3 Hacks for Planning Your Day

Have you ever tried and tried to stick to an hourly schedule but found it impossible?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and half your things are still on that to do list?

Have you ever stayed awake worrying about all the things you need to do tomorrow?

Yeah, me too! Today I want to share with you 3 Hacks for Planning Your Day. These are three things that have revolutionized the way I approach my schedule + daily to do lists.

1. Paper vs. Memory

I used to keep a running tab in my mind of the things I needed to get done. Remember earlier how I talked about staying awake worrying about things you need to do? I used to lay in bed worrying I would forget something that I needed to do! I finally realized that I just am not very good at remembering it all! I now keep runnings lists a variety of places (work lists are on my computer, blog post ideas in a notebook, other projects on a note on my phone) so I don’t have to remember it all! This has been so freeing!

2. Routines vs. Schedules

Some people love their schedules, and that’s so great! But in my life currently (and I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat), a daily schedule where I plan out each hour just isn’t possible. My days are too different and unpredictable to possibly plan for how I am going to use all the hours. Instead of trying to stick to a “schedule”, I embrace the beauty of routines. My morning routine is probably my favorite. I even have a few different routines, for my different kinds of mornings: bus mornings, hotel mornings, + home mornings. I try to plan to night before things like the following: what time I will get up, when I will have quiet time, what exercise I will (or will not:) be doing, what time I need to be ready for the day, and whether I will be eating breakfast on my own or with others.

If you’re struggling to stick with a “daily schedule”, I highly recommend building some routines in your life in place of the schedule.

Last evening, I figured out what time I needed to be ready for the day, planned what I wanted to do this morning in the time I had, and set my alarm for a time that would give me a decent night’s sleep while still giving me enough time to do my morning things.

3. Top 10 vs. Everything

When I used to sit down in the morning to write my to-do list, I would write down everything I could think of that I should, could, wanted to, or was supposed to get done that day. And it was just too much. I ended up overwhelmed, discouraged, and frustrated more days than not. I simply wasn’t being realistic. Most of us can’t get done everything we can think of every day!

Here’s what I did: I started categorizing my lists and numbering them. I choose the top 10, or 20, or whatever number! These are the things I decide are most important for that day. I usually have a running list (like I mentioned in #1) of other things I can do if I get all the things on my list done with time to spare. But I specifically try to make the list doable. I want to be able to get the whole list done, unless something catastrophic or completely unforeseen happens- and there are days when it does.:)  But most days, I can get it done!

The number is different every day according to the things I need to do and how long various tasks will take, but the goal is two-fold: 1. To organize the items into categories 2. To keep the list realistic. I try to watch the number…..if I have 15 or 20 items in each category, then I probably need to re-evaluate and cut some things!

Today, my list looks like this:

Hotel:

  1. call new hire
  2. send scheduling email to new team member
  3. schedule employees for this week
  4. work short evening shift at hotel
  5. check work email
  6. do payroll

Home:

  1. make lunch for the family
  2. refrigerate fermented cabbage
  3. help unpack bus from San Antonio trip
  4. put dahlias in sand
  5. do a short ministry task for Dad
  6. cook + freeze big batch of black beans

Personal:

  1. send invitation for bachelorette party
  2. run 3 miles
  3. write a blog post
  4. organize bedroom
  5. do Scripture memory
  6. get package ready to send

 

And now I’m off to complete that list!

I’d love to hear what you think!

What is your biggest struggle in planning your days? Would one or all of these hacks be valuable to you?

much love,

Allison

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Cooking for One: Breakfast Edition

(photo #1)

I recently posted a few food pictures on my Instagram story and took a poll. The question was, “Do you want to hear more about healthy, frugal, and simple cooking for one person?”

