid foundation. Anyways, back to the app: I obviously no longer use it, but I encourage you to try it out. It even suggests clean alternatives. Some might think that it's a bit alarming, but for me, it was just a good wake-up call. After all, we tend to care a lot more about what we eat (balanced, organic diet), but not as much about what we put on our skin (toxic chemicals, hormone disruptors, etc.).
Category: Health

5. Clue
This one is for the ladies. It's a simple app to track your menstrual cycle and linked events (pain, emotion, bleeding). I started using it a year ago I think and it helped me identify a pattern in my headaches which served as a foundation for the treatment we set up with my acupuncturist. Also, although some women don't want to read this (I was one of them not long ago), it allows you to plan your schedule accordingly. For example, as I know I tend to get headaches at this time, I now try to take it slow, meditate and avoid negative thoughts during these few days.
Category: Health

6. Feedly
A certain someone totally made fun of me when I was grieving the death of Google Reader. But when I started reading blogs, there was no such thing as a feed reader! I had tons of bookmarks. Then I started working and found that Google Reader allowed me to consult my favorite blogs both at home on my personal computer and at work (sorry boss). Well, a couple years later, Feedly successfully replaced Google Reader, so I can always be up to date with the latest news in the field of fashion, design, feminism and zero waste. Yes, my tastes are eclectic. Are there better feed readers out there? Which one do you use?
Category: News

7. & 8. Units and Tipulator
As a European living in the USA, I had to add them to this list. These two apps basically save me on a daily basis. Did I mention that I am really, really bad with numbers? So imagine me converting °F to °C, miles to kilometers and calculating the 20% of bills for tips.
Category: Utilities & Travel

9. Yelp
Same thing here. We cannot go to the restaurant without checking its rating on Yelp, or actually, we chose the restaurant in the list generated by Yelp according to our location. It's perfect when you first move somewhere, on when you're only here for a few days. But I have to admit that I would like it if a distinction could me made between the rating for the food and the one for service. Of course, I'd rather have a nice waiter, but if the food is to die for, maybe I could bear a lower level of service. Also, using Yelp all the time prevents you from "taking risks" and "making mistakes", which sometimes make a trip memorable.
Category: Travel

10. Google Maps
I have never used this app as much as now that I live in the US, and mostly, now that we own a car. When I moved to the Netherlands, a paper map was all I needed. I would walk, cycle, take the tram or the train, no need for a GPS. Now the distances are multiplied, it gets too hard to memorize my itinerary and the places where I want to stop. When we were in California, planning on moving to Portland, I would spend hours reading blogs, asking for recommendations and stalking people on Instagram. I saved all the restaurants, shops, and landmarks I wanted to visit once we would be in the Pacific North West in Google Maps. Now, whenever we go somewhere, I program the trip in the app and keep my eyes peeled in case I see a place I saved along the way. It's so much fun! People here were amazed at how many places we knew or had heard of although we had only just moved here. I just love the Internet! I'm slowly running out of saved places, so, please share your favorite spots with me in the comments section below! Any country, any city. My map is a world map! Thank you!
Category: Navigation

5 apps that helped me simplify my life by Conscious by Chloé
Most of the time, I prepare our shopping list on my desktop with the Wunderlist app

What about you? Which apps simplify your life? I haven't downloaded new apps in a long time, so I'd love to hear your recommendations! Pictures by Octave Zangs for Conscious by Chloé.