Category Archives: motivation

Here’s What I Know About You

Here’s what I know about you.

You’re exhausted.

You’re feeling pulled in too many directions.

There’s too much on your plate.

And you are tired of feeling this way.

You desire the time to spend with your kids without thinking of all the tasks not being done.

You desire to know that you’re completing your work tasks in a timely manner and that you’re home for bedtime each night.

You want something to change.

I have just the thing! Work with me!

If you give yourself this gift of time, you can expect to learn how to:

  • Shift your mindset from I must do it all today to I am going to focus on these specific tasks today.
  • Identify the right tasks and priorities to focus on each day. The tasks that are moving you, your business (or career), and your family forward.
  • Uncover where your time is going and why.
  • Create simple routines and systems to keep your life running smoothly from day to day. And get your family involved!
  • Learn to say no to any commitment or task that isn’t a ‘heck yes!’ from the beginning.
  • Be more proactive with your time. No more spending your days putting out fires.
  • Shift your routines as life changes. Because you know things change.

Schedule a call with me to talk about how you can make these changes in your life!

Your future self will thank you!

You Are Not Your To-Do List

That’s right, you are not your to-do list!

Our society will have you believe that your worth is wrapped up in how much you get done each day.

I’m here to tell you that it’s not.

Your worth has nothing to do with how clean and organized your house is.

you are not your to-do list

It has nothing to do with how much you get done each day.

It’s not even connected to how many activities your kids do each week or how good they are at any of them.

And it’s most definitely not connected to whether or not your kid’s clothes match when they leave the house (or if they brushed their hair).

You are not your to-do list.

You are worthy simply because of who you are.

From One To The Next

As I write this, I’m sitting on the couch, still drinking coffee (and still in my PJs). The kids are at school (my husband has morning drop-off).

Looking at my to-do list for today it has more than simply work tasks on it. I need to change the sheets, get my kids signed up for swim lessons, and schedule a dentist appointment.

One of the reasons moms are so exhausted is they’re never just focusing on work or just focusing on their kids.

You are constantly switching between tasks. And that constant switching is exhausting. You’re never focused on one thing. There are many things rolling through your brain.

You likely thought of 6 things you need to do today just while reading this email!

The mental labor of keeping a household running is exhausting and overwhelming.

So, what can we do about it?

First, start with a brain dump. Get all the tasks and ideas out of your head. Your brain was not meant to hold more than 4-5 ideas at a time. You don’t need to remember that you need toothpaste, write it down and stop thinking about it!

one to the next

This step alone is helpful. And it can be overwhelming to see all those tasks listed in front of you. You don’t have to do all those tasks today! I promise.

Having them documented helps you categorize them. So you can run all your errands at once instead of going to the grocery store or Target 5 times over 2 weeks.

The other tip I have for you is time blocking. Have certain times of the week or day when you complete certain tasks. I have Monday morning blocked off for all my marketing tasks. I have a checklist of everything I need to do. My calendar is blocked so people can’t schedule appointments with me until after 10am. I sit down and work my way through my checklist.

Same for laundry. I have certain days of the week I do laundry. I’ll do the occasional load if necessary. But for the most part, if your laundry isn’t in the laundry basket when laundry is done, it isn’t getting clean!

What can you time block for yourself this week? It could be a work task or a household chore.

Are You Blorft?

“I was a little excited but mostly blorft. “Blorft” is an adjective I just made up that means ‘Completely overwhelmed but proceeding as if everything is fine and reacting to the stress with the torpor of a possum.’ I have been blorft every day for the past seven years.” ― Tina Fey, Bossypants

I was sitting on the playground recently, watching my kids play and listening to a group of parents talk about how hard it was to get together with their friends.

A dad was describing this long text thread of trying to get together with a friend to go rock-climbing. They live 30-minutes away from great climbing, but could not find a time when they were both free at the same time.

blorft

Same story for a mom trying to make plans with some girlfriends.

There were all the activities that the kids were doing. Soccer. Piano. Swim lessons. Dance. Gymnastics. Tuesdays and Thursdays were out. Saturdays too because that’s when the games are. And the multitude of birthday parties and other kid-centered activities that happen.

