Category Archives: How To

How To Do It All As A Mom

how to do it all as a mom

Ever since I was a little girl I would always fill my plate too full (figuratively, of course – unless we’re talking about cake!). I would take on too much, not sleep, get grumpy and end up sick. This was a pretty regular circle I would put myself through. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve gotten better about what I take on. I try not to do too much or over-commitment myself. These days I don’t have time to get sick. I no longer just have to worry about myself. I have a family who needs me. Mommy doesn’t have time to lay in bed for a day to sleep.

I’ve shared how I stay on top of everything before using a handy notebook. My process is still pretty similar, but I have made a few tweaks and my productivity has skyrocketed. Even with being a wife, mom, running a household, working full time and going to school. I get so much done in a day – it’s crazy! My 20 year old self would be jealous.

how to do it all as a mom

Here’s what I do in my notebook:

MASTER TO-DO LIST

I create a master to-do list. Usually it’s just a brain dump. I keep 2-3 (or more) pages blank for my master list. I write down everything – no matter how small or how big, or how expensive it’s going to be. As new projects come into my brain, I write them down. This helps a lot when trying to focus my attention to something specific.

For example, I was trying to study for my Certified Financial Planner exam that is coming up. This always seems to be the time my brain starts thinking of thousands of things to do. I keep my notebook near turned to my master list page and jot down what pops into my mind. I get it out of my brain and then I can stay focused on my task at hand – studying.

RUNNING GROCERY LIST

I have a running grocery list in my notebook. This way if I’m doing my makeup and run out of makeup remover, then I can write it down. Or if I’m out and J texts me he’s going to need more lunch meat for next week – I write it down. I tend to keep my notebook with me wherever I am. If I’m in the kitchen, it’s on the counter. If I’m running errands, it’s in my purse. If I’m at work, it’s on my desk.

I tend to go grocery shopping every two weeks. So I pull out my notebook to see what random items need then I prepare my meal plan and create the big grocery list. I also am a little compulsive and make my grocery list in order of the store, but this is so I can save money and not get distracted.

DAILY TO-DO LIST

The biggest change I’ve made in using a notebook is taking my master-list and breaking it down to a daily list. Having something for each individual day has really helped me get more done. I highly recommend to everyone I talk with to use a daily to-do list. It will help keep you focused and on the right path to reach your big goals.

Each morning once I get to work, the first thing I do is grab my notebook. I add my number one goal to the first line. For me, it’s to workout. I have been trying hard to bump up my workouts and to make it a habit. So that’s what goes down first. Then I look at my work calendar to see what meetings or client tasks I need to get done. Those are listed next. Finally, I look at my master to-do list to see what tasks I can break down.

For example, on my master to-do list I have to create a blog post three times a week for the rest of the month. After all of my work tasks are written I will add one or two personal tasks to my list. My goal of creating new content for the blog is easy to break down. I work on creating the post one day, edit and create images the next, then post. So in two days I can create a new post. Some days it may take more or less time to finish one blog post, but you get the idea.

USE IT EVERY DAY

I get out my notebook every single day. Even on the weekends. This helps keep me focused on my bigger projects. For instance, we’re wanting to replace the baseboards and repaint our entire home. It’s going to be expensive and a big undertaking. But by breaking it down into smaller steps then it’s no so overwhelming.

I don’t plan on painting every room the same color, so one day I may decide which rooms to start in. Then I will pick out the colors and measure the room to determine how much of investment new paint will be.

The next weekend may be pulling off the old baseboards and prepping for paint.

Then we paint the rooms and buy new baseboards.

Next weekend will be painting the baseboards.

The final weekend will be cutting and installing the baseboards.

See how I took a big project and broke it into smaller steps? Seems super simple, but a lot of people get stuck on the big goal and it paralyzes them. They may see paint and install new baseboards and get very overwhelmed. Then it just sits on their to-do list for months. By breaking it down your cost is lowered and the commitment each weekend isn’t too time consuming. It may take 5 weekends to do it all, but that’s okay if it relieves the stress.

My notebook has really helped me get more done without making myself sick or crazy. If I don’t have time to get it all done, no big deal. I turn to the next day’s page and jot down what’s left. I’ve given myself permission to not be perfect, to not get it all done in one day. And that feeling has been amazing and a total game changer.