Apparently a lot of ya’ll are interested in that, so here I am with the first post. I am going to be sharing a few things today:

-What I am Eating for Breakfast these Days

-How to Plan Balanced Breakfasts

-How to Stock Your Pantry + Fridge for a Variety of Simple, Frugal, Healthy, and Yummy Breakfasts

-My Morning Eating Schedule

Now, let me clarify something: If you’re living with your family, and not typically cooking for just one or two people, you may still want to keep reading. I have alot of girls ask me about health and fitness, and if you are trying to lose weight, deal with allergies/food sensitivities, or maintain and not gain weight, you may need to eat differently than your family sometimes.

You may be a single person living alone, a newly married wife or husband, or one of many in a large household.

No matter which camp you find yourself in, if you are interested in cooking frugally, eating healthier, and not spending hours prepping food every day, this post is for you!

(#2)

Ok, first off:

What I am Eating for Breakfast These Days:

Just by scrolling through this post, you can see what I’ve been eating! Each picture represents an actual breakfast I made for myself, and several are these are favorites that I have multiple times per week. For clarity I have labeled each photo and am going to talk a little bit about them.

#1. Veggie Omelet, Stewed Apples

This is SO delicious! One evening I sauteed a bunch of veggies (zucchini, peppers, onion) to use in my supper, and I simply refrigerated the rest to use in my omelet the next morning. This cuts down on prep time. The next morning, all I had to do was whip up some eggs and make the omelet using the prepared veggies and some shredded cheese from my fridge.

#2. Black Beans, Sauteed Spinach, Fried Eggs

Oh man…..I love me some beans! I know some of you probably thing it’s gross to eat beans for breakfast, but you might be surprised how good it actually it! And this particular breakfast is probably one of the very cheapest you can make. Especially if you cook the beans yourself, and find a good price on eggs and spinach (Aldi is my favorite place for inexpensive vegetables), this meal costs very little while being extremely nutritious and filling.

#3. Egg/Kale/Sausage/Parmesan Frittata

This Frittata is my current very FAVORITE breakfast! In fact, I am eating it as I type at this very moment.:)  This morning I grabbed half an onion that was in the fridge and started sauteeing that in lard, added the kale once the onion was soft, and finished it off by pouring on some eggs beaten w/ a little coconut milk. Once this was almost set, I sprinkled it with parmesan cheese and folded it in half.

#4. Cottage Cheese w/ Strawberries, Energy Balls

I think this picture might have actually been from a snack, because for breakfast I would have a larger portion. I eat this alot for snacks, but it’s also great for an occasional morning where I need something fast + easy and maybe I’m not quite feeling like eating eggs.:)

#5. Cottage Cheese, Pumpkin Baked Oats, Banana

What a delicious breakfast filled with good carbs! You could definitely substitute the cottage cheese with yogurt or milk, but I think I wanted some extra protein and didn’t have yogurt on hand that morning. I am going to post my pumpkin baked oatmeal recipe soon (once I can make it again and write down exact measurements!). It’s sooo good. I don’t eat very many baked things for breakfast, but this one is a favorite.

If you are cooking just for you or you + your spouse, a whole pan of this should last for awhile, which is just fantastic for a fast breakfast.

#6. Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Shake

The other morning I was having one of those mornings where eggs just didn’t sound good. Knowing I needed something still filling + nutritious, I opted for a protein shake. I don’t have an exact recipe, but here’s what I put in:

-yogurt

-coconut milk

-raw egg (only use raw eggs if you have a source for high quality, fresh eggs)

-cocoa

-square of dark chocolate

-big spoon of peanut butter

-banana

-ice cubes

I blended that all together, then poured it in my coffee mug and topped it with homemade whipped cream. I wouldn’t do this very often, but for something completely different and luscious, it’s perfect.

#7. Hard Boiled Eggs, Cheese, Energy Balls, Blueberries

Basic, ya’ll. Hard boiled eggs aren’t my very favorite breakfast in the world, but I will sometimes pair them with baked oatmeal, a fruit/yogurt bowl, etc to provide the protein for a super-little-prep-time breakfast.

