Seven Reasons Weekly Task Lists More Sense To Me Than Daily Task Lists

Seven Reasons Weekly Task Lists More Sense To Me Than Daily Task Lists

Why I Keep Coming Back To Weekly Planner Layouts

One: You only have to migrate tasks once a week.

I absolutely hate migrating tasks. Nothing is more defeating than migrating a task day after day. It is a waste of time, ink, and paper. I think most people who make daily checklists do this—hats off to the checklists queens who don’t. And I think most of us feel the same feeling of checklist failure when viewing the unchecked tasks at the end of each day. We just don’t know that it’s the system, not always our productivity, that is to blame.

Two: It helps you respect work boundaries.

You don’t have to feel defeated if you get to the end of the day and you only got three-quarters of the way through your last big task. With a weekly task list, you can instead feel excited because you know the time to check it off draweth night. I look forward to my morning cup of coffee and the relish of devoting my morning energy to completing something that would have exhausted me the night before.

Three: You get more done than you expected to.

Your task list magically adjusts to the ebb and flow of life’s demands. Some tasks take longer than expected, and some are finished sooner. Some days are busier with more interruptions and others provide more quiet hours in which to work. Writing down the amount of time each task will take next to the task has never made any sense to me because of this. I suppose it can be a helpful guideline, but so far, it usually ends up frustrating me (planner queens everywhere are hyperventilating).

I use a planner that emphasizes my weekly goals. I can see my whole week’s agenda and goal list on one page. This allows me to sneak in a task when I least expect to be able to. This might be one of the greatest reasons I love my weekly task list system.

It’s like this. With a daily checklist, I will put certain personal goals on the weekend or some other future day. Out of sight is out of mind and if I don’t see the task until Friday or Saturday, I won’t start on it until then. Then what do you think happens when the weekend comes around? All my weekend tasks are waiting to greet me with their loud, needy voices. But with a weekly planner layout or checklist, I get hit with sudden bursts of inspiration at, say, Tuesday at 1pm. “Hey, you have 5 minutes before your daughter’s activity timer goes off! Why not print that document, grab a stamp and get it in the mail!”

Or Wednesday at 9:37pm. Hey, I really could upload those two documents and finish Anneka’s school application. I got a nap in today and I’m not as tired as I usually am.

Get the idea?

The same is true of workouts. Instead of saying, “I will work out every day,” I make a goal of, say, three or four times a week. As long as it’s written down and I can see it, I can grab the moment of opportunity and inspiration, color in one of the squares, and feel inspired that I completed one more weekly workout. Contrast this with the defeat you feel when you miss your daily workout.

Four: Weekly Checklists are highly motivating.

A weekly checklist allows me to be motivated to finish early so that I can begin my weekend celebration. I don’t end up sabotaging my rest time by inventing new tasks. I don’t convince myself that I need to get more done. Instead, I start to feel a sense of accomplishment seeing how far I’ve come in my weekly checklist, one that I have never felt looking at a daily list. Why? Because without looking at my week as a whole, I can never remember what I did the day before. If I approach life only on a daily level, I always feel like I have to prove my productivity all over again. However, with a weekly approach, I can push myself harder one day with the anticipation of resting more the next day. I love the feeling of knowing I deserve to take a break. Looking at all those beautiful, colorful boxes is a visual reminder that I am efficient, hard-working, and have good priorities. This is one of the greatest reasons for paper planning for me—not to motivate myself by making endless lists but to motivate myself by seeing all I’ve accomplished.

(Yes, I like to color in boxes instead of using scratchy checkboxes or x’s, but the principle is the same no matter what you use).

Five: Weekly checklists allow me to break one of my favorite planner rules to break, which is always finish a task before moving on to the next. 

Who invents these rules?

The reason I think this rule is made to be broken is this. Sometimes you simply don’t have the physical or mental energy to finish a task. Sometimes you need to sleep on an idea to give your brain time to percolate on it.

My grandfather lived by the principle that “a change is as good as a rest.” He had many amazing hobbies and excelled at them all. He used time blocking to devote different parts of his day towards different jobs and tasks. He did not worry about whether he had to finish something he started that day, knowing he was devoting focused time to it and it would be there for him the next day. The beauty of his timeless working style is that he practiced time blocking, doing only one thing at a time. This is different from multi-tasking.

And if you write things down, your brain will be able to easily pick up the next day where you left off.

Six: It allows me to practice one of my favorite rules, the ten-minute rule.

I have a ten-minute rule that has served me well. Whenever a new idea comes wandering up to me by way of a co-worker, spouse, or my own brain, and I feel like I just can’t get to it, just can’t cram one more thing into my schedule, I put it on my weekly (or sometimes monthly) task list. Then I say, “I’ll do this for ten minutes, and then I’ll move on.”

