Category Archives: Efficient

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

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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!

How to do Laundry in an Apartment – Without Hookups!

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This is the blog post I was hoping to find four years ago. This is the blog post where I share with you how to do your laundry in an apartment when you don’t have hookups.

Once upon a time, we lived in an apartment without laundry hookups and were determined to use cloth diapers. Since we didn’t want to lug around a basket of stinky diapers around to the laundromat, or sit there with an infant for hours on end, we got creative.

First, we got a laundry pod. This thing looks like a giant salad spinner, fits about 3 diapers at a time, but it does work pretty well. Of course, this process takes pretty much all day if you have more than 3 things to wash. We hung them to dry on folding dryer racks. I usually did laundry every night to keep up with the cloth diaper demand. I did get a pretty good arm workout in, though.

After a few months of hand cranking my child’s cloth diapers, I decided we needed a different option. I did hours of research. Surely, someone had to have come up with a solution, right?

YES!

This portable washing machine became my new favorite appliance. At 2.5 cubit feet of space, it was big enough to fit our queen comforter, but small enough that I was able to maneuver it around with ease. It also had standard hookup capability, so we were able to use the same machine when we moved to a place with actual washer hookups. We did diapers in what felt like a flash, and hung them to dry. We bought more dryer racks because we could now do all our own laundry in our home. It was so exciting!

Most dryers require a special plug to run, requiring specific wiring (aka, “dryer hookups”). When we arrived in Iowa, our house had washer hookups and a dryer hose vent, but only the standard 110/120V plugs. It was then I found this dryer that can plug in to any standard 3-prong outlet. We were able to donate the drying racks and do all our laundry on our own, in only a matter of hours! We had a vent hookup in the Iowa house, but if you don’t, you can purchase this nifty little lint trap and keep it vented inside.

The biggest difference with apartment-capable washers and dryers is obviously the capacity. The washer we had did not have an agitator in the center, which meant that we were able to fit more in. Everything we washed came out clean, so we didn’t even miss the agitator. The dryer took a little longer than your standard 220V dryer did to dry a load, but that was fine with us since we were finally able to do laundry on our own terms, and multiple loads in the same day.

When we moved into the RV, we sold our washer and dryer, since the RV came with a combo unit. We now live in a townhouse with our own laundry room, and we purchased a standard washer and dryer set. Aside from the size difference in capacity, I haven’t really noticed any difference between clothes cleaned in our apartment washer vs. our new traditional one.

As you might imagine, it is less expensive to purchase a portable washer and portable dryer than a standard set. The savings are especially high when you consider the time, effort, and money spent per load doing laundry at a laundromat. I love that our portable washer and dryer allowed us to do laundry and continue on with our lives, without the need to go back and forth to a laundromat/apartment laundry center or try to entertain little people for hours on end while doing laundry.

If money is tight, check out my list of 25 ways to save money in 2018. This isn’t your standard “use coupons at the grocery store” list. These are tough love, actionable ways you can save big money this year. Implement an idea or two and put those savings towards your new system. It will pay for itself very quickly.

Dress for your Day

Ya’ll, I’m sorry. I’m really bad at this whole posting-every-day-for-the-challenge thing. Especially when big projects at work happen and I come home exhausted and barely able to get through my (almost habit!) evening routine.

The good news is that I’ve been doing the dishes consistently before going to bed! I do love waking up to a clean kitchen. I’ve also been able to read to Tristan consistently and it’s such a special time for me each day!

Day 8 was funny for me. I opened the book and the subject was “dress for your day.” The thought that one good action breeds another must be true because as my evening routine became more routine, I was already mentally planning my outfits for the next morning. Yay me! I don’t lay out my clothes because there’s no real place to put them, but having a mental idea makes the morning so much easier!

I have this one work outfit where I wear grey dress pants, a black sleeveless cowl-neck sweater, and a sparkly black bracelet. The bracelet addition really makes me feel like I have my life together.

Grey and black…yep, I’m officially boring.

Related: Save up to 90% by shopping at ThredUp

When not wearing dress clothes, I prefer a relaxed vibe. I have a toddler and we enjoy long walks to the park (and swinging, and playing soccer, etc). Dressing for my day often means capris and a cute shirt. I loathe and despise tennis shoes, usually opting instead for Toms or ballet flats.

Do you lay out your clothes?

This is Day 8 in a 14-day challenge, Makeover Your Evenings. If you haven’t purchased your course yet, you can do so by clicking here.

 

 

Smash Your Goals in 5 Minutes

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Five minutes. Two perspectives:

“Well yeah, but what would five minutes do?”

Vs.

“What could five minutes do?”

When I was a teenager I wanted to get into better habits, so I signed up for daily Flylady emails. She had a two-minute list: what can I actually accomplish in just two minutes? The actual list is pretty staggering. Things don’t take as long as you think they might! Applying a five minute miracle outlook is much the same. I can accomplish quite a lot in five minutes!

There are plenty of five minute projects that, when practiced consistently, can either make your day or even your whole life better:

– do 50 squats/lunges/something similar

– drink another glass of water and take your supplements

– write a short blog post or outline of one, brainstorm other topics and write them down

– read a chapter of an ebook (I get them when they are free on Amazon. I have a library now of 100+ books to choose from when I have spare minutes!)

– do some simple yoga poses like sun salutation and peaceful warrior, focus on your breathing and just the moment in time

– make yourself a smoothie, hiding extra greens for better health and digestion (limit your clean up by making your smoothie in a NutriBullet or this DIY hack)

See how these could add up? As my son learns to walk, I’m learning the value of the phrase “baby steps.” Sometimes we will fall and that’s okay. When we get back up and keep going, we will meet our goals.

To learn more how to streamline your mornings and become more efficient, check out MoneySavingMom’s Makeover Your Mornings course!