10 Weekly Goals (Knowing I Might Toss Them Out The Window At Any Moment)

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It’s been a loooooooong time since I’ve updated my blog. I’ve been so busy with my new job (double the hours from my last job), birth classes, and nesting, I’ve hardly had a moment to think about it. I’m officially on maternity leave, so I’m back! I can’t guarantee I’ll post as frequently as I used to, but with the baby coming soon, I’m hoping to update occasionally for all those out-of-state family members who are looking for an update on the baby.

I thought I’d start with a weekly goals post, knowing full well that I might abandon my goals at any moment if I go into labor. Then I’ll only have one goal – having a baby!

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

1. Write a love note to Spencer

2. Finish the nursery

3. Spend at least 1 hour a day on cleaning/organizing/nesting

4. Do one “freezer cooking in an hour” session

5. Finish up “post-baby” lists

Personal Goals:

6. Read She Reads Truth app daily

7. Finish up thank you notes from baby shower

8. Exercise at least 3 days

Financial/Hobby Goals:

9. Apply for state disability

10. Make a baby wrap

We’ll see how I do with these this week. What are your goals?

Routines: Week 1

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It’s officially been 1 week of trying out my new routines! I have to say, forming new habits is tough!

I’ve had the most success with my evening routine so far. As a refresher, here’s what that entails:

Evening routine

  • Pack lunch (if working the next day)
  • Tidy kitchen
  • Take pills
  • Lay out clothes
  • Fill out tomorrow’s daily docket

So far, I’ve been 100% on with taking my pills and laying out my clothes for the next day. I’ve been about 45% on task with filling out tomorrow’s daily docket at night. The other 55% of the time, I fill it out first thing in the morning. I only need to pack my lunch 3 days a week for work, so I’ve been able to do that 100% this week. As far as tidying the kitchen… that’s usually my last priority. I does set my mind at ease, and it makes me happy to see an empty sink in the morning, but if I’m really sleepy (or feeling lazy), I’ll just go to bed. The number one thing that is missing from my evening routine is having a set bedtime. My alarm goes off on my phone every night at 8:30 for me to start my evening routine, but perhaps I need to move that back to 9pm in order to make sure I set time aside for it.

The success of my morning routine depends entirely on the success of my evening routine the night before. I’m really working hard at getting up to exercise first thing in the morning (mostly because it’s still so hot later in the day!). Again, I think that having a set bedtime will help me greatly with this. Other than exercising, scheduling time to read my Bible in the morning consistently is the other big struggle. If I don’t do this in the morning, I usually don’t get to it later in the day. I really want to carve time out in the mornings to read God’s word. It’s the best way to start the day!

My afternoon routine is sketchy right now, mostly because I have a different schedule almost every day. I’m going to work on that one more this week. Because of this, my afternoon routine is my lowest priority in this endeavor.

I know that this was only my first week and that building habits takes time. I’m looking forward to getting even better with these as time goes on!

10 Weekly Goals

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Thanks to my scaled down weekly goals last week, I was able to complete every goal on my list! I’m so thankful for our weekend getaway to the mountains. I feel refreshed and ready to take on the week!

I actually had trouble coming up with 10 goals for this week, but I want to keep challenging myself. I’m excited for the month to come.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 2 days
  3. Take a mini vacation

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Plan next month’s blogging schedule

 

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 4 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Complete days 1-5 of the “4 weeks to a more organized home” challenge

Personal Goals:

  1. Read 2 Samuel
  2. Keep up with new daily routines
  3. Exercise 6 days this week

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Blog 6 times
  2. Work 5 hours on BeachBody
  3. Read Developing the Leader Within You, part 1 of Ina May’s Guide to Childbirth, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
  4. Work on a sewing project

 

What are your goals for the week?

 

Freezer Cooking Day

Last week, I used my first day off for my new schedule to execute a freezer cooking day! A freezer cooking day is basically meal prep on steroids (the prepping, not the meals). In the past, I’ve done one hour or an entire afternoon of freezer cooking sessions, but never have I undertaken so much in a single day.

