How To Craft A ‘Meaningful Day’

There is a popular regime known as The Miracle Morning which encourages individuals to establish a morning routine that would result in a more productive day.  When I had first read about it a year ago, I loved the concept and even decided to take it for a spin by starting my morning off with the the recommended S.A.V.E.R.S (silence, affirmations, visualization, exercise, read, scribe)  Although I’m a firm believer in a morning routine, I had found it difficult incorporating steps that I didn’t feel would have an impact on the remainder of my day.  And, I have to admit, I felt a bit silly reciting how great my day was going to be or how awesome I’m going to be at work – lol!  But that’s just me.  I realized I was more comfortable with a routine that consisted of steps I designed which fell in line with my plan for mindful living as well as my personal and professional schedule.

Although morning-time is the launch site for my day’s journey, I knew I wouldn’t be able to cram in what I aspire to accomplish before leaving for the office at 7:30 a.m.  So rather than follow an established ‘miracle morning’, I reflected upon what I needed to have a Meaningful Day.

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A Year In The Life Of The Weekend Wife

 

I hate to sound so cliché, but can you believe how fast this year has flown?

I still remember writing this post about taking a break between Christmas 2015 and Jan 31st, 2016 which resulted in some serious reflection about how I wanted this past year to go.  My goal for 2016 was to make it a more mindful one.  Specifically, I didn’t want another year to fly by without being able to recollect anything meaningful I had done.  In the past, I had consumed myself with work, deadlines and ‘have to dos’ that I rarely took the time to really pause and think about a specific moment that meant something to me.  I had decided to adopt basic and simple approaches to various areas of my life and ‘cutting out the fat’ that did nothing but suck up my time and added absolutely no value. I made a conscious effort to document my days, not just with tasks, appointments and cleaning schedules, but to take time either throughout the day or before bed time to reflect on anything that had happened of note and record it either in my planner or journal.

As I sit here writing this, I have in front of me a full set of my completely filled 2016 planner inserts, journal and notebook I had used throughout the year.  After perusing through them all, a smile spread across my face as things I would’ve most like had forgotten at this point were quickly brought back to mind.  Some good, some not so good – but that’s okay.  Life is a mixed bag.  Even looking back on frustrating and stressful moments, I’ve learned to find the hidden gems within, the test of my ability to muddle through and handle them.  It showed me how much more I’m made of.

Okay, enough babble.  Here are some highlights of The Weekend Wife’s 2016!  (warning – LOTS of links and photos ahead!)

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The Beauty of Keeping It Simple

I was never one to look back and reflect upon how things started at the beginning of the year and compare to where I am now.  But I had made 2016 the year I was going to be more mindful of things.  In order to focus on what was important throughout my day, I had to weed out the distractions.  I did it by keeping things simple.

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Working a Cleaning Routine

There was a time when I was at the height of my part-time bookkeeping business, juggling about a dozen monthly remote clients while also working a full time job where certain things had to take the back burner.  One of those things was the house cleaning.  Even though I’ve cut my client list down, the last thing I wanted to do with a free Saturday or Sunday was clean the house.  I needed to implement some type of schedule to spread it out over the course of the week. .

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Ways To Use Your Planner’s A-Z Tabs

In this post I explained how I was able to successfully downsize my planner from a personal to a pocket-sized Filofax Malden ringed binder.  Since A-Z tabs had always been a crucial part of my early planning days, I decided to bring that component back using A-Z labels I printed and stuck over the dividers that came with the planner that were labeled 1-6 instead.

Since my pocket planner also doubles as my wallet, it’s become twice the workhorse at half the size.  It only holds what does not or rarely changes while my bullet journal takes up the chore of housing daily pages, project management, idea mapping, menu planning, ever-changing lists and tasks.  This enables me to keep the pocket limited to only (5) main components: Wallet, calendar, reference (A-Z), receipt holder and spending log.  And those tabs are get double-duty as well, storing more than just contacts.

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Not all Productivity Advice Is Built The Same

I’m all about getting the most out of my day so being productive with my time is very important to me having a balanced life.  I follow various productivity blogs and sites because I’m not above a good idea or advice.  I’m always learning and on the lookout for functional and effective processes.  But just because an expert touts a method to manage your day/tasks/calendar doesn’t mean that it’s right for everyone.  We all have different lives, different means and different schedules.  What may work for a stay-at-home mom may not work for a single working woman.  And when we’re looking for the next best way to manage our time and get more done, we sometimes can get bogged down downloading and testing out a myriad of apps or systems that are not right for our lifestyle, only to have them end up being abandoned.

Until the next new thing comes along.

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How To Have Productive Time Off

I just returned from visiting my elderly parents in Florida for a week before stopping in SC on the flight home to visit my sister and brother-in-law in their new home for a few days.  It was the longest I had been away in quite some time and the first in YEARS that I didn’t have to log into the office to check/answer emails or worry about client work.  I actually relaxed and enjoyed.  Still, I didn’t just want to lay around watching AMC Horror-Fest and free movies On Demand all week.  Yes, I wanted this time off to be a recouperative one, but I also wanted it to be productive as well.

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Finding Hidden Time

Besides sleep, work, eating 5-6 small meals a day, keeping leaves from blowing in from the front door, wondering if the Giants will make the play-offs and if Rick & Co. are going to be able to keep the exodus of zombies out of Alexandria, getting the most out of everyday is very important to me.  Although I do utilize some apps, I prefer putting pen to paper.  Writing down everything I need to remember to do or be at is second nature.  It can, at times, become overkill as I find myself wondering if I’m bogging myself down rather than streamlining the process.

As I’ve worked out the kinks, I’ve discovered little ways to recover precious time by re-arranging my scheduled tasks.  And up here in the nor’east – with daylight savings time causing us to ‘fall back’ an hour on November 1st – the days will be getting shorter as dusk will begin to set in around 4:30 in the afternoon.  All the more reason for me to utilize the waning daylight to get as much done as possible.  And because I’m at the office from 8-4pm, I need to carefully schedule my day to encompass everything that needs to get done and insure that I’m as work/chore/errand free as possible when I get home.  Here are some of the changes I’ve made:

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Setting Task Deadlines

I’m good at writing down tasks I need to accomplish within the current week.  If it’s especially something that has a deadline, then I’m all over it. The problem I’ve been facing are tasks that can get done ‘whenever’.  No urgency.  And knowing this is what keeps them from getting continuously migrated from one month to the next.

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Living In An App World, And I’m An Analogue Girl

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Being a paper planner girl doesn’t mean I’m immune to the pull of apps.  After all, I have a sweet iPhone 6+ (well, when the internet connection isn’t crapping out that I have to restart it three times a day it’s sweet) where I now have the storage to download certain apps that my previous 4G (pictured above) could not. Although I do not utilize task/list/schedule apps to manage my day, there are some that I have succumbed to either to compliment my Franklin Covey A5 planner, assist with shopping, business networking or are for just plain enjoyment.  I’m sure my list is virginal compared to those of you who have swipe after swipe after swipe of apps on your home screen.  The minimalist in me begins to freak when half of the 2nd page starts to fill up.  That’s when I start deleting.  Then re-downloading, until I finally sat down and made a list of what I absolutely positively needed and would actually use on my phone as opposed to what I’m more comfortable navigating on a desktop.

First, a mention of the standard apps that came with the phone that I love:Read More »