I’ve written whole blog posts because I followed my ten-minute rule.

And still finished the rest of my priorities for the day and week.

Seven: I don’t feel guilty for migrating tasks at the end of the week.

Remember how I said I hated migrating tasks? Well, I do. Especially daily. Especially when I’m not sure if I’ve had a productive day.

But when you make a plan at the beginning of the week for everything you’d like to accomplish in the different areas of your life (personal, gamechanger, and work), and you prioritize those tasks to a reasonable degree, then at the end of the week when you look back and see all you’ve accomplished. You will have accomplished a lot. When you do this, you know it’s okay to migrate those last few tasks to the next week. (And don’t forget to cross some off completely—that’s fun, too).

These are some of my main reasons weekly checklists make more sense to me. What about you? Are you a weekly checklist or a daily checklist person? While you’re at it, are you a time-blocker, a list-maker, or both like I am? I’d love to hear from you!

I currently use the Passion Planner. It’s the queen of Weekly Goal Trackers and coached me in much of what I currently practice about goal planning, mind mapping, and celebrating. However, many planner people will need more space. You can apply the principals of weekly goals I wrote about here and have more space by using the Passion Planner in tandem with a blank bullet journal, or in tandem with the new Passion Planner Daily. Day Designer has always impressed me with their weekly layout as well, though there’s no separate space for weekly goals (but you can see your whole week at once and I do like the week’s top three space they have). However, I still end up migrating daily checklists with the Day Designer, which is why I’ve been so hard—core about the Passion Planner.

Finally, and if you don’t want to carry around two planners, two awesome ladies (Chelsea Brown and Reanne Dimick) are coming out with The Amplify Planner soon (reportedly in May). From the pdfs, it promises to be the only dated Monthly/Weekly/Daily planner on the market that I know of.

Why I am Not Afraid To Tell People About Plexus

For two years, I was afraid to tell people about what Plexus did for me. I was afraid to be “that direct selling lady” who bothered other people and used every social media and #irl contact to try to grow her business (note: I know many people who are direct sellers who do not do this). I was also afraid that the blog I’ve worked so hard to build product review cred on would lose trust. I felt like I ran a successful business with my husband and that talking about Plexus somehow made it sound like my role as a web developer and designer wasn’t enough. I was afraid people would see me as a MLM business woman instead of a children’s book writer, blogger, or developer.

I also just flat out don’t like product parties. Seriously, take all the fun out of shopping, why don’t you? Now I have to have social anxiety and personal offense mixed in to my shopping and returning experience. When I started blogging about products, it was after being tied quite emotionally to a direct selling company which was a negative experience in many ways. It gave me a sense of freedom to make the determination that I would never actively sell for an MLM on my blog, because I feared I would lose the integrity of my own reviews.

Recently, I realized I have been intimidated into silence. It was when I was researching ingredients for cleaning supplies (I’m an ingredient nut—my husband calls me a chemist), and I narrowed all the options down to Norwex. I bought out of knowledge of the science behind the ingredients, then tried the products and they did not disappoint me. I calculated the savings of using 1/2 to 1 tablespoon of laundry detergent and realized I was saving money. I cleaned my laundry shelf and achieved one more step to minimalism (my goal in art and life). I got rid of every bit of hard water buildup in my one-year-old house with zero elbow grease. I began throwing away the chemicals that made me cough, especially knowing I didn’t want them around Anneka.

This made me happy, and I began telling other people about it with enthusiasm. I am able to clean my own house because of Norwex, saving $100 a week by not hiring someone else to clean it. And I can do it in less time than I ever have, and it’s cleaner than it’s been for 8 months. (I should mention I’ve literally tried every natural line to be found in stores that I could find. The problem with them all was that they didn’t work well on hard water, mineral buildup, or set in stains).

With Plexus, it was the other way around. First I tried the product, then loved the results, then began researching if there were replacement products because I thought Plexus was a bit expensive. I experimented on myself with half a dozen inferior products, achieved little to no results, and was relieved to sign up for monthly Plexus shipments. You can read about my health story, “From Hypoglycemic to Happy and Healthy.”

It’s tough to keep saying Plexus is expensive or over priced, when there are no parallel products on the market, much less one for less!

It was after the Norwex experience that I realized I was letting the negative experiences I and others have had with MLMs deprive myself of being myself. When I’m excited about a product, everybody hears about it, and it also goes on my blog.

If you ask me what the best diaper cream is, I’ll say Weleda. I have no qualms about this, because I do not make money from saying this.