It only takes 21 Days to Make a Habit

21 days to make a habit, habit tracker, break a habit,

Did you know a habit can be made (or broken) in only three weeks?

I like to look at the positive side – let’s create a new habit. It’s not because I don’t have bad habits that need to be broken, but I want to encourage improvement and progress. Remember progress, not perfection.

It’s my motto.

What new habit am I going to work on creating? Simple. Being more active. My goal is to do something, anything that is active every day. I’ve been trying to take the little one and one of our dogs on a walk at least three times a week. Then I’ve added a workout DVD or program three times a week. You may be thinking… that’s only 6 days Meredith. You said every day. Well I did. And I am active. Every Wednesday night we have our bowling league. So I bowl 4 games and trust me, by the end of the night I’m exhausted.

I created a habit tracker to keep me motivated and to keep me accountable. I thought I should share it with you! Let’s be honest, we can all use a little motivation to create new habits or break bad ones.

You can get this tracker for free right now, but I may end up taking it down and offering it in my online store once I get it back up. So make sure you take advantage of it now, while it’s free.

Download your free make a habit tracker.

DIY Baby Sensory Bag

DIY Baby sensory bag

I’ve seen these sensory bags all over Facebook and decided it was about time our little guy had one. I of course didn’t want to spend a fortune and I didn’t want to take forever to make one.

I created a quick video tutorial or you can follow along below:

Supplies Needed for your DIY baby sensory bag:

Gallon freezer bag, make sure it’s the freezer one since they are thicker and more durable
Duck Tape
Hair Gel
Colorful Items – I used sequins, pom-poms and foam stickers
Scissors

create a baby sensory bag

All together I spent $5.00 on this project. I went to my local Dollar Tree for everything. I’m thinking the hair gel must be petty decent because I had to search for 2 bottles. They were completely out of stock.   I already had the freezer bag and duck tape, so that helped in my savings.

First, put the gel in the bag.

Then add the colorful pieces. You can as much or as little as you want. I did quite a bit to have different stuff to catch our little one’s eye.

Close the bag and then place your duck tape around all four edges. This just gives the bag some extra toughness to help prevent any leaking,

baby sensory bags

That’s it. You have a DIY baby sensory bag! Our guy loves it. I tried to pick it up to move him into the other room, he gave me a really mad look and held onto the bag with a death grip.

How to Personalize Your Snapcode

Create Your Own Snapcode for Snapchat

I have finally started getting into Snapchat.  I used Snapchat when it first came out and then I stopped.  But I’ve been seeing some of my favorite bloggers use it and I love the behind-the-scenes glimpses in their lives.  So I wanted in on the action and created a new account.  I’m constantly sharing the struggles of having a newborn, working, and being very sleep deprived.  Follow me @meredithines.  

You know, it’s easy to hide yourself and hide behind a blog post.  But to grow your business then you can’t be afraid to stand out. (Tweet that!

Anyway, I had to personalize my own Snapcode to match my blog a bit better and add my username.  It’s super easy and thought I would share it with you.

Step 1

On your computer, login to Snapchat.

Step 2

personalize snapcode

You will see a screen like this one, click My Snapcode.  Then click Download Snapcode.  It will download as a ZIP file containing the PNG and SVG files of your Snapcode.  

In the file there are Snapchat’s Dos and Don’ts of personalizing your Snapecode.  Pay attention to those guidelines, otherwise your code won’t work.

Step 3

Use a photo editor for the next steps.  I like using Pixlr, a fee online editor that is similar to Photoshop.  Open the PNG format.  

Step 4

personalize snapcode

Select the wand tool and select the yellow portion of the image.  Once it’s highlighted, you can change the background to your color choice by using the paint bucket.  I think making it a color you use on your online presence is a good idea.  I use teal in a lot my images, so that’s what I went with.  If you know the color code you would like to use, you can enter it in.

personalize snapcode

Step 5

You can enter your own image under the ghost.  Using the wand tool, select the white portion.  Then click delete.

Step 6
personalize snapcode

Selecting the image you want to use.  Go to Layer > Open image as layer.

Step 7

Move the image under the ghost.  Click on Layer > Move layer down.

Step 8

If you have a portion of the image that sticks out, you can remove it.  Use the lasso tool.  Draw around the part that you want to remove. Once highlighted, hit the delete button.

