Happy Sunday! I hope you’re having a great day! On Sunday’s, I like to do alllll the planning for the week while I’m calm, relaxed and happy.
Before I sit down with my hubby for our marriage meeting, I get my own things in line. Want to take a peek at my plan? Maybe it will inspire your plan?
Schedule for the week:
5am Wake, Bible, Pray, Journal
6 – 6:30 Breakfast with hubby
6:30 – 7:30 Breakfast / Kid prep / Clean house
7:30 – 8:30 Coffee & relaxing time
8:30 – 9:30 Kid bus / preschool drop off
9:30 – 11 Workout / Shower
11 – 12 Work
12 – 1 Preschool pick up / errands
1 – 4 Work
4 – 4:30 Bus / Folders
4:30 – 5 Dinner prep / House reset
5 – 6 Family dinner / dishes
My schedule varies week to week quite often. And my evenings are always different based on clients / classes but I like to have a good base. This is what I call “mom blocking.” When I have the basics blocked like when I will get quiet time, workouts, housework, kiddo time and my work done then I can breathe and relax and get excited for the week!
When I’m doing my schedule, I also set the priorities for the week.
This week I have to get my vision board workshops completely planned out and I need to file business stuff at the county court.
I also need to get December’s budget completed.
I need to get my girl’s birthday party planned.
Whew! So, I’ve got those things scheduled in on my planner so they’ll actually GET DONE.
Food for the week:
This week’s food is brought to you by leftover turkey and end of the month creativity.
Monday everyone will eat turkey sandwiches for lunch and I’ll have a shake. For dinner, I’ll have zoodles and they’ll have turkey & dumplings.
One of the best tools that I’ve learned to use is the concept of the ideal day / ideal week. What is that? Michael Hyatt likens it to a financial budget, but for your time. Just as you tell your money where to go in a spreadsheet and really plan it out, you can do the same with your most valuable resource: time.
When creating your ideal week, lay out your schedule over the course of an entire week in its best case scenario. We all have so many things going on in life that the days can overwhelm us and we might feel like we’re treading water. Laying out your ideal week allows you to brain dump everything, get it all out on the table and really see what needs to happen in order for you to get everything done you’re hoping to get done.
You see, your ideal week is a plan. You have a choice in life. You can live by your own design, according to your goals and objectives or you can life by default, reacting to the whims and demands of others. So, you’re going to be proactive and begin with the end in mind. Sometimes our schedules reflect other peoples goals, priorities and plans. Creating an ideal week allows you to be in control and choose those things for yourself, intentionally. If you have goals and ideals but you’re not doing any of them each day, you’re not living your best life. Spend your time, like your money, on purpose.
Realize you’ll many drafts and you might not hit your goals just as you planned ever, but that’s okay. It’s a framework and you’re going to find it really helps you.
Once you’ve made your ideal week, realize there’s a devil on your shoulder and an angel on the other. The angel you has created this schedule to allow your best life, your best priorities. It’s not a punishment. But devil you will try to deviate. It will try to tell you it’s too much, it’s too hard, it’s the opposite of fun. But if you do it right, there’s lots of fun, relaxing, achieving and productivity in your plan.Your ideal week will be a mix of what you WANT to do and what you HAVE to do. So stick with what angel you has planned and don’t let devil you talk you out of it.
There’s a lot to an ideal week like themes, blocks, getting super clear on priorities, goal setting, and how to share this with those in your life. I’d love to schedule a coaching session to help you create yours.
Basically, I like to start with the the things that are hard set, things that never change. In my particular instance, that means things like the bus stop times. My work schedule is flexible, so I create work blocks and only allow clients / projects to be scheduled in those blocks. Everyone has work blocks though, regardless of your particular line or work. I also block in housework, since that’s part of my job (no matter how hard I try to resist!). I factor in things like meal times, self care time, bed times and more.
Once you get it all out on the table, you can put it together like puzzle pieces. Those puzzle pieces need to be joined with what I like to call buffer time. That just means giving yourself margin between activities and even overestimating the amount of time certain activities take. That gives you the illusion of luxury. The luxury of extra time.
Enough talking, let’s see what this looks like, shall we?
530: Wake, dressed, quiet time
630: Breakfast, clean kitchen, pack lunches
7:30: Workout while kids get ready
8:20: Bus stop, house reset.
