Get Your Sh*t Together: How to get it all done

how to get it all done, how to do it all, how to be efficient, efficiency tips, working mom tips, time management, meal planning, meal prep, time management

Have you ever wondered how to “get it all done”?  Or if “getting it all done” was even possible? I work full-time, I’m a wife and mommy to two very active little boys, and I’m building this blog into a full-time gig. There is never enough time for all the things I want to, but I have had a lot of people ask how I manage to handle everything that I do accomplish on the daily.

The thing is, I didn’t always get everything done. I used to be extremely disorganized, hardcore procrastinator, and okay with just surviving my days. I thought being late or disorganized or constantly behind was fine (even normal) because I was working and had a baby, but I realized the legacy I was teaching my son was just to survive. I decided just surviving wasn’t going to be one of the life lessons I wanted to leave my son, and I could actually accomplish so much more with my life if I just applied a small amount of diligence. Discipline and reaching goals are definitely traits I want to teach!

With a little big of planning, I’ve figured out how to actually put the tedious parts of life on autopilot to create space for the best moments. I call this weekly practice my  “Get Your Sh*t Together” (or GYST day), and it’s become my favorite day of the week!

I realized that the things that took up the most time in my week were small, mundane events I had been avoiding or didn’t plan ahead for during the week. Since Monday is a new work week, Sunday seemed like the best time to GYST.

Between my family, my work, and building this blog, a lot of my time and energy is focused on big things. I tend to procrastinate the shorter tasks during the week (like paying bills, renewing library books, etc). I know they are important and only take a tiny amount of time, but for whatever reason I’m just not as likely to take the time to do them during the week.

Basic Food Prep

My GYST days start with food, because of course it does. I loooooooove food! And coffee. But you already knew that.

We usually do our grocery shopping on Saturdays, so I start off Sundays with a fully stocked kitchen. I go through all the groceries and create a basic (flexible) meal plan and start to prep some breakfast foods. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day, and I like to have plenty of options ready for me to create a big meal quickly. Typically, my breakfast involves my coffee, a smoothie, and some sort of baked goods. On Sundays I like to do all my baking for the week, so I’ll usually make at least one batch of muffins or breakfast bread (usually either pumpkin or banana, depending on what I have on hand). Once the batter goes in the oven, I clean up the kitchen and will either start a batch of brown rice or throw a few chicken breasts in the Instant Pot.

Need some help with meal prep? Download my free ebook, Meal Planning for Busy People!

The Necessary Computer Work

With the food going in the kitchen and the kitchen cleaned up, I’ll sit down and pay the bills. This only takes a few minutes and takes a huge load off my shoulders. It’s amazing how important financial fitness is to mental health!

Since I’m sitting already, now is the time I pull out my planner and look over the week. Any appointments, social events, and deadlines are reviewed and planned for appropriately. I have a running list of blog topics and networking opportunities going on a page in my planner, and I review those and map out the following week. January was all messed up with illnesses, but thankfully we are getting back on track in February and I couldn’t be more excited. It’s safe to say I love routine and I thrive on checking off my to-do lists!

I also take this time to do any necessary paperwork, or prepare mail to be sent. Any important documents, handwritten notes to friends, or blogging paperwork is prepped and ready to be taken to be sent on Monday.

Self Care

After all of this is done, it’s time for some self care. When I was single, Sunday used to be my home spa days. Now with two little boys creating chaos over here, usually the best I can do is maybe a bentonite clay mask and filing my nails. If I get really lucky, sometimes I can get my nails painted, but I only risk that if both boys take a nap at the same time. Whatever I do, it’s important that I set aside at least 5 minutes for something just for me. I’ve noticed a direct relationship between how I feel about myself and how I react to stressful situations or interact with my little family. If I feel gross and run-down, I’m not as patient or giving as when I have taken a minute to prepare myself mentally and put myself together.

The best part about GYST days is that they are relaxing while being incredibly productive. The idea is not to start the week in a stressful way with a long list of to-do items, but to calmly prepare for a good week by taking care of a few key things before they have a chance to become problems.