If there’s more than one kid, the activities likely fall on different days, so there goes most weekdays.

And I say there thinking to myself – it doesn’t have to be this hard, does it? It shouldn’t be this hard to make time to see our friends. Why do we design our lives to revolve around our children?

Society has led us to believe that we need to do everything for our children and keep them fully entertained all the time. That it’s selfish for us to do anything for ourselves.

Play dates. Sports. Music. They must be achieving and growing.

What happened to kids entertaining themselves while mom and dad sit and have a quiet cup of coffee together?

What would happen if you said no to a birthday party and instead spend some time with just your family? Or hired a babysitter (or a neighbor) to watch your kid(s) while you and a friend went and took a walk or went for a cup of coffee?

What if each family member took one activity off their plate for the next few months? What would that extra time do for all of you?

You can design a life you love. Not one that’s requiring you to respond to stress with the torpor of a possum.

What would you let go of today to make more time for your friends?

Your future self will thank you!

Valerie

Did You Know That You Make 35,000 Decisions A Day?

Did you know that people make over 35,000 decisions a day?

This is why, when it’s time for dinner and you haven’t planned it, you have wine and m&m’s and feed your kids cereal (there’s nothing wrong with this, on occasion, by the way).

Moms already have enough on their plates. There’s no need to make life more complicated.

Having some basic routines and systems in your days and weeks help simplify things. Remove decisions where you can.

35,000 decisions a day

Have a menu that repeats every 2 weeks. You have chicken every Thursday. The spices and sides can change, but you know roughly what you’re eating. Every Monday is something vegetarian. Keep a list of meal ideas so you can easily plan those vegetarian meals without too much thought.

Have certain days of the week for laundry. Or, do one load a day. Figure out what laundry routine works best for you. I wash clothes on Sunday and sheets / towels on Fridays. I have a friend who does one full load (from washing to putting it away) every day. Figure out what works for you and your family and stick with it.

Have a list of things to which you will say no. This is important. Shiny objects. Clothes you don’t need. Toys your kids don’t need. Activities and commitments are just one more thing to keep track of. Figure out what’s important and say no to the rest!

The point is to take as many decisions as possible out of your day. Because 35,000 decisions a day is just too many!

Your future self will thank you!

It Doesn’t Have To Be This Hard

Do you have days where you feel like you missed a class on how to be an adult?

Where the to-do list is overwhelming and never-ending? And you wonder if you’ll ever feel on top of your game?

I know I have!

This is why I created Stride Productivity and my virtual community, Stride Together.

Because being a mom is hard. Being a mom while also working a full-time job or running your own business is hard. If you’re a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard!

And I want moms to know they’re not alone.

I want moms to know what it feels like to not have clutter and tasks in every crevice of their day.

To make time for fun.

To spend quality time with their families.

And to have a sense of control.

It is possible.

If you want to learn more, schedule a Get On Track call with me today. Let’s talk about how to help you stop feeling so exhausted and drained.

Where Do I Even Start?

In this beautiful book I read with my kids, Suzy is told by her mom to pick up her room. Her room is such a mess that she’s not even sure where to start. She feels overwhelmed by the mess. What should she do?

Have you been there?

Have you ever taken a look at your kitchen, the piles of kids’ toys, your to-do list for work, and just stood there?

Overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start?

where to start

I have.

The endless lists. The piles that keep appearing, like a game of whack-a-mole. The dishes, laundry, kids’ toys. The emails, slack messages, interruptions. The work projects.

Where do you even start?

Do what Suzy and her mom do. (and what I do with my kids when their toys are all over the house).

Play the seek and sort game. Pick one task, one list, one subject. And start.

Process your emails (not just read them, but respond, delete, file, figure out the next action).

Find that one task that’s been lingering on your list and do it.

Find all the tasks that will take less than two minutes and see how many you can do in 30 minutes.

Identify the next step on an important work project and take it.

Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on that task you have been avoiding.

The point here is to pick one spot, any spot, and tackle it.

And, if you’re really struggling, put all the tasks on separate sheets of paper in a bowl and draw one out. Do it. Repeat.

Seek. Sort. Start.

Your future self will thank you.