Also, I should mention that with some of these breakfasts, I had kombucha, a smoothie, or an apple on the side and just didn’t take a picture of it. I don’t eat fruit every single morning, though. I absolutely love fruit, but sometimes I include it in a snack later in the day (like an apple with peanut butter), plus lately I have been trying to really focus on eating more vegetables. 

(#3)

How to Plan Balanced Breakfasts

I realize that everyone is different, with unique taste buds and nutritional needs. Based upon what I like to eat and what my body does best with, I usually use the following thought processes for planning my breakfasts:

-Center it on PROTEIN! I probably use eggs in my breakfasts 9 out of 10 mornings, and another protein source such as cottage cheese or whey protein the rest. I do include meat in my breakfast sometimes (sausage or bacon) but not very often. It gets expensive, plus I just prefer not to do it regularly for breakfast since I usually have it 1-2 more times later in the day (lunch/dinner).

-Include veggies if possible. I don’t always do this, but recently it’s been probably about half the time. When I do have veggies with my breakfast, I often make it a main part and skip fruit or something higher in carbs.

-Don’t eat something baked/sweet every morning. This is something I have have had to learn, because naturally, who doesn’t love muffins, pumpkin pancakes, biscuits, and waffles? I’m not saying it’s wrong to eat these things every morning, but for my personal health + nutritional needs, it’s just not the best option on a regular basis. I feel much better eating mostly eggs, fruit, yogurt, veggies, etc for breakfast. Also, for you gals (or guys) who are trying to lose weight or tend to gain weight easily, this is a simple trick that might help more than you’d think!

(#4)

(#5)

How to Stock Your Pantry + Fridge for a Variety of Simple, Frugal, Healthy, and Yummy Breakfasts

Here is my list of things I try to keep on hand:

-Eggs (MOST IMPORTANT!!!!)

-Bacon or Sausage

-Kale or spinach

-Other veggies such as onions + tomatoes

-Black beans

-Cottage Cheese + Yogurt

-1-2 fruits: my favorites are apples, strawberries, and bananas

-lard or butter (for sauteing veggies + frying eggs)

Those are my staples, but are below are a few more “great, but not necessary” items:

-Cheese

-Something Baked (usually gluten free/naturally sweetened baked oats, waffles, muffins, etc.) I probably only have something like this on hand less than 25% of the time, which is actually a good thing because then I eat more of the basics, like eggs, veggies, and fruit!

-Whipped cream (for topping smoothies, or fruit salad w/ yogurt)

-Additional fruit + veggie options

-Coconut milk

-Protein bars or balls (usually homemade)

-Protein powder (mostly for protein smoothies after a workout)

(#6)

My Morning Eating Schedule

I think I’m weird this way, but 99% of the time I wake up hungry! Are any of you like that?

On most mornings, I make a cup of coffee first thing, and eat a small handful of nuts or a protein ball (or 2 or 3:) while my coffee is steeping.

Usually I consume my “morning snack” and coffee before 6am.

I don’t really want to eat eggs first thing when I get up, and I’m not ready for a full breakfast- thus, the “morning snack”.

My breakfast schedule varies, but I’d say on average I eat breakfast somewhere from 7:30-8:30. I usually drink water or kombucha with my breakfast, since I prefer my coffee first thing with my morning snack, and I try to keep it to one cup per day on a regular basis.

(#7)

Thanks for reading along, friends! I am hoping to share a few of my recipes soon!. Particularly Pumpkin Baked Oatmeal and Mint Chocolate Protein Balls are two of my very favorites. I don’t really know of any similar recipes, so I really want to share those with ya’ll so you can enjoy them too!What resonated with you the most in this post? 
-Allison

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Recent Gifts

Kindness

I am blessed with some of the very kindest of people in my life. Unexpected coffee delivery, a sweet text message, quality time, words of blessing, acts of service…..the list could go on and on. I have been blessed.

Sunsets

God is powerful, creative, and the Giver of all good gifts! Every sunset is unique, a reminder of the care He takes for the smallest details of the world and people He created. It is far too easy to rush through life without thanking Him for even the sunsets. He could have made the sky a boring grey every day, and then from grey to black at night, you know? But He didn’t, and we get to enjoy His creativity and power!