Why do freezer cooking? Here are my top 3 reasons:

  1. It saves time. Oh no! It’s 4:00 and you haven’t started dinner? No problem. Just pull something out of the freezer, throw it in the oven, make a salad, and you’ve got dinner ready. You can also double or triple batches of certain recipes in the same amount of time it would take to make one!
  2. It saves money. How many times do we order take-out or go through the drive-thru because it’s easy? Think of how expensive it is for a family of 4 to eat out. Homemade meals can be time consuming to make, but eating at home is a proven way to save hundreds of dollars a month. Many times we’ve had weeks where we’ll “eat from the pantry” in order to stretch our grocery budget. Since I’d been stocking up on pantry essentials for a few weeks now, I was able to plan my freezer cooking menu around what I had on hand. I spent less than $40 on my groceries that day.
  3. It saves your health. Convenience foods are expensive and terrible for your health. Yes, you can take a frozen pizza and have it ready to eat in 20 minutes. You can microwave Hot Pockets, Lean Cuisine, frozen burritos, etc. and have a hot meal in minutes. Those foods are packed full of preservatives and chemicals that wreak havoc on your body, not to mention how a serving size just isn’t quite enough to fill you up. By preparing homemade meals, you can avoid a large portion of those chemicals and have delicious, filling, and healthy foods available to eat at any moment.

How did I plan my freezer cooking day? I started by scouring Pinterest, cookbooks, and websites for freezer-friendly recipes. Most tutorials on freezer cooking involves making dinner recipes. Since I usually don’t have a problem planning dinners, my main focus was to find recipes that my husband would like to eat for breakfast, lunches, and snacks.

The day before my cooking day. I printed out this freezer cooking planner pack from Money Saving Mom for planning my day (hint – print enough copies of page 2 so you have enough recipe cards for your plan OR just print out each recipe so you have it on hand). I came up with about 30 recipes to try, which is far too many to attempt in one day. After I wrote down all my ideas, I ran them past my husband to see what he actually wanted to eat. This helped me bring my list down to 15 recipes (still a lofty list for one day of cooking by myself). When I settled on my final list, I printed out each recipe individually so I wouldn’t forget any ingredients. I decided to do my cooking day at my mom’s house, mostly because of her larger kitchen (along with the many dishes I would need), but also because she has a dishwasher!

My final recipe selection was (in no particular order):

 

The morning of, I started loading up my car at about 7am and headed to her house by 7:30. I had a rough idea of what ingredients I needed, but I hadn’t made a final list. I made a list on the computer, added up like ingredients (i.e. 6 cups of shredded cheddar cheese for the day instead of 3 recipes with 2 cups each), compared that list to what I had on hand, and came up with a final list of what I needed to buy. List in hand, I headed out to Winco to buy my groceries. In case you missed it before, I spent less than $40 because of stocking up ahead of time (I even have extra sugar, flour, and yeast leftover for next time)! I was able to return within an hour to start cooking.

After processing the dishes, I started on my cooking. Now, I didn’t keep an accurate record of what time I started each recipe, but I basically cooked from 10:15am till 9:30pm. I took an hour lunch break around 2pm, ran the dishwasher 4 times, and finally got home at 10:30pm after cleaning everything up. I had a 15-hour day!

