I get asked all the time..
“How do you do it?”
How do I keep up with it all? How do I work 15 hours a week at my church, manage a small business, juggle clients and deadlines, keep track of the money coming in and out of my account, make sure a hot dinner is on the table when my husband gets home, and STILL have time to make sure my clothes match?
Easy. I don’t think that much.
Thinking takes too much time. Seriously. How can you possibly juggle school, work, kids, housework, commuting, hobbies, workouts, friends, AND make every day decisions like, “What’s for dinner?” This week, I’m going to help you focus on ways to automate your life. No, there is no “effortless” way to make your life effortless. BUT by implementing these four things, I promise your life will feel so much simpler. A little bit of prep and planning can translate to a LOT more free time and headspace.
1. Plan your meals, buy your groceries, and cook your food at the beginning of the week.
Let’s be real. How much time do you spend each day either planning, cooking, or frantically running through the drive-thru? I’m willing to bet that skipping meals is a common occurrence due lack of planning and a busy schedule.
According to a study done by the Harvard Business Review in 2015, “Participants reported their food consumption, mood, and behaviors over a period of 13 days. Afterwards, researchers examined the way people’s food choices influenced their daily experiences. Here was their conclusion: The more fruits and vegetables people consumed (up to 7 portions), the happier, more engaged, and more creative they tended to be.”
I understand. Getting hungry and needing to eat can be annoying. BUT how healthy and often you eat directly affects your productivity!
Here is what my typical week looks like. You can adjust your menu based on how many people you feed and any dietary preferences or restrictions. I typically try to keep each grocery run between $50-$75 (‘cause ya girl is broke). This includes breakfast, lunch, and dinner plus some snacks throughout the day.
I spend 2 hours on Sunday prepping all of my breakfasts and lunches, and then my husband and I spend time together cooking dinner each night.
Having “grab and go” meals is so important for me because I don’t spend extra money eating out and I don’t even have to think about my next meal. Just reach in the fridge, heat, and eat!
2. Plan your outfits according to your schedule and the weather
You can call me a lot of things, but you could NEVER call me a morning person. This is where the meal prep comes in handy, but let’s be honest. Choosing an outfit, getting ready for the day, AND waking up is just too much. A huge time saver for me is planning my outfits for the week all at once. If I know I have a project presentation to give on Thursday, I’ll plan a nice business casual outfit to present myself well to my clients. If I have a day where I’m working from home, I totally wear yoga pants and a sweatshirt. The most important thing is making sure my clothes are clean and I know exactly where to find them when I need them. For me, that means organizing them in my closet from Monday to Friday. That means when I wake up, all I have to do is put on my outfit, do my hair and make up, and then grab my overnight oats from the fridge. (READ: MORE SLEEP FOR ME)
3. Set your alarms for the week and make sure you get enough sleep
Does anyone else check their alarm like 8 million times before going to sleep? Yeah, that was me too. Until I figured out that I could set a “bedtime” and “wake up time” on my iPhone! I like to make sure I get at least 8 hours of sleep each night (I’m cranky and unproductive if I don’t), so I set my bedtime for 10:30 and wake up time for 7. The alarm on this feature starts out slow and soft and gradually gets louder, so it’s not as harsh of a wake up call as the standard alarm feature!
This will not only ease your mind about your alarm going off in the morning, but it also helps to remind you to get your sleep. A good night’s rest is sooooo important when it comes to productivity. It’s impossible to focus on your work when you are too focused on keeping your eyes open.
4. Fill your tank on Sunday (gas and otherwise)
How many times have you been running late to a Monday morning meeting or appointment and realized your gas light came on 10 miles ago? Seriously, we don’t have time for that. It’s also not an acceptable excuse to be late. Eliminate this problem on Sunday so you don’t even have to think about getting gas for another week (at least)!
Not only is it embarrassing when you show up late to a meeting because you ran out of gas on the way.. but it’s also super embarrassing when you show up to a meeting and you’re really frazzled, unprepared, and your clothes are all wrinkled. Take time on Sunday to “fill your tank.”
That means different things to different people. If that means catching up on sleep all day – do it. Spending an extra hour in the gym? Go ahead. Whatever you need to do to get yourself together before the week starts.. today is the day to get it done.
Stay tuned this week for downloadable templates and tips to help you stay organized and automated. Remember.. think LESS this week!