How to stay organized with a busy schedule

How to stay organized with a busy schedule

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We are all busy.

Commitments, work, family, friends, responsibilities, chores. And the list goes on, right?

It’s been an especially busy season in the Torres household with the preparation of opening up the ice cream shop amongst everything else. It can be challenging and overwhelming as you enter a new season, especially a busier one.

Stress and burnout are common because we feel like the days are slipping past us and we don’t have a grip on the things that matter. That’s why I’m sharing my tools and tricks that have helped keep me on track and make progress in the areas that are important to me. Busy can be fruitful. It’s going to be inevitable at times, so lets be intentional in making the most of it!

Set your goals

If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there?

One simple thing that has made a huge impact for me is setting and writing down my goals. This is a chance for me to look at where I’ve been and plan for where I want to go. It doesn’t always work out the way I have planned, but it’s a place to start.

My favorite tool for goal setting is my Powersheets*. This is an intentional goal planner that allows me to learn more about myself, my goals, and my intentions through prep work. It’s a place where I can see my progress and plan for what’s ahead. I make sure my “busy” is purposeful (and organized!) by cultivating what matters and letting go of the rest. It’s easier said than done sometimes, but it’s made it so much easier to say “no” to things when I’ve already realized what’s in alignment for this season.

Now you don’t have to use the Powersheets to make this happen (although I highly recommend them because they’re amazing)! You can start by simply writing down goals you have in the different areas of your life.

Health. Friends. Spouse/Significant Other. Family. Finances. Spiritual + Personal Growth. Work. Recreation.

Not every area will be important in every season, but you can use as a guide and focus on what’s most important to you right now. You might be in a season of a brand new job, so the Work area is important to cultivate, but maybe recreation isn’t for right now. And that’s okay.

Use a planner

In the spirit of “not everything is important all the time,” not everything needs to make it into your planner. If you’re someone who doesn’t use a planner of some sort, I honestly don’t know how you function. I’ve kept a planner for years and years. My current favorite is the Simplified Planner*, but find that works best for you!

There have been seasons where I overwhelm myself because I pile too much onto my plate. Reserve your “yes” for those things that move you closer to where you want to be. Again, not everything is important or right for this season.

I’ve also gotten myself into trouble when I’ve committed to something, but forgot to add it to my planner. Now any commitment goes right into my Simplified Planner. Every meeting, appointment, Pure Barre class, friend date, reminder, anything. It all gets written down so nothing gets overlooked or forgotten.

This has made life so much easier because I don’t have to store all this information in my head. I can make sure I’m not overcommiting myself and that I’m using my time well. I feel a lot less frazzled and more organized when my days are straight!

Keep a running list

 

 

If I don’t write something down, usually I’ll forget it. This used to drive me crazy! Busy season or not, I’m sure there are moments where something pops into your head that you need to remember, like pick up dry cleaning or don’t forget to grab milk at the store, but the next moment you’re sidetracked by something else and forget. This only makes the busyness feel more crazy.

I don’t always have my planner on me, but I pretty much always have my phone. So I use it to my advantage! I used to keep a “to do list” in the notes section on my phone, but this got a bit cluttered. For a while I’ve been using an app called MinimaList and it’s amazing! I can quickly add things to my list and it serves as an external brain for me, remembering everything so I don’t have to. From there I can add things to my planner as needed or just let it live in my app until it’s crossed off (yes it gives you the satisfaction of crossing items off a list!)

Just last night I was laying in bed and thought of a few things I needed to get done today. Instead of letting this keep me up trying to make sure I remembered, I simply added it to my list and moved on. I set it up as a widget on my main screen so it’s easily accessible and used all the time!

Prep your food

You’re probably sick of hearing about this, but I cannot stress enough the magic of meal prep! Or at least ingredient prep! What I mean by this is instead of prepping your whole meal and putting it together, you prep the ingredients so they’re ready when you are. This seems less overwhelming to me and I can mix and match the ingredients to make different meals.

I really got back into meal prepping again during my Whole30. It’s such a dream to have good, healthy food ready to go especially when you’re super busy and/or super hungry. Yes, in a situation like that you could just hit the drive through, but food prepping saves you time and money. Plus it’s usually healthier! Win-win-win!