This is a true picture of my kid’s old playroom. It was amazing how quickly they made a mess to the point that they couldn’t play in it! And we had to pick one spot, one toy category, and start cleaning up! Life can feel this messy sometimes, huh?!

Watch As She Bends But Never Breaks

In the song, Surface Pressure, from Encanto, we find Luisa singing the following lyrics.

I take what I’m handed, I break what’s demanding But

Under the surface

I feel berserk as a tightrope walker in a three-ring circus

Under the surface…

I’m pretty sure I’m worthless if I can’t be of service…

Pressure like a drip, drip, drip that’ll never stop, whoa

Pressure that’ll tip, tip, tip ’til you just go pop, whoa-oh-oh

Give it to your sister, it doesn’t hurt

And see if she can handle every family burden

Watch as she buckles and bends but never breaks

Luisa is singing about how she feels so much pressure and is wondering if she can handle it.

She’s always been expected to be the strong one in the family. And the family and town keep throwing tasks at her and expecting her to take more and more on.

She feels herself crumbling under the pressure. She also starts to realize that she doesn’t always have to be the strong one. That she doesn’t always have to take everything on. That she’s more than the strong one. And she really needs a break.

Do these words resonate with you? Do you feel the pressure of taking everything on yourself?

You take everything that’s thrown at you. You bend but never break.

But underneath everything, you feel a bit berserk? Trying not to crumble under the pressure? Feeling like your worth is wrapped up in service to your family?

Maybe you too are developing a twitch in your eye from the pressure.

Know that you don’t need to carry the weight of the world by yourself. That you and your family are a team. You work together.

Know that you don’t have to do every task on your to-do list today.

One of the things I work on with my clients is making sure that what’s on your list belongs there. Today and long-term. You don’t have to say yes to everything.

The world will continue to tell you that your worth is wrapped up in your task list and how you serve your family.

I will continue to tell you that this isn’t true.

If you are curious about what it would be like to work with me, schedule a Get On Track session!

Do You Ever Do This?

When I was in college, my roommate would reclean the bathroom after I cleaned it. He didn’t think I did it right.

So I stopped. What was the point of me taking the time to do something that someone else was going to redo?

Have you ever done this?

Do you ever redo a task that someone else has done because you didn’t think it was done well enough? Maybe it’s the dishwasher, maybe it’s folding laundry, maybe it’s something for work.

Be honest, no one is watching you read this.

And how often do you complain that others in your house don’t help? Do you spend your time with friends complaining about how you do it all around the house? How your partner just doesn’t see all that you do or even know that you do it?

You’re exhausted, overwhelmed, tired of it all?

I wonder if we bring some of the chaos on ourselves.

I wonder if we have such high expectations of ourselves and those around us that no one will ever live up to them.

Or society has conditioned women to believe that we’re the only ones capable of doing these tasks. And if they’re not done our way, then we’ve failed somehow.

What if, by redoing a task that someone else completed, we take away their power and motivation. Thereby starting a cycle where they stop doing it and we get mad because now they’re not doing it.

reclean the bathroom Woman standing over dishwasher

I have a friend who argued with his wife about their dishwasher. She was constantly reloading it after he loaded it. He told her he was going to stop loading it if she continued to redo it. What was the point of him doing it if it was just going to get redone?

What if our partners (and maybe even our kids) feel this way? They’re tired of being nagged, of having their work redone. Wondering why they even bother if it’s not good enough.

I’ve talked about how men and women have the same level of messiness. But women are conditioned by society to care more, to get to it quicker. So we expect tasks to be completed on our timeline. Not allowing others to have their own agency.

I wonder what would happen if we set the expectation of when something needs to be done and then let our partners do it in their own way. Didn’t remind them. Didn’t nag them. Let them do it on their own.

Instead of maternal gatekeeping (something that’s seated deep within women where mothers know best and should be in charge), what if others participated?

Remember that half the population wasn’t raised to see all the work it takes to run a household and raise kids.

It’s not that they’re ignoring it. They don’t know it exists. And, as women, when we take it all on, our partners still don’t see it because we’re doing it all.

These changes require patience and time. We’re not going to change these deep-seated tendencies overnight. But we can start.

