After my monthly goals post about my Powersheets, I had questions from a few friends about what this cool planner thing was and how it worked so I thought I would walk through how I get prepared for each week, including how the PowerSheets are different than my planner and how I use those two tools together!
First, fair warning, this is… a longer post than I originally thought it would be so grab some wine or coffee or lemonade and settle in. Hopefully you’ll find at least something in here helpful no matter which phase of life you are in!
First, I want to fill you in on my progress from May and share a bit of my tending list for June. I wrote quite a bit about my goals for May. I don’t want to rehash them too much, but I did want to share what I consider an extremely successful month of work. And I want to share it because before I started using Powersheets and changing my mindset to confront my years of perfectionism, I would have felt that this was a total failure of a month thanks to how many things are not filled in or perfectly checked in every box. PROGRESS NOT PERFECTION. It’s not all or nothing. If it was… I think I’d end every day since becoming a mom crying in a corner.
If you look at last month’s goals, many of this month’s are similar. I’ve just made some small changes. For example, I’ve added a few steps to my morning routine but have kept the same “morning routine” item listed. I’ve also changed Write the Word to “Coffee and Jesus” because I’ve found I’m getting the most out of using my Write the Word journals a few days a week, reading the Blessed is She devotionals a few days a week, and just taking time to pray the rosary on other days! Tend the Garden remains- it will need even more care with the very hot days ahead and I am just hoping we will see some blooms (the sunflowers are now as tall as my toddler! This in and of itself amazes me!) My movement line has been switched up and is now labeled “DANCE PARTY” because this is one of the things that can really get me moving AND it is something that absolutely delights my son and allows us to be silly and have so much fun. Finally, I have added “express gratitude” under my daily goals because I have been getting a little anxious and down on myself recently and I know the best way to combat that is thankfulness.
My weekly goals are also similar only I have added Yoga and instead of just a social media free day, I’ve added a screen free night with my husband- one of the goals that came out of our work on the Couples Guide! I’m also hoping to set aside time for yoga once a week, be that at home or out and about. Finally, as you can see from my May tending list, the goal I was least successful with was Spring Cleaning tasks… so instead of making that a monthly goal I am changing it to a weekly goal. If I can tackle just one extra task a week I’ll know I’m making slow but steady progress forward on those little things you just don’t do on a regular basis (I’m looking at you baseboards and hard to reach bathroom windows…)
My monthly goals include planting more- I FINALLY received my wildflowers from the #savethebees promotion by cheerios and since my herbs were the only things that totally died outdoors, I’m hoping maybe I can try again indoors with a windowsill garden or maybe in the front yard where I can get them more late afternoon shade? Worth a shot, right? I already have the seeds! I am also looking forward to more celebrating and one on one dates with my husband and special one on one time with my son. Other monthly items include catching up on what I didn’t finish last month, some work on fruitful friendships, and catching up on my Project Life albums- both the digital one for our family scrapbook this year and the baby book for my daughter. Finally, my work on the Cultivate Book Launch Team has become a goal for the month rather than a weekly goal because some weeks are going to be busier than others and I am SO excited to help celebrate this book release!
So, now that you have an overview of goals for the upcoming month, let’s take a look at the schedule for this first week. First of all, life with two littles is… chaotic to say the least. If we don’t prepare well for the week on the weekends when there are two of us to wrangle the littles, then we find ourselves pretty grumpy by the time Wednesday rolls around and everything is a bit of a confused mess. In order to keep our heads above water, we try to re-set with a somewhat clean house, a shopping trip or two to stock up on at least the basics, and I take an hour or so to look over our week with some key tools to keep the household running smoothly. Here’s what I do:
Step 1: Transfer appointments from my monthly calendar view to my weekly calendar view. These are all the things with a hard start and end time associated with them or else important events that will shape my week (like having friends in from out of town). They are what I will build the rest of our schedule around. Tranferring these and discussing them with my hubby is essential since we share a car so if I realize from a reminder on my phone an hour before that I have a doctor appointment that day, I’m in trouble because I would have no transportation to get there! Even if you aren’t sharing a vehicle though, I highly encourage taking 5-10 minutes each week to do an overview of the week ahead. This also allows me to see how crazy the nonnegotiable commitments are making the week on their own. This helps me know what I can realistically add to that. I am a little type A and am obsessed with color coding my commitments so social activities get one color, academic work gets another, theatre work another, parenting commitments another, etc. etc. etc.
Step 2: Add the MUST DO items to my planner and block out time for those. This includes prep work for my job, grocery runs, and I count playdates in there once in a while for the sake of my sanity. It also includes arranging childcare if we have things like a date night on the calendar.
Step 3: STICKERS!!! and MORE STICKERS!!! OK, this is obviously an optional step. But it makes me have a positive attitude and it helps me to draw my focus and direct my week as I open my calendar every day. Some people go sticker CRAZY with their planners, making them like a scrapbook or work of art. I think that’s awesome. That’s not for me- especially at this particular moment in my life where I have to do a lot in just a little prep time. So I use stickers as accents and it helps me focus for step 5…
Step 4: Look at my PowerSheets. I have written about this tool several times and some of you asked if they were my planner. They are a completely separate book, but to use them most effectively they need to be used in conjunction with a planner. The PowerSheets have my goals and action steps toward them broken down to monthly, weekly, and daily work I need to do to move closer to my goals. I don’t move my daily goals to my planner because that seems really tedious to me. I use the powersheets themselves to keep track of them and I don’t have to set aside specific time because these are daily habits I am trying to create. Some people might use habit trackers in their bullet journals for a similar purpose.
Step 6: Schedule in the important, goal getting steps into my planner. So… I DO try to schedule weekly goals that need a specific amount of time or can only take place at specific times- last month I had Go to Mass on my weekly list and I wrote what mass time I hoped to go to each week, based on what other activities happened that weekend.
While that sometimes changed due to life with kids, it helped to know that the time wasn’t free to schedule other stuff- we were making it a priority to make time for church. It’s not on my list for this month because it is starting to feel more like a habit again, but if I find we are having trouble then back on it will go for next month. I find that exercise is also something that if I don’t schedule in it just doesn’t happen. Other items on my list need to get done and will be done best if they aren’t crammed in all at once to the weekends, but they don’t have specific time constraints gets put in the “to do” section at the bottom of each day. That’s just the way my particular planner is set up. If I change to a different brand it may change the way I set up this part.
Step 7: Discuss it all with my husband, and evaluate if I can add anything to this week, what I’m willing to say yes to, if I need to cancel anything, etc. and meal plan based on the timing and busyness of each day. For example, if we have a night free- we plan to actually cook! If I’m going to be gone from 6-8 and my husband is working overtime that day then odds are good it is a night for leftovers… or cereal… or microwaving frozen burritos. (I’m also starting to look at the weather when meal planning because if the temp is above 104 then we need to use the slow cooker or microwave or choose a cold meal because that is too hot to even BBQ and there’s no way we are turning on the oven or standing over the stove that late in the day!
So that’s how we organize our week! I’d love to hear from you about any tips or tricks that work for you! I would also especially love to hear about any favorite tools- especially planners! I switched up my planner this year and while I LOVE some aspects of it (listing Catholic Saints’ Days and Days of Obligation), It is a little bulky for me and I’m debating switching again for next year’s planner so let me know which ones I should look at, or if I should just switch back to trusty old Erin Condren!