“Good morning. Good morning. It’s great to be alive. Good morning. Good morning to you.”
That my friends is the greeting that my kids have been waking up to every day for the last week and this morning at breakfast. We all laughed and sang it together. I don’t know why or even where I heard that, but I have been using it as our “wake up and get ready for the day” call around the house and it has been so funny and fun.
Welcome back to the show, my friends. I’m your host Miranda Anderson. This is Episode 56 of Live Free Creative Podcast. Today we are going to be talking about planning your life from the inside out. The beginning of a new school year feels a little bit like a new year, like January 1st on steroids when you have kids in school–or if you yourself are involved in the school system somehow.
August, September. It’s sort of like new life and new expectations and a time for goal setting and for planning and for scheduling and getting back into the rhythm of what normal everyday life feels like and it can be such a positive, empowering, really exciting time.
I have found that to be the case in my life and especially in the last few weeks as I have focused not only on getting back into rhythm and getting things done that we need to get done, but really considering what kind of life I want to live and starting from the inside to create that life in a more intentional way than I have before.
So I have shared some of this on Instagram. It has resonated with so many of you and I’m really excited about this episode. I’m going to dive into intentional planning, scheduling and something that I have learned about and started to use called a block scheduling system.
I will go into details and there are pdf worksheets like I promised, places where you can actually fill out each of the things that I’m going to talk to throughout the episode. You can either print them now and fill them out as I talk through the episode itself, or you can wait until the end of the episode.
Before I jump into all of the things that I’m going to share today, I want to give a quick, magical adventure moment.
Segment: Magical Adventure Moment
A couple of weeks ago, the weekend of Labor Day, we decided very last minute that we should go on a camping trip. We hadn’t yet gone camping yet this summer and it’s something we love to do. Where Dave and I grew up in Utah, you often go camping in the summer because it’s cool enough overnight that you can handle the weather.
Here in Virginia though we’re in the south, elevation is low and it’s hot a lot of the time so most people don’t go camping in the middle of the summer we felt like it had cooled down enough and I scanned all of the state park websites and came up with one available tent spot in a state park on the eastern shore, Kiptopeke, I don’t know exactly how you pronounce it, but it was called Kiptopeke, something like that. Really, really cool camp ground.
As we were packing and you know, hauling like boxes of sleeping bags and our camp stoves and all of our cooking utensils and all of the things that it takes to go camping, which is kind of a lot, especially for a family of five getting our tent out and ready and all of our making sure the flashlights had batteries and that kind of stuff.
We loaded up the car and in the middle of packing and getting ready to go, I commented to Dave that I don’t know, I didn’t know if it was going to be worth it that this one night away and like driving two hours and getting out there and we were only going to be there for one night and part of the next morning wasn’t going to be worth it.
It was kind of a lot of effort and we got everything loaded up finally and got on the road and drove out there and got into the campground and we set up our tent and the kids immediately tore off their shoes and started running around barefoot in the dusty camp ground and got out some of their camping toys and digging in the sand. And we hung up hammocks and I got out the supplies and started to cook dinner.
It was starting to get dark already by the time we got there. And we had a moment where we had just finished dinner. We made these great tinfoil dinners as steamers where I precooked all the vegetables because we knew our kids didn’t have the patience to wait an hour for them to cook on the fire. And so we precooked everything, mixed it together.
They got to choose different vegetables and we had shrimp and some sausage and butter and salt and you put it all together in this tinfoil packet and toss it into the coals of the fire and then pulled it out and it was really delicious.
And after that, of course, everyone’s favorite part is when we get out the marshmallows and we start roasting marshmallows and making smores. We’ve gone camping a lot. In fact, we started taking our kids camping when Milo was a baby. So we have never had a time that we stopped camping because of having young kids.
I grew up camping and I’m really comfortable with it. And so we’ve, we’ve continued to do it every single year, even when our kids were babies. And this time, none of our kids were babies. And it was, I think the first time that I remember that all of our kids were fairly functional children.
They all could put their own marshmallows on their roasting forks and they all could sit in a chair around the fire without us worrying that they would, you know, toddle in and topple over–being unaware of the danger of the fire itself.