If you ask me what the best skincare is, I’ll say Paula’s Choice.

 But I do not know of a health supplement line that equals in quality to Plexus.

 And I do not know of a cleaning method (or product, or lifestyle), that comes close in quality to Norwex.

So allow me to be the patient, detailed researcher I am and trust me when I say I can vouch for these products, and that they are the best in value, just like when I tell you about Paula’s Choice, Weleda, Lille Baby carriers, Love to Dream Swaddlers, and more.

I also hope that my friends will not think I’ve changed. My main goals in life are still to be a writer and coder. But one of the things I write about is life-changing products and product lines.

Plexus is one of those product lines.

If you want to chat more about hypoglycemia, hair health, norwex, diaper rashes, acid reflux, or baby carriers and swaddling, please contact me! I love to talk about all these things!

Learn more.

10 of my Favorite Prenatal Yoga Poses

prenatal yoga warrior II

I’ve loved yoga since the day I discovered it. I love the way I feel when do it, and especially the way I feel afterwards. A good yoga practice makes me feel open, spacious, bouncy, flexible, strong, pain-free (or at least in much less pain), and calm. And at no time has yoga more been my friend than during pregnancy.

Yoga has helped my energy, strength and flexibility so much. When you can no longer do basic things (like pick things up or put on shoes) without modifying how you do them, keeping up a yoga practice gives your body a bank account of other default postures to draw from, without which I’d have had to ask for a lot more help.

Disclaimer: I’m not a doctor or a pro, but these poses have helped me immensely. I also had a yoga practice before pregnancy. Not all poses would be appropriate for all pregnancies.

All postures help with 3 really important things:

  • Daily energy, strength and flexibility
  • Baby positioning
  • Strenghthens and stretches muscles used during labor (that you might not typically use)

Here are some of my favorite poses.

Warrior II

A classic and basic. Warrior II. It begins to warm up your hip flexors for the other poses. My warrior II is better now than it was before pregnancy.

prenatal yoga warrior II

Standing Half Moon

Standing half moon for picking things up. I really do pick things up this way.

standing half moon prenatal yoga

Standing Figure 4 or Standing Pigeon

A standing figure 4 for putting my socks on. As long as I practice this daily, I can put my own socks on. 🙂

figure four or standing pigeon prenatal yoga

Yogi Squat

Alternate position for picking things up is yogi squat. (Really helps encourage the baby into the right position, too).

yogi squat

And with a side stretch:

yogi squat side stretch

Low Lunge Variation

And one of my favorites for various purposes, opening up the low back, the psoas muscle (great for lowering risk of emergency C-section I hear), and the hips – the low lunge variation. Start this one on your hands instead of elbows. Work gently into your elbows over time.

runners-lunge-low-variation

Horse, plie, or goddess squat, whatever you want to call it.

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With a side stretch variation. Side stretches feel so good during pregnancy.

plei squat horse yoga horse with side stretch

3 legged downward dog. 

This one will fire up your muscles and strengthen your core.

3-legged-downward-facing-dog-prenatal-yoga

3 legged Down Dog with Open Hip

This next one is one of my absolute favorites, especially when you’re experiencing that sore, tight band of muscles around your low back that are exhausted from holding up your baby. This yoga pose stretches all the way from your shoulder to your hip. You’ll want to start in down dog, transition to one legged dog, and lastly of all bend your knee and open your hip. In pregnancy, you can open up your side as much as you want to feel that therapeutic stretch all the way up your back (before prenatal yoga, instructors will usually tell you to square your shoulders because they are focusing on different muscles).

DSC_0638 (1024x701)

Just doing the poses for this photo shoot got my heart rate up and I worked up quite a sweat, even though it was a short and sweet practice.

Cooling down, focusing, prayer, feeling gratefulness for having made it to 39 weeks, for my and my baby’s health.

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DSC_0538 (1024x683)

Why Hot Yoga – how Bikram Yoga is Changing my Life

I will never forget the sixth day of my 30 day Bikram yoga challenge. I felt a release in my back. A pain that I did not even know it was possible to exist without evaporated. I’ve had neck pain for a decade, and I am a little young for that.

The emotional release that came along with this physical relief of pain, tightness and tension was dramatic. I called my husband laughing and crying. I floated, not walked. I played the violin. “It sounds effortless, happy, fluid.” Nate reported. I cried tears of happiness while I played. I expressed myself, something I’ve struggled to do with the violin for years.