Let’s start by making it more visible. Stop doing all the housework after everyone else is in bed. Stop redoing something someone else has already done. Even if you can fit more dishes in the dishwasher or think something should be folded differently, stop yourself. Try celebrating that someone else did it and now you don’t have to. That’s one thing off your plate!

Think of what you can do when you’re not doing everything?

My kids don’t fold their clothes. The clothes get sorted by item and shoved in drawers. They know how to fold, but I’m not going to spend a bunch of time folding their clothes or nagging them to do it. We sort them, play a game of basketball as they toss their clothes into the drawers, and call it a day.

Give someone ownership over a task. They’re not helping you, you’re working together.

Start paying attention to everything that you’re taking on. It’s not going to change overnight, but let’s start with some awareness.

Your future self will thank you.

Let me know the last time you redid the dishwasher! (I’ll keep it between us!)

And come join me on Instagram!

Dirty Dishes and The Invisible Load

We run our dishwasher a lot. There is often a clean load in the dishwasher, with even more dishes sitting on the kitchen counter waiting to be dealt with. So many dishes!

so many dishes

At some point, I realized that I had it in my head that my husband expected me to deal with the dishes. Yes, we both work from home. But my schedule is more flexible. So, of course, why wouldn’t I be the one to deal with all the household tasks too?

Sound familiar? As moms, we take on all the household tasks because it feels easier that way. Without thinking about it.

In reality, it wasn’t that he expected me to do it. He wasn’t thinking about it at all. He was focused on work. And he would deal with the dishes later, after work, while he was making dinner.

I read an article in the Atlantic about how men and women are equally messy. But men don’t notice as much. Women feel a lot of pressure to keep their spaces clean and organized and pretty. Ourselves too. Now, I will leave space in here on how we feel more in control of our lives when we’ve cleaned and purged our house. I too clean and organize when I’m stressed out.

But, women are conditioned from a young age that keeping the house and family organized is our responsibility. Our worth is wrapped up in it. Women operate on a different time scale than men. So it appears that we take it all on because men won’t. When men just haven’t been conditioned to deal with it as quickly as women.

And the pattern continues. Women take on the tasks because we think men aren’t going to do it, instead of letting them do it in their own way. Then the men just stop doing tasks around the house, because the women do it all anyway. And the exhausting cycle continues.

And our kids see this. They see mom doing all the household chores and the organizing of schedules and planning of everything. And they grow up thinking that’s how it’s done.

It’s time to change that narrative.

I realize that I’m asking women to take on one more thing here. I’m also asking women to get their partners in on this. To start having these conversations together. To start shifting the dynamics in your house to more equity. Where everyone in the household is involved, down to the youngest child.

When my kids complain about not wanting to do something around the house, I remind them that we all live here. We all contribute to the household and we all need to work together. And then we read a book titled The Great Zooberry Debacle: A Tale of Many Hands.

Start paying attention to when you take it all on. When you are the one worrying about everything and feeling like people are judging you if things aren’t perfect.

Your future self will thank you.

When you’re ready to stop feeling pulled in too many directions and add a sense of control and peace to your days, schedule a call with me, and let’s talk about my coaching programs.

Some Days It Never Ends

Some days, it never ends.

Get the kids up.

And get breakfast ready.

And help the kids pack their lunches

And remind the kids to put those lunches in their backpacks, not the counter.

And get kids out the door to school.

some days it never ends

Then start my work day.

And then remember we need to figure out what’s for dinner. And maybe buy groceries.

And add 3 more things to my task list for work.

Some days, it never ends!

It feels like the task list never gets shorter.

Some days the list truly gets longer!

At times it feels like we’re failing. Maybe you’ll try a new tool or hack and it’ll work for a while. But you eventually find yourself back where you were, overwhelmed and overcommitted. Feeling like it’s never enough.

Sometimes we wonder if we missed a class in school on how to do this thing called life.

I assure you that you did not miss a class. You are not failing. Our society has led women to believe that in order to have it all we have to do it all.

When dads don’t get paternity leave, moms simply get better at doing all the things. Not because they’re better at it by nature, but because they’re the ones doing it every day.