9-12: Work block (I break this down further personally)
12 – 1: Lunch break/nap/errands
1-3: Work block
3-4: Housework block
4: Bus stop
6: Football or family time
7: Kiddo bedtime
9: Hangout with Chris
10: Lights out
That’s just how mine goes. Let me show you some other examples:
Why don’t you give it a shot? If you need help, reach out and we’ll do it together!
There are all kinds of excuses we can come up with to not get fit or to not stay fit. Most are bogus. That’s some really tough love, isn’t it?
Yet, I’ve trained with people who have serious, debilitating diseases like lupus, multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia to name a few.
I’ve worked with women going through a divorce or even mourning the loss of a loved one.
I’ve worked with women working hectic, crazy schedules.
I’ve worked with women when they’re sick, when they’re injured.
I’ve worked with women who were battling morbid obesity and women who were battling anorexia or bulimia.
I’ve worked with women who have newborn babies and a million kids playing a million sports. Those are all potential excuses, they just chose to push past them. And you can too.
What you have to do is turn your excuse into your reason to push, to get stronger. If we don’t, we allow our excuses to become validation for why we don’t achieve our goals. Instead, let’s make them the motivation.
Putting your big girl panties on means overcoming your excuses to make some muscles. What are some of the excuses you find yourself making? How can you rewrite them into reasons?
My girls are watching Saturday morning cartoons, My Little Pony to be exact. I heard something about “Elements if Harmony,” and being the nerd I am, it piqued my curiosity.
Or maybe it’s just that I am not feeling harmonious at the moment. I worked too many hours, my husband’s been gone and off the grid all week, the kids finished school this week and I did not eat well last night so my gut is wrenched in pain this morning.
Yeah, not harmonious.
So, I of course Googled the ponies and what their elements of harmony are.
It made me think about what my elements of harmony are. Then I realized, I already knew, I’d come up with them years ago! They were just hiding as goal sets.
Faith is the first element of harmony for me. Have you ever heard of the Israelite cycle? I mean, that’s not the technical term, but I’m no theologian. The Israelite cycle refers to how we read the Old Testament and watch the Israelites come back to God, and everything’s so good and awesome. Then they go back to serving idols and sin. Things get worse and worse until they finally turn back to God. And then poof! Things are good again. We see it from a distance and think, they’re kind of dense. How can they not see this cycle?
We have the same cycles in our lives though, I know I certainly do. Every once in a while I’ll wonder why things seem so hard lately. Not just regular hard, but swimming-upstream-holding-a-baby-hard. Where it seems like it’s coming from every angle and it just doesn’t make sense (it’s almost laughable) how hard things are.
That’s usually about the time I realize I’ve stopped leaning on God like I need to. When I realize I’ve been trying to do it alone. I realize my faith is out of harmony. When I hook back up to my power source, things don’t necessarily get instantly better, but my ability to handles them certainly does. In fact, it’s like poof! My entire perspective and attitude are different. And it’s like 🤦♀️. Shana, you’re just like the Israelites, minus golden calves.
Next up is family. I’ll tell you, even as a stay at home mom, this one being in second place is tough. It’s tough because sometimes I put it first and then I fall wearily flat on my face. It’s also tough because as an entrepreneur I can sometimes put other things before my family (mostly my marriage) but also enjoying my family. I’ve learned to keep them in this order, in priority, in order to keep harmony.
That’s not to say I’m a maid on call all the time. It just means I make sure I’m present with my family when we are together. It means I prioritize the when and the way I spend time with them. It means the home they live in and the food they eat are a priority too. Things that make my family feel out of harmony are:
Being in separate places in the world. This is inevitable as a military family. And I do enjoy affording my kids the opportunity to go elsewhere and learn and be with others. But I just don’t sleep as well as I do when they’re all in my house.
An unclean home. I’m NOT OCD trust me. But I realized I can’t truly relax and enjoy my family if the home isn’t in decent order. I don’t spend more than 30 minutes most days on upkeep, it it’s a definite priority. And my family helps. We have a work hard, play hard philosophy. And none of us are quite at the top of our games if the home isn’t cleanish.
Quality time ain’t happening. When we are rushed, when we are all in our own little worlds, that’s when I feel out of harmony. I’m an only child, so I relish my alone time. However, we are a family. And we do things together as a family. On purpose, not according to other people’s agendas. So, if we aren’t doing that, I feel off.
Fitness encompasses my mental health, my rest and, duh, my physical fitness. I’ve finally learned, after all these years, that this is such an important priority. I walk into the gym a lion, I come out like a lamb. It makes me a better mother, wife and overall human.
When I get enough rest, I literally feel like I can take on the whole world. I’m pretty stubborn about my ten minute cat naps in the afternoon. Not because I’m lazy but because it’s like a brain reset each day. I get up less stressed, more focused and rejuvenated.
Likewise, going to the mental gym is a big one for me. Putting good things in my brain, thinking about big ideas, how I can improve myself, self-correcting if I’m being mean to myself are all part of getting my mind right.
Somewhere along the road, I apparently adopted the idea that being a married, adult woman with three kids meant I wasn’t allowed to do things I like to do. I know that sounds crazy and younger me needed therapy. But I bent my will so hard for everyone else, I rarely did just what I wanted to do in my late 20s and earlier 30s.
In my book I write about my nap time epiphany. I’ll tell you, once I took some time to just do me and what I wanted to do, I noticed immediately it was like a baptism of joy. Like, whoa! It completely changed the game and now I now if I don’t get time for fun (doing what I want to do) and friends (this is another f word, but I tuck it in fun) then things are definitely out of harmony. My husband knows this too, he’s seen the reward of a Shana who’s had some fun. So he is always gracious about letting this pony run. (Pam Tillis)
I definitely have to work hard for fun. In fact, of all of them, it’s probably the one I struggle with the most, even though I know the rewards. It’s another cycle, one best described by T-Boz.
Every now and then, I get a little easy,
I let a lot of people depend on me
When I force myself to have some fun, it all comes back into balance. I have standing dates with friends like weekly coffee. I have once a month friend dates prescheduled because if I don’t, I won’t. But I need to.
For me, finances are all about work and money. I have an entrepreneurial heart. I love my work. So much that I would put it all the way at the top. I’ve never had a job I didn’t like. I’ve been working since I was 14. I’ve had like ten different careers. It’s fine. I’m working on it. I remember a few years into our marriage, my husband went off to training for a few months. I had just landed my dream job (at that time). I got to build our training program from scratch. And I got to pick my team. Y’all, I was in heaven. It was glorious. I was working 12-14 hour days. Because I wanted to. There was no requirement. There was no deadline. No one even knew I was working that much! Except my husband. He came home and was like…Shana, this is not normal. It was a first of many red flags. God certainly gave me Chris to help me figure out how to balance this fire I have inside. I have a really hard time just relaxing. Or just being. Or staying still in the home I pay a lot of money for. Slowly, he has helped me try to find some balance with my ambition and my priorities. On the contrary though, if I’m not working on something I feel passionate about I’ll also feel out of balance. I’ll look like Branch from Trolls.
That was another hard fought lesson for me. I’ve gone back and forth with work since becoming a mom. I think we all probably do. I’ve learned that I’m in harmony when my family comes first but I am also doing work that lights me up.
The other part of finances for me is security. Dave Ramsey says women like to feel secure when it comes to finances and he is right. It’s like the day when I go grocery shopping and my pantry is full and my fridge is full, I feel SO GOOD. How weird is that? Like, I can go to the grocery store any day. For some reason, having loads of food at home, ready to nourish my family makes me feel secure!
And so it is with my finances. When money is out of whack, I feel out of harmony. On the contrary, when we know where our money is going and those places are in alignment with our family goals, I feel good!
So those are my elements of harmony (we typically hear this as “balance” these days).
What are yours? Did any of that ring true for you too?
If you liked this post, please comment & share!
Attempting to achieve harmony without systems is futile. Listen to me as a recovering stubborn system refuser. I’ll be leading 10 women through a 90 day mastermind planning group where we will attempt I get all of that 👆🏻out of heart and into a plan. Join us, it will help you. It’s only for 90 days, what do you have to lose?
Today at the Y they showed me the checklists for opening and closing at the Y for the possibility it might ever happen. I love checklists y’all.
Checklists are part of systems. Systems are what help you get things accomplished, how you keep things consistent and in alignment with your values and goals.
We all need systems, no matter what you do for a living. Opening and closing checklists are like morning and evening routines/rituals. You need those.
Examples of things that could be in your morning routine:
Making the bed
Making this routine, making it habit is KEY. But it’s also the hardest part.
Examples of things that could be in your workday shutdown routine:
Review what you accomplished. (that list would’ve been created in the startup)
Create a plan for tomorrow.
Ask a few reflective questions.
Turn things off. Close things.
Straighten your work area for tomorrow. (Moms this might mean the kitchen is done).
Say something that reflects the action of being done with work (Done son!, Workday complete) and prepare your mind to transition to what’s next.
In fact, some people spend five minutes in their car shutting down their work brain so they can arrive home ready to be present with their families.
You could also use some workday start up and workday shutdown rituals too. No matter what type of work you do.
These things are what give your brain space and peace. They are what allow you to be present in whatever you’re doing at the moment. They are what allow you to be intentional. They are what safeguard your sanity, your free time, your progress. All the things.
The morning/evening routines and even the workday startup/shutdown are things we’re going to cover in my mastermind group starting in July.
You NEED to be a part of this group. It will help you. No matter what your goals are. No matter what stage of life you’re in.
Sometimes we try and piece things together. The planner we’ll be working through has it ALL TOGETHER IN one. It will help you. It’s only for 90 days, what do you have to lose?
Guys!! This is the thing. I’ve FINALLY gotten really good at what I call Mom-Blocking.
I’ve gotten really good at finding time for things that are important including family, work, working out, taking care of the home, actually getting some sleep, resting, marriage meetings and more.
And here’s the deal, planning isn’t something we do to take all the fun away. It’s to provide structure so 1) you actually have fun time and 2) you can be present wherever you are and 3) you can be satisfied that you actually got the things done you wanted to get done.
Craig Groeschel says his routine and structure is comforting, like guardrails. They keep you on track for what want and keep you away from what you don’t. That’s what we’re after here. Planning, being intentional, so you can have the best version of your life.
With that in mind, I’m going to run an online planning/productivity 12 week mastermind group from July to September.
10 people. Taking our lives to the next level.
Personally, I have 3 BIG goals I’ll be working toward. I’m going to show you and bring you along that journey so you can see how I do it. But I’m also going to be teaching & coaching implementation of things every successful person needs:
Morning routines / evening rituals
Reverse engineering goals
Tasks versus to dos
Being present wherever you are
These things apply whether you’re trying to run a home, move, launch or grow a business/career, finish school or lose weight. Or even if you’re just trying to figure out how to scrape the pieces of your life into one bigger & better picture.
There will be more. The structure:
We will use Michael Hyatt’s planner. It’s as close to what I would create as possible. Plus he is a super awesome person. ($39 total with my coupon code)
We will have a Facebook group AND emails. That way you can be active & plugged in or you can stay COMPLETELY out of Facebook if you want. I get it, both ways. So, I’m providing this both ways.
There will be weekly training, live coaching, q&as, practical implementation methods. I’m asking for about 10-20 minutes a day guys. The return on that time investment is invaluable.
I’m going to coach YOU 1-1 based on YOUR goals, YOUR hurdles and YOUR needs. Which brings me to my next point.
Only 10 in this first quarter. I know how valuable this is going to be if I only allow myself to take on 10 folks. ($10/month for 3 months or $25 up front for all 3 months. This WILL go up the next time, you guys will be my guinea pigs and therefore you get guinea pig prices.)
The brain dump allows you to have some peace & increases your chances of success.
What can you plan?
Meals. What’s for dinner every night this week? Lunch? Breakfast? Even if you don’t want to prep, having a plan is a BIG help during the week.
Schedule. Appointments? Meetings? Kid stuff? Get it out of your head and see what you’re working with time wise. Which days do you need to have an extra cup of coffee? 😉
To dos. What needs to get done this week? How are you going to get it done?
Goals. What’s the goal for the week? What’s the focus? Thugs ebb and flow and often we feel like we might have a theme to the week. One week it might be getting through the last week of school! One week might be to get a big project complete at work. One week might be resetting your healthy eating. Pick your focus and get your mind wrapped around it.