I feel more relaxed and enjoy my food more when I’m not trying to scramble putting things together to cook it. Set aside 30 minutes this week to plan your meals (they don’t have to be fancy). Make your grocery list based on your plan and what you already have. Go to the grocery store. Then set aside 1-2 hours prepping whatever you can! It does take time up front, but it will save you so much time and hassle throughout the week.

I took it a step further and got my lunch boxes ready for a few days and that made me feel like I was queen of the world! Set yourself up for success!

Choose your outfit the night before

Have you ever noticed picking out an outfit might take you 2 minutes at night, but 30 minutes in the morning!? That is precious time and mental energy that does not need to be spent.

I have been picking out my entire outfit the night before for a while and it’s incredible to not have to make that decision in the morning. It makes me feel prepared and on top of it. Mornings can be so hectic, so why not make it easier for yourself? The morning sets the tone for your whole day — don’t let that tone be panic, stress, and frustration.

Moral of the story: get things out of your head and simplify.

We tend to make things more complicated than they need to be especially when we’re busy and not thinking clearly. My hope is that these tools and tricks will help you flourish no matter the season you’re in ❤

What is your best tool or trick to flourish with a busy schedule? I’d love to know in the comments below.

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How to Set Up Your Budget

How to Set Up Your Budget

Budgeting isn’t sexy or fun, but it is oh so necessary… Unless you want to continue wondering where all your hard earned money went! Because you’re here, I know you’re the kind of person that wants to flourish in every area of your life — finances are a major component that flows into every other area!

Ask anyone who has gotten out of debt and built wealth what the biggest key to their success is and they will tell you the same thing: budget. Creating and sticking to a budget gives you the control to tell your money where you want it to go instead of it going where it wants (which is usually out of your wallet).

I am not a budget expert, but I have incorporated a budget into my life that I’ve stuck with for the last 3 or so years. It has changed and evolved of course, but I’ve remained friends with my trusty budget and it’s literally paid off throughout life’s changes.

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A glimpse at our monthly budget without the dollar amounts

Now lets get your budget created! To start, grab a piece of paper and a pen — we’re going to set up the outline to your budget by answering 6 questions. Are you ready!?

  1. Are you creating this budget for yourself or your family? Another way to ask is, are you married or single? Either way, the overall idea will be the same, but depending on your situation, the individual elements will be different. For example, if you’re married and your spouse has a car payment, that item needs to be on your family budget, but your boyfriend’s car payment wouldn’t be on your budget — make sense? This answer will also come into play with #6.
  2. What income do you bring in? Our income varies each month because Eric works as a server and mine can vary with commission. We have a base line amount and track what we’re actually bringing in each week. This is important because your income must outweigh your budget with any excess going towards your goals. Your income to budget ratio may tell you that you need to pick up a side job. Knowledge is power!
  3. What are your bills? What are their amounts and due dates? If this is your first time putting everything down on paper it may be hard to think about, but just start writing down every payment you can think of. This includes things like utilities, rent/mortgage, student loan payment, phone plan, insurance, gas, groceries — any payment you need to make each month. I make note if the bill is set up with auto draft (by using an asterik*), if it’s a varied or fixed amount (pinkish purple box), and I list them in order of their due date. You may prefer to list in order of priority. Either way will work.
  4. What debt do you owe? This is scary to do, but it’s important to know what you’re up against. Calcuate all of your debt. Student loans, car loans, credit cards, etc. Once you shed the light on your debt monster, you’ll be better prepared to attack it! This amount will shrink each month and you’ll be able to watch your progress.
  5. What are you spending? Sometimes we find ourselves wondering: where the heck did all that money go?? Track your spending. Tracking will allow you to identify where you can cut back and where each dollar is actually going. A lot of your money may be going towards bills, but if you’re not making progress on your financial goals, the excess is likely going everywhere else. Another benefit of tracking is that it’ll hold you more accountable to your budget — do you really want to spend that extra money on shoes or a meal out when it could be better used towards debt??
  6. What are your financial goals? I’ve mentioned goals throughout the previous questions, so they must be important. Set your goals! Do you want to be debt free by a certain date? Do you want to have a certain amount of money saved up? Do you want to pay off your house or car? I’m sure you have dreams, but until you write down your goals, they will continue to stay just that- dreams. I want to see those dreams become reality for you! 