Step 9

You can add text at this point.  Just don’t cover up the black dots since that’s your code.

Step 10

snapcode

Save your image and you’re done.

Thanks for stopping by!  Hope this helps!

Leave me your snapchat name in the comments so I can follow you.  

How To Start Your Own Blog

Note: Some links in this post contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you make a purchase. Thanks for supporting my blog!

how to start your own blog

 

I’ve been getting asked how did I start my blog, why did I start it and how do I know what to write about. So I thought I would finally sit down and tell you a little bit of back story. Then I thought I would share a step-by-step guide on how to start your own blog – a self-hosted blog that is! It all started back in 2008 when I wanted something more to do because going to school full time and working full time just wasn’t enough. HA!

I started with a DIY blog and I created loads of crafts and recipes. It was going great, I had made some online friends back before Twitter was big and way before Instagram was around. I even hosted a few guest series and was featured as a guest on a few different blogs. I liked writing and sharing, but the thought of coming up with another DIY project on a college girl’s budget was just draining. It started to feel more like a job and less like a fun hobby. I wasn’t making money and it was costing me quite a bit of my going out money.  So I lost interest.

Flash forward 2 years and I was back. I had created a new brand – merelynne.com and jumped in feet first. I decided to not label myself as one specific type of blogger. I had seen some bloggers call themselves a personal lifestyle blogger, so I took the title and ran with it. I would write about what I wanted, when I wanted. I focused on fashion, recipes, DIY projects and just simply sharing what was going on in my world.

Over the years my blog has shifted and I now write about what I’m passionate about – finances, mommy things, and recipes. The blog look has definitely changed over the years too. Today it’s much more simplistic. I’ve learned a lot since I first started over 8 years ago. I think it’s time to share what I’ve learned with you.

When I first started out I was on blogger and it was okay, but I wanted more. I wanted to be able to have plugins that could help me with SEO, social media and just give me more of a customized feel. Blogger wasn’t capable of that at the time. Years ago I made the switch to WordPress and I’ve never looked back.

WordPress is what I’m comfortable with it and what I would recommend to any new blogger. They have plugins, which are tools created to help you. There is a plugin for just about anything and everything. I have one for SEO optimization, social media sharing, spam comment blocker, and many more.

There are other options besides WordPress and Blogger. Another one is Typepad, but I haven’t used it before.

After you decide where you want to be, the next step is choosing a domain name. You want something that describes your blog or you, plus you want something that is easy to remember. My name came from a portion of my first name and my middle name – Meredith Lynne.

Once you have a domain name selected, I would highly recommend purchasing that domain. There are good reasons to purchase your name. First, to make sure no one else has it. Second, to own it. In case it takes off or you decide to make it a business then owning the name is vital. I like the fact I own my name. I don’t have to worry about building this blog for years then realizing my blog name is already taken.

I use Go Daddy to purchase all of my domain names. They have pretty good deals and it’s very easy to use.

I also recommend to all new bloggers to self-host their blog. It sounds complicated – self-hosting, but it’s not. I use Bluehost for my blog and I’ve never had a problem with it. What I love most is their awesome customer service. If I ever have a question they respond quickly with helpful advice. I can even tweet to them and they will respond within minutes typically. It’s rare to find a company with such great customer service, which is part of the reason I’ve been with them for so long. The other reason is the ease of use. Setting up my blog was painless.

In addition, Bluehost offers a free email email address with a hosting package. I can add more emails later if I need to, but I like having one as my contact source for all blog related messages. I have it forwarded to my gmail account, but I can reply as my domain email so it seems more legitimate to businesses that I reach out to for sponsored posts and guest posts.

Also Bluehost gives you a free domain name with your hosting package.  So you can skip using GoDaddy.com and get it all in one stop.  Back when I purchased a domain, it was easier to use Go Daddy for it then Bluehost for the domain.  But now they have made it a lot easier and a one-stop shop, which is so nice!

Setting up a self-hosted blog doesn’t cost as much as you think!

Deal Alert: Bluehost even has a special deal for my readers who are starting out. You can get a killer hosting deal for only $…. It’s a great opportunity and hard to find a hosting service this inexpensive. Since I love a good deal I thought I would pass it on. So if you’re on the fence, it’s time to hop on over and get started. You never know where your blogging dreams can lead you!

I’m hoping they will allow me to keep offering this deal for a long time, but you never know. So don’t miss your chance to save some money!

Please note that Bluehost bills upfront for their hosting services. There is one big reason to pay upfront:

Make sure you don’t come across any issues that can stop your blogging from being set up. When I was first starting out I was on a college girl’s budget and the thought of a one-time expense scared me. So I opted to do the monthly payments. Then a few months in my card expired and I received a new one. I didn’t remember to go into my account and switch the card number. I came way too close to losing all of my hard work. As soon as I realized what I had done I switched to an annual payment and have never looked back.

Once you have your hosting setup it’s time to get started. I’m going to walk you through the steps I took to start this blog. I promise it’s not hard.

How do I know what to write about:

Well as I’ve changed over the years so has my blog. Like I mentioned earlier I used to be a DIY project kind of gal. Now I’ve shifted to talk more about what I’m passionate about. I like to share topics on budgeting and finances, easy-to-prepare recipes, and what being a new mommy is really like. I keep a running list of post ideas on my phone so whenever an idea strikes I can write it down to save it for later. I constantly am circulating through ideas. Some are really good and others never get finished.

When you’re trying to think of what you want to write about remember one thing – It’s your blog, so do what you want! You can literally write about whatever you want: your passion, interests, family, career, anything!

You have to realize that the sky is the limit.  You can grown your blog, your site and your dream to be as big as you want.  Because you are only as big as you dream. (Tweet that!)

Can you make money from blogging?

Yes, yes you can. I don’t share what I do on here, but I’m thinking that’s going to change very soon. I’ve never been very focused on creating an income from this blog, but I know the potential is there and I think I’m finally ready to tap into it. You can join ad networks, affiliate programs, hosts sponsored posts, and so much more. I take part in all of these, but have never really followed through with them until recently. It’s going to be exciting to see where this blog can take me.

How to start a self-hosted blog on Bluehost, a step-by-step guide:

Let’s get into the nitty-gritty of the post, setting up your blog. Here is an overview of the process.

1. Open a new window or tab in your browser. That way you can keep this guide handy through the whole process.

2. Decide on a blog name. Remember to make it something that describes your blog or describes you. You want it to be easily remembered and easily spelled.

3. Purchase your domain from GoDaddy.com. The first step in purchasing is making sure the domain is available. Then once it is you can buy the domain straight from GoDaddy. I have step-by-step instructions below on this process, too.

4. Get a hosting package – I recommend to all newbie bloggers to go with a company that is well trusted and reasonable priced. I personally use Bluehost and would recommend them to anyone starting out. Don’t forget about the hosting deal you can get by going through my link.

5. Install WordPress with one click. Bluehost actually offers a service to bloggers that allows a one-click install. Within minutes your new website will be up and running on WordPress, which is the best blogging platform in my opinion.

6. Purchase and Install a theme. The theme is the look and feel of your blog. WordPress has free ones you can install to get started, which is what I did for a long time. You can also search for paid themes that are more customizable.

Step-by-step Instructions to Purchase a Domain from GoDaddy.com

1. Go to GoDaddy.com and type your wanted domain name into the search bar.

how to start your own blog
2. If the domain is available you will see, Yes! Your domain is available. You will also be given the opportunity to purchase the .net, .org, .us, and .info domains as well if you want. That’s up to you. Buy I would highly recommend purchasing only the .com version. That is the most common and most recognizable.

3. Click Select, then click Continue to Cart at the top right.

4. Another option you have when purchasing a domain is if you want to make it private or not. It’s an extra fee and it means that if someone is searching for the domain they will not be able to see your contact information. I don’t have mine set to private since I don’t imagine anyone wanting to spam me or offering to purchase my domain name. I would also skip over the Linux Web Hosting and Website Builder options. Bluehost will offer an email to go with your new account, so skip over the email address too.

5. In the cart you will have the option to select the term length for your domain name. I started with 1 year to make sure I was really committed. After the first year you can change it to be longer.

how to start your own blog

6. Make sure the spelling of your domain is correct then proceed to checkout. You will need to create an account and enter your credit card information.

Step-by-step Instructions for Bluehost blog Setup

1. Head on over to Bluehost.com and click the green “get started now” button.
how to start your own blog

2. Bluehost also offers a chance for a domain name as well that is included. You can go with this instead of purchasing one through godaddy.com. I have one here, but I also purchased one through Go Daddy as a forwarding web address to my blog.

3. Enter your account information.
how to start your own blog

4. Choose which hosting package you want. Normally, hosting is offered for 12, 24 and 36 months. The longer the hosting package then the cheaper the per month price is. I personally went with the 12 month package my first time because, again, I wanted to make sure I would commit to this blog. However, it is up to you. There are other package options, but I didn’t select any for myself and I haven’t regretted it.

Side note: backing up your blog is important, but WordPress offers plugins that you can do this with and that is what I would recommend.

5. Enter your payment information and click submit.

how to start your own blog

6. Your account is setup and you can get started installing WordPress. Bluehost has a great service that allows you install WordPress with one-click. It’s amazing!

7. Navigate to your Account Dashboard and look for the “Install WordPress” button.

how to start your own blog

8. Once you have clicked the button you will see the installation screen. Click “Install” to begin installation. You can pay a fee for WordPress Starter, which will get you a theme credit and installation, but that’s up to you. It’s not difficult since you’re starting from scratch and I like to save as much money as I can.

how to start your own blog

9. Select your domain so Bluehost knows where to install WordPress. A warning might pop up about overwriting files, but as long as you don’t have another website you’re good to go.

how to start your own blog

10. Click on “Show Advanced Options.” This will allow you to setup your own username and password for the WordPress install. I would recommend using a different name other than “admin” and a very strong password.

Make sure “Automatically create a new database for this installation” box is checked, unless you have a database you want to use. Read the Terms and Conditions, then click “Install Now.”

how to start your own blog

11. You will see the progress page at this point. Once WordPress is installed it will give you your URL for your new site, your username and password. You will receive an email with the URL and username, so make sure to keep that information.

12. Check your inbox for the confirmation email. In there you will find the admin URL you will need to login to your WordPress. It typically looks like this: http://www.yourblogname.com/wp-admin. Enter your username and password to access your Dashboard. Now you can control everything – write posts, create pages, and start adding plugins.

Installing A Theme to Your Site

There are three types of themes you need to know about: free, premium and custom.

Free Themes: if you’re just starting out and money is tight then free is the way to go. It’s what I did for a long time. WordPress offers many different free themes and you can always upgrade later on.

Premium Blog Themes: premium themes offer a bit more. They typically look nicer and have a lot more features. They typically start at about $80 and can go up from there.

Custom Designed Themes: These are the top offerings. The pricing can range from several hundred dollars to thousands of dollars. I haven’t been able to pull the trigger on a custom design just yet, but it’s a dream of mine.

There you have it, my tips for starting your very own self-hosted blog. It’s not complicated and once you get going there will be no stopping you. Remember self-hosted and purchasing your domain means you own your site and the content on it. Happy blogging, friends!

How to Get Free Mac Makeup

How to Score Free Mac Makeup

Alright, I have a confession to make. Mac Makeup is my favorite. I blame my sister for my obsession. It started because of her.  She introduced me to it years ago when I was in high school and I’ve never looked back.  But… free Mac makeup makes my heart pitter-patter.

I just think their quality is outstanding and the fact their makeup stays in place all day is a major win for someone like me. I have a habit of touching my face without thinking about it and most other makeup brands are gone before lunch, but not Mac.  I try not to splurge on too many items since we’re working hard at sticking to our budget, but I just can’t convince myself to put that cheap of products on my face.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of Covergirl products and use those, too.  But I have pretty sensitive skin so anything lower in quality will usually cause me to breakout after one application.

It’s no secret that Mac isn’t the cheapest around. But quality is worth it when it comes to putting something on my face. I have to admit that I can’t always afford Mac. But when I splurge for it, I make it last as long as possible!

Over the years, I’ve learned the ways of Mac.  Just like any good cult-follower there are tricks you need to know.

I wanted to share how to score free Mac makeup with you.

Mac has this awesome recycle program that rewards their loyal customers.

free mac makeup

Turn in 6 empty Mac containers to any store and they will give you a free lipstick of your choice. They have so many lipstick color choices to choose from and they average about $17 each. Quite a savings!

Just remember to hold onto your Mac containers.

I keep a plastic bag under my bathroom sink and whenever I empty one out, I just toss it in there. Then when I’ve saved enough, I make a trip the Mac kiosk in the mall. I would love to live near an actual Mac store, but I think that would be dangerous.

Another money savings tip for Mac Makeup: If you setup an appointment to have one of their makeup professionals work their magic on you then you usually get a coupon for any of the products they used. It’s not too bad of a deal!

How to Schedule Social Media Posts for the Month

How to Schedule Social Media Posts

I was in a meeting for a non-profit organization that I currently am on the board for.  Many of the other members were wondering why we didn’t have much activity on social media, especially with our huge annual conference coming up.  The woman who handles are social media wasn’t there, but I quickly starting wondering why she wasn’t pre-scheduling the posts.  It’s a snap to do and really, you can set it and forget it.  Of course, I’m not recommending not checking your social media for an entire month, but essentially it’s possible.

I told my fellow board members the ease of scheduling posts, articles, sharing stories, sharing blog posts was super easy.  I even offered my help to the woman in charge.  I thought if I could teach her how to be proactive with social media then the board will be happy, we will get our message out to more people in the community, and even increase participation in our conference.

Then I started thinking about how many bloggers, business owners, etc. may not know how to schedule social media posts.  So I thought I would share how I do it.  It’s not perfect by any means and I’m pretty frugal so I don’t actually pay for any of the services I use.  I know there are probably better ones out there that cost money, but I’m not interested in those.

I use Hootsuite* as my platform.  I use it for two main reasons: 1) it’s easy to use 2) it has a free version, which is what I use.


HootSuite: Social Relationship Platform
*
how to schedule social media posts

The first thing you want to do when you get to their homepage is sign up for an account.  Hootsuite* has three options – Free, Pro, Enterprise.  If you’re just starting out or don’t have $9.99 a month to spend until you grow a little bit, then select Free.

On the next screen, you’ll enter your email address, password and timezone.

Then you’ll want to connect your social networks.  I have my Facebook page and Twitter page connected.  Once you’re on your dashboard then you can start scheduling your posts.  Here’s what my scheduled posts stream looks like.  I go ahead and schedule my upcoming blog posts, too.  That way if I get busy at work or on the weekends then my blog post is going to be shared with my Twitter followers.  Plus, you can find what time of day and which day of the week most of your followers are on social media.  I researched by using information online and checking my Google Analytics information.

scheduled posts

Once you get your blog posts scheduled then go find quotes, articles, other bloggers’ posts that you like to schedule.  Make sure you’re posting 2-3 per day at varying times.

I don’t use any tool to schedule pins on Pinterest, yet.  I haven’t found one that I like a lot that doesn’t cost too much for the budget I have.  Remember I’m frugal and until my blog starts making more money then the costs of these programs, I’m just not going to be able to use them.  If you know of a program that can pre-schedule my pins that doesn’t cost, please let me know!

schedule social media posts

I currently use an app on my phone called Latergramme.  It’s free (of course) and it allows me to schedule Instagram posts.  The one downfall is that it doesn’t actually send the post, but it alerts me when at the scheduled time.  All I have to do is get into the program and hit Post Now.  Then my Instagram app opens and allows me to post.  One thing I really like about Latergramme is that I can not only schedule the image, but also the quote to go along with it.  So when the time comes my post takes less than 60 seconds to go live.  I love that!

* This post contains affiliate links.

How to Multitask Better

how to multitask better

Let’s face it, we are pulled in a thousand different direction every week.  I mean, if we’re going to be really honest we can wear many different hats each day.  I’m a wife, a dog-mom, a friend, daughter, sister, financial advisor, assistant, marketing director, blogger, etc.  Those are just the hats I wear on a daily basis, not even the only ones I wear.

Let’s not forget about the things I want to learn or be better at.  I want a closer relationship with God, I want to be a better photographer, I want to be a business owner.  There are so many accomplishments I want to reach in my lifetime.  We all have so much going on.  As women and professionals, we need to be able to handle a lot.

Multitasking is the one task we need to master before we can be masters of our world.  I’ve been working on some great tricks and tips so you can perfect your multitasking skills.  If you have any other multitask tips to get an edge, please share below.

Here’s how to multitask better so you can get more done in less time:

how to stay on top of it all

Make lists.

Write everything down.  Make lists for every facet of your life.  Have one for things to do at work, around the house, for your blog… everything.  However keeping a list works for you, use it.  I’m someone that has to separate out my lists.  If something needs to be done for the home then it’s on a different list for what I have going on at work.

