October 13, 2020
Are you the person that struggles to stay organized? Start to implement a plan but then find yourself back to where you started a couple weeks later?
If so, buckle up as we are going to help you reorganize your work and life!
Our special guest is one of our favorite people, Rachel Hannah. A former teacher turned executive assistant, who is now the right-hand woman for Evie, Lindsey, and The Heart University. She basically does EVERYTHING for us! She saves us so much time, our lives, and our sanity. We literally could not do work without her and would have way less of a life without this woman working with us and alongside.
Today Rachel will be diving into a conversation all about organization. If there is anyone in the world who we consider a master of this, it would be Rachel. We will talk about the four things that we think are most vital to mastering the organization and saving time in your life. Including tips on utilizing schedules, how to stay focused, the importance of play (I know shocking right?!), and meal planning for your weeks.
We are so excited about this conversation because Rachel and Evie are extreme opposites in personality. Rachel is naturally structured and organized- Enneagram One, while Evie is naturally a hot mess express- Enneagram Seven. Bringing two very different perspectives to organizations that will help anyone out there that is wanting to master it.
Trust me if we can learn how to be organized and embrace structure. So can YOU!
First and foremost, being organized keeps your brain focused! When you have all the thoughts, to do’s, and everything else swirling around in your brain, you are not able to focus on anything. Which leads to number two! Not being able to get as much done, when you are organized your brain is able to focus and crank out that to-do list! Therefore we’ll have less stress, which gets us to number three! You get to enjoy life more when stuff isn’t hanging over your head.
Who can relate to sitting in bed, ready to go to sleep, but you are so stressed all of sudden with this random thought that pops into your head? Did you know that kind of stress is unnecessary if you know how to embrace the organization?!
There are so many different ways to organize.
When we become organized you will see you have more time to do other things in your life. You are able to focus on play, family, work, and rest when you are structured with your life.
One of the biggest things we have found that keep us motivated to focus on organization and structure in our lives is, you are able to have more of an impact on the world when you are not scrambling twenty-four seven.
Think of your work and life capacity that you have now. What if you were able to increase that by being organized and structured?
If you are going to take away anything from our conversation today, this might be one of the strongest ones. You’re not going to be able to do all of this at once, that’s not feasible. But if you can take this step of starting to create a schedule for yourself and/or your family that is going to make everything else we talk about today fall into place a lot easier.
Rachel and her husband both have busy schedules while having two kids in school, music lessons, and sports. To establish a schedule they have set a hard bedtime, every night from eight to eight-thirty for the kids. With the hard bedtime comes a consistent routine that in return allows her and her husband to spend quality time at the end of the day together. Not only is bedtime a routine but so is getting ready in the morning and picking them up from school, taking to activities, dinner, and then bedtime again. It is nice to know what your day is going to bring so you don’t have a panic mid-day thinking, “Oh my gosh, where did this come from?”.
Even if you don’t have kids or a family. Having a hard shut-off work time will allow you the time that YOU need at the end of the day. It is important even if you are not dealing with a whole family or household that you still have schedules that lead to peace, flexibility, productivity, and the confidence of what you are doing each and every day.
You are then able to wake up every day with a game plan. When you know what you are doing and you know why you are doing it every single day. It is so much easier to stick to those routines.
Now don’t worry if you are thinking, “I need to start now and get my routines into place!”. A routine and schedule do not happen overnight. It will take seasons of transition in order to establish a routine. As we grow and change our routines grow and change. It should be dynamic!
Experiment with your own schedules. Figure out what is your best morning, afternoon, and evening routine. See what works best for you, your family, your personality, and your lifestyle.
Notice what time of day you feel most inspired and focused. Take note if there is constantly something coming up in the afternoons that is distracting you, or a certain time of day you want to go on a walk or have a call.
Build that into your schedule!
Build that into your routine!
It is important to realize that every single person’s routine is going to be different. Every family’s lifestyle is going to be different. Figuring out what works best for YOU, that keeps everything flowing, organized, structured, and able to stay on track and on task is THE most important thing.
Don’t try to force yourself into something that is unnatural for you and don’t be harsh on yourself. Give yourself grace and be in tune with how you naturally function and then make your routine and your schedule from there.
With creating routines and schedules comes lots of experimenting. It is important that you experiment. Don’t just believe, “Oh I am not naturally a morning person” or “Oh I am not a night owl”. Experiment around and give it all a shot.
When it comes to calendars do you prefer digital or hard pen and paper? Switching over to paper and pen helped to keep track of all the events with multiple calendars. Find time sometime during the week whether at the beginning or end to plan out what you have for the following week. Taking that thirty to forty minutes can save your sanity and time during the week.
Creating that time to plan ahead for your following week can help you to conquer that to-do list you have. We can wake up every single morning and know exactly what is on the agenda which will keep you motivated and moving.
Motivation genuinely comes from knowing where you are moving and why. If you wake up on a morning with no structure or plan. Naturally, you are going to dilly dally around and accomplish nothing. Schedules aren’t just to tell us when to do what at this time, it keeps us on track and motivated to what we are working towards.
Schedules are for helping create a routine of what we are doing but are also to keep us from working around the clock. We are not always available, you cannot be available twenty-four hours a day. Create boundaries when your hard stop is. Make time for your friends, family, and yourself. Otherwise, you are going to burn out.
Tips recap on making sure you have a schedule that works for you:
It can be really hard to stay focused but by making intentional time to do the same work order every day can help with that. Again it is a routine!
For some, it is starting with more shallow work to get your brain in the work mode and then diving into the deep work later. For others, it may be the opposite. There is not the right way to do something, there is only the right way for YOU to do something.
You need to know how YOU work!
Two people can handle structure in two completely different ways because it fits each person’s personality. Take that as an encouragement to figure out how you work best and are able to stay focused.
How many of us when we get focused on a task forget everything else and then realize we have worked straight for eight hours? Someone said a break? It is important to take breaks, to give your brain time to disengage. We have to let ourselves disengage so that we can fully reengage.
Our brain on average is only able to lock in and focus on a task for sixty to ninety minutes. So if we are working longer than sixty to ninety minutes without taking any breaks, we are throwing our productivity down the drain. Now there are rare times where someone is able to lock in for two hours straight but for the majority, we should be working for sixty to ninety-minute stretches and then taking ten to fifteen-minute breaks.
Prioritize scheduling in time for breaks. Do not work without pausing. It is not helping yourself when it comes to productivity.
Ten minutes in one space will give you an hour in another space.
Pushing everything into one day and getting all sorts of tasks done but not taking any breaks will not only hurt you that evening. But will also hurt you throughout the week with your productivity and accomplishing other tasks.
So we have been discussing work order, breaks, and deep versus shallow work. The truth is none of that is going to get done if we have our phone right next to us. We will become distracted with Instagram or a text message and then there goes fifteen minutes. What we need to do is take our phone and put it on silent and in a COMPLETELY different room.
Anything you actually need, should all be on your computer so you don’t need your phone. Also, having that podcast or tv show in the background going? How focused do you think you can be?
What if for one week eliminating our phones, podcasts, and tv to see if our focus and productivity will change. Most of the time we are so used to this stimulation and input in the background that we think we are accomplishing a lot. There is a strong likelihood that your brain is going slower and is split focused. Whether you are conscious of it or not your brain is trying to absorb what is on the tv or podcast.
If you shut out those types of distractions, do you think you will be more focused and able to accomplish more?
Why not try eliminating those distractions this week? See if your productivity and focus will go up.
Next, we see having a dedicated office space can be a game-changer. One specific spot and room that only works. Now we know not everyone will have that luxury of a home office, but having a space with a desk or chair that you equate with work.
Do not work from the couch.
DO NOT work from bed. REPEAT, do not work from bed. Please we are begging you. Working from your place of rest and specifically, your bed is going to cross wires and mix signals in your brain. For when it is time to work and when it is time to rest. When you are sitting in bed, it will be fighting with yourself whether you are supposed to be working or resting.
It is vital, our brain equates a bed with sleep and a designated workspace with work. Our focus is going to increase when we have that. Even in a tiny one-bedroom apartment, you can find a space for work.
Recap on staying focused and structure your organization:
We can’t be on all the time. We must give our brain and body time to rest. Taking those breaks and having intentional downtime. This extends past work where we don’t have any requirements or expectations. Because then our brain can truly be creative and free, being productive in the long run.
Make sure you are scheduling intentional time, where you have times during your days or weeks where you can do whatever you want! It is important to allow yourself time, not just short breaks during your workdays, but actually scheduling a few hours for yourself to play and relax.
If we don’t schedule our time to play and take time off and just willy nilly take the time off when it presents itself, we will :
When we are able to play, we are able to work more efficiently.
PLAY HARD. WORK HARD!
This will allow you to enjoy and create that space for yourself, once you establish that you will be able to say “no” more to prioritize that time. Sometimes you have to say no, it is healthy to say, and do not be afraid of saying it!
This might take some of us a little while to jump into, but slowly acquiring a list of recipes that we can flip through and choose will help tackle meal planning. Having meals planned out will give you confidence during the day that dinner is already planned and there is no need to stress.
Sitting down every Sunday (or any day that works best for you!) and making a list of what meals you are having and the grocery list to go with. It can take you only thirty minutes!
This is one of those life tasks that can save us time and energy and eat food that will fuel and nourish us for all that we want to accomplish.
One way to start is with an easy staple that you can do every week. TACO TUESDAY! Start with that and mix it up with fish tacos, nachos, you name it!
Where do you start to help make your recipe list? Everybody has a Pinterest, right?
Type into Pinterest, “Healthy Thirty Minute Meals” and find some recipes that you are actually going to cook! If you don’t know an ingredient on the list and if you’ll be able to find it at your grocery store, don’t put it on your board! Find a handful of recipes that you think will be easy and try them. From there start making a list of the ones you will actually use.
Another great resource is Barnes and Noble also has the bargain recipe books to browse and see if anything interests you. Check out your local thrift store or Goodwill! But a golden rule to follow is if there are not five recipes in that book you don’t think you’ll use, don’t buy it.
When meal prepping, go back to the basics. Take spaghetti and meatballs, there are so many different ways we can cook spaghetti. Try different varieties. It will be an easy way to expand your recipe list and help start the routine of meal planning!
The most vital takeaway to start your organizational journey is you are not going to be able to do everything we talked about in one day, let alone in a week. Take one step, and try it. It may even take three or four weeks or longer to establish your routine and for it to feel natural. Once you are comfortable with incorporating one of these routines in your schedule try adding a second one. And again make it fit your lifestyle, how you work, how your family or friends live. Make it fit YOU!
Again it is only one step at a time. Working at what works best for you and that you can’t do it all at once.
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WASSUP FRIENDS. We’re Evie + Lindsey, co-founders of this wild partayyy called The Heart University. Our goal is to empower entrepreneurs to kick freaking BUTT in their businesses, dive down into the heart of their why and how, and serve you with all possible tools you’ll need to up-level your business game and CRUSH those goals of yours.
Whether you’re coming to an in-person workshop, joining our online course, or soaking up all the strategies via this blog or our podcast, we’re STOKED you’re here + can’t wait to see you out there kicking butt.
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