Look what I came out with after my long day!

freezer cooking day

  • 22 breakfast burritos
  • 22 pasta lunches (each 1 serving of pasta + 1 serving of broccoli alfredo sauce)
  • 11 cups homemade pumpkin puree
  • 2 lbs shredded chicken taco meat
  • 1 lb plain shredded chicken
  • 1 Tex Mex lasagna
  • 1 Easy Baked Ziti
  • 1 Chicken Alfredo lasagna
  • 8 homemade bacon & cheese “hot pockets”
  • 8 garlic parmesan twist breadsticks
  • 6 balls of pizza dough
  • 3 1/4 dozen homemade energy bites (2 bites per serving)
  • 6 pints strawberry freezer jam
  • 3 banana bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 1 iced banana cake
  • 2 pumpkin cream cheese swirl bread loaves (9 servings per loaf)
  • 18 pumpkin cream cheese muffins (2 muffins per serving)

That’s enough for:

  • 22 breakfasts
  • 30 lunches
  • 17 dinners
  • 1 side dish
  • 65 snacks
  • 1 dessert

That’s 136 meals/sides PLUS:

  • 6 cans of pumpkin puree
  • 6 jars of jam

If you consider the $38 I spent on groceries, it breaks down to $0.28 per meal NOT including the pumpkin puree and jam. If you count the puree and jam as one “meal” each (making the total 148 meals), it breaks down to $0.27 per meal. Either way, it’s a huge savings!

Phew! This was a long post. Thanks for sticking with me! Have you ever tried freezer cooking? What’s your method?

Let’s Talk About Routines

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A few weeks ago, I shared how I plan out my days. While this has been working well for me the last couple of months, a change in schedule requires a look at my current system. If you missed my post yesterday, my work hours have been cut back. While the daily docket works well for work days, it simply leaves too much wiggle room for my days when I’m home.

One of the best ways to maximize time during the day is to get into a routine. If you’re looking for some good material on how to build a routine, I highly suggest this series from Money Saving Mom. I’m going to be trying out a different morning routine for work/non-work days, but otherwise my afternoon/evening routines will be the same. I’ll be checking back in next week to report on how these went. It takes 3 weeks to build a habit, so I’m planning on checking in for at least 4 weeks of trying the same thing before I attempt to add any more. The more you do a routine, the more streamlined your actions will be, thus creating more time for other things!

Work Days:

Morning routine

  • 5am Wakeup
  • Exercise
  • Shower, Dress
  • Coffee, Bible, Breakfast
  • Leave for work by 6:20

Afternoon routine

  • Lunch
  • BeachBody work
  • Housecleaning
  • Blog/Writing
  • Afternoon tasks/to-do list
  • Read

Evening routine

  • Pack lunch (if working the next day)
  • Tidy kitchen
  • Take pills
  • Lay out clothes
  • Fill out tomorrow’s daily docket

Home Days:

Morning routine

  • 6:30am Wakeup
  • Exercise
  • Coffee, Bible, Breakfast
  • Shower, Dress
  • Dishes/Housecleaning
  • Blog/Writing

Do you have a routine that works for you?

 

6 Weekly Goals

This past week ushered in a new schedule for me. I’m down to working only 3 mornings a week. Needless to say, those two extra days threw me for a loop. One day off, I spent 15 hours doing a freezer cooking day (which I’ll post about later this week). The other day off, I spent the entire day on the couch, taking naps and binge-watching Friends. I made some progress on my goals, but I failed to complete many of them. I’m starting to implement more organization into my daily life to help me be more productive. Check back tomorrow for how I plan to do this!

I’m scaling down my goals this week to just 6 goals to keep it simple while I implement new routines.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Plan a freezer cooking day
  4. Sign up for a childbirth class

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 4 days
  3. Schedule a dental appt

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 2 blogs
  2. Finish my BeachBody coach training
  3. Read 1 chapter of Drama Ministry

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 2 days
  3. Take a mini vacation

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Plan next month’s blogging schedule

What are your goals for the week?

 

10 Weekly Goals

I’m still recovering from my blogging hiatus over the last few weeks. My hours at work have been cut back as of this week, so I have some more time to dedicate to blogging.

I need to get back to my weekly goals. They keep me motivated throughout the week so I don’t just eat gallons of ice cream while watching Friends or take naps all day.

Since I haven’t posted my goals in a while, I’m starting with a fresh slate. I’m focusing on progress, not perfection.

