3 Steps To Get back Into The Swing Of Things + 11 Productivity Tips
September feels like a version of the new year to me, just like January. I feel that we get to start fresh. As a dance studio owner we typically follow a school year schedule so September feels like the start of the year for me and a great time to gain that last push of momentum for the remaining part of the year! Today I’m sharing my 3 step framework to get back into the swing of things and finish the year strong! Ready? Here we go!
#1: Assess the current situation
You first need to ask yourself things like, am I happy? What things need to change? What do I want my ideal schedule to look like, including work, play, kids, extra curricular activities? How much time does that leave me?
I used to work from about 9:00/10:00 until 4:00/4:30 but this year, my oldest, Tanner will be in kindergarten and I have to stop working at 3:00 pm. Why is this a problem? I’m losing 6-7 hours/week of work time. So I have to get crystal clear on what I need to get done each day. The 6-7 hours that I lose I have to ask, do I need to hire someone to replace that or have I been doing busy work and I'll be fine?
Brooke Castillo says, “It will take you as long as you allow it to take you.” Meaning, if I give myself 4 hours to create and record a podcast it will take me 4 hours, if I give it 2, it will take me 2. I will update you in a few months but I have a feeling my schedule will be an example of that!
This is where I look at my goals and see if anything needs to be reprioritized. Sometimes you change things and something you cared about in January, you just don’t care about that much anymore, and that’s okay! I always say to people “how bad do you want it?” and when I ask that I usually expect them to say really bad...I’ll do anything! Sometimes the answer is they just don’t want it that bad.
I heard Rachel Hollis say she hasn’t watched tv in 7 or 8 years. I asked myself, am I that committed? I actually thought about giving up tv….thinking if I want certain goals I need to do what it takes. But when I asked myself how bad do I want it, I actually said, not that bad. I think it’s fine that I watch an hour of tv at night. I asked myself what could I replace that hour with? Is there something that would move my business forward? I don’t think so. I think if I filled every hour with something that moved me forward, I would burn out.
Now if you want it that bad, yes you might need to cut some things out. Finalize those new goals and then make sure they actually happen.
#3: Set your new schedule
When you have your goals set, we’ve got to figure out if your current schedule can actually allow for it to happen. What does your day look like right now? Let’s get a rhythm and routine to our schedule to make this easy. I’m talking about working, working out, eating, when you sleep and wake up, hang with your kids, date night with your husband and anything else you do. Everything needs to fit on your schedule without you feeling overwhelmed! That’s easier said than done.
If you’ve been wondering what an average day looks like for me, I’m sharing that with you right now! This is what my schedule will look like for fall and hopefully this helps you when you are structuring your day!
My weekdays start at 5:00am
I identify as someone who doesn’t hit the snooze button and knowing that, I know there is no other option. I immediately get up and put on workout clothes. I always go to sleep with a cup of water next to me and when I wake up I try to drink at least a glass of water to start my morning. I then head into my office and I have between 2-2.5 hours to get stuff done before the kids wake up.
I have alarms set on my phone so every weekday at 7:30, my alarm will go off to wake my kids in case they aren’t up yet. If you aren’t using your phone alarms and using the repeat option, this will change your life!
We are getting everyone ready for the day. I will make a shake and get everyone in the car. The kids and I drink a shake on the way to school.
I’m back home and do a 30 minute workout with my virtual trainer.
I’m now ready to start work so I go in my office with a bottle of water and I only do proactive work in the morning. The best way to describe the difference between proactive and reactive is when you do something like check your email it can derail you because it gives you something else to do. So email is reactive, doing a Facebook live would be considered proactive because I typically don't walk away with more to do.
I heavily focus on goal setting, the vision of the company and leading my team. One of the things I would consider proactive is reaching out to other influencers to see if I could interview them on my podcast, however that is usually done in my email or dm’s on social media and it would be very easy for that to turn into me scrolling on IG or responding to emails, so I leave that for the reactive part of my day.
I usually work in two, 45 minute chunks with a little break in the middle where I go to the bathroom and get more water.
I take a lunch break and I’ll go for a walk/listen to a podcast.
I switch to reactive work like checking email, coaching my Facebook groups.
My alarm goes off every weekday at this time and I know I need to wrap up, grab a protein bar for the car and head to pick up the kids. While I drive, I listen to podcasts even with the kids in the car. At this moment I’m done working for the day and I will not jump back on my computer until the morning. So the evening is spent with the kids.
While I’m getting dinner ready and the kids are playing I will usually have another podcast on. Then after dinner it’s time for baths/reading books. My kids are very routine oriented and love structure like a lot of children do. One thing I ask them every night before bed is what are they grateful for. So we typically start their bedtime routine at 7:00 and that gives me an hour to watch tv and just decompress. I do a few yoga exercises while watching tv which has been a game changer. I used to have horrible pain in my neck and back from sitting at a computer all day and now I do 5-10 minutes of specific back exercises.
As much as I would love to read before bed I don’t always do it, but I do always end my night with affirmations. I use the app called ThinkUp and I have about 20 recorded affirmations in my voice and I listen to that. My goal is to be sound asleep by 9:30 and the app will turn off itself.
