I often get asked how I do my blog, where I find time & questions about my schedule or routine. Tbh, it’s taken time, trial and error and learning what my nonnegotiable’s and needs are. Instead of doing a live (which I love), I thought it would be helpful to break it down here so you can come back and use it as a reference. Today I’m sharing the 7 things I do religiously that help set me up for success.
1. I Schedule Everything
First, I have to start by saying that I love organization. I love writing in my agenda, putting things down on paper and in my phone and knowing what my week (s) or month looks like.
Second, I love getting sh*t done. Whether it’s reorganizing my closet (which is underway), washing the dishes or answering emails, I hate having things half done. I feel good crossing this off my list and doing the things I say I’m going to do. It all starts with creating a good system.
One of the things I do religiously (that is part of my system) that helps with time management and making sure stuff gets done is scheduling everything I do. In my calendar on my phone you will find: my workouts, the day my phone bills are due, Dr’s appointments, grocery days, time to see my family, time for working on the blog, oil changes, shoot days, getting my lashes done, getting spray tans… I literally schedule everything I do. Time blocking is something I have been doing for a few years now and it’s something I love to do. When you write things down, you are more likely to remember- it’s been proven. I love writing in my agenda so there’s my writing component and I always have it in my phone as a backup with reminders.
So why do I do this? First, this is the first step to ensuring I never forget anything I have to do or that I’ve committed to. Second, I have no excuse not to do those things. They’re written down and I can always look back to see what I have to do for the day or week or if there are any conflicts.
I time block for everything. If I know I need two hours to write, I block it off. If I want to see my family – something you would never think to schedule, I schedule it. I know that if on Tuesday at 6pm I’ve made plans to go see my grandma, that time is reserved for that and nothing else. There’s no excuse (unless there’s any emergency or you’re not feeling well) not to go. I’ve heard so many people say “I don’t have time”… truth is, you do; you’re just not scheduling it right. Time blocking ensures that you have time to do the things that need to get done. This is one topic I can go on and on about so -maybe a live? You guys let me know, but you get the point.
2. Have ME Time
Whether it’s 15 minutes or 45, I need to have ME time and it’s usually first thing in the morning. How you start your day impacts and affects the rest of your day. I find that when I give myself this time, I can think clearly about what needs to be done, write down anything that’s on my mind and I can be present & enjoy some stillness. I know that “me” time isn’t always possible but it’s something I won’t negotiate because in that time, I get the energy I need to give to others. As cheesy as it may sound, the quote that says “you can’t give to others when you are empty” is true -at least for me and probably for you too, amiright?
3. No Social Media After Waking Up
I talked about this briefly here but I used to wake up, turn off my alarm and open Instagram. How many of you have done or continue to do this? I immediately started going into panic & comparison mode when I was on Instagram only seconds after waking up. I didn’t give myself time to wake up without any external influences.
For the past month now I’ve made a conscious effort and decision to stay off all social media for at least an hour after waking up. I can honestly tell you that I feel so much better and less anxious. The time I used to spend scrolling mindlessly is now spent on planning my day, my week and enjoying my coffee and I cannot tell you how much peace this brings me.
This one is also tied into scheduling. I schedule my workouts every week and I have to move. For me, fitness & health is more so about how I feel in my mind and in my body than it does with how I look. Of course I love to feel good in my skin and like how I look but my priority is to feel strong. To be able to walk up a flight of stairs without losing my breath, or play with my baby cousins without getting exhausted in the first 5 minutes. Working out is also a way to destress. If there has been one thing that has helped me when I’ve had bad days or was in my head about something, it has been exercise. Moving, exercising & sweating releases endorphins and endorphins make you happy; so I do the things that make me happy.
You never regret a good workout and the energy you get after a great workout cannot be replaced by any coffee or energy drink.
5. Meal Prep
I grew up with parents who cooked all their meals. I hardly ever ate out and when I did, it was a treat! Cooking at home and using whole, natural foods has been ingrained in me since I was young. Meal prepping is something J and I do literally every Sat/Sun.
I did a post on this too –here– but aside from knowing exactly what’s in your food, meal prepping allows you to control portion sizes, limit the sodium & you can make foods that can be remixed in a variety of ways. Meal prepping is also very cost effective; you can create 10+ meals for the price of 5 store bought and it ensures that I’m eating well and not reaching for fast processed foods.
Whether it’s taking courses at UofT, listening to podcasts, or reading, I always always, always make time to learn. After my undergrad I continued taking courses at UofT. I think investing in yourself and education is the best investment you can make. Learning, taking courses, reading & listening to podcasts fuels me and motivates me. If you don’t have the money to enrol in courses (because yes, they can be expensive), there are so many amazing free resources that are available like the books and programs offered at public libraries. Learning isn’t limited to what I’ve mentioned. You can learn on Youtube or following people on social media who inspire you and share information on subjects you may be interested in.
Learning, for me, excites me, keeps me on my toes and challenges me to think in ways I’m not not used to.
There’s always an opportunity to learn, even in your every day routine – you just have to be open and willing to see it.
Yes this is something I do religiously and is worth mentioning because SO MANY OF YOU DON’T SLEEP! Like, how do you even function?
This is another non-negotiable. Gone are the days where I would go out with my friends, stay out late, go to school, pull all-nighters and go to an early class the next morning. While I had a lot of fun with my friends, I also felt my worst getting 5-6 hrs/night and functioning at 50-60%.
Now my friends (Sara specifically) calls me a grandma because I like to be in bed by 10/11pm. I love to wash my face, brush my teeth, apply my serums (in this order) and go to bed early. I much prefer being up early, having my me time, and getting a head-start on my day. Getting adequate sleep lets me do that and I feel my best when I sleep enough. Don’t you?
Sleep also ensures that my immune system is strong. “To stay healthy, especially during the influenza season, get the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. This will help keep your immune system in fighting shape, and also protect you from other health issues including heart disease , diabetes, and obesity” (Sleepfoundation.org). Since making sleep a priority last year, I got sick ONCE and I used to get sick at least 3 or 4 times a year. This one sounds simple, but yet, so many of you are still sleeping 5-6hrs/night.
While these 7 things sound simple, they take commitment and consistency in order to work. Like I said in the beginning of this post, I like doing the things I say I’m going to do so follow through is everything.
I know that my life is very different than many of yours but I promise that you too can create a system that will help simplify your life and help you better manage your time. It takes time to find what your nonnegotiable’s and needs are and creating a system that is realistic and works.
What are a few things you like/ need that help you feel your best? Write a list down, see what works and practice good habits.
So, I’d love to know, what are a few of the things you do religiously?
If you ever need help in finding what that is, I am more than happy to help! Send me a message on Instagram @karenmichellle or shoot me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org