Obviously, the decision of what to include in your GYST day is completely up to you, but I would recommend at least some basic meal preparation and something for self-care. This sets up your week for success immediately.

The benefits of a GYST day are exponentially increased when you are intentional about each day. Creating a functional morning routine and an evening routine gives you even more success and space throughout your days to reach whatever goals you are working towards, and will absolutely skyrocket your productivity (and keep you sane through it all)!

Do you have a weekly routine that helps you? Leave me a comment!

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Why You Need an Evening Routine: The Cure for the Mombie Effect

If you're a tired and busy mom, you NEED this top tip to accomplish your goals without losing your mind!

“Mombie” – a sleep-deprived mom who is barely held together by coffee and yoga pants (or, since I ditched my yoga pants, skinny jeans). 

The other morning, I woke up super late. I hadn’t completed my evening routine the night before, so I (somewhat frantically) rushed through my evening and morning routines and was feeling super proud of myself until I got to work and realized I left my coffee on the counter.

Mornings happen. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, things just go wrong. That’s okay (well, unless you leave your coffee at home, in which case – cry away, my friend)!

Your morning, no matter what time you actually get out of bed, is determined by how you set yourself up the night before.

Easy Evening Routine Ideas

You can give yourself a huge step up each day by completing a few simple tasks the night before:

  • Do the dishes. Waking up to a clean kitchen is instantly energizing.
  • Fill the kettle with water so it’s ready to go first thing in the morning, or get the coffee maker ready to go so you just have to press the on button.
  • Pick out an outfit for the next day. Even jewelry if you’re really feeling crazy.
  • Make sure you have a plan for breakfast the next morning. Through trial and error, we have discovered that homemade muffins are what works the best for us.
  • Pack a healthy lunch (and don’t forget snacks!)

When I consistently complete my evening routines, I free up space in my mornings for extra time with Peter and Tristan, or extra sleeping time if we need it. And since I’m not rushing around, I remember my coffee. Mombie cured.

Are Routines Necessary?

Routines are so key to accomplishing goals. Routines put simple tasks on autopilot for you, so you can create the space to do whatever it is you really want to do.

Want more time with the kids, but feel constantly behind on life? You need a morning and evening routine to make sure you get the most important things taken care of first!

Are you needing to save money but spend too much going out to eat? You need a meal prep routine! (and you also need to download my Meal Planning for Busy People free guide!)

Create Space in Your Days

Routines remove that “what should I be doing next?” fear and instead create space by creating order. For instance, my mornings are much calmer and I am able to accomplish more (like writing this blog post) when I’ve cleaned the kitchen the night before. Because the kitchen task is already taken care of thanks to my evening routine, I have space in my morning to move forward with my blogging goals. Ta-da!

Related: Get Your Sh*t Together: How to Get it All Done

Most of these realizations and habits came when I blogged through MoneySavingMom’s Makeover Your Mornings 14-day course late last year. I’m so excited for the release of her follow-up challenge, Makeover Your Evenings, which goes live tomorrow! I got an early release copy and have been looking through it. I can’t begin to tell you how awesome this course is and how many big things will be happening because of it.

Ready to make over your evenings with me? Sign up here, then leave me a comment to let me know!`

 

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How to Create a Rockstar Morning Routine

how to create a rockstar morning routine, how to get more done in the morning, productivity tips,

When I was a baby I rarely went to sleep before 11:30pm. I’ve always said I was naturally a night owl, and when I was a teenager you could usually find me wide awake at 2am. This was helpful when I became a nurse and worked night shift, but after I left the hospital environment I was still very much a night owl who hated mornings.

This only got worse as I got older and became a wife and mom, but recently something changed in me and I’ve been able to take control of my life and find the freedom that comes with taking advantage of the still of the morning.

Here’s a peek at my “new” life:

– I rarely go to bed with a dirty kitchen. This allows me to wake up feeling like I’ve already won the day, and not like I’m already behind on something.

– I have found the time to blog! Writing has always been a passion of mine but as a new wife and new mom I was having trouble making it a priority. Now that I wake up at 6am and usually I can get some blog work done while the house is quiet.

