Get Your Sh*t Together Day: The Secret to Getting Things 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 things 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 about my time management systems that help me reach my goals and accomplish all my tasks on the daily.

The thing is, I didn’t always get everything done. I used to be extremely disorganized, a 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 and time management. Discipline and reaching smart 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.

The Secret to Getting Things Done

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.


Easy, Healthy Meal Plans

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.

Related: Top 6 Reasons You Need an 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 of focused productivity 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, even if it’s only once a week.

Sometimes my biggest incentive for getting things done is those few minutes of pampering.

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 getting things done quickly, before they have a chance to cause or 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. Developing a healthy time management practice by 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)!

Related: How To Create An Evening Routine That Works

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

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Top 6 Reasons You Need An Instant Pot


Oh, Instant Pot, how did I ever manage in my kitchen without you? You make my life so much easier!

  1. Never before have I been able to do a full week’s worth of meal prep in the span of a few hours, with so few dishes.
  2. 2. Never before have I been able to dump spaghetti sauce, gluten-free noodles, and (browned) ground beef into a pot, pressed a button, and walked away, only to come back to a fully cooked one-pot lunch in less than 10 minutes.
  3.  Never before have I made perfect, gelatinous bone broth, in any less time than 4 days – except now I can make it in 8 hours!
  4. Never before have I been able to make “dump and walk away” yogurt, even in a crock pot. Until my Instant Pot.
  5.  Never before have hardboiled eggs been so magically easy to peel, making deviled eggs a regular thing instead of a tedious treat.
  6. You can make beef stew in less than 1 hour that tastes like it’s been simmering away all day.

Ya’ll, seriously – if you don’t have an Instant Pot, you need one. It has completely revolutionized how I cook, how I clean up, and the amount of time I can spend with my family.

In Nevada I worked an average 9 hours a day at my job, and by the time I got home I was pretty exhausted. Meal prepping has always been my saving grace (check out my book, Dirt Cheap Nutrition, for details on meal prepping on a tight budget!), but especially in the late days of pregnancy, it was a lifesaver.

The NPR (natural pressure release) feature is probably my favorite feature when making main dishes. Maybe it’s just a mental thing, but I find it very relaxing to know that my food isn’t going to overcook if I don’t jump right up and run into the kitchen the moment the timer goes off. I can actually relax, put my feet up, and not worry about hovering over pots, pans, and the oven.

There are so many options for size and style of Instant Pots. Personally, I have the 7-in-1 DUO60 6qt. I specifically chose the 7-in-1 because it has the yogurt button feature and I knew I would use it frequently. For our small-but-growing family, I find it to be the perfect size, with plenty of room for leftovers. For larger families or families with multiple teenagers, you might consider the 8qt. I know of several couples who find that a 3qt is the perfect size for their RV or to bring camping with them.

I waited months to purchase my Instant Pot, watching for the perfect price. Knowing how I love a good frugal challenge, Peter suggested I wait to purchase one until I could buy it for $50 from our regular weekly budget. I am very pleased to report that after the Kohls cash, Ebates rebates, and a bit of money from a freelancer article I wrote, I spent a total of $25 from our weekly budget.

Need to know where to find an Instant Pot? I have seen great deals at Target, Kohls, and Amazon. I hear rumors that Amazon had deep discounts on their IPs on Black Friday and probably will again (they sold hundreds of thousands of them on Prime Day!), so be watching for that.

Do you have an Instant Pot? Do you love it as much as I do? Be sure to follow my IP boards on Pinterest for loads of healthy recipes your family will love!

 

{This post contains affiliate links. All opinions are entirely my own. Please read my full disclosure here. Thank you for supporting Crunchy Hippie Life!} 

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Don’t Buy Seven Limes: The Secrets To Eating Healthy On A Budget

healthy eating doesn't have to be expensive. check out these simple ways to eat healthy food on a tight budget

Raise your hand if you’ve ever heard (or said) the following: “It’s too hard to eat healthy food on a tight budget!”

When I first moved out of my parents’ home, I lived on $27 every two weeks for groceries (except for eggs and raw milk, which I purchased from a farmer every other week for $13 for a half gallon of milk – from which I made yogurt, a pint of cream – from which I made butter, and two dozen eggs). I primarily shopped at a local farmers market, where I based my meals off of the available produce that I could get for the cheapest price.  The leftover money went to flour to make bread, oatmeal for breakfast and homemade granola, and the occasional meat purchase at Whole Foods.  Yes it was tight, but it made me creative.  Mornings usually involved eggs and a smoothie, lunch was a large salad with several fresh veggies, and dinners were usually sautéed vegetables with some meat and a sweet potato for a side. I ate very well and enjoyed the challenge.

When I got married, I tried to continue this, but my budget didn’t increase to accommodate two people.  Suddenly vegetables didn’t fill us both up, especially my athletic husband who needed significantly higher caloric intake than I.  Again, I got creative and found ways to make our meals as nutrient-dense as possible.