I did doubles sometimes (two 90 minute classes in one day) – the best of all. The second class was always euphoric. I ate and slept less those days. I didn’t need much of either. I drank a lot of coconut water though. Unwanted flab melted way, and so did the pain of painful memories, tension and false expectations of myself. While friends thought I lost weight, I actually gained through muscle.

On the last day of 30 my day challenge, I mourned. I didn’t want life to change.

I floundered for a few weeks after that. How often is one allowed to go to Bikram yoga? Isn’t that kind of time commitment irresponsible? Twice should be good for a responsible adult, right? I tried other yoga forms at home in the meantime. All good, but none so therapeutic. Pain crept back into my muscles, joints, tendons, mind. My work hours, the ones for the very job I said I had to do less yoga for, receded like a puddle on a sunny day. Last week I petered out at 20 hours, and pain plagued 10 of those hours. My going to yoga guilt was not working, for myself or anyone else in my life.

I don’t care how much responsibility I have, I said. I’m going to yoga. Today I finished my fourth class this week. I still have time for a fifth. I worked 38 hours this week at my desk, coding and designing, each day getting better, more creative, more productive. Happier. I hadn’t played the violin in a week, knowing how the old frustration might be there. It wasn’t today. The beauty I found in it on the sixth day of my Bikram yoga challenge was back.

I have never been to another hot yoga class. Chances are they would vary in effectiveness by how much they are like or unlike Bikram yoga. But since heat is a necessary part of therapy, I’m not parting with it, or a grueling 20 some postures, anytime soon.

I have found the key to everything else I love.

This is Kombucha

this-is-kombucha-4

I made my first batch of kombucha and blogged about it here. This is batch number 5. It’s much better than my first batch, which, in comparison, tasted like a mixture of sweet tea and vinegar.

now this is kombucha (batch 5)

This fizzy stuff tastes like a delicate white champagne. But better. I love it.

Contributing factors:

  • It’s the fifth batch, so each batch grows better with time. You have to keep mixing in a pint of aged kombucha with each new batch, and of course you can let your mushroom (scoby) grow.
  • I also switched to plain white sugar on batch number 3. This speeds up the kombucha fermentation and makes a much healthier brew. Feed that scoby! It can’t easily digest organic raw sugar as well for some reason. Feed it simple sugar. It’s a yeast, not a child. (It also eats the sugar so you don’t have to).
  • This was my first batch with green tea, which I’m liking. It has a more white champagne taste, rather than cider-y, fruity or dark.

now this is kombucha (batch 5)now this is kombucha (batch 5)

I would love to be able to share a cup of health with you my readers! I also would love to know what you think of the taste, even those of you who think this whole process is weird. And of course, I would love to know what those of you who are fermented food or kombucha fans think of it, too! 🙂

Nothing takes away that dizzy feeling from not having eaten the right things, or for too long, like a cup of home brewed kombucha. I down a glass before I go to the gym and it gives me energy while calming my stomach. It is chock full of enzymes, probiotics and vitamin B. For more kombucha health benefits, read this.

Trim Healthy Mama recipe – Dreamsfields Pasta with Turkey Meatballs and Steamed Salted Broccoli

trim healthy mama dreamsfields pasta recipe with turkey meatballs

trim healthy mama dreamsfields pasta recipe

This is my favorite Trim Healthy Mama meal. It was months, maybe years before I was truly able to enjoy my favorite favorite type of food, pasta, after the healthy changes I made to my diet a few years ago. Oh I had it sometimes, just never without guilt and a bulging stomach.

No more, thanks to Dreamsfields Pasta. This is not weird-tasting pasta. This is pasta where some of the carbs have been blocked. (And if anyone has anything to say against the healthiness of this pasta, I don’t want to hear it. I make enough sacrifices as it is). No seriously, this is THM approved!

This is a deceptively complex-tasting recipe – it’s really so simple to make!

Mix

  • 1 cup of ground turkey with
  • 1/2 tsp of oregano flakes,
  • 1/4 tsp of Thyme
  • 1/4 tsp of Salt
  • sprinkle with pepper.

Knead with hands.

Form into balls and fry in 1 Tbsp of Olive oil.

Cook dreamfields pasta according to instructions on box.

Serve with your choice of low sugar pasta sauce. Less than 5 grams of sugar per serving. This is an important part. If you think 9-10 grams is no big deal, you’re missing out on the waste-healthy benefits of this dish. Sugar is EVERYTHING when it comes to losing belly fat.

Steam and salt the broccoli.

That’s it!! Enjoy an amazing pasta dish guilt and belly fat-free. 🙂

trim healthy mama dreamsfields pasta recipe with turkey meatballs trim healthy mama dreamsfields pasta recipe with turkey meatballs

Make your first batch of home brewed kombucha

brew your own kombucha

This is how I made my first batch of kombucha. If you’ve caught me on facebook or instagram lately, you’ve probably picked up on the fact that I’ve been totally psyched about my kombucha experiment.