Over time, this leads moms to feel like we need to take on everything related to the house and kids, on top of running a business or growing our own careers. Because we’ve been led to believe that this is what good moms do and nothing will happen if we don’t take care of it.

But when both partners are involved with the household and raising of children, life is richer for everyone.

Getting everyone involved in a household doesn’t happen overnight. And it doesn’t happen by putting up a chore chart or reminders.

It takes time. Conversations. Family meetings. Work on everyone’s part.

But it can happen. This is the work I do with my clients. The work we talk about in my community.

Want to get started? Go here.

If you’re wondering if you missed a class on how to do life, let’s chat! Schedule a call with me!

Your future self will thank you!

Around The Next Bend

Years ago, my husband and I went hiking in Acadia, in northern Maine. As we were coming back down the trail, we kept thinking that the trail would end around the next bend. Around the next bend, we’ll be back at the car. This went on for some time. It seemed the trail was never going to end! 

around the next bend.

We still joke about it. It’s become a mantra in our lives whenever something seems to be taking longer than it should. It’ll end around the next bend. 

Maybe this is how you feel about your to-do list. That you’ll get through it soon. It has to get shorter sometime, right? If you just keep chipping away at it. Skipping sleep. Not taking breaks. 

Around the next bend. 

Let’s be honest. In this case, it’s not going to end around the next bend. There will always be something on our to-do list. It might feel more manageable some days or weeks. But there will always be tasks. 

I’m not telling you this to make you sad and feel defeated. I want you to make the realization that it’s ok to take a break from the list. To put something fun on it. Or even put it in a drawer for the afternoon and go do something for yourself. 

Then, after that break, come back and let’s talk about how to handle the never-ending list. When you really feel like you don’t have the time to deal with what’s on it. Or to even make a dent in the list. 

Where do you start? 

Start with a brain dump. Take 10 minutes and write down everything that’s floating around in your head. All the ideas and tasks. Find the post-its and notes you’ve left everywhere. Get them all in one spot. Pull out tasks lost in your emails. 

Once you have all the tasks in one place, it’s easier to see your priorities. It can’t all be a priority, so you’ll need some guidelines here. Ask yourself the following questions: 

  • What are the quickest / closest deadlines? 
  • What is making my business money? 
  • What project do I need to get started on soon? 
  • Are there tasks on here that I can delete or delegate? 

What are the next steps? 

Next, write out each step, as small as possible for all your projects. This helps you get moving on your projects because you know the next steps. 

You can’t claim you don’t have the time, because you can make the time for small steps. 

What are your goals and values? 

Another place to start from is understanding what’s important to you. When you know your goals for your business and your family, you can easily identify the tasks that get you there. Anything else can be deleted. 

Say No

The next part is learning to say no. When you know what’s on your plate, you know if another project or client is the right fit. 

Remember, future you is just as busy as today you. Only say yes to something in the future if you would say yes to it tomorrow. 

Saying yes to a big project means saying no to something else. 

Maybe a goal of yours is to spend more time with your family or on exercise or to create another part of your business. Saying yes to a new project or client might take away from that. It’s up to you to decide if it’s worth it. 

That to-do list might never end, even around the next bend. But you can take back control and deal with it in a way that works for you. So the trail doesn’t feel so long. And you can enjoy the scenery along the way.

If you want more ideas on how to deal with that never-ending to-do list, sign up below for weekly tips and tricks!

    Step By Step

    We recently bought a new house and moved. 

    We knew we wanted to move early in the year before we’d even applied for mortgages or found a realtor. 

    We started by cleaning out closets. One shelf at a time. We donated so much stuff! 

    Every step gets you closer. incremental steps

    Then we moved on to finding a realtor and making a list of what we wanted in a house. Where we wanted to live. What were non-negotiables when it came to location or the house layout. 

    And there were so many lists. Address changes to make. Documents to gather to apply for our mortgage. Items to figure out the best place to donate. 

    The lists helped us know the next steps to take. I could sit down and spend 10 minutes changing addresses. I knew the order we wanted to pack the house so I could work on 1-2 boxes each day. 

    Knowing the next step of any project helps it be less overwhelming. 