Vegetables

Recently I have been really enjoying the gifts of fresh foods. What a gift it really is! I am grateful for access to an abundance of fresh produce. Salads, veggie stir fries, fruit smoothies, and so much more- what a way to eat!

These Two

Mitchell and Bryn have been such a sweet blessing! They are joyful, grateful, hospitable, and two of the kindest people in the world, I think. This fall I have been living in their apartment and although they are gone many days and nights, they are completely generous with sharing everything they have and when they are home and we get to spend time together it is always a blessing. Mitchell is such an amazing man of God and I love watching how he works hard, leads his wife so well, and continues to invest in others. Bryn has been such a help to me in so many ways- she gives wise advice, brings humor to any situation, and has a heart of pure gold. They say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future”. Hang around people who are kind, generous, thoughtful, selfless, diligent, and Jesus-loving……..they give wise counsel and set a good example.

Sweetest Coworkers

I am truly blessed. I know many people deal with far from ideal work environments but I am blessed to work in a beautiful, peaceful environment with some of the best people. Clients and coworkers alike have blessed my life more than I could say.

Sister Time

Chels has been able to come hang out at the office once or twice a week to do wedding planning. Taking a coffee or lunch break with her and catching up on life and wedding talk have been some very, very sweet memories that I will cherish forever. The Lord is so good. I was trying to be grateful and not disappointed to miss weeks on end of her last days at home but the short + sweet times we have had together have truly been a gift.

Family

Oh, cherish your family! Having near + dear friends experiencing the heartbreak of losing loved ones lately……reminds me of how brief our time with these loved ones really is. If everything else in our schedule has to go, family still needs to be prioritized. I don’t want to look back with regret upon busyness or days poured into others that kept me from these ones nearest to my heart. More than anything else, we should pursue the character of kindest love and sweetest thoughtfulness in our homes.

What about you? What are some recent gifts in your life? The Lord is so good- tell of His EXCELLENT KINDNESS!

gratefully,

-Allison

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November 2017 Goals

It’s hard to believe that November is here. The last month has literally flown by, and I find myself on the threshold of another month grateful for what the last held and excited for the next. Since so many of you have expressed interest in goals posts, I am planning to make that a monthly feature here on the blog.

Here are my November 2017 Goals:

1. Finish reading “Reading People” and “Raving Fans“.

Reading is something I have really been working to fit in these days. It is really rewarding, and I’m never sorry when I take time to read, even if just for 10 or 15 minutes.

(see my disclosure policy here.)

2. Send a package to my cousin in law school.

3. Complete current hiring process.

4. Plan Chelsy’s bachelorette party (can’t believe it!!!!!)

Oh, this is probably my favorite! As Chelsy’s maid of honor, I am so honored to not only stand beside her on the Big Day, but to bless and serve her however I possibly can in the weeks leading up to her wedding. One way I have always looked forward to doing that is planning her bachelorette party.

5. Practice violin 3x per week.

This one is challenging for me currently, but I really want to make it a priority!

6. Plan December schedule for my team (employees).

7. Send snail mail notes to my siblings and parents.

Since I am not living at home right now, this is a simple way for me to let them know I am thinking of them. It’s also a special gesture that I hope says, “I love you” to them- I mean, who doesn’t love getting mail?

8. Take off work for 4 days to road trip to the National Bible Bee with Mitchell/Bryn + Josh/Cass.

Fully engage in the family time and disconnect from work (except for emergencies).

9. Eat more vegetables!

It’s easy to get into a rut with food (mine would be eating too many sweets or living on meat/eggs/cheese), but intentionally eating for health + wellness is especially important in the winter months. I need to ramp up the veggies!

10. Practice the principle of “Wherever you are, be all there”.

Whether enjoying time with family, working, or resting, to be fully present + engaged in that activity.

