A Page from My Planner: Create Themed-Days

This Forbes interview with Mike Vardy, a productivity specialist, addresses how daily theming is a great way to boost your productivity. It gives you an overarching focus for every single day.  It’s a framework, but it’s a framework with flexibility. “What day is it? This day. This day means this.” Vardy’s website Productivityist is full of all sorts of articles, tips, and resources to help you better manage your time.  His company is built with the quest to help people stop “doing” productive and start “being” productive through developing practical and tactical approaches to their work and lives.  He also has a podcast here.

In my 90-day planner (My Next 90 Days), there is a section designated for “structure” and an outline on creating my themed-days. This allows me to batch projects together, creating a weekly rhythm and gives me peace of mind.  I sat down and created mine:

Motivation Monday – start the week with the mindset to have a positive attitude and practice flexibility so I can overcome unexpected obstacles with as little stress as possible. I want to achieve the desire to profit from my week ahead, professionally, and personally.

Try it Tuesday could be lots of things – listen to a new podcast while I get ready for work, try an original recipe, try out a new machine at the gym, and so on. The goal for Tuesday is to be open to new things.

Weed Out Wednesday is dedicated to decluttering and organizing. I will set this weekly goal to drop off one new bag of things for Goodwill, or clothes to take to the resale shop, go through a junk pile, or sort through old mail I’ve stacked on my desk, organize a drawer.

Thoughtful Thursday is intentionally thanking someone with a hand-written note, and the best part it could be for someone not even expecting it. Keep a stash of pretty thank you notes in your desk, a few stamps and set aside just a few minutes every Thursday to express your gratitude.

Feel Good Friday  – yay! I finished the week! Today I get to do something that makes me happy.  Meeting a friend for a cocktail after work, going on a date-night with Mr. Bee, taking my dog for a walk.  This is my day to choose to #celebrateeveryday.

Self-Care Saturday – Whew, I made it through the week, and today I focus on putting myself into a charger for a reboot for the next week. Self-care could be napping or cleaning my house – because a clean house makes me feel productive and happy.  Or it could be “nesting” in my home – moving furniture around, decorating for a holiday, and planting flowers on my front porch.

Strategy Sunday – Prepare my weekly meal plan for dinners and lunches, get out my planner and schedule days I will go to the gym, look ahead at meetings or evening events on my calendar where I might need to adjust my free time.  Get my clothes ready for the week, or make my grocery list for Walmart pickup on Monday.

Do you see how I have planned my week, so I am intention and not spinning my wheels overlapping things or double-dipping? The spinning makes me feel out of control and overwhelmed.

To help you give this strategy a try, I am gifting you with a blank printable here. Print and create your themed-days.  Put into your planner, in a frame on your desk or your fridge.

Let me know how it works for you! #nourishtoflourish

10 Productivity Hacks Working Women Will Actually Use

We’ve compiled easy-to-implement tweaks tailored for busy, working women. Take a look, incorporate as many into your routine as possible (several are designed to work in tandem) and definitely let us know how shower coffee works out for you!

Shower coffee. It’s controversial, yes, but some hardcore folks swear by drinking their morning joe in the shower to save time. One pre-req: A shelf out of the reach of water and errant shampoo suds.

Strategic scheduling for calls and meetings. Take calls during your commute or little one’s naptime (if you’re a work-from-home mama). And schedule meetings for that coffee spot around the corner so you can dose up on caffeine at the same time.

The Pomodoro Technique. Developed by a gent named Francesco Cirillo in the late 1980s, this time-management technique breaks work into 25-minute chunks, interspersed by 5-minute breaks (with a longer one midday). Use a timer so you’re not constantly checking the clock. If you’re a work-from-home mom, use your 5-minute breaks for quick cleaning tasks like wiping down counters or watering plants (or say screw it and make a cup of tea).

Bucketing tasks. Don’t waste the cognitive overhead that comes from switching gears when you task-jump from responding to emails to brainstorming for a new project to filing expenses. Instead, bucket similar tasks, and tackle them all at once.

Smarter to-do lists. Craft a realistic daily to-do list from a master list that holds everything and the kitchen sink (because—don’t forget!—you need to call and get that fixed, too). Group tasks in order on your list to most efficiently work your way through them.

The 2-Minute Rule. Certain tasks—making doc appointments, writing a quick thank-you note, filing papers—tend to languish on your to-do list. Rather than letting them collect dust and stress you out (even minimally—they clog up your mental space), jump on them. The golden rule: If a task can be done in two minutes or less, just do it.

Lunch-break grocery runs. Hit the store during your break, stash your spoils in the company fridge (with your name scrawled on the bag as many times as needed), then take everything home that night. Obviously, this works best for just-need-a-few-things trips, not epic Costco excursions.

Personal-day prioritizing. Rather than scrambling to bring one kid to a dentist appointment at 11 on Monday, and another to a check-up at 2 on Wednesday, set up as many appointments as possible for the same day and take a personal day to get them all done.

Wearing headphones. They’re great for focused bursts of concentration and signal to your coworkers that now’s not the time for idle chit-chat. That said, give your ears breaks and keep the volume to a reasonable level since studies show that earbud use can cause hearing loss over time.

Embracing the daydream. No doubt, being in the zone and making great progress on a project can be exhilarating. But it’s impossible to keep up that momentum indefinitely. Creativity spikes when your mind wanders (ever had a great idea in the shower, or while blow-drying your hair?) so let it, and when you return to your task, you’ll have a fresh outlook and—probably—some new, even better ideas.

And one bonus: Hide your phone! Well, not literally, but if you have it tucked in your purse out of sight, not right by your mousepad singing its siren call, you’ll check it far less.

Content credit:  Alice’s Table.

My Easy Three: Accessory Organization

My Easy Three is a series I started in January to share inspiring ideas that are doable and make you feel like you’ve accomplished something.

This month, I focused on my closet using a few products from The Container Store, taking advantage of their 15% off closet storage sale. Warning:  I am showing you my underwear drawer!

First up, we might as well get the “unmentionables” out of the way.  I purchased the 3-section twill drawer organizer.

What I like about the drawer organizer for lingerie is I can fold my undergarments and organize them according to color and type. It helps me to see what I have, access it quickly and keep it neat and tidy.  I purchased three organizers.  The first easily held all my lingerie, the second I used to organize shape wear, and the third for my tank tops.

Second, I wanted a way to see all my brooches and pins.  Some belonged to Mother, and others I’ve picked up on my own either new or in antique stores.  These low-heeled shoe boxes are made for a narrow profile shoe like a flip flop.  Wonderful on it’s own, I decided to use it to stack accessories on the glass shelves I hung on the wall in my master closet.  I wanted a space for my accessories that had the feel of a boutique and these stackable boxes are pretty and functional.  I can easily see what I have.  If you know what you have you will wear it!

Third, over the last several years as I have switched to wearing glasses more than my contacts, I have curated an eye wear wardrobe. I mean, you can’t wear the same glasses everyday!  I feel like eye wear is jewelry for the face.  I needed a place to house all my eye glasses so I can easily access them and keep them protected.  These stackable boxes are perfect for my prescription sunglasses, too.

If you want to catch up, here are projects from January and March.  I wonder what I can tackle for May?  Do you need inspiration for a project? Be sure to leave a comment for Mrs. Twist and she will get to work with ideas just for you!