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Plan a freezer cooking day
  4. Sign up for a childbirth class

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading 1 Samuel
  2. Exercise 4 days
  3. Schedule a dental appt

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 2 blogs
  2. Finish my BeachBody coach training
  3. Read 1 chapter of Drama Ministry

What are your goals for the week?

 

Building a Housecleaning Routine

For the last few weeks, my goal has been to begin and establish a daily cleaning routine. I’m embarrassed to say that when I’m in school, I don’t clean regularly. Dishes and laundry got done, but I was lucky to vacuum once a month. Tasks like cleaning the bathroom or dusting were even more seldom (I know, I know… it’s disgusting). Starting a new cleaning routine for the first time since last summer seemed intimidating at the very least. Overwhelming is more like it. The sad thing is, I have an app with a PAID subscription with a cleaning list already on my phone. I’ve had it since January. It’s called Motivated Moms, and I love it. It’s a wonderful app. It even has an option for adding in a daily Bible reading plan. The funny thing is, once I got behind on my Bible reading plan, I stopped using the app completely! Isn’t it ridiculous that I stopped using my cleaning app because I fell behind in Bible reading?! Sometimes it’s sad the way the simplest things can throw off our entire routine.

The cleaning list in the app is broken into two main categories – daily and today. The “today” tasks rotate weekly/monthly, and they’re usually bigger tasks. You can add your own tasks as you need. My daily tasks include:

  • Empty trash
  • Feed pets
  • Wipe out bathroom sinks
  • Make beds
  • Change kitchen dishcloths/towels
  • Clear/wipe kitchen counters
  • Dry/put away dishes
  • Plan/cook dinner
  • Sweep kitchen & entryway
  • Wash dishes
  • Do laundry

This past week, I decided this was the week to begin. I started with the goal of spending 30 minutes a day dedicated to housecleaning. Many SAH/WAH moms are able to do their daily cleaning tasks build into their regular schedules. I wanted to do the same, but since I work in the mornings, I decided to do my housecleaning as soon as I got home from work. As with all of my goals, my focus is on progress, not perfection.

MONDAY

Monday was the day I implemented this new routine. After going months without any semblance of regular cleaning, I severely underestimated how much work it would be to start out. I spent about an hour cleaning, instead of the 30 minute goal I had. I also had met my mom for lunch that day, so I didn’t get started until after I returned home. Here’s how my routine looked:

1:39pm – arrive home, sort mail, answer texts, open blinds

1:43pm – make bed, put away clean laundry, feed cats

1:49pm – put on music, put away clean dishes, wash dishes, clean kitchen sink, change kitchen towels

2:12pm – sweep kitchen & living room

2:21pm – rest

I didn’t even come close to finishing my cleaning list, but I decided that progress was better than nothing!

TUESDAY

On Tuesday, I had lunch with a friend, followed by running some errands. I didn’t arrive home until later in the afternoon. I still did my cleaning after I arrived home, but I was determined to finish my entire list. This time, I was able to accomplish the entire cleaning list in just under an hour!

3:07pm – arrive home, sort mail, open blinds, check social media, put on music

3:12pm – empty trash, wipe bathroom sink, (Spencer made the bed!)

3:15pm – put away clean dishes, wash dishes, wipe sink/counters

3:27pm – sweep kitchen & living room

3:34pm – rest to pet kitty (Pippin was whining)

3:36pm – pick up dirty clothes, return shoes to closet (done with daily tasks!)

3:38pm – clean out purse/wallet, dust ceiling fans, clean bathroom mirrors

3:48pm – sweep bedroom, vacuum rug

4:01pm – rest

WEDNESDAY

On Wednesday, I came straight home from work, and I was RAVENOUS. It was also watering day, and we only have one sprinkler. So making/eating lunch and moving the sprinkler every 10-15 minutes lengthened the cleaning process by quite a bit.