And we had this moment, this really magical, beautiful adventure motherhood moment where we were all sitting together around the campfire with our hot pokers over the fire and the marshmallow was getting golden and puffy and in some cases melting and falling right off of the sticks.
And I looked around at my kids sparkling eyes and the warm glow of the fire just lighting up their faces and the laughter and chatter and kind of slowing down and calming down at the end of the evening. And, and it was one of those moments where I just knew that this is the life that I want. Everything in that moment was exactly what I’ve always hoped for.
I felt so filled up by gratitude and by peace and joy and a little bit surprised by how simple a good life really is.
I mean it took a lot to collect to get out there. Don’t get me wrong that that sometimes we’re so caught up in looking for the thing that we think that we want, that we fail to recognize how beautiful what we already have is and how magical the moments of our simple everyday regular life can be. Sitting around a campfire, roasting marshmallows, they feeling connected and happy with the ones that we love.
Main Topic: Planning From The Inside Out + Block Schedule
That exact feeling, that feeling of living the life that you want to live and just feeling so fulfilled and content within the day to day existence that you have is the reason that I want to share this podcast today. That is what I’m striving for in my life and what I think so many people are missing out on as they run the race.
You know what I mean when I say that, right? Run the race of looking for the next thing. The best thing, the better thing. More money, more power, more acknowledgement and more followers, more time, more pairs of shoes, better clothes, better schools, better vacations, a better home.
All of the things that we are told that we should be striving after rather than taking the moments, those same moments and sitting in just relishing contentment in what is currently available to us in our everyday lives and the resources and the time and the abundance of love and energy and connection that surrounds us that we sometimes miss because we’re not looking for it.
This whole idea of planning your life to include the things that you want and the things that you love individually. And of course whenever I talk about choosing things, making decisions, planning and what to include in your life, that is an invitation for you to look inward because I don’t know what you love. I don’t know what lights you up and what fulfills you.
And likewise, the things that I share as examples for my own life may not apply in your life and that’s okay. That is exactly normal. Like that’s what’s supposed to happen because we are individuals, our circumstances, our surroundings, our desires and our likes and dislikes are completely unique and so don’t try to replicate the life that I share as being my best life.
I want to invite you to go inward and consider for you and yourself and your family: What is your best life look like? What do you want to have in your everyday life?
A Fishing Story
I want to tell you a story. This is a story that I first heard when I was in high school, a senior in high school. I was involved in the Community of Caring Service Club and the teacher or the manager of that club often told us stories and gave us great lessons. And this one blew me away and stuck with me and has been something that I’ve referred back to over and over.
You may have heard it. It’s commonly referred to as the Mexican Fisherman story. I tried to look it up and found an article that reported that the original writer of the story is actually a man named Henrik Bull, who was a German writer. His original story was published first in 1963 and has since been adapted and shared over and over again.
So even if you have heard it, I think that it warrants another telling. So let me tell you this story.
A fishermen goes out in the morning and he catches some fish and he comes back to shore and he delivers the fish to his wife and the few extra he’s caught they take to the market and they sell. So they, they’re able to buy some more groceries for the day.
And then they go home and they go on a walk together along the beach and he plays with his children. He takes a nap in the hammock and reads a favorite book. And as the evening falls, they go in together and make dinner and fry up some of that fish and eat together and enjoy their time and go out dancing. And then in the morning he wakes up and does it again.
One day the fisherman meets a businessman who asks about his enterprise and how he’s doing and what he’s doing. And he recognizes that he’s a talented fishermen. And so he tells him, “You know, you are a great fisherman, why don’t you stay out longer during the day and catch more fish? Because you could catch way more fish than you’re already catching. And then you could sell way more efficient than market and then you’d have so much more money. You could buy another boat.”
The fisherman said, “Okay, then what?”
The businessmen says, “Well then you have the money to buy another boat and you can even hire more people to work for you and go out for super long days catching all the fish. You can continue to build your fishing fleet until you have a large enterprise.”
He tells the fisherman, “Instead of selling at the market, once you get to that point, you can sell directly to a cannery. You could even open your own cannery manufacturing and selling cans of fish across the world. Of course, you’d leave this coastal town and move to a big city where you could run your business.”