“You don’t have to have it all figured out to move forward…just take the next step.”

What are some goals you have for this month? Join the conversation in the comment section- I always love hearing from you!

-Allison

ps. Thanks for the feedback on my recent reader survey. That was so helpful, and your feedback is so valuable as I brainstorm for upcoming blog content. Always feel free to shoot me an email or comment if you have specific ideas or requests. I always read + appreciate what you have to say!

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Dear Senior Girl


Dear sweet Senior Girl,

Imagine we’re sitting down having coffee together like I did with my sweet friend Sarah (the girl in the pictures for this post).

Actually, this post was birthed from a coffee date with Sarah. Sarah is bright, determined, and full of dreams and goals, just like you! As we sipped our coffee that August day, Sarah asked me a very insightful question that made me sit back in my chair and wrinkle my forehead deep in thought.

“What advice do you have for me in my last year of school? Like things you are glad you did when you were a senior or things you wish you would have done differently?”

Here goes……as I remember back to my senior year and think about what I would tell all you sweet senior girls this year…….

Don’t Get Stressed.

Just calm down, darling. It’s really not as big of a deal as you think. In 5 years you will look back and not even remember those overwhelming papers you had to write or that class you thought you could never pass! (ok, nevermind, I still remember a little of my mannyyyy hours spent trying in vain to understand Algebra. But mostly it’s a distant painful memory- haha!) This is a great time in your life to learn to deal with the feelings of being overwhelmed and not able to do it all. You likely have family, friends, a big load of school work, and maybe a job on top of it all. It IS a lot to balance, but God won’t give you more than you can handle! Wake up every day and spend time with Him, then trust Him for that day. One day at a time, you WILL make it through!

Enjoy It!

This might seem like a strange one, but it’s like I told Sarah- you think you have responsibilities and perplexities and a full schedule now, but in a few years you will look back and be amazed at how much time and flexibility and how little responsibility you actually had! Really do enjoy the ride, my dear, because you will never be at this exact stage in life again.

Learn from Your Mother (or a Mentor)

This is something that I am so grateful for- learning from my mother during my senior year. I got to spend many hours working with my mother in the kitchen and garden, doing life together, and learning all manner of valuable skills from her. It’s a priceless season that I wouldn’t trade for the world! Friends are wonderful, and I recommend you have a handful of good ones, but you really need your mother’s (or another Godly lady’s) input in your life. Don’t think you can walk this road alone- mentors provide wisdom, good counsel, and balance where ya need it, and this is a time in your life when you need it very, very much. Make learning about Godly Womanhood an even higher priority than studying Algebra and Chemistry.

Learn Good Time Management

This is something I failed at BIG TIME as a senior. I look back and wish that I had spent my time more wisely! It really does matter: the Lord asks His children to “redeem the time, for the days are evil.” The time on this earth is short, and as an 18 year old it’s easy to feel like your whole life is ahead of you, but that’s not necessarily true. If this was your last year of life, would you have regrets? Now is the time to learn how to make wise use of the hours given you. Learn to set goals, make to-do lists, schedule your priorities, and say “no” to things (hint: this is a time in life when it’s tempting to do alllll the social things, but sometimes you have to say “no” to some good things to make room for the best.”) Pray over goals and priorities and learn to manage your time accordingly. Set your alarm, and get up and get started with your day! Go to bed at a reasonable time, develop good sleep habits, take care of your health, etc. Make time for your family, and make it a very high priority to serve others. If you are a Redeemed child of God, you are His Daughter first before a Senior. Remember that you are His ambassador, you are loved by Him, and He has a mission for you to fulfill on this earth, even during your senior year. Get out there are do it, girl! I’m cheering you on!

xoxo,

Allison

PS. Girls…..Senior or not- which one of these resonated with you? Let’s continue the conversation in the comment section- I can’t wait to hear from you!

PPS. Also, the pictures of this post are courtesy of the darling Sarah…you can find her on Instagram at @proverbs31fashion .

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