12:18pm – arrive home, open blinds, start lunch, change into shorts, sort mail, start sprinkler

12:29pm – continue cooking lunch, put away clean dishes (cleaning up as I cook), move sprinkler

12:39pm – eat lunch while watching 15min of Doctor Who, move sprinkler 2x

12:59pm – wash dishes, change kitchen towels, declutter kitchen table & counters, wipe down kitchen surfaces, wipe sink, move sprinkler

1:17pm – make bed, wipe bathroom sink & front of shower door, feed cats, pick up laundry, put away sprinkler

1:23pm – sweep kitchen & living room, start a load of laundry

1:30pm – rest for a few minutes

1:37pm – clean shower (I only cleaned one wall because the shower is FILTHY and I was tired)

2:03pm – declutter top & front of fridge, dust top of fridge, dust bedroom

2:10pm – rest

THURSDAY

On Thursday, I had a lunch date with a friend at 1, so I wanted to get all of my daily tasks finished before she came to pick me up. I was in a frenzy to get things done as fast as possible. I did the rest of the “today” tasks after I arrived home.

12:26pm – sort mail, open blinds, put clean dishes away, wash dishes, pick up laundry, change kitchen towels, wipe kitchen & bathroom sinks, wipe down kitchen surfaces, set out beans to defrost for dinner

12:36pm – empty trashes, fold/put away 1 load laundry

12:43pm – sweep kitchen, living room, and bathroom

12:51pm – rest/lunch date

2:27pm – arrive home, open blinds, clean mop pad, mop kitchen, dust living room & all light fixtures

2:42pm – clean microwave & inside of fridge door

3:11pm – rest

FRIDAY

On Friday, I was exhausted when I came home from work. It was watering day again, so once I finished with that, I took a nap. I didn’t get everything on my list done for the day, but I’m proud of the work I accomplished.

12:35pm – arrive home, open blinds, sort mail, start sprinkler, put lunch in oven

12:37pm – pick up laundry & shoes, put away clean dishes, wash dishes, set stubborn dishes to soak, move sprinkler

12:49pm – change sheets, make bed, refill soap dispensers, move sprinkler

12:59pm – lunch, put away sprinkler, nap

4:08pm – sweep porch & walkway, feed cats

4:14pm – rest

Overall, I count this week of housecleaning as a success. I’m still working on my housecleaning tasks on a daily basis when I get home from work. The apartment looks a million times better than it did, even though it’s just little things that get done each day. It’s the little things that count.

10 Weekly Goals

I did much better with my goals overall this week.

I’m really enjoying Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage by Gary Chapman. I already want my husband to read it, too. The Color of Tea is interesting, but it’s not omg-i-need-read-it-all-today good. I did start Drama Ministry this week, but since it’s for my drama leadership training, I’m taking it slowly.

I was able to begin a daily cleaning routine this week. I plan on reporting back on it later this week. I worked on cleaning out the nursery for about 4 days this week. It’s amazing what you can accomplish in 15 minutes! Now I’m only waiting on my husband to take a load of stuff out to storage before I’ll have room to move around in there again. I did get rid of a huge box of books, several DVDs, and two large boxes of clothes. It’s coming along! We haven’t fixed the broken dresser drawer yet because the wood glue and clamps are lost somewhere in the nursery. It will happen soon, but probably not this week.

I slacked in my water goal because I forgot to track my intake on my app. I’m hoping to do better this week. I didn’t get out to go walking this week, but I did go to an extra Zumba class and had some unexpected work tasks to do that involved a lot of walking up and down stairs this week. So even though I didn’t WALK, I did exercise 4 days this week.

These next few weeks are going to look a little different for me. My boss is on a business trip, so I’m only working a few days at the office. I’m going to attempt to start doing some freelance work in writing/editing with my extra time.

