Sunday is the first day of the week so use it to prepare for the upcoming workweek. If you want to be productive, you need to learn the art of preparation. Having a productive week doesn’t start Monday morning; it starts Sunday night.
1. Reflect on What’s Finished
If you’re like me, your to do list is always changing; adding things here, checking things off there. Get out your to do list each Sunday evening and review everything on it. Check off the things you’ve completed and ask yourself why the other things on your list weren’t done. Once you’ve done this, make an updated to do list with only the tasks that you need to complete.
2. Organized Your To Do List
Organize your to do list by category so that you’re less overwhelmed. The categories are based on your personal needs but may include “Work”, “Home”, and “Personal”. Because I have kids, I have a “Kids” category that houses all of the things I need to do for them. Organizing your to do list like this will also increase your efficiency because you can focus on one category at a time instead of bouncing all over the place. Ever heard of batching? Yeah, you’re doing that!
3. Work Ahead
If there’s anything you can do ahead of time, do it! Meal planning is a great task to do ahead of time. Each week, I sit down and determine what meals we’re going to have that week for dinner. Since I work from home I also plan my breakfast and lunch (not really because it’s always the same thing but that’s a plan, right?). You can even go so far as to cook your meals on Sundays and freeze them to minimize the cooking during the week.
4. Prioritize Input
Monday through Friday are always output days and Sundays should be all about input. Sunday is your planning and preparation day. Exercise your creative side on Sunday so that you’re ready to hit the ground running on Monday.
5. Me Time
Just because Sunday is the first day of the week doesn’t mean you can’t make time for yourself. Sundays are generally my self-care days. I do my nails; apply my weekly mud mask, read a book, etc. Take some time for yourself to rejuvenate you for the week. You can’t take care of others if you’re not taking care of yourself.
If this list seems a bit overwhelming, try doing one thing a week until you’re doing all five. Starting a new habit takes awhile so don’t get discouraged if you find yourself falling back to your old ways. Keep going!
Being a freelancer means I have to have dedication and discipline to get my work done throughout the day. It’s up to me to get done what needs to get done every day, and, if I don’t, there’s hell to pay. I still have deadlines to meet, a business to run, and a family to handle. With that said, my morning routine isn’t much different than any other freelancer’s; I just wanted to share it with you.
During the school year, my routine is rock solid, but, now that summer vacation is here, things get a little crazy. During the week, I roll out of bed at 7 am. Sometimes earlier but I try to grab as many z’s as I can.
From 7 to about 7:30 I’m checking my social media, catching up on email, and planning my day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see my many morning planning sessions there. If I have time, I play a round (or 2) of Candy Crush while the dogs are outside.
From 7:30 until 8, I’m held hostage by my Keurig; enjoying every minute of it. I usually take my coffee outside so I can listen to the birds sing. It’s always nice to start the day with something beautiful.
When the clock strikes 8, it’s time for breakfast. I have my usual (egg whites with a whole grain English muffin) with another cup of coffee. By this time, at least one of my kids is up and asking me a million questions. I have my breakfast at the dining room table so I can update my Filofax as necessary.
I’m usually done with breakfast by 8:30, which leaves me 30 minutes to get some things done before heading to the office. I start a load of laundry, unload the dishwasher (and add my breakfast dishes), take the dogs out again, and wipe down the kitchen counters.
You see, my morning routine probably isn’t much different that yours. Unless you commute to work, in which case my routine is much different than yours. I’d love to sleep in every day since my kids are on summer break but that’s not conducive to my goals.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know I’ve been in a constant state of change. It should come as no surprise that, once again, my life is changing. It’s been a rough first quarter of 2016 but it can only go up from here. Here’s the skinny on what’s been going on lately…
Let’s see….where to begin. Ah…my oldest boy, who went to bootcamp, is now home due to a concussion. He wasn’t able to physically complete the program, which meant he wouldn’t have graduated if he stayed. He’s since been in a bus accident and suffered another concussion while playing basketball. That kid is always keeping things interesting!
We recently moved into a bigger place and I now have an actual office space! I’m so excited about that! I’m just waiting for Comcast to install my internet so I can officially set up shop. The move has been difficult because we’re both working full-time. We only have evenings and weekends to organize and put away and that’s been driving me crazy. Between the kids, the pets, the husband, and the boxes, there’s not a clear path anywhere!