This is the blueprint, but actually creating the foundation is up to you! It doesn’t matter how you create and manage your budget as long as you are consistant in sticking to it. A spreadsheet in GoogleDocs (as seen above) is what works for us, but we have friends that prefer using an app such as Every Dollar, Mint, You Need a Budget, and Good Budget. They all have the same purpose, so try something out to see what works. It may take some time to work out the kinks, but stick with it. It’ll take about 3 months for you to really nail down your budget and get comfortable, so if it’s not clicking right away, don’t worry!

Also, don’t be afraid to adjust as necessary based on your progress towards your goals. Things may come up where you have to tighten the budget or you meet goals and can relax a bit. Push yourself, but not so intensly that you give up. Consistency is key here!! Check in with your budget often and roll with it. I know you can do it!

Budgeting is the #1 way to financial freedom. It’s a plan that’ll take you from where you are now to where you want to be. Freedom, peace, ease, joy, relaxation — these can be your truth when you’re financially healthy. You have everything you need to be successful! Are you ready for it!?

Share: Do you have a budget? If not, when will you set aside time to answer these questions and create one? You’re on your way to financial freedom!

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How I pack… without stressing out

How I pack… without stressing out

I love traveling. But packing… not my fave activity.

It used to cause stress and overwhelm until I realized I need to do what I do with most other stressful/overwhelming things: create a list!

If you’ve been following along, March was a month of travel and this past weekend involved travel as well as we took a 2ish hour trip to Cleveland, NC for one of my best friend’s weddings.

I want to share some of my tips to help make packing a breeze.

Tip #1: Pack from a list

Not only will this make packing quicker, but you’ll be less likely to forget something. Create the list once then you can modify for all future trips!

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This list is generic so you can modify and adjust as you need. Depending on the destination, these categories may require different things. For example, shoes for a tropical getaway will be much different than shoes for your winter trip to the mountains. Check out the weather before you go and consider the types of activities you’ll be doing as you’re planning your apparel choices.

Tip #2: Pack ahead of time

There’s nothing worse than panic packing. I know there’s those of you out there where this is your usual, but that is even more stressful to me! You’re likely not thinking things through and then you’ll be ever more likely to overpack or, worse yet, forget something important. Plan and pack as much ahead of time as you can.

Of course there’s those items that you can’t pack ahead – toothbrush, toothpaste, makeup, etc. For these types of items, lay them out on your counter with its bag and then pack as you’re getting ready. This is will a way to double check you have everything you need while giving yourself the peace of mind that you’re mostly packed and ready to go.

Tip #3: Coordinate with any travel companions

This will not apply if you’re going on a trip alone, but if you’re traveling with others, coordinate! There’s no reason for every person to bring a hair dryer. Sharing is caring 😉 Identify items that are easy to share and designate an appropriate amount of people to bring that item. It’ll make packing lighter and have less clutter once you get to your destination. Win win!

Tip #4: Keep it simple

I try to keep my travel outfits and other items as simple as possible. I’ll opt for dresses and pieces that can be worn in multiple ways instead of super specific items. I don’t usually wear a lot of jewelry or other accessories on vacay, but just bring my favorite pieces. This may seem pretty obvious, but it helps a lot! When you can mix and match items, you’ll have a lot more outfits without taking up all the extra space and you won’t have to put as much thought into what’s going to match what. Keep it simple and when in doubt, it’s probably best to leave it behind.

Tip #5: Unpack immediately 

This is a post trip tip, but it’s still useful. Once you get home go ahead and unpack. This is especially important if you have another trip soon after. You’ll want clothes washed, any necessary items restocked, and bags cleaned out. Plus, you don’t want this hanging over your head. So just get it done!

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Happy, organized travels, yall! Share your best travel tips with us below.

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Organized Life: Workout Clothes

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Happy Monday, friend!

I’m not sure why I’ve been putting it off, but I’m going to utilize a part of this blog to share with you one of my favorite things: organization! I know there’s a lot of us that struggle in this area and I want to help.