Last week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 2 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Fix broken dresser drawer
  4. Spend 15 minutes a day clearing out future nursery
  5. Begin a daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Finish reading Judges and Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Walk 2x

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 4 blogs
  2. Read 3 chapters of Drama Ministry, 3 chapters of The Color of Tea

This week’s goals:

Marriage/Homemaking Goals:

  1. Write a love note to Spencer
  2. Read part 3 of Happily Ever After: Six Secrets to a Successful Marriage
  3. Spend 15 minutes a day clearing out future nursery
  4. Continue with daily cleaning routine

Personal Goals:

  1. Read Ruth
  2. Drink 8 glasses of water daily
  3. Follow my exercise plan for the week

Financial/Hobby Goals:

  1. Post 4 blogs
  2. Spend at least 5 hours working from home
  3. Read 3 chapters of Drama Ministry, 3 chapters of The Color of Tea

What are your goals for the week? Do you have any tips for starting freelance work as a writer/editor?

How I’m Building a Daily Routine

grocery-list

I have always been a list maker. I LOVE lists. I love having notebooks in which to write my lists. Some people like to use their smartphones for this. I do that, too, but only after I’ve worked out my list on paper. I think and process things better if I’ve got a piece of paper that I can write all over. Lists make me so happy, but one of the dangers of a habitual list-making is when I have too many lists in too many different places. It’s like I need a list of lists! Not really, but kind of.

I am also a creature of habit. I know we all are, but I really crave the simplicity of a routine. Routines are simplified by creating habits. Every year when I help my mom decorate for Christmas, I put the same decorations in the same place every year. My family likes to make fun of me for this, but it’s a habit that I’ve grown accustomed to! In reality, they always know who to ask if they can’t remember where something goes (ahem). Similarly, if you create a habit of going running every morning, after a while, you will automatically reach for your running shoes when you wake up in the morning.

Since school is no longer a part of my life, my days of driving from one place to another back to back have pretty much ceased. Sure, I still have days where I have lots of errands crammed in, but on the whole, my life is normalizing quite wonderfully. I work every week day from 7am to 12pm, but my husband doesn’t get home until close to 5pm. That’s a lot of time to where I’m left to my own devices! Sometimes I’ll take an afternoon nap, and occasionally I spend the afternoon in front of the TV (while tackling an organizing project), but as a creature of habit who wants to do more than just sit around day after day, I’ve started a new daily routine.

Each morning (or the night before), I print out a daily docket. I found a free printable from Money Saving Mom. I could use a blank notebook, but I like the structure of this one with spaces for an inspirational quote or mantra, a to do list, the top 3 most important to do items, a basic schedule for the day, dinner plans, a place to keep track of healthy habits, and a space to jot down notes that come to mind throughout the day.

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The first thing I do is write down what the dinner plan is. That way I know if I need to set out any meat to defrost. Today was a crock pot meal, so I set everything up before I left for work. I noted the items I still needed from the grocery store.

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Next, I look through my daily docket from the day before. Is there anything I didn’t accomplish? Is there anything I want/need to do again today? I import these items onto my to do list for the day.

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After that, I fill in the rest of my to do list for the day, including any meetings or appointments that I have. I put a star next to the top three most important items for my day and write those in “today’s MITs” (most important to-dos).

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Then I’ll make a list of upcoming blog posts I want to be working on. I make sure to check my old daily dockets for any ideas I may have missed.

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I take the time to jot down a quote or mantra for the day. Sometimes it’s something I find on Pinterest, and sometimes it’s just a cheesy motivational line for myself.

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I’ll put everything together in a basic schedule for the day. I write down my other to do items in my schedule because otherwise, I may not do them. This way I see them three times!

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Finally, I’ll jot down notes to myself throughout the day. In this case, my husband mentioned he needed more deodorant, so I made a note of it for when I went out to run errands today. Sometimes I’ll use this section to jot down a grocery list or just random things that I’ll probably need to add to my docket for the next day.

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It’s not perfect, nor am I. But for now, this system is working for me really well. It satisfies my crazy compulsiveness to make lists, and it provides an avenue for habits to become a routine.

Do you plan out your day in advance? Do you use paper and pencil or your smartphone? Tell me in a comment!