The fishermen said, “Okay, then what?”
And the businessman said, “Well then you can announce that you’re going to go public and you sell your company stock, you become super rich, you make millions of dollars.”
The fisherman says, “Okay, millions of dollars, then what?”
The businessmen says, “Well, this is the best part. Then you get a retire, you move to a beautiful coastal village with your wife and your family. You get to sleep in and fish a little and play with your kids and help your wife go to the market. You can cook together and you can go on walks on the beach and you can stay up dancing. You live a wonderful life.”
The fisherman looks at the man, and a little bit confused says, “Isn’t that what I’m doing already?”
Success Is Feeling Joy In Your Everyday Life
Isn’t that a powerful story? Of course, I don’t mean to take anything away from big businesses or people hustling and you know, going after these big huge dreams. That’s amazing and I think that we should.
I do think that if we sacrifice the joy that we can feel in our everyday life in order to accomplish big dreams that other people think are really great for us–that might not even be on our radar–then we might be missing the mark.
Shawn Achor, who is one of my very favorite sort of new, I just have found out about him in the last year and he’s a researcher that studies positive psychology and happiness , and his book that I will link in the show notes. I love it so much. It’s called The Happiness Advantage. It talks about the research that shows that happiness leads to greater success, not the other way around.
We often think that after we achieve something or after we have something or after we reach that next step, then we should allow ourselves to be happy. Or then that’s where all the positive feelings and success, the feeling of success, that’s when it comes into our lives after x-y-z , and his research very clearly shows that that’s wrong. We have it backwards.
And I talk about this in my episode about the advantages of optimism. It is actually as we live a life of joy and fulfillment and gratitude, and as we are doing things regularly that contribute to our overall feeling of fulfillment, we then are able to achieve even greater levels of success in every area of our life.
So there’s even more reasons to be fulfilled and plan your life from the inside out and really give attention to the every day recognizing that the things that you do every day or every week, the things that you choose to include in your life right now–that is your life, your life is not what you’re waiting for down the road.
Your Life Is What Is Happening Today
Your life is what’s happening today. Whether or not you like it. That’s kind of the hard thing, right? We don’t get to choose. A lot of the circumstances that we find ourselves in life does a lot of throwing things at us that we do not expect. And that oftentimes, to be honest, we don’t really want.
However, there are so many things that we can control. And in this podcast I want you to really focus on those. We’re not going to talk about the reasons why you can’t do the things you want to do. What this podcast is about is looking for the things that you can choose, that you are going to be able to include in your life, not for anyone else but for you because you want them to be there.
I’ve broken this episode into five steps. We’re going to go through the five steps, one by one.
The very first step is probably the most important and so I want you to spend some real time on this. Don’t gloss over it. It may take a few days or a few weeks and it will probably be an ever changing work in progress to discover what it is that you really want to include in your life and coming to a place of being able to be really honest with yourself about what the life that you want looks like and feels like.
The following four steps–two, three, four, and five–are all about the block scheduling system and how to actually then include those things in a meaningful way in your life. So let’s start with number one. And like I mentioned at the beginning, there are free pdf printables to accompany this episode in the show notes livefreecreative.co/podcast, find Episode 56, and click the link to fill out your email address so we can email you those printables.
It’ll be right there in several different places in the show notes. So you can print those out and use those as a space to actually fill out. It will have prompts these exact same questions and a schedule and the way that you can sort of start to block it out.
Step 1: What Do I Want?
So number one is to ask yourself the question, What do I want my days to look and feel like? That’s the first question.
Often we begin our plans by looking at our email or our Google calendar or the schedule that was sent over by the teacher or the syllabus or our work roster. And we ask ourselves the question, “What are the things that I need to get done?” That’s often how we schedule. “What appointments do I have coming up? What projects do I need to turn in?”
I want you to start not from there–because those are often things that you can’t control, right? We want to focus on the things that you can control. What do you want your life to look like and feel like?
Make a list of things that you love to do, things that make you feel at home in your life, things that bring you joy.
