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When I first decided that I wanted to start a blog, I KNEW that I would make posts like this. In fact, posts like this were what I was most excited about, because I love when people I follow give “behind the scenes” of their everyday habits and routines.
How we live our day-to-day life, our habits and routines, is truly what defines our success. Not a random day of major productivity, or a 30-day challenge. Nope. It’s how we live most of our days that really counts.
More that that, habits and routines that lead to more productivity, success, growth, change, whatever you are wanting to call it, don’t have to be perfect–and in fact, when done regularly, can’t be perfect…simply because life isn’t perfect.
You will see as I take you through today’s post that my day didn’t turn out perfect.
I woke up this morning wanting to take you through my sacred Sunday and show you everything I do to set myself up for success for the week.
But, funny enough, I picked probably the WORST Sunday to show you, because it is the Sunday before Christmas, and the day after Christmas, I am leaving town.
So, this post won’t be a typical representation of my week. And I even thought about postponing this post for you.
But as I said before, habits and routines that actually manifest into success in our everyday lives aren’t only done when it’s #instaperfect.
No, these habits and routines happen no matter WHAT, and I was still going to do my routine, hell or high water, so why NOT show you all?
Ready to go?
Alright, let’s start!
First things first…
So I start my Sunday morning out like I do most of my mornings…slow, and in any way I choose. You can read more about my thoughts around morning routines here.
This morning, I grabbed my coffee (that is a ritual that will NEVER change!), spent some time on my couch reading, and then headed to the kitchen table to start my planning (check out the snow!)
I’m going to lay out exactly why and how I use my planner below, with as many pictures as I thought to take and doesn’t seem completely obnoxious (hahaha!)
So first, let me show you what I use:
My client and dear friend Lee Cordell is the creator of “The Write Planner.” I have become so obsessed with this planner that I am now an affiliate of the product. You can buy yours here and use code “SarahC10” for 10% off your order!
Side note: I also want to mention that I LOVE these pens. It’s so funny because I didn’t use them when I did this post for you all (I have no idea why,) and I immediately regretted it.
The thing about writing in your planner ahead of time (which is the normal thing to do,) is that plans change, and so using regular pen doesn’t allow for changes (and instead gets messy with scratching out.)
I love these erasable pens because I can easily switch out times, or move things around without my planner looking messy! I highly recommend them!
Anyways, back to the planner…
In short, the planner is a 3 month planner, which I love, because even though I do think ahead, I think sometimes having your calendar for months and months ahead can be overwhelming. For me, I put everything in my phone first, and then transfer it into here, so I can still put stuff on my google calendar that is far out.
So the first thing that I do when I start planning my week is I go through the week coming up and put in my Write Planner what I like to call my “non-negotiables.” These are things on the calendar that cannot or will not “go away” or are already planned. For example, your non-negotiables could be your full time job, your kids’ activities, a doctor’s appointment, a client call, a meeting…I think you get the drift.
So, I go ahead and just lay that all out first. This way, you know how much time you have left to work with outside of the tasks that you must complete. Knowing what additional time you have is important as you start to plan when you will accomplish additional business projects, personal goals, etc.
I typically teach my scheduling and time management techniques to entrepreneurs, however, they can apply to anyone! I say this because entrepreneurs who have a full-time job, a family, etc. seem to struggle to “find time” to work on their business. That is why I recommend just getting out of the way all of the things you must do so that you know what time you have left available to you.
Next, after I lay out my non-negoitables for every day of that week, I go back in and figure out when I will put my personal non-negotiables in my calendar.
I define personal non-negotiables as certain things that help you be at your best during your day-to-day. So for example, meditating, reading, listening to podcasts, time with your kids/partner/family, exercising, healthy eating…you get where I’m going 😉
For me, my personal non-negotiables are exercise, healthy eating (and pre-meditated meals so I don’t get hangry…I’ll touch on this soon,) and lots of rest time.
So, as I look at my calendar and plan my week, what I typically do next is decide when, and where, I’m going to work out.
Let me explain:
So at any given time, I usually have a few class packages to a few different fitness studios, and then just my normal Planet Fitness membership. So I check out what classes are available for that week, and put them on my calendar based on when I’m available.
This also helps me plan ahead and troubleshoot, because if you look back at the pictures above, one day I am very easily able to hit up a class at my favorite studio, but basically the rest of the week, I can’t make the classes, or it’s Christmas, and so I had to plan ahead and make sure I wasn’t counting on going there…and have my plan B of going to Planet Fitness instead.
This is my #1 tip for not sabotaging yourself on the things you want to be doing for yourself, and know you should be doing for yourself.
It’s so easy to skip out on a workout, or a healthy meal, when you haven’t planned ahead and in the last minute don’t have time to cook, or find another place to workout.
This is why I NEVER figure those types of things out day of. Things I don’t care about as much? Sure. I’ll wing it. But my personal non-negoitables, the things I know keep me sane, happy and productive? Nah, I’m not gonna f*ck with that.
So after I have my personal non-negoitables laid out (which, side note, I know I didn’t schedule in my morning routine, etc. The way I handle that is I don’t schedule myself for anything until about 8:30-9am so I have my mornings to myself!) I take the remaining time in my calendar and write out the other to-do’s I have for that week.
I know my to-do’s both from what may be left over/unfinished from the week before, and then also always knowing what my major focus is at the time. Once I know what my major projects/focuses are for the week, I can then break them down into smaller steps, and put them on the calendar in my “empty” time, putting the first steps, or most priority steps, first.