– did you get that last part? I wake up at 6am! This night owl has reformed, my friends.

– I have a bedtime routine that involves picking up whatever Tristan has lovingly reorganized around the house, settling him down for bed, getting all my work things together and mentally picking out my outfit for the next day.

I went from being frazzled, disorganized, and chronically late in the mornings to now I am calm, organized, and on time. I wake up happy, and even if I don’t want to be awake I am usually energized after just a few minutes. Even Peter has commented and asked how I can be alert and joyful before my coffee now? Ahem. Miracles happen.

All these changes are a result of committing to the 14-day Makeover Your Mornings course. Full of practical suggestions and loving encouragement, Crystal Paine’s course requires 15 minutes of your time for just 14 days. I love going through the workbook and changing things as I need to, based on the needs of my family. This morning routine works for us and I’m so excited to be getting so much more accomplished each day!

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How to Create an Evening Routine that Works

How to create a productive evening routine and why you need one!

 

Picture this: you wake up in the morning and are greeted with a clean kitchen, clothes laid out and ready for you, all necessary paperwork for the day is in your backpack/purse/briefcase. Basically, you wake up ready to attack your day. Does this sound out of reach? It’s not!

I’m working through Money Saving Mom’s Makeover Your Morning challenge and today’s challenge is the most instrumental for our family – creating a workable evening routine. It might sound a little backwards, but a productive morning routine starts with a productive evening routine. When a few basics are taken care of the night before, it sets up the morning for success – you can move forward instead of waking up already behind!

I do know that when I complete my entire evening routine, my next day is much more calm, productive, and energizing. I actually wake up excited for the day rather than feeling overwhelmed by how much I have to do.

Here’s our basic, every night routine:

  • wash the dishes, wipe off the table and Tristan’s high chair
  • check our cloth diaper stash, run a load of laundry if necessary (usually every 2-3 days)
  • do a quick tidy of the house, putting away everything that’s out of place (usually just Tristan’s toys and some mail)
  • mentally pick out what I’m going to wear the next day
  • gather my purse and work bag and make sure they contain everything for the next day

The main things that throw off the routine are usually if the diaper laundry needs to be done, and I usually procrastinate the dishes.  In reality, what I should do is do the dishes BEFORE starting the laundry, especially since our washing machine hooks up to the kitchen sink (apartment living is getting better!). I am so thankful that we are able to do laundry in our apartment, especially since we don’t have hookups, as this saves us so much time and money. But since the machine is connected to the kitchen sink, we have to stay close by the kitchen to turn the water on and off for the duration of the washing cycle.

The Importance of an Evening Routine

As a mom, it’s important to be intentional with my days. Since we co-sleep, sometimes it’s difficult to wake up and start my day without waking up my toddler. I am not able to leave dishes in the sink and count on being able to wash them and put them away before work, because who knows what sort of chaos he might create that will distract me? I just love waking up to a clean kitchen, even Peter laughs at what a difference it can make in my mood! Who knew a clean kitchen would make me joyful at 6am?

Related: Get Your Sh*t Together!

A Good Routine Serves You

Don’t stress when you create an evening routine. The idea isn’t to give you one more thing you have to do but create habits that will benefit you and help you accomplish your goals. Pick out 3-5 small tasks that you can commit to accomplishing every evening that will benefit you the next day.

Some evening routine ideas:

Lay out/pick out clothes for the next day

Pack your lunch

Prep all outgoing mail

Sign forms needed for the next day

Pack your gym bag

Fill up a water bottle

Program your coffee maker

My Evening Routine

So, since we are doing this challenge, I commit to making sure I complete my (above) before bed routine  every day. This will require me to be more careful with my dishes use for dinner so I have less to clean up (or I could finally master that elusive “clean as you go” method that I keep hearing about), finish the dishes right after dinner, and then set up the washing machine. It will take some dedication, and I’m sure some tweaking as necessary.

But that shiny clean kitchen at 6am sure is worth it.

If you haven’t gotten your copy of Makeover Your Mornings 14-day challenge yet, I highly recommend it! This course has helped me become better organized and more productive, which makes me a much happier mom! Get your access today!

 

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