    When you get a new project or are feeling stuck on a current one, spend some time figuring out all the steps. As small as possible. 

    Then do the first one. And the next one. Slowly but surely, you will get there.

    Want to get started with your next steps? Sign up below for a PDF that guides you through figuring out the next steps.

      Sourdough starter. Growth. Finding your passion.

      Many articles from the past year would make you believe that you are not doing enough. With so many people being home during the pandemic you suddenly had time to clean out your closets, finish all those personal projects that have been lingering on your to-do list, and learn a new language. And if you didn’t suddenly find yourself motivated to tackle all of these things, well, that’s on you. It’s not that you haven’t had time, you’re just lazy and lack discipline. 

      Huh. Really? 

      lack discipline text says: your worth is not equal to your productivity. How much you get done each day does not make you sho you are.

      Because you weren’t also taking care of kids while juggling full-time work or just trying to get through the day because it seems as though the world is coming down around us. 

      I have shared how I feel this pandemic has wiped the slate clean for many of us. How this is a great time to think about what we want our lives to look like as we move forward. And not to rush back to the craziness of life BC (before Covid). 

      It’s ok if that hasn’t happened. If you’re aware of it but not ready to process it or figure it out. 

      We are going to be processing the trauma of this pandemic for years to come. Disruption is everywhere. And the changes keep coming. 

      The pandemic is still here. And as long as people are still refusing to get vaccinated and wear masks, it’s not going anywhere. Until more of the global population has access to vaccines, it’s not going anywhere. 

      And we are going to struggle to move forward until that changes.

      There are many articles out there related to your productivity and the pandemic. Getting motivated to work during the stress of a pandemic. (here are my thoughts on that) That with no commute, you have so much more time on your hands! You should be working more! 

      Because our society will have you believe that the more you get done, the more you produce, and the more you cross off your to-do list, the better! Because our value is all about productivity. 

      No. It’s not. 

      You are not your productivity.

      If at the end of the day your kids are loved and fed, you are doing enough. 

      Surviving a pandemic is enough. 

      One of the things we talk about in my virtual community, Stride Together, is that knowing what’s important to you helps you prioritize your tasks. You focus on the things moving you, your family, and your business/job forward. That productivity is not about getting it all done every day.

      If you’re struggling with this, let’s talk. I want to help you clarify these things for you. Even if it’s to set you up for success as we move out of the fog of this pandemic.

      Check out the PDF below to get started on this topic.

        Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths.

        Manis/Pedis. Massages. Bubbles baths. Chocolate (or your favorite junk food). 

        I don’t believe any of these things are really self-care. They’re what society has told us is self-care. 

        massages. bubble baths. self-care.

        And we’re told that we should be taking care of ourselves. Not feeling guilty for taking that bubble bath or getting a massage. 

        And yes, we should be taking care of ourselves. And no, we should not be feeling guilty for filling our cup. 

        But we need to take some time to figure out what really feeds our souls. And, we should be taking the time to find activities that we truly enjoy. Not what we think we should be doing. 

        We need to be building lives that we don’t need to escape from. 

        This means that we don’t need a weekly massage so that we can have an hour of quiet time because we have time to ourselves and for ourselves built into the week (and we actually make that time happen).  

        That we’re not hiding in the pantry eating cookies straight from the package while hiding from our kids because we actually enjoy spending time with them. We fill their cups too and we have scheduled breaks from them to fill our cups.  

        Yes, I do enjoy my hot chocolate. I believe chocolate feeds my soul. I am also aware that it’s a quick fix. It’s not going to fix whatever it is that got me to this place of feeling drained. 

        Now, if you love your weekly massages, then have them. But don’t use them as your only form of self-care. Same for manis/pedis. 

        What do you do for self-care? Beyond bubble baths and massages? What really feeds your soul?

        For me, going to bed early with a good book fills my cup. Sometimes it’s a long phone call with a friend. 

        Want to get started on creating a life you don’t need to escape from? Start with this PDF. Or, contact me and let’s chat!

          A Simple Game Of Mousetrap

          Have you ever played the game of Mousetrap? I remember sitting in my grandparent’s house, putting the game together. I don’t think we ever played the game as designed. Just put the pieces together and sent the marble through the system.

          a game of mousetrap put the pieces together.