What the heck is kombucha? It’s a fermented tea. Much like wine, sourdough bread or yogurt, it is a “cultured” food that has friendly bacteria that is good for your digestive system, immune system, and overall health. It should taste slightly tart, but also sweet and flavorful. Carbonated, it’s like a healthy fizzy tea soda! The sugar in it is partially digested by the living culture, so this should not be much of a problem to drink for those of you who, like me, avoid sugar. My store bought versions claim “2 grams of sugar,” even when they tasted quite sweet. I’m not an expert and I’ll admit I’m not sure exactly how this works, but I do know that simple carbs, when introduced to living cultures, lose their insulin spiking power.

Ingredients:

3 quarts water

10 teabags (black, green or oolong are best)

1 cup sugar

1 cup vinegar for first batch (all other batches use 1 pint of your brewed kombucha)

1 scoby (I purchased mine on amazon).

Process:

I brewed 3 quarts of tea. 3 quarts water + 10 oolong teabags. You can use black, oolong, or green, anything that’s actually real tea (not herbal) White teas are best used in combination with black or oolong or green. The brewing process was as follows:

Boil 3 quarts water. Throw in 10 teabags. Turn off and simmer for 10 minutes.

your first batch of kombucha

Go ahead and add 1 cup sugar, not honey, not agave, just white organic sugar.

Then I let it cool off to room temperature. This is the most annoying part of making kombucha. Waiting is hard. An ice bath will speed things up next time.

Also add 1 cup of vinegar. The vinegar protects the kombucha from bad bacteria, while the white simple sugar feeds the scoby (good bacteria).

Here is a really great list of ingredients that are ok and ones that are not if you like to experiment, with explanations: Choosing Ingredients for making Kombucha. This article saved me from ruining my first batch.

your first batch of kombucha

Slide your scoby into the mixture. I got mine from amazon. It worked great. It’s like a squishy mushroom. Better pictures in the video below.

what does a kombucha scoby look like  and where do i get one

Cover with breathable cotton or muslin, with a tight rubber band around the jar. Do not use cheesecloth, as it’s too holey.

Wait for 7-13 days. You can taste the kombucha starting at 7 days to see how you like it. The taste is totally up to you. The more it develops, the more sour it will taste. (Future batches will be made replacing the vinegar with two cups of your own brewed kombucha, so each batch should taste more refined!)

This was my kombucha with new scoby on top after 13 days. I was thrilled to see a healthy mushroom (scoby)!

brew your own kombucha

This looked like spots, but it wasn’t. It was a nice 1/8-1/4″ thick film. Some parts of it just happened to be transparent.

brew your own kombucha

Remove scobies, both the mother and the baby.

You can keep them in the fridge for a couple of days in plastic bags, feeding them with plenty of kombucha liquid (like 1-4 to 1-2 cup). Don’t let your scobies dry out! Don’t keep them there very long; you’ll want to start brewing your second batch as soon as possible with the new scobies – one for each batch. You can give scobies away to friends because every time you brew a batch, you’ll have a new one.

Bottle kombucha. You can drink right away (kombucha tea), or let carbonate 2-3 days before refrigerating (kombucha soda).

Two of my bottled kombucha drinks. I thought it tasted wonderful.

I had these bottles from when I bought GT. Perfect for bottling but it took 10 minutes to get the first label off so I gave up. My own kombucha, just recycling GT’s bottles! 🙂

your first batch of kombucha

brew your own kombucha

Kombucha soda is obtained by letting the bottled drinks be unrefrigerated for a few days in a room out of direct sunlight. You can see from the picture of the single bottle that some carbonation has built up (that photo was snapped after two days).

I immediately started brewing my second batch of kombucha – two batches this time! So exciting! A friend of mine is going to be home from a trip in about a week and wants to start brewing, so I’ll have a third scoby for her shortly thereafter. The only difference between first batches and all batches afterwards is that you replace the cup of vinegar with a pint of your own brewed kombucha – it will taste better.

I’m happy I’ll never have to pay $3.50 a bottle for kombucha again. I love drinking my own home-brew.

Kombucha, organic and home brewed like this, has amazing health benefits. I’m brewing it to balance blood sugar, get rid of any lurking candida symptoms (I’ve struggled with candida – probably a reason I have hypoglycemic symptoms), and counter bad bacteria. Drink to better health.

For a video demonstration and what Nate thinks of my kombucha, check this out: