How I Organize My Day

I have often had people ask me “how do you fit it all in?” when they find out I work three jobs (Orange Leaf and blogger) and Emma Kate is only in daycare three days a week. Well first of all I will say, I DON’T fit it all in! Things are constantly having to be taken off my plate, because I am just one person and when I work too much I get sick. That being said, I am able to pack a lot of things into a day by keeping a schedule and trying not to have too much idle time perusing Facebook or playing on my phone. I decided to write a blog post with some general guidelines I follow in hopes it might help someone get organized.

1.) Get a planner: I know a lot of people are into google calendars and such these days and while I loosely use that for some things, I really prefer to have something I can physically write in. It helps me remember to remember things better I think when I write them down and see them all working together in blocks for the days and weeks of a month.

unnamed (14)

2.) Use the monthly blocks for “big” out of the ordinary things and the daily blocks for more mundane tasks. Let’s face it, the blocks in the monthly calendars aren’t that big, and no way could I fit everything I need to do in a day in them, so I use the monthly space for things like doctors appointments, Bible study, events at church, community events, dinners with friends etc. Then I go back and use the daily blocks to write in things like my workouts, going to the grocery store, etc.

unnamed (15)

3.) Download the Any List app. We stumbled upon this app a couple of years ago and I LOVE it. Bobby and I have a shared list on it, and we use it for grocery shopping. No more losing your list in your purse or leaving it on the kitchen counter, and no matter where you are you can add to it, and it will show up for the other person as well. We add to our list whenever we think of something we need or if we run out of something, and then I will also text Bobby when I am on my way to the store and tell him he has ten minutes to add anything to the list. That way he can’t say “oh but you forgot xyz!” if it’s not on the list, it’s not my fault for not buying it. It has worked really well for us and makes grocery shopping a breeze. We also have a hardware store list, and you can make a list to share with some of pretty much anything you want. It’s a great way to stay organized on your phone when multiple people are involved.

4.) Don’t get sucked into social media. I know. It’s SO HARD, especially when you need to be on social media for a living. I have learned to limit my time during the day because a 30 second scroll can turn into a 30 minute rabbit trail. Don’t say you have never done it! How I combat this is by getting on social media for about 10-15 minutes every morning to see what I missed and to check on my blog, etc. Then after that, I try not to get on again until I’m eating lunch or going to post something, and even then I don’t linger. I have known some people who set timers for themselves. I have yet to have to resort to this. In the evening when I’m relaxing or watching TV, I allow myself to search and browse all I want. This way, I don’t get hung up during the day because I know I can “catch up” later that night.

IMG_4069 (2)

Bella likes to help vacuum the rugs. Not. She is terrified of the thing.

5.) Have a chore list. Ah, the ever messy house. It’s so frustrating, especially when you clean your kitchen from top to bottom in the morning and by the evening it looks like a bomb went off. Why even bother right? I have just started doing something that is helping me not be overwhelmed by the big/monthly tasks and keeps me doing some housework every day, but not all. In the morning I try to:

do dishes, make the bed, and do one load of laundry along with one daily chore. In the evenings, I do dishes again, clean off counters, and pick up toys.

The daily chores I do in the morning are one per day 5 days a week, and you could always double up if you have extra time. Monday: sweep/vacuum. Tuesday: bathrooms. Wednesday: dust. Thursday: mop. Friday: Anything undone like extra laundry, extra baby messes, random picking up, changing sheets.

On Saturdays I do a monthly chore such as: baseboards, clean windows, clean microwave and stove, trim bushes outside, wipe down cabinets, etc. I try to do 2 of these on Saturday if I can.

underarmour5

6.) Plan a time to workout. If I don’t do it, it won’t get done, and since I much prefer to workout in the morning, I look at my week first to see what kind of workout I need to do that day (gym or home) and then decide how to plan things based on the “big things” on my calendar. For instance on daycare days for Emma Kate, I can change into my clothes before I bring her to daycare, then either head straight to the gym or back home to run. This way it’s done and out of the way and I already feel accomplished fairly early in the morning. It also gives me energy for the rest of the day. If I don’t add it into my daily schedule. IT WILL NOT GET DONE. I know this about myself so I PLAN AHEAD.

7.) Don’t sweat the small stuff. There are absolutely times my daily chore doesn’t get done or I skip a workout, and that’s ok! I just try to make it an EXCEPTION and not a habit. There are a lot of days I got to bed with my house a mess, but just knowing I have some guidance in place for the next day helps keep me on track. I like structure, but loose structure. I could never plan out my day hour by hour, because some things just take way longer or shorter than expected and I think I would stress out if I got off task, so my loose plan works for me. Good luck!

QOTD: How do you organize your day? Do you use a day planner?

PS- I am hosting a GIVEAWAY with some other fabulous bloggers on Instagram. We are giving away a Kate Spade purse, bangle, and $100! Enter before tomorrow!

7 Tips for Getting Things Done

As I was sitting in front of my computer yesterday morning watching the live stream of the Boston Marathon, I realized that I really, really did not have time to watch all morning, but I just couldn’t pull myself away from the screen. I indulged myself though, and watched the women’s and men’s winners cross before starting my work. MISTAKE. I quickly got overwhelmed when I realized there was not enough time to get everything done I needed to for the day because I had “lost” two hours of valuable work time. Although, let’s face it. It’s the Boston marathon. It definitely not wasted time, but for the purposes of this post, just go with it. If I had remembered that the marathon was that morning (I know, I’m ashamed to call myself a runner), I could have planned for it. Instead I found myself behind. I really really wanted to get a haircut but it had to be something I “dropped” for the day. It was either that or getting groceries, so even though my hair sadly looks like a lion’s mane, we have to eat.

This of course got me thinking about all the other days and times I end up with way too many things to do and not enough time to do them in….Which is sometimes multiple days a week. When I get overwhelmed and not sure where to start I end up procrastinating so it’s a vicious cycle. Today I wanted to provide you with a few tidbits I have learned along the way to help you maximize your time and get things done. Let’s get after it!

Get things done

1.) Don’t over commit:

The first step to getting things done actually occurs before the day even begins. If you overcommit to things, you are already setting yourself up for failure. I know especially here in the south it’s hard to say no to people, activities, and opportunities. We are just so dang nice, yall. Bless it. Sometimes though, it’s just not worth it. I have had to back off of some of my work because I was simply getting too overwhelmed, overworked, and overtired. I started taking it out on my family and it wasn’t pretty. No amount of money is worth that, my friends! Take a step back and look at your week, or have someone impartial look with you to help identify if you have too much going on, and if something can be passed off to someone else. When asked to do a project or participate in something, don’t immediately say yes. It’s ok to say “let me get back to you,” or even “sorry I can’t this time!”

2.) Choose you work environment carefully:

This is one of the ones I really have problems with. My “office” is upstairs in the bonus room, it’s a mess, and it’s just not a sunny cheery place. Now, I typically work at the kitchen table, which is super klassy with a “k”. I know, you all had this grand illusion of me sitting at my computer desk, with my race medals and mickey mouse ears hanging from a lamp shade, surrounded by files and notepads full of amazing blog ideas. Heh. No no, I work at the kitchen table hand me down from when I was 4 years old, surrounded by baby toys, pens with no ink in them, and sticky notes that I can’t even read because my handwriting is THAT bad. Ok, we are getting off track ere… This has pros  (I can multi task, watch the baby, etc.), and cons (I can turn on the TV and get easily distracted, I see all the things that I can piddle with in the kitchen and living room, gives me a divided mind).

3.) Plan/schedule in advance:

I use a combination of a paper planner and my Google calendar. I put important deadlines and appointments in the Google calendar which sends alerts to my phone, and every day type things like “go to grocery store” in my paper planner. I am also a big fan of daily lists, they help keep me on track and knock out the big stuff I need to get done that day.  My brain can only hold so many things before something falls out of it. I have learned that just because I say “I will remember xyz” does not mean it will actually happen. This has gotten exponentially worse since having my child. Mom brain is a real thing. I actually left my groceries in the car after I came home last week. I hang my head in shame. Oh, and I promise my April calendar doesn’t really look like this. Oh how I wish. This is just an old picture.

lorna jane diary

4.) Plan breaks:

This is not only for your mental health but for your physical health. I spend a lot of time in front of the computer writing, so I need stretch/walk breaks just as much as mental breaks. I tend to do short bursts of work then move on to something else. For instance, I will put on a load of laundry, wash some dishes, then sit down at the computer and catch up on emails. Then it’s switch the laundry over, take out the dog, and do some squats before getting back on the computer and writing my next blog post. If it’s a day when the baby is home then I really, really take a lot of “breaks” to do things with her. I’m constantly jumping around because my attention span is like that of a gnat. The only problem is sometimes my “breaks” end up being too long and I tend to flutter to too many flowers and not really get anything done. Thanks Facebook.

unnamed (17)

Another reason I get nothing done? You are looking at her.

5.) Discover how you work best:

Sit down and take a few minutes thinking about how you personally work best. Some prefer background noise, while someone else may need complete silence. You may work best in big chunks of time, knocking something out while your spouse works best in little spurts before moving on to something else. Figure out your work “style”, and then do everything you can to make it happen. If you work in an office cubicle, you may need to wear some headphones to drown out noise. If you are at home with kids, prioritize the things you can get done while they are awake, and then save the things you really need to focus on for naptime.

6.) Prioritize:

Again, make a list, make a list, MAKE A LIST! There is something so satisfying about crossing something off of a list isn’t there? Pick the three to five most important things that MUST GET DONE TODAY and put those in bold letters at the top of your list. Then add a few more things underneath in regular lettering that you would love to get done, but if you don’t it’s not the end of the world. Groceries and picking up the baby from daycare fall under the MUST DO. Note to self.

7.) Reward yourself…after your work is done:

Plan a reward for getting your list completed, but be careful to not reward yourself until AFTER you get your work done. It can be something like stopping at Starbucks on the way home from work, taking a bubble bath or a long walk by yourself, a pedicure, or picking up your favorite take out for dinner. Or, you can wait and reward yourself on the weekend if you make it through all five days of getting everything done that you were supposed to that week. I try to stay away from food related rewards, but something they are necessary. Smile

unnamed (18)

QOTD: What would you add to this list? What works for you?

When Choosing a Running Route…

 

Whether you subconsciously do it or not, a lot of thought goes into planning a running route. People have preferences depending on training run, time of day, traffic, amount of people, and so on. I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about some of these options to help you (and myself!) plan the best running routes for your enjoyment and safety.

2011-03-02144712

no matter where you are running, you can always take self portraits while you workout!

1.) Type of run:

This will weigh heavily on some of the other things I mention so I thought I would bring it up first. A long run or an easy run may take you anywhere on any terrain at any time, but for a hill workout, for instance you need well…a route with hills! So point being, take these suggestions with a grain of salt and adjust them according to the needs of your run for that day.

2.) Safety:

This is way important. Please don’t be one of those people who say “it will never happen to me”, because that thought alone makes you vulnerable. If you are running alone, you need to REALLY consider running:

-in an area with a lot of people

-out in the open (not on a trail in the woods)

-carrying a Taser, pepper spray, your cell phone

-when the sun is up and the area is well lit

-with reflective gear on to make yourself visible

Bobby refuses to let me run out on the highway or on the trails by myself, and I totally understand why. Even if you live in a “safe area” bad things can happen. Being observant and not playing your music too loud so it drowns out approaching people or animals can be a hindrance.

2011-04-30_11.49.40

I run along the beach during the day when there is a lot of traffic and other people out on the path. I always carry my cell phone and wear my road ID.

3.) Weather:

The biggest weather concern where I live is the heat and humidity. A lot of thought goes into my weekend long runs due to glaring sun. Running early in the morning or late in the evening is something I try to do (when Bobby is with me of course). We also try our best to find well shaded areas, areas without a lot of traffic, and areas with water fountains, or a turn around point where we can pass by the car for extra fuel, etc.  Trails are a great option for the heat, if they are shaded but you may need to bring along your own water bottle depending on the location.

DSC_2196

these trees don’t provide much shade.

Running in the rain is ok (as long as it’s not lightning) but be careful running on roads, as they can be slippery and cars may not be able to brake as well. We don’t get a lot of cold weather, but when we do we bundle up and hit a sunny route to keep us warm, and try to stay out of the wind as much as possible.

4.) Distance/scenery

I will be the first to admit I get pretty bored on long runs. having somewhere new to run can be a great change and make things more interesting. Depending on the distance you need to go, you can plan to run a loop (not as boring) or an out and back (way boring!). I prefer to run at the beach, or where there are a lot of people so I have different things to look at. Also, to keep boredom away, try running your usual route backwards. I have different places I run depending on how far I have to go. (3 mile loop, 6 mile loop, anything longer I hit the beach or break it up with half outside, half treadmill run).

d0241852

The lakefront in Louisiana is a beautiful place to run.

It may be a slight inconvenience to drive somewhere to run, but if it will help me run faster and be less bored, I am willing to drive a bit to get the job done.

2012-02-04 10.27.07

beach running is fun (but so tough!)

The same goes for picking races. I try to choose ones in fun cities, or somewhere scenic. I ran an out and back race that went through this boring road with no houses one time and it was 13.1 miles of torture!

562025_631860400148_61700476_32300575_1108471544_n

races along the beach are a lot of fun

2012-02-26-07.31.15_thumb

So are races in Disney World!

Bottom line, with a little bit of planning and effort on your part, you can make running more fun and not as “boring”. If you are stuck in a training rut, try to make sure you are having the best experience based on the weather, times of day, your safety, scenery, and the type of run.

QOTD: What other factors go into deciding your running route?