If you write it down then it will get done.

How does list-making working for you?  Do you keep a short-term list and a long-term list?  Or do you just have one master list for it all?

habits for a better life, how to multitask

Plan your days.

Every successful person plans their day.  You cannot be effective if you do not know what needs to get done.  You can multitask with ease if you do not overwhelm yourself.  Keep it simple.

Use your list that you’re now keeping to help plan your day.  Start by taking a look at what needs to get done soonest or what’s easiest to knock off your list.  From there you can plan you’re whole day.  Plus, you won’t forget about anything you have going on.  No more missed appointments or playdates.  You can multitask better if you know what’s coming up.  If you have an appointment across town and you need to pick up your prescriptions then you’ll be able to take care of both tasks with one trip.  The only way you’ll see the big picture is by planning.

While I’m at work, I plan it down to the hour of what I need to be doing.  That way I stay productive through out the whole time.  If I get behind or something takes me a bit longer then I just bump everything down.  Try to only pick 2-3 tasks to get done for the whole day.  Then fill in the rest of your day with small, easy to get done tasks.

free smartphone download

Use your smartphone.

I’m always amazed when I see someone struggling and yet won’t use their smartphone smartly.  You need to utilize your tools to work for you.  Set appointment reminders in your calendar app and sync your online calendar with your phone calendar so you have it at the touch of your fingers.  Utilize all of the good stuff Google has to offer – Google Drive is amazing.  I use Google Sheets as my check register so I can stay on top of our budget and money at all times.

There are a ton of apps that can save you money at the grocery store, and make you money!  Plus, all the helpful resources at your fingertips can make work easier and less timely.

However…

One recommendation for when you’re trying to get work done – turn off your phone.  A smartphone can be really smart and help you, but it can also set you back.  How many of us find ourselves wasting 10-15 minutes on Facebook, Pinterest, or reading our favorite blogs?  Your phone can really be a distraction.  Turn it on silent, put it in a drawer and don’t touch it when we’re really trying to focus.  You’ll be better at multitasking if you can actually focus on what’s on hand.

Set specific goals.

You need to be smart about your goals.  Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, and Timely goals.

I’m a daydreamer with the best of them.  I can picture my life in this beautiful home that J and I have custom built on 5 acres of land.  In this dream home I have an amazing craft room with huge windows.  J has a man cave where he can have his buddies over to have a good time.  This is a dream… but it’s also a goal.  J and I have a goal of being able to build our dream home.  To reach this goal we are setting smaller more specific goals as stepping stones.  We are paying down debt and saving money, then we will search for some land to buy.  Once we own the land, then we will start the building process.  It’s going to take time, but we know that we need to reach our smaller tasks first.  That’s what you need to do.

You can break them down into smaller time frames, too.  I also set specific goals each week.  I take a look at our master list to set a few smaller tasks to accomplish.  “Cook more” is not a specific goal.  Try something more life, “Cook 3 dinners at home this week.”  Then from there you need to pick 3 meals, buy the ingredients and then actually cook the meals.

SMART goals are easy to set, but you need to follow through with them to be successful.

5 habits to better yourself

Be cautious of your time.

There are many time-suckers around us.  We need to be aware of them and be protective over our time.  You can’t be a successful at multitasking if you don’t allow yourself the appropriate amount of time to get stuff done.

Be aware of everything you have going on and don’t over extend yourself.  Don’t promise to bring snacks for your daughter’s gymnastics team while you’re suppose to be at a doctor’s appointment and needing to finish a load of laundry.  That’s why planning your day is imperative for success!

You need to plan tasks that can be done together.  Baking cookies while working on laundry is a piece of cake (I must be hungry to relate everything to food – ha!).  Needing to pick up your dry cleaning can be done on the way to dropping your kid off at soccer practice.

Learn to say “NO” more when you simply can’t get things done.  The one thing that can derail your ability to multitask is over extending yourself.  Know your limits.

 

 

 

What are some of your multitasking tips and tricks? I’d love for you to share.  Leave a comment below!

5 Habits to Become More Organized

Business owners, household leaders and those who are generally busy from day-to-day need to stay on top of their to-do lists.  Women offer wear many hats through out the week – boss, employee, wife, mother, sister, daughter, grocery buyer, dinner maker, house cleaner, driver, etc.   So how do these wonder women stay on their A-game?  They stay organized.