A game changer in my house is reflecting & planning WITH my husband. It’s called a marriage meeting.
There are so many reasons this is important, but here are 3:
It gets us on the same side, working as a team.
It’s communication on purpose. Less surprises during the week, less fights, more control, more teamwork.
I’m a words of affirmation kind of lady. Chris doesn’t mind giving them but it really isn’t something he thinks about. Beginning the meeting by filling the love tank helps the meeting go better, but it gets me what I need too!
I have NOT perfected or even designed my marriage meeting agenda to the level I want, but I invite you to give it a try anyway. If you can add this one habit in on Sunday & with your spouse, it will be a game changer!
I accomplish a lot most days with a pretty good attitude.
But it hasn’t always been that way. What has made it possible is my morning routine. They way you do your morning sets the tone for your entire day and it’s really important to be intentional, especially if you have goals and want to live the life you desire.
It’s no secret that the most successful people in the world have a morning routine. It’s part of the secret sauce in success. I want to be successful, so I emulate those who have gone before me. I pay attention to the clues they leave and try to put things that make sense into action in my life.
Without further ado, let me just tell you exactly how most of my mornings go:
Wake up @ 5am.
Get dressed & ready.
Warm water w/ lemon.
To do list.
Eat the frog.
Now, let’s break that down a little more.
Wake up @ 5am.
No one wants to wake up at 5am at first. I get it. You can be a morning person if you want to be. It starts with going to bed on time. Getting to sleep and staying asleep can be tough. There are habits you can put in place to aid in that (exercise, eating healthy, journaling, reading, etc).
Getting up at 5am makes the difference between you owning your day and your day owning you. Getting up at 5am means you control the first bit of your day. Not your kids, not your job. You. For most of us, any later and we’re in a constant state just trying to get the next thing done, to answer the next demand, to meet the next deadline.
Getting up early puts you ahead of schedule. And it allows you a little breathing room to DO YOU before the chaos begins. It allows you to be intentional about your day instead of reacting to it.
My pastor taught me to slide out of bed so the first thing that hits the floor is your knees. Even if you’re not a Jesus follower, you can benefit from this practice. Starting the day in a little silence, with gratitude, with intention and by putting your priorities in place increases the odds you’re going to have an awesome day.
Get dressed & ready.
I get dressed first thing. It increases the likelihood I’ll actually do what needs to be done. Having clothes and shoes on means I’m ready for whatever the day throws my way. I feel empowered. I also brush my hair and throw on some lipstick. Gurrrl, you’re ready to nail the day!
Warm water with lemon.
Warm water with lemon is the first thing I put in my body in the morning. It’s a nice, gentle wake up call for your digestive system. Lemon is also detoxifying and such. Did you know you’re actually dehydrated after sleeping all night? So, I rehydrate and get your day started right!
Bible, devo & journal.
Every morning I read something that makes my brain and heart grow. I write about it and about the day before. It’s what works for me. You have to workout at the mental gym, y’all. The brain is the strongest muscle in your body! It also keeps me mentally clear and focussed when I do this.
To do list.
As I’m journaling and reading and such, I throw whatever comes to my head on my to do list. Now, realize you can only accomplish like 5 things a day, so don’t go crazy. I’m intentional about what I’m going to accomplish that day. I keep my to do list in my planner, which I take everywhere with me and check things off as I go. I even put givens on there sometimes to make me feel better. Brush teeth. Nailed it.
Eat the frog.
Currently, I’m writing a book so writing for 30 minutes first thing in the morning is the frog I need to eat. Eat the frog is a way of saying do the hardest and most necessary thing of the day first so that you get it over with and make progress on your goals. For someone else this might be working out, it might be a project around the house or it might be a sales pitch. Whatever it is, get it in as early as you can and then pat yourself on the back. You’ve already done the hardest thing of the day!
I meant to write this post like…SUNDAY. Today is Wednesday. But there was no margin!
Huh? Margin, say what? Sunday’s message at church was about creating a margin so that you can BREATHE and ENJOY life. So many of us are rushing around from this thing to that thing to the next thing that life just flies by and we are exhausted at the end of the day. But worse than that, we aren’t really getting to ENJOY each and every moment we are given here on earth with all of these people we love. And that’s lame. Super lame.