(PS. If this seems like a lot, don’t worry. I have more content on productivity/habits/routines coming, plus I will be releasing a course on this very thing ASAP. If you’re an entrepreneur, get on my waitlist for my business foundations course, Six-Figure Freedom, where I talk in depth about time management as an entrepreneur!)
What you’ll see above is the rest of my daily page filled out. I love The Write Planner because each day has a TWO PAGE SPREAD! I love to take notes and jot things down throughout the day, so this planner is perfect for me! The right side that you can’t really see has an entire page for notes! (I’m gah-gah over this thing!)
I went through and wrote down in the “dominate” section the things I absolutely need to get done on that day. These are tasks that I will work on in between the scheduled non-negoitables in the schedule section. It may help you to set actual times for your “dominate” tasks. For me, I do fine filling in where I need to. You have to know yourself and what will be most supportive to you!
Then the next box down is labeled “delegate.” For me, I have an assistant that supports me in my business, and so here I write tasks that I am going to ask her to do. I have also written things here that Ronnie can help me with. For you, maybe you have an assistant, or maybe you can hire someone for a certain project. Or maybe this box is where you put chores that you assign to the kids. Essentially, this box is still your “to-do” list, but you are getting support!
The last box, “delay and diminish,” is where I put those tasks that need to get done, but are everyday things that I just have to keep doing until it’s “over.” So for me, I am in the middle of my launch for my entrepreneurial foundations course, Six-Figure Freedom, and so I am just reminding myself to show up and talk about that everyday!
The “three to thrive,” sleep and water, I’ll be honest, I don’t always use. As you can probably tell, I’m not a pinterest artist and I’m pretty no-frills when it comes to my planner. The thing is, it doesn’t matter how I use mine, as it doesn’t matter how you use yours! As long as you are USING IT, and it works for you, that is what matters!
I have one last step in the planner before I move on…
I then go to the week overview page, and do a rough outline of our dinner menu for the week.
I don’t do all meals, like breakfast and lunch, because we usually eat the same things for lunch and breakfast. This might sound boring, but it actually makes things easy and ensures that you are always eating something healthy (if you make it a healthy choice, haha!) So I make that easy on me and don’t get creative on those meals, just dinner (which even that I don’t get too fancy on!)
So I go to the week spread, and start planning out what meals we will do for what night.
PS. I don’t think this was the intention of the week spread in The Write Planner, but again, it’s YOUR planner and you get to use it how you want to!
Eating and meals is where planning ahead is EVERYTHING.
Think about it:
If you have an INSANE day Tuesday, and plan to cook a complex meal when you get home at 8:30pm…is that really gonna happen???
And you know what will?
So unless you want to keep running to Wendy’s, (I am speaking lovingly from past experience,) I would recommend knowing the schedule of each of your days, and plan your meals according to that.
So Tuesday, you have a crazy day? That should be a crockpot meal. Or maybe make something big on Monday to heat up the next night.
Have a lot of time on Thursday? Awesome! Make that fancy meal you’ve been thinking about.
For me, it’s not about having it all perfectly planned. It’s just more about having an idea so I don’t go into the week reactively, and we have food in the fridge Sunday so we don’t eat out the whole week (because grocery shopping during a busy week is a lot harder than getting it done on the weekend.)
So I plan the meals, write the list and off shopping I go.
Nothing makes me more happy than a full fridge. I feel so grateful to be able to stock my fridge weekly like this, and this practice not only sets me up for a week of good eating…but it reminds me of how dang fortunate we are. Gratitude is power.
So the last steps to my Sunday success routine..
- Gym 2. Tanning 3. Laundry
Ok, maybe not #2. Have you seen me????
But in all seriousness, every Sunday I get alllllllll the household chores done, and make sure I move my body in some way, shape or form (I do this EVERYDAY!!!!)
I hate going into the week with a messy or chaotic living space, especially since I work from home, so I make sure to take the time Sunday to get it to my liking. Also, I know during the week I don’t want to be taking time to do laundry, etc.
Something about a fresh, clean and tidy house on a Monday morning is just music to my ears. It allows me to feel relaxed as I step into the week, and it totally sets the tone for the rest of my days.
Now this might sound like I spend hours and hours and hours prepping for my week on Sunday, and I won’t lie to you…this does take me a few hours to complete.
But what I can tell you is this…
I used to NEVER do this.
My Sundays were truly “Sunday Funday,” and when I still drank, I would spend a Sunday with a morning cocktail, and ending the day tipsy, bloated, full and completely not ready for Monday.
So in result, I went into the week unorganized, stressed and behind.
I never worked out, I ate like crap, and I always felt like Monday was a catch-up day, not a productive day.
When I started implementing this new Sunday ritual, my life completely shifted.
I started working out regularly. I started eating better. I was happier during the week, and I was 1000x more productive than I had ever been.
I want to mention that my Sundays, and weekends in fact, are still fun.
I’ve done this routine in addition to driving a few hours both ways and doing a long hike with Ronnie.
We’ve gone swimming, or shopping, or to a movie and still managed to complete this routine.
It’s just about…getting intentional and planning even this Sunday ritual.
You can have it all…your productive Sunday ritual AND your Sunday Funday!
Just think ahead the day before…what do I want to do for fun? And when will I get my productive to-do’s done?
I hope this posts inspires you to mix up your typical Sunday and perhaps help you flow into the week with more ease and even…more excitement!
Feel free to ask any questions you have below and let me know how this routine feels for you!