After you write down just a general list, I want you to start to divide those up into a few different categories and the pdf will have all of this for you if you want to just print it out. I want you to separate them into what things you want to do daily, what things you think would be nice to include weekly, what things probably make more sense for you to include monthly and what things you want to include in your life yearly or annually. I guess you could probably do another one. If there’s something you’d like to do every five years or 10 years.
This allows you to get a grasp on what, how often you want to include these types of things in your life.
I’m going to share some of mine as an example or a starting point for you.
Daily. So some of the things that I’ve included on my daily things to include in my life, this is the way I’ve titled it things to include in my life daily: taking the dog on a walk, meditation, exercise, quick cleaning of my house and I include that one because I love the way my house feels when it’s picked up and clean. So, and I actually don’t mind cleaning. I actually really like to clean when I’m doing it with presence. I don’t like to do it when I feel like I have to because it’s stressing me out to have it messy. I like to do it with intention and kind of do it ahead of time.
Also included in my daily is reading one on one time with my kids and being outside. And of course if I take the dog on a walk, that probably naturally means that I’m outside. But I love being outside. I recognized that that connection to breathing fresh air, to being in the sunshine, um, even if it’s nighttime being underneath the stars, walking around in nature or even just connecting to nature, that is something that my soul craves. I love it and I need it.
And I think part of it is from growing up in a family that spending time outdoors was really a natural part of our lifestyle and the way that we spent our time. And anyway, that’s something that I really appreciate. So I have to make sure that I have some outside time every day, which is really easy in the summer, but not quite as easy in the winter. So we’ll see how it goes.
Weekly. Some of the things I have on my weekly list that I recognize that I really love to do, but I don’t know that I need to do it every single day are going on a bike ride, going on a hike. I love going on a date with Dave. Once a week I want to do sewing projects at least once a week or a sewing project, work on a sewing project at least once a week.
I want to do our pizza movie night as a family. I love going, taking myself out to lunch and there’s a couple really sweet markets around town. I especially love to walk or ride my bike, to take myself out to lunch. And luckily we live in a neighborhood where that’s very possible. There’s several great little markets and restaurants and cafes within walking and biking distance from where I live. And so that is can be a natural part of my lifestyle.
I also put my podcast recording and this kind of goes without saying because I do it every week because I have a podcast going up every week, but it’s also something that I really love and sometimes I get ahead and so then I have weeks that are too busy and I don’t have to record an episode every week, but I want to. And so I have that on my weekly list
Monthly. I love spending a day exploring the town on what I call a daycation. So a day trip within our town where we pretend like we’re on vacation here. We get up and go to breakfast. We might go to the zoo or a museum or to a special park, go see parts of town that we don’t naturally live in and go to automatically go out to a fun dinner or to a movie or go bowling and spend the whole day pretending that we don’t live in town and exploring in the way that we would if we didn’t live here.
That’s something that I’ve found in every city that we’ve lived in and we’ve lived in a lot. Spending days as a tourist helps us continue to fall in love with and be connected to our city long after we are new into the city. I also love going on dates with the kids and that’s something that we’ve implemented at different times. Taking one child, one of either Dave or I will take one child out once a month so that we can have that one on one time. Getting to know them and doing the things they love to do and spending time with them.
I just started a book club. It’s going to meet for the first time this week. Actually when this episode goes live, we will have met on Tuesday, so I’m really excited to tell you more about that and I will share a future episode about how to start a book club. I’ve started one everywhere that I’ve lived and that is a monthly activity for me that I look forward to and I really love.
We love to have dinner guests. That’s something we like to do once a month.
I want to do speaking engagements once a month, whether that’s speaking in church, creating opportunities to speak by hosting workshops or actually going and speaking at companies or conferences where I get to present and teach. It’s something that I love and I want to be a regular part of my life.
I also put going to a play or a concert once a month and that’s something that will naturally fit into our date nights. Both Dave and I really like going to live performances. We just went to the Indigo Girls concert last week and it was so good. I love them so much. I actually wrote down in my notes should I do an episode all about things I’ve learned from the Indigo Girls because I feel like they have such good poetic lyrics that like actually make me think and consider how I can be a better person anyway, so maybe look for that in a future episode we shall see.