Now your daily schedule is important but for me I also consider what my travel schedule is going to look like. This is when I’m already thinking about what mastermind I’m joining the next year and how often do I want to travel and be away? I also have to look and ask myself how much personal time do I need and look at what I want to keep on my schedule.
Working Out and Eating Right
I cannot tell you how important this really is. I’m in the best shape I have ever been in and I’m by far the most productive and make the most money. I know that those two go together! I started with a personal trainer 2x per week and it took a year for me to finally enjoy it. I workout with a virtual trainer Tuesday/Friday/Sunday for 30 minutes and then Saturday I usually do a spin class.
I’m a creature of habit and I eat pretty much the same thing everyday. For breakfast I have a shake, for lunch I have a salad, for dinner I'll have a Factor75 meal delivered to me. I have 2 different kinds of protein bars I keep in the house from Primal Kitchen and Bulletproof. I keep Kind bars as more of a dessert since there is chocolate on it. I drink spring water all day but as a treat I usually have a kombucha or a bullet proof fat water in the afternoon.
With dinner I have a glass of sparkling water with lime. I know this might sound crazy structured...but for me, food is just food, I don’t really eat for pleasure during the day, I eat more for fueling my body and staying productive and healthy. This may not work for you, but it is something I do to help get so much done. It's also a huge time saver with grocery shopping because I order everything online and just click on a past order and I can be done shopping in less than 10 minutes.
11 Tips for increasing your productivity
1) Start the week off right
Let’s start with Sunday, the beginning of the week. This is a big day to make sure we're ready to go. If you don’t start right, you won’t end right. So on Sunday we typically have nothing on the calendar besides my morning workout, the kids hang out in the basement with me, they play while I workout with my virtual trainer and then we go to church. Besides that, our Sunday's are pretty much left wide open and gives us time to prep for the week. I do online grocery shopping on Saturday and the food is delivered either Saturday night or Sunday morning.
BIG TIP! We also have a different bag for each activity for each kid (swim, gymnastics, and dance). Having separate bags for everything makes it easier to grab and go instead of packing every day. We even have bags packed for traveling with things ready for the kids to do.
2) Know who is responsible for what
Instead of wondering who is taking or picking up the kids, who is grocery shopping, who is paying this bill, make sure you have systems in place.
3) Find repeatable tasks
Ask yourself what can be repeated and how you can save time. This might be setting up bills on auto-pay, putting reminders in your calendar that can be repeated or use the bedtime App on your phone so you get enough sleep.
4) Buy in bulk
How many times do you run out of something and have to go to the store? For me I want to be stocked so I don’t have to always run to the store! Even if you think but I do online shopping, trust me...if you go on Amazon every time you need one thing, you probably end up adding things to your cart. The less I need to go on websites or into stores, the less I buy!
5) Don’t miss out on back-to-school savings
This includes school supplies or clothes for me and the kids. First, let’s talk about shopping for us. If you follow me on Instagram stories you know I bought a few things from the Nordstrom anniversary sale! Nordstrom is where I buy about 90% of my clothes and I buy most of them at the Nordstrom anniversary sale.
This isn’t a time when I just buy whatever I want but this is when I look at the upcoming year and ask myself, what do I actually need? A new winter coat, boots, speaking engagement outfits, travel items like suitcases, workout gear? I buy the items I know I'm going to need in July when that sale happens and I won’t really buy much until Black Friday. If you haven’t done your shopping, make your lists and figure out what you need for the year and take care of it now.
6) Overscheduling yourself with activities
Not just yours but think of your kids too! You want to make sure there's white space on your calendar. You don't want to burn yourself out. Figure out what your non-negotiables are going to be. How many activities will you allow your children to participate in? How many nights per week do you want to be going to activities? What do you want your weekends to look like? Know these answers before you start scheduling everything.
7) Take turns
One thing that works really well for my husband and me is we separate certain tasks. For instance every Saturday we rotate who takes them to gymnastics. First, we both don't need to go! Second, the other one gets a break for some alone time. If you're not taking breaks, you need to do this. This will change your life!!
8) sync your phones
My husband and I sync our phones so we see the schedule. We use google calendar that connects with our iPhones. If one of us adds something, the other sees it.
9) Don’t work on the weekends
I work really hard and smart during the week but on the weekends it's time to relax and take a break from work. That doesn’t mean you wont find me listening to a podcast or reading a book, but if you do it's because I want to, not because it's scheduled or I have to.
10) Get help around the house
Right now we have someone clean our house every other week. Taking that off my plate is really helpful. I typically do laundry on the weekends and it's one of Tanner’s chores where she helps me *insert “air quotes”* but it's good for me to be teaching our kids how to help as well. Feel good about the spaces you live in!
11 Reward yourself
Having one night per week where my husband and I or some of the girls grab dinner, is really something that helps me stay productive. I don’t feel overwhelmed working when I know that I have a reward coming soon. Not only that but scheduling trips or staycations. When you have something to look forward to it makes it a whole lot easier to stay productive!
I'm hoping some of these tips will help you figure out some little tweaks that allow you to be more productive. We still have four and a half months of 2018. There is so much time to get you back on track! I have 90 day programs and I can’t tell you how amazing the results have been for some of these ladies, you have an extra month and a half on top of that. Big things can happen, trust me!!