Lately I’ve been doing a lot of work in my closet. This is an easy hack that I was SUPER excited about!!! Mostly because the way I had it just wasn’t working, yet I didn’t know what to do to fix it.

Enter in a simple shoe organizer.

This shoe organizer is actually one I used my freshman year of college. It’s been collecting dust since then. Bonus points for being able to repurpose something I already own! You may already own one too or you might have to purchase one- either way it’s worth it!

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Your workout gear’s new home!

Before I transferred everything over, my stuff was all spread out across my drawers. I would forget what I had and ended up wearing the same few over and over. This way, I can see everything I’ve got and it’s mostly organized by color. Do the best you can there 😉

Tanks at the top (organized by color family), shorts, workout leggings/yoga pants, and then the trusty basic black leggings. Yasssss

This particular organizer has the little pouches on the side – perfect place for sports bras and sneakers. All in one handy place when it’s time for your sweat session.

I’m still getting used to this new system, so I’m checking my drawers when it’s time to get dressed, but it brings me joy once I remember its new home! And I’m totally digging some extra drawer space. Must resist the urge to fill with more stuff, but instead use for best function and purpose.

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You may not have enough workout clothes to need a system like this – You could always combine other like clothes or have extra space. That’s totally okay!

Your collection may be way too big – Maybe you need to recruit a few or maybe it’s time to declutter and donate.

Moral of the post: Do what works best for you! 

I hope you find this useful and just as exciting as I did!

Share: What area(s) in your life could use better organization? I’d love to get your feedback for future posts!

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How can you create a habit that sticks?

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The time of New Years Resolutions is upon us! What are resolutions?? Really, these are new habits you want to form. Habits like exercising more, eating better, getting to bed earlier, etc. Without a game plan, these resolutions are dropped just a few weeks into the new year… not this time!

How can you actually create a habit that sticks!? 

Triggers.

A trigger is something that you put in place to remind you of something. Sounds pretty basic, but it works… and here’s why. We have a lot to think about in the day. Especially when we’re trying to establish a new habit, it’s easy to forget. Not necessarily because you don’t want to do it, but because it’s not a part of your routine yet. Our brains like routine. The more mindless we can make something, the easier it will become (and stay) a part of our daily routine.

How mindless is brushing your teeth? If I had to guess, it’s one of the very first things you do in the morning. At first maybe your parents had to remind you daily (trigger), or when you went to the bathroom you saw your toothbrush and were reminded (trigger). It’s become such a part of your routine now that there’s no question about it. This is ideally what we want to happen to every positive habit.

For me, flossing my teeth has not been a habit I established. After countless dentist visits of them gently scolding me to floss more and some not-so-fun cavity fillings, I finally decided this needed to become a habit. I can really only floss with those floss picks, so I filled up a mason jar with them and sat them right on my bathroom counter. Now this is a daily reminder, aka trigger, that I need to floss before bed. And it’s actually working! Since then, I’ve flossed more nights than I haven’t and this is a huge improvement! Before, I would really only floss in the few days leading up to the dentist visit and maybeeeee the few days after, but that would be it.

I do the same thing with my workout clothes. I’m into a habit of working out each day, but I really want to make sure my workout time is first thing in the morning. To remind myself and make it easier, I lay out my workout clothes the night before. Literally every piece of clothing I’ll need – sports bra, tank, shorts, socks, sneakers. It takes me a lot less time in the morning to get ready and I’m immediately triggered to get it done!

The awesome thing is this tactic can be used for pretty much any habit you’re wanting to develop. Maybe it’s an alarm on your phone. Maybe it’s seeing a certain person (like an accountability partner). Maybe it’s putting something different in your space (like I did with the floss).

So how do you actually do it?

First- determine the habit you want to create.
Second- consider possible triggers.
Third- choose the best one for you.

Don’t be afraid to changes things up if a certain trigger isn’t working for you. I would allow at least a week and then evaluate how the trigger is working. It may be helpful to use some sort of tracker so you’re not having to go based on memory. This could be a note in your phone, your planner, a piece of paper, etc, but track each time you complete the given desired habit.

What habit are you focused on developing? I’d love to read them in the comments below. If you’re having trouble determining a good trigger, lets chat! I’d be happy to help 🙂 Lets make 2017 the most productive and awesome year yet!

Rachel