But rather than just doing a dinner and a movie or something the same typical every week for our date night, Dave and I can be on the lookout for what is coming to town that we want to go see and as far as live entertainment so that we can make that happen once a month.
Yearly. I want to do an annual family trip. I want to use our passports every year and you know, I don’t know exactly. We have done a pretty good job of that so far. But I don’t know, it takes effort and planning in order to make that a reality. But I love traveling the world and I want to do that with my kids as well. And so being intentional about planning, even if it’s just over the border to Canada or you know, somewhere quick and easy, I would love to do that.
I really thrive having a big project to work on. And so annually it’s great for me to have something to focus a lot of energy on that I think is worthwhile for the longterm. This year, 2019 I started the year with the big goal of writing and publishing my book and midway through the year I had already accomplished that and it still feels so good.
If you haven’t bought my book, please do. It’s available on Amazon. More Than Enough by Miranda Anderson. It has great reviews and people are loving it and I’m so happy that I took the time and initiative to write it and to share it. I continue to need to talk about it and sell it because writing a book is just part of the equation. There’s also the part of actually getting it into people’s hands so that they can enjoy it.
What are YOURS?
So that gives you sort of an overview. Those are in some cases very specific things, like walking my self down to the store to have lunch once a week. There’s also big things that are not so specific, like having a vacation with the family or using our passports once a year.
So generally it just helps to give yourself an idea of the things that you choose for your life that aren’t dictated by someone else. Maybe yours will have things like playing tennis or playing chess. Maybe you have a great group of friends, like girlfriends that you want to do a girl’s trip once a year. Maybe you really, really love planting a garden and spending time in your garden and you haven’t had a chance to do that a lot lately. Maybe there’s a museum nearby that you thrive being part of. Maybe you want to paint, maybe you want to journal. Maybe you want to learn how to ride a motorcycle and that is something you’ve always dreamed of and you’ve haven’t quite done.
Write Down Things You Want To Include In Your Life
Write down the things that you want to include in your life. When you close your eyes and you think about how you want your life to look and feel, what are the things that come to mind for you? Things that really bring you joy and light you up. Those are the things to include on this list.
And like I said, it might not be an easy exercise for you to do this. You might butt up against a lot of self doubt or a lot of self-imposed ideas about why you can’t have the life that you want. And I want you to try to push through and just imagine that anything is possible.
But if you notice the real focus here is on the every day, every week sort of systematic type of things, things you might call the small things, things that I would say argue are often so small and we think, “Oh, I can do that any time” or “I’ll get to that the next time” that we overlook them and we fail to include the things that we love and that bring us joy in our schedule and in our life because they seem so simple and so easy that instead of doing them, we put out fires over and over and over again and then we end up not feeling like we’re living the life that we want to really live.
Consider Your Season Of Life
Also, as you’re listening to my list, I want you to consider the stage of life and season of life that I am in very recently, which is that all of my kids are in school all day long now, five years ago. The list of things that I wanted to include in my life every day and every week probably would have looked a little different because things that I really love to do and maybe didn’t necessarily always automatically do were take my kids to the park, go on a walk with the kids, make ice cream once a month, or do a craft project once a week.
The way that I wanted to live when my kids were littler is different than the way that I want to live now that they’re a little bit older and they don’t spend as much time of their school year at home. And so, if you’re in an early motherhood phase of life, I want you to consider not only your particular life as an individual, which of course is important. Of course we’re going to include those things as well.
I mean, you can have on your list, go to lunch with friends without my kids and also do a weekly craft project with my kids. So just that question. I think it all comes back to that, what do I want my life to look and feel like? What are the things that bring me joy? Those are the things that I want you to kind of turn back to as you’re making your lesson, filling that out, okay?
Big Disclaimers: Its Okay
Once you’ve got that, and that’s a big one and here’s a couple of disclaimers about that, it’s okay if it’s not perfect. It’s okay if you change your mind. It’s okay to write a bunch of things down that don’t end up being things that you have to include in your life, but that you just want to like brainstorm and kind of throw things out there to get started.