My work has drastically changed in the past month and I’ve been working 12 hour days. It’s been rough because it’s not something I’m used to but I’m loving every minute of it. Now, if my office would magically get finished, that would be so great. 😉
My Filofax is also about to change…as soon as my ink arrives. I don’t understand Amazon. I have a prime account that I pay for, handsomely, and my “free two day shipping” on an order I placed yesterday is scheduled for delivery on March 8. Really? Where in the hell is that considered 2 days?! Anyway, rant over. Once my ink arrives, and I have some time on a weekend, I’m going to update my daily schedule to include all the new, fun clients I have and work I need to do. I think I’m more excited about updating that than anything else. Yeah, yeah, I’m a dork…I know.
Lastly, my weight has changed. I’ve gained a little bit of weight since starting the move and the new work. I’ve found myself slipping back into old habits again, like eating at my desk, eating whatever is quick, and no working out. I even forgot to put my FitBit on today! I haven’t been logging my food like I should and that’s not like me. I’ve got so much going on but that’s no excuse. I can’t wait until my house is finished and I don’t have to run here, there, and everywhere to get things done.
The weight that I have gained, I’ll take off. That’s not going to be an issue. I refuse to go back to where I started. If that means I don’t work 12 hour days anymore, so be it. My health will come first! Change is difficult for me because I’m a creature of habit; I like schedules and routines. When something gets in the way, I often don’t know what to do or how to handle it. But, that’s something I’m constantly working on.
I’ve been pretty open about the changes that have happened in my life recently, so it should come as no surprise that my Filofax has made some changes, too. My current Filofax setup is a bit different now and I wanted to share it with you.
This is my vision board and it’s the first thing I see when I open my Filofax. I keep it in a transparent top loading envelope so that it’s protected. I can also change it out should my vision change through the year.
This may be a bit difficult to see, but these are the sections in my Filofax. I ordered the dividers from Plannerfancy on Etsy and I love them! I used my label maker to create the labels for each section.
This section is where I keep my day on one page inserts. I ordered the business inserts from Habercrafts on eBay. This is my second year using them and I love them!
This is what the business day per page inserts look like. I love how there are different sections on the page. My tasks are even more organized than ever and I always feel like I get so much more done! I also color code my tasks so I know at-a-glance what needs to be done and for whom. At the top of the page, there’s a TODAY section. This is what I use for our meal planning and paying bills. Today, for example, I need to pay my Walmart charge account and spaghetti is for dinner.
After the daily pages, I have my daily schedule insert. I created this one and laminated it so I can re-use it every day. These are the things I have to do every Monday through Friday and I didn’t want to take up space on my daily pages. I use a fine tip dry erase marker to check off the ones I’ve done.
On the back of my daily schedule is my cleaning schedule. This schedule makes keeping up with the housework so easy and I don’t have to do it all on the weekend. I actually have more family time on the weekends now and that’s so important to me. After this is a photo holder I bought a very long time ago that I can’t find anywhere these days. It was made for Day Runner. After that is a business card holder page that I keep appointment cards and stamps in.
This is another business card page that I use for page flags and labels. Behind that is some damask velum paper that I found at Michaels, I think. It’s my favorite pattern so it’s only natural to find it in my Filofax. 🙂
I bought a pack of file folders from Staples a while back. I watched Alexis’ video on YouTube about making a folder for an A5 Filofax. And, this is the end result.
This is my monthly section where I keep my month on two pages inserts. This comes in handy when I’m making appointments because I can see the entire month at once.
I ordered these inserts from Filofax USA and started using them this month. So far, it’s working out great; I love seeing the whole month at once!
I found this gem on Pinterest and had to include it in my Filofax setup. It reminds me daily of how I need to treat myself. Unfortunately, I no longer have this pinned to any of my boards so I can’t link to it. Let me know if you want to download this image and I’ll see what I can do.
This is my blog section. It helps me keep my blog ideas organized and it gives me a place to write down any ideas I think of.
This is the insert I created to keep track of my blog posts. I write down a potential title and the check boxes indicate if the post has been written, edited, images, and scheduled. Behind this page is blank note paper so I can jot down any random thoughts or ideas that may turn into blog posts.
This is my money section where I keep track of our finances. Although it can be stressful, it’s my favorite section.
This is the page where I have all of our bills listed with the due dates and amounts. It’s a quick glance sort of thing so I know what’s due on what day and how much it is.
This is my monthly bill tracker so I can check off the bills we pay each month. Our bills are also on this page with due dates and amounts. I left room for 2 added bills should the need arise. This insert is available for free download here.