Curious how we did it? Download your free copy of my ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition!

We went down to one car to save on gas and insurance.  His job had him working 60 hours a week, so going to the farmer’s market wasn’t an option because they weren’t open when he was off work.  We had to rely instead on what we could find in the grocery store, and that money didn’t go as far.  We aren’t and never have been on food stamps, but we do have a tight budget and know how hard it is to  buy healthy food and make those dollars stretch.

Related: Save Money On Groceries (And Support Feed America) When You Go Brandless

The point of these two stories is to show that it is possible, but only when you have options.  Unfortunately there are food deserts all around the country, and $29 goes a lot farther at McDonalds than it would at a Whole Foods.  If you live in an area with just those two choices, there’s not much you can do.

Gwyneth Paltrow infamously posted a picture about her $29 “food stamp” challenge.  She was, of course, congratulated by the rich and famous for bringing awareness to the way in which food stamp dollars don’t stretch.  In contrast, those actually on food stamps (or those who don’t qualify for food stamps but still have trouble affording food) railed against her for her food choices (read the twitter posts), because those numbers could potentially work for someone if they don’t buy things like avocados, scallions, or seven limes (even if they were cheap, Gwyneth, every penny counts and even one lime would have been a luxury!).  Their argument was that instead of stretching the dollars effectively, she focused on the vitamin content of food to make sure she ate nutritiously.

THIS IS WHY I AGREE WITH HER.

The problem isn’t that people don’t get enough food stamp money.  The problem is that the food that is readily available and affordable has no nutritional value.  This leads to our growing obesity problem, our growing health problems (children as young as 12 are now being prescribed cholesterol medication!) and subsequently, our need for health care reform to allow us a safety net for our inevitable health collapse.  But with health care changes causing a drastic budgeting crisis for health care facilities, we know that this practice is not sustainable.

Related: How to Grow an Urban Garden Anywhere

Those of us who live in an apartment because we can’t afford a house don’t have access to land to plant gardens and grow our own food.  We have a shared patio, with no room to put a Tower Garden.  There is one window that gets minimal sun, but not enough to grow food in the kitchen (besides perhaps a head of lettuce here or there, nothing that can consistently feed a family).


Thrive Market sells your favorite organic and non-gmo brands for up to 50% off retail.

The point isn’t to call attention to the need for an increase in funding as much as it should be to call attention to the fact that the healthy choices aren’t as readily available to the average person.  Why is a head of organic cabbage the same price as a McDouble?  Why is processed food, that requires several pieces of expensive machinery to process, preserve, package, advertise, and distribute, cheaper than buying a tub of salad greens?

If someone’s main focus is entirely on making sure they don’t go hungry, their focus is going to be “how can I use this limited money to fill me up” not on “how can I make sure that my vitamin intake is well balanced this week so I can avoid basic preventable diseases?”

Gwyneth Paltrow’s experiment pointed to the main problem – that quality healthy food, REAL food, is not easily available to everyone.

This is where the conversation needs to start.  We have to get to the problem so that we can fix it from the ground up (pardon the pun), instead of just chasing the effects of a poor system.

So what now?

It is possible to save money on real food, even on an extremely limited budget. My husband and I had a grocery budget of $25/week (yes, total!) and ate a solid whole-foods diet full of quality nutrients. My free ebook, Dirt Cheap Nutrition, is the step-by-step guide to exactly how we made that happen.

Here are some things we do to make our healthy food stretch:
Use spices

Rice and beans are a lot more palatable if properly spiced and or wrapped in a tortilla (making your own tortilla is a pain but can be cheaper).

Barter

I wrote about bartering for meat when times were especially tough here.

Trial Offers

Ask the local co-ops if they have an offer for a trial basket to see if you like it before you commit.

Use Websites

Pinterest and allrecipes.com have search engine options where you plug in the ingredients you have to find new recipes.

Go For Filling

When buying produce, buy things that will be filling (so don’t stock up on tons of lettuce).  Mushrooms are a great investment for our family because they can be filling while also helping our meat stretch, or bulking up our breakfast eggs. They are frequently on sale at Aldi for $0.59 cents a package.  One package typically feeds us for two meals.

Order Online

Thrive Market delivers all your favorite health foods straight to your door at amazing discounts. There is an annual membership, which pays for not only your household but also sponsors a low-income family’s membership so they can have access to healthy food as well.

Order whenever you need, there are no monthly ordering requirements.

Try out the membership for free, and get 20% off your first 3 orders!

Brandless is another online option, made popular because everything is $3 (and many are organic!). Every order purchased sends a meal to Feeding America, a non-profit network of food banks across the country. For a membership of $36 a year, you not only get free shipping, but every order sends two meals to Feeding America.

Be sure to check out my full review of the healthiest Brandless products.

Here’s $6 from me, try Brandless for yourself today!

Are you ready?

It’s possible to eat healthy, but it involves commitment and creativity.

And maybe not buying 7 limes.

 

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how to afford healthy food without breaking the bank

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