5 habits to become more organized

You have to build good and consistent habits to stay organized.  Organization doesn’t come naturally to most people.  Over the years, we develop systems to help.  Here are my top 5 habits to become more organized and stay organized!

1. Organize your mornings.

Before you go to bed, look at your day ahead.  Make sure you’re ready for what’s coming at you.  Lay out your clothes, plan a filling breakfast and make sure your everything your kids will need is ready for an easy morning.  Wake up early so you can have a little downtime before the day begins.  Make your bed.  It’s crazy how the simple task of making your bed can help your whole day get off on the right foot.

2. Organize your time.

Know where you’re spending your time throughout they day.  Time is valuable, so don’t waste it.  Organizing your time will you give more freedom to do the things you enjoy doing.  Map out your day from beginning to end.  It will help you not to feel stressed or forget to get something done.

3. Organize what is important to you.

Make what you enjoy doing a priority.  Ensure anything that’s important to you is mapped out on your calendar.  Whether it is going to the gym, attending every single soccer your game your little girl is playing in, or anything else.  You need to identify what’s important to you and then make it a priority.

4.  Organize your home.

You can waste a lot of time for searching for your car keys every morning.  So have a spot for everything and put everything in it’s place.  It will cut down on time and stress.

5.  Organize your work.

Keep a daily to-do list of at least three things you need to get done.  That way you won’t overwhelm yourself and you can stay focused on what’s needed for the day.  Before you leave for the day write down your top three for tomorrow.

How to set financial goals and reach them!

how to set financial goals

I love, love goals.  They push us to better ourselves.

To reach for the stars and dream big.  The problem with most goals is that people don’t create a plan for them.  You have to have a plan to reach your goal.

I want to be the best ballerina in the world.  

That’s a goal.  In reality, I have never taken one dance lesson.  I’m too old to learn world-ranking skills and I’m way too out of shape to even try.  See, I don’t have an effective plan.

I want to have $5,000 in my savings account within the next 3 years.

That’s another goal.  I will find an extra $140 every month I can put back.  I will continue to set aside money until I reach my goal.  That’s a plan.  I can reach my goal.

There are 4 rules that can help teach you how to set financial goals that you have to follow:

how to set financial goals

Rule One: Make it realistic.  Know your spending habits by creating a budget.

You have set a goal of saving $20,000 in one year for a down payment of your first home.  You only make $30,000 a year.  Your goal is not realistic.  There are exceptions – you live with little rent cost and food costs.  If that’s the case, then perhaps you can put back ⅔ of your annual salary into savings.  I doubt it.  That’s not reality for most people.

A more realistic goal is to put back 10% of your earnings each year.  So if you setup your bank to automatically transfer 10% of your paycheck to your savings account each time it hits.  It’s realistic and very doable.

how to set financial goals

Rule Two: Stay motivated.  You need motivation to reach financial goals.

Create a sheet that hangs on your dresser mirror of what your big goal is.  That way you see it every morning while you’re getting ready.  Your goal stays on the forefront of your mind every day.  It’ll help the next time the girls call because sushi with the girls sounds like a great idea.  But spending $60 on a random Tuesday night will not help you get to your goals.

how to set financial goals

Rule Three: Have a support team around you.  You need people that know about your goals and want to see you succeed.

They can be your voice of reason when you find a super cute dress on sale.  We all know you don’t need the dress, you want it.

how to set financial goals

Rule Four: Set mini goals.  Baby steps are key when reaching for a bigger goal.

They always say don’t tell yourself you want to lose 40 pounds, tell your self 5 pounds.  Then when you hit that goal just say it again.  “I want to lose 5 pounds.”

It’s hard to grasp a big financial goal, like saving $20,000.  You can start to feel overwhelmed.  When you feel overwhelmed then you lose your motivation.  When you lose your motivation you start to slip on your spending.  You’ll lose sight of your budget.  Then you’ll pull from your emergency fund for non-emergency events.

I believe in the cash envelope system.  It can help you stay on track and keep your end goal in sight.  Just make sure to keep saving a priority.  You don’t have to sacrifice a lot to reach your goals, just the unnecessary and unneeded spending has to go.