Three simple ways to stop wasting money, time and energy on things that don't matter

If you're anything like me, you probably tend to take stock of your life in the fall. Maybe because it's the time of year when the new school year started or because it's the time of year when you take out your winter clothes box and go through each item deciding on its relevancy for this go-around.

This year, I took a long, hard look at where I've been spending my time, money and energy and thought about where I'm wasting some of those precious resources. Here are a few examples of what came up in my self-review... and the three things I'm doing to fix them:

Why I'm wasting money:

 in packing up my summer clothes to put away for next year, I found items that I bought and NEVER wore (choosing instead to live all my summer days in 

this dress


They were impulse buys that I picked up without thought to how they'd work with what was already in my closet, and ended up wasting my hard-earned money. It's easy to make the excuse that our consumer culture shoves this down my throat, but in reality it's my eager willingness to buy into it (literally and figuratively) without thought. Every time I find an inspiring blog or Web site, my inner want-monster comes to life and I've been doing a really bad job shutting her down.

How I'm wasting time:

 in reviewing my Google Analytics for my blog, I realized that just a handful of posts driving almost all of the engagement on the site.

Meaning, I was spending time writing and publishing content that was unfocused, and a lot of it didn't add value to the people that visit (or land) on my page. If I'm going to write, I want it to serve a purpose and matter to the reader who lands on the page.

Where I'm wasting energy: 

in thinking back on what I was doing this time last year at work, I remembered much energy I spent analyzing, worrying and trying to control my circumstances that ultimately ended up not mattering much at all. 

And it left me little energy for the things that really bring me joy. That's not right, or sustainable, for my career and life.

On the off-chance that some of you can relate to this struggle to focus on what matters (I think merely living in Western civilization means you share my struggle with #1),  I wanted to share what steps I'm taking to solve my personal challenges wasting money, time and energy:

#1 How to stop impulse shopping and save money

I've given myself a strict budget and a stringent set of guidelines for what goes into my closet. Here are my five rules to apply to every potential purchase:

  1. Must be appropriate for both work and weekend
  2. Must be able to be worn with at least five items already in my wardrobe
  3. Must not own a like-item or substitute
  4. Must be high quality in a classic, simple shape
  5. If a trend, must undergo a six-month trial period with an extremely inexpensive substitute to ensure cohesion with existing wardrobe and worthy of investing real money.

#2 How to create content that has a purpose and is focused 

I've refocused my approach to blogging. Because most people visit my blog for either interior design ideas OR thoughts on how to develop authentic style, I've decided to focus my writing on those topics and do it on two separate Web sites. If you've been here before, you probably noticed I re-branded and launched an interior design site. Here's what you can expect from both:

  1. This site (formerly will focus on how to develop timeless style. There are a million blogs out there telling us what to buy. It's overwhelming, and I don't want to add to the noise. Instead, I want to write about the trends worth trying, classics worth investing, and creative sources to do it in a more affordable way. This is a work-in-progress for me as #1 above would suggest, and my only expertise is the amount of my own disposable income I've spent on clothes and observations on what has stood the test of time. (In case you're curious, "Coco Bordeaux" is the nickname one of Wes's friends gave me for my snobby alter ego. My colleagues at work have since adopted it thanks to my penchant for wearing the same fancy black MaxMara cropped pants every week and judging people for eating waffle fries.)
  2. I've launched an interior design site called Chateau Bordeaux, where I'll continue to document my home décor experiments, DIY projects, vintage-and-bargain-hunting and the amazing spaces of my talented friends and also talented strangers who respond to my emails.

#3 How to save your energy for challenges that matter 

I've updated my list of goals to just three simple things that I want out of the next year and have committed to focus my energy on realizing these objectives:

  1. To develop others in a meaningful way by seeking opportunities outside of my traditional project work
  2. To step out of my comfort zone every week by connecting with someone I admire or want to learn from
  3. To work internationally because that's just awesome and I don't really need a business case for that.

Will report back on how these are working... and would love to hear any ideas you have to add to the list!