          There’s cause and effect. If something goes wrong, the end result is different. But, when things go smoothly, you get what you want at the end (unless you’re the mouse being caught). 

          It builds on itself. You need the pieces to connect in a certain way for it to work. 

          The same can be said for systems (and routines) in our own life. Pieces need to connect in certain ways. And when something is off, things can go wrong. 

          What routines in your life need some work? What systems can you create? 

          As we start a new school year, what routines do you need to build back into your family? 

          Here are a few to think about. What do you need to put in place? What needs to be tweaked?

          • Laundry 
          • Meal planning 
          • Family meetings 
          • Processing emails (personal and work)
          • Recurring work tasks

          This week, as you’re thinking about meal planning, here’s something to help you! My friend, Mary Gaul, designed a Magic Meal Planner for you. No more wasting food, time, or money. 

          The Magic Meal Planning System is a paper planner that includes your meals for the week and a built-in grocery list.  Along with Mary’s systems, tips, and 6 weeks of meal plan ideas, it makes meal planning, shopping, and prepping easy! 

          It helps you have a clear answer to the question – “what’s for dinner tonight?”

          Go to www.magicmealplan.com and get yours today for less than one meal out for a family of 4! 

          Use the code Meals10 to save $10!

          Follow on Facebook: @MagicMealPlan

          Contact Mary with questions at mary@successmagnified.com

          Contact me and let me know what routine you are going to focus on this week!

          Go To Bed

          That’s right. You and your kids need to go to bed. Yes, it’s August and it’s still summer. But, school is going to be here before you know it. Here in the Denver metro area, schools start in mid-August. 

          If you’ve been letting your kids stay up late and sleep in, now is the time to get back on a better schedule. Don’t wait until the night before school starts to enforce an earlier bedtime. It takes several weeks to shift things. Start to shift things by 10 minutes each night. Slowly get back to a school-night bedtime. 

          Spend some time thinking about your evening routines. What can you do at night to make your mornings better? Pack lunches? Pack backpacks and work bags? Set out breakfast? 

          And, you need to go to bed too.

          Sleep is important. If you’ve been skimping on sleep because you feel overwhelmed by everything you need to do, then stop it. Sleep (and taking breaks) actually helps you get more done each day. 

          go to bed bedside table with book and flower.

          When you’re tired, you’re not efficient. 

          You make mistakes. 

          You’re slower both physically and mentally. 

          So go to bed. 

          Ok. Now that you’re getting some sleep, start thinking about your morning routines. Are you getting up earlier than your kids? What needs to happen in the morning to make the rest of your day easier? Run the dishwasher? Put dinner in the crockpot? Here are a few ideas for morning routines. 

          Think about your evening and morning routines now. Start working on sleep habits for you and your family. Start the school year off on the right foot, not kicking and screaming! 

          If you’re not sure what you want your routines to look like (and really, who knows what school is going to look like again this year) let’s talk! I can help you create routines to make your mornings and evening better for everyone.

          Not sure you’re ready to dive into changing your routines but want to get a little bit of support? Sign up for a free PDF on my STRIDE Method. Everything I do in my business (and in my own life) follows these ideas.

            Where Do I Even Start?

            In this beautiful book I read with my kids, Suzy is told by her mom to pick up her room. Her room is such a mess that she’s not even sure where to start. She feels overwhelmed by the mess. What should she do? 

            Man starting at brick wall with question marks on post-it notes. Where to start?

            Have you been there? 

            Have you ever taken a look at your kitchen, the piles of kids’ toys, your to-do list for work, and just stood there? 

            Overwhelmed and unsure of where to even start? 

            I have. 

            The endless lists. The piles that keep appearing, like a game of whack-a-mole. The dishes, laundry, kids’ toys. The emails, slack messages, interruptions. 

            Where do you even start? 

            Do what Suzy and her mom do. (and what I do with my kids when their toys are all over the house). 

            Play the seek and sort game. Pick one task, one list, one subject. And start. 

            Process your emails (not just read them, but respond, delete, file, figure out the next action). 