I am SO SUPER susceptible to this because I like to do all the things and as my husband likes to remind me-I’m almost incapable of saying no. But I’m working on all of it right, add it to my list!
A few years ago my friend laughed at me when I said I’d never be as busy as her. She has like a million kids and I watched her gracefully juggle doing all the cool things with them all the time. Well now I have a million kids and the tables have turned.
In fact, I had to get used to having three kids with my husband gone last year. And being the slight ridiculous control freak I am, I really struggled in the beginning of mother-of-three-hood. Lots of struggle later, I found what works for me.
I bulk the workloads.
I do a MAJOR cleaning session Monday and Friday. I’m kind of laughing because it’s not that major. But I do reset the weekend clutter, clean the bathrooms, sweep & mop and fully wipedown the kitchen. But only on Monday and Friday. It ends up being about an hour maybe an hour and half of work.
I ONLY do laundry on Wednesday and Sunday. I do it all at once, I finish it all and I say screw you laundry, I’ll see you in a few days. Pairing down the ridiculous amount of clothes we have (Kon Mari style OR 7 of each style, pick your fancy) AND making the kids/dad rewear pajamas (duh, but this was something we had to train) three days in a row has helped.
Last but DEFINITELY NOT least-I meal prep. Lots of people do this now, so it’s not something super new. But still others say, “I don’t have time to meal prep.” HAH! You don’t have time NOT to meal prep if you’re that busy. I have a meal prep post over here for specifics but let me just say…meal prep means most of your cooking, most of your planning, most of your dishes and most of your clean up is done in ONE FELL SWOOP. So…i’m no longer rushing to make lunches or breakfasts each day. I’m not having a huge load of dishes at night because I make every dinner from scratch. I’m not wondering at 5 p.m. what we’re going to have for dinner. I PROMISE it’s a time/sanity saver.
I make time in the absence of time.
Last year my word was Thrive…I wanted everyone to thrive and get better and be awesome. For my son, that meant taking up piano lessons. He loves it and he is pretty good at it. HOWEVER-it was a weekly, scheduled, had to be somewhere-collect papers-added expense-with a new baby thing. Needless to say, it drove me crazy. I can’t even explain why…but I had to go somewhere everyday at 3 and that stressed me out. SO, I decided to see it as a gift of 30 minutes. In the beginning my friend and her daughter would be there so it was 30 minutes of catching up and play time. So that was cool. Other times it provided the small time I needed for a quick trip to Walmart. Other times I’ve managed, somehow, to catch a few winks of sleep. Anyway, I see that 30 minutes of time as a block that I can accomplish something-even if it’s just one-on-two with my daughters. Now the middle rascal has gymnastics on Thursdays so I use that hour to practice PIYO, go for a run, chase Ayla and visit with friends I probably wouldn’t see otherwise. What a winning combination!
I schedule the margin.
2:30 p.m. is quiet time for the entire family. Believe it or not, I typically catch a 20 minute nap/siesta at this time of day. But it’s scheduled and everyone knows it! It’s part of our routine. And everyone needs that security, the known downtime-especially my 7 year old who has such a ridiculous schedule from school.
I need a moment to myself in the morning before I have to put on my cape and be super mom. I remember throwing a FIT when I realized I would have to get up to get Zach to the bus stop at 6:20 a.m. regardless of the sleeping schedule my new baby had given me. Yes, a fit. But now I’ve embraced the madness so much that I typically get up at 5 a.m. so I can have some quiet time/me time before Zach gets up at 5:30. It’s a game changer, I promise that!
Here’s the BIG kicker that I learned-maybe everyone else already knew it-last year. I now allow for a LOT of pre-go prep time. So, if we need to leave at 9 we start getting ready at 8. Everyone gets dressed, presentable, gathers what they need to go and-curveball!-cleans/resets the house a bit before we leave. I really try to have as much buffer between events/leaving/going as possible because I was tired of saying “hurry up” and I know I am NOT NICE when I’m in a hurry.
Embrace the margin. I think the margin is where life really happens. Where time stands still (how long have we been playing hide and go seek?), where we can enjoy all that we’ve created and worked hard for.
Best wishes finding that margin! And as always-practice giving yourself grace! You’re doing great, you are enough!! 😘😘😘