Also in this section are ledger-type inserts I created to keep track of the balances we have on our credit and charge cards. Each time we make a purchase or a payment, I write it down and update the balance; just like balancing your checkbook.
After the money section is this beauty. I love having it within reach at all times just in case I need to mark something for later or jot something down. It’s available on Amazon and Filofax USA.
I’m an avid reader, or I try to be, and I often come across titles I want to read. Instead of trying to remember them all, I created this insert to write them down. While I was creating it, I added the titles I already had written down so it was nice and neat. 😉
This is my notes section and it contains colored lined paper. Some of the paper came with the Filofax and other paper came from KiddyQualia on Etsy.
The last section is my contacts. This is self-explanatory, but, just in case, it’s where I keep all of my names, addresses, and phone numbers. 😉
This is an awesome storage pouch I found at Staples. It already had holes punched in it but they didn’t line up with my Filofax rings. So, I re-punched it. I keep stickers, labels, and flags in here so they’re all in one place. It closes with velcro and it’s not bulky so it doesn’t over stuff my Filofax.
As a wife, mother, and freelancer, it’s important for me to keep a very close eye on our finances. I’ve pinned so many great things on Pinterest to help me keep that close eye but there is always something I’m not overly fond of. So, instead, I created my own monthly bill tracker printable insert.
I created a master list of all of our bills to keep in my finance section and I love it, but it’s not working for me by itself. I found myself wanting to check off the bills that I paid on this list and that’s not what it’s for.
So, I needed something that would allow me to check off when I paid each bill every month. I created the monthly bill tracker insert using Word and Excel (gotta love that insert object option). That’s why I created this printable. It’s designed in landscape format so that everything would fit nicely on one page.
This printable insert is for the A5 Filofax and is available for free download! Enjoy!
This activity tracker printable is designed to keep track of all of your walking and running efforts. I haven’t started using this one yet because it’s new, but I’ll definitely start using it very soon. My FitBit Charge HR tracks all of my steps, distance traveled, and calories burned and it syncs to my Lose It! account. But, sometimes, I don’t want to have to pull up an app on my phone to see my progress.
So, I made this activity tracker printer for my A5. 🙂 I know it’s like doing twice the work, but, let’s face it, I handle things much better when they’re written down. I’m hoping that this printable will also help me see why I’m not meeting my step goal each day. I can look back in my calendar pages to see what I did each day so I can plan accordingly the next time.
If you’re interested in this free activity tracker printable, click the button below!
Increasing productivity isn’t just a solo sport – get your entire family involved with meal planning! Many people associate meal planning with weight loss, but it’s not just helpful for that. At the end of each week, my husband and I sit down and plan out our dinners for the next week and then we head out to the grocery store. So, how does this increase productivity?
With a meal plan, I know exactly what we’re having for dinner every night. There’s no thinking about it, no guessing, and no wasting time trying to find something to defrost. When it’s left up to me to figure it out, I inevitably take out something that no one else wants to eat. Meal planning eliminates all of that crap, which saves me a TON of time and energy.
I take it one step further for myself and plan out my breakfast and lunch each day, too. I’m trying to eat healthy and planning my meals helps keep me on track with my goals. There have been many times where I have cooked ahead and frozen foods so all I have to do during the week is defrost something. I usually do this during the weeks when we’re really busy in the evenings because it saves a lot of time.
When we’re planning the meals for the week, I have my Filofax on-hand so I know what nights are busier than others. Knowing what’s ahead for the week really helps us plan our meals better because, if we’re really busy one evening, I’ll cook something big the night before. Leftovers are a great way to still have a home-cooked meal without actually cooking. We try to cook 2 large meals a week so that we can have leftovers so there’s not as much stress associated with dinner.
Meal planning is also very beneficial to your budget because you’re only buying what you need from the market. I loathe grocery shopping and avoid it at all costs. By planning our meals, I’m able to head into the grocery store with a mission and I always accomplish my missions! Depending on which grocery store I go in, I have my list written down by aisle, so that I can save more time. I also group things together so I’m not walking all over the place – back and forth – spending more time than absolutely necessary inside.
If you use an A5 Filofax, here’s a free jotter download for you! I printed this on card stock and laminated it so that I can write on it with a dry erase marker. I also cut slits in the holes so I can move the jotter as I change pages. I always know what’s for dinner!