            Find that one task that’s been lingering on your list and do it. 

            Find all the tasks that will take less than two minutes and see how many you can do in 30 minutes. 

            The point here is to pick one spot, any spot, and tackle it. 

            Set a timer for 15 minutes and work on that task you have been avoiding. 

            And, if you’re really struggling, put all the tasks on separate sheets of paper in a bowl and draw one out. Do it. Repeat. 

            Seek. Sort. Start. 

            Contact me and let’s get you started playing the seek and sort game!

            Or, share your email below for a PDF to help bust you out of procrastination!

              It’s Not That Simple

              I’m standing in my kitchen. I need to empty my coffee maker. I’d like to clean it out too.

              it's not that simple Toys on stair with foot about to step no them.

              But I’m stuck. The compost bin is full and if I attempt to dump coffee grounds in it, the grounds will end up all over the counter.

              I don’t want to take the time to empty the compost bin before I clean out the coffee maker. It’s a few steps, but it feels like too many right now. I have other things I need to get to. 

              So, I do what any sane person would do in this situation, I walk away to deal with it later. 

              While this is a simple (and maybe silly) problem, this feeling of being stuck, of wanting to deal with something but feeling overwhelmed by the steps, is common. 

              It might be wanting to hire a housecleaner or a nanny. Maybe it’s getting your kids to do more around the house. Or you want regular date nights with your partner but don’t have a reliable babysitter.

              Whatever it is, take a few minutes to figure out the steps to get you there. Whether it’s researching babysitters or asking your neighbors for their housecleaner recommendations.

              Whether it’s something where you need to do it yourself or you want to delegate it, getting started is tough.

              But think about what that’s costing you in the long run. If you could hire a nanny or a house cleaner, what kind of time would that get you? 

              Figure out the first step and then take it.

              If you’re based in Denver and that project includes offloading a chore, try https://callemmy.com/

              Receive a free PDF to help get you started.

                Let’s Play

                Have you lost your ability to play? 

                ability to play. empty swing on a beach.

                When we become mothers, we’re so focused on raising children, taking care of the house, working, etc. that we forget how to have fun.

                Our society makes us think that leisure time or doing anything for fun, without a purpose, is lazy. That there must always be a purpose to something. And yes, we talk a lot about productivity and priorities here. 

                It’s also important to play. Taking a break, resting and recharging helps our productivity. We might come up with a solution to a work problem while on a hike. Maybe the next great idea for your business comes while walking your dog or spending time with friends. 

                We often collapse on the couch to watch TV because we’re too exhausted to do anything else. But watching TV is not always restorative. We choose it because we’re not sure what else to do with our time. It’s an easy choice. Or we’re folding laundry, paying bills, or doing something else while we watch TV. 

                And we don’t need one more thing to do. It’s easier to keep plugging away at our to-do list. We’ll do something fun when our kids are older or the to-do list is done.

                What if we took the time to play? 

                The National Institute of Play says on their website that play is the gateway to vitality. 

                Studies have shown that kids who have more unstructured free time to play are more social and academically proficient in life. It’s important for kids to have unstructured free time. This is where they learn social skills, their own limits, etc. 

                But play shouldn’t be only for kids. Adults need it too. And it needs to be something we for the fun of it. 

                Escape Adulthood is one of my favorite places to remind me to add a little play to my life. They remind me to stop being so focused on my to-do list and be more present. To find ways to add fun and whimsy to my days. And that it doesn’t need to be a big event for it to be fun.

                Play could be learning a new instrument, taking voice lessons, learning how to sew, volunteering, taking a class on any topic that interests you, hiking. The point is to do it for the fun of it. Not because you need to do it for work or you want to lose ten pounds. 

                I want to add more play to my life. Find new hobbies, learn new skills. And learn to be more present. I’d like to buy a piano soon and start taking lessons again. I’d like to snowshoe and cross-country ski. I also want to check out some dance classes from Put On Your Dance Shoes (POYDS). Or, if you want some virtual yoga or meditation in your life, check out Cindy Glennon Wellness

                What about you? What do you for fun these days? 

                Email me and let me know what you do for fun! Or schedule some time to chat so we can help you find time to play!