That’s fine. This is your list. It’s your life. You get to choose and it’s okay if it’s not one iteration and then done forever. It’s something that you’re probably going to come back to over and over again and that’s okay. So just allow yourself some grace as you’re doing this and filling that out.
Step 2: Set Up Your Blocks
Now let’s move on to number two. This is where we start getting into the idea of the block schedule. One of the first times I heard this type of planning or scheduling talked about was from Jordan Page of Fun, Cheap or Free. And I watched a video, a YouTube video where she talks about it and describes it and it felt so familiar and I realized that this is something that I have heard of and been taught in different ways throughout my life.
My dad is a huge planner. He’s a business guy and he always had a Franklin Covey planner, like that little leather zipper, three ring planner. If any of you had dads or moms who had the same thing, we talked about planning and scheduling and goal setting a lot in my house growing up.
I also as a missionary was given a little spiral bound planner and taught the importance of planning and of choosing what I wanted to do with my time. And we did sort of separate it into blocks. We had a morning block that was for exercise and study. We had a block where we were doing some service and some teaching. We had blocks where we were meeting with people who were already within the wards that we were helping and the church members in different cities.
So the idea of dividing your day into specific blocks of time in order to get specific types of things done is not new. I think that it is a really fantastic way to look at planning and scheduling rather than a more traditional, every hour of the day is listed out and you choose something that you’re going to do or you fill in that you have an appointment.
Look At Your Week As A Whole
What block scheduling does is allow you to a look at your week as a whole rather than every single day as as its sort of own independent unit too. It helps you to put like things together, which is really important because we all know that batch processing or when you do kind of put one hat on and you are in that mode for a while, you do everything a lot more efficiently when you’re already in that mode.
And then when you have to take off that hat and change into doing something else, it can be difficult to transition and so blocks allow you to wear specific hats for different roles of your life a little bit longer and allow you to get into a rhythm or a zone with something specific that you’re doing. It also helps by dividing your day into specific types of activities.
Then when something does come up, you need to schedule dentist appointments or you need to schedule a phone call for work, you naturally know what part of the day to put it into. Rather than saying, “I’m free anytime from now until December.” You can say, “Why don’t we do it next Tuesday at three because you already have that type of activity planned for that time of the day.”
Does that make sense? Okay. Let’s let me tell you about how to come about your actual blocks. Now again, this is very personal and your life is going to look different than everyone else’s life and that’s okay.
Consider Natural Breaks In Your Day
I will say part of the power of the block system is to have more than one or two hours is a block. Give yourself three or four hours at a time to accomplish a certain type of thing or certain types of things as you’re looking at your day for number two, as we’re creating the schedule from the inside out, I want you to think about what are some of the natural breaks in your days that would allow you to have natural blocks.
In my life, it looks like from the time I wake up until I take the kids to school, that is a natural block. It’s about two hours long from 6:30 am when we wake up until 8:30 when we leave to walk to school. That is a natural block for me.
After the kids are in school, my next natural block is from about when I drop them off until lunchtime. Now that block is separated simply by the natural break of eating lunch, and so the break can be caused by meals, by nap times.
If you have young kids that are napping, maybe between naps as a block and during naps is a different block.
If you’re a full time worker and you go to work at 8 and you get home at 6 during your day, so you maybe have a block before you get to work, you can have a block schedule even for working full time during your work day, there are bound to be things that you do at different times and you could probably group them together even more efficiently into a before morning meeting, block a morning meeting to you know, afternoon break block and then an afternoon break to the time you go home block and actually just focus on your work tasks during the work hours.
But using this same type of system. After lunch, I have a block dictated from lunchtime until my kids come home from school. So again, it’s school that’s dictating that natural break. We have a shorter from after school until around dinner time.
When Dave comes home, that’s the next block and it has the natural break because Dave is coming home and that kind of starts a new part of our evening. And then from then until bedtime for the kids is the next block. And then the very last block of the day is between the kids going to bed and Dave and myself going to bed.
So think of your natural blocks in your day. What is breaking up your day anyway? What are you doing or not doing just by virtue of work, meals, nap schedules, school schedules. When are the different times of day when you are already doing different types of things because of the way that your life, the rhythm of your life, is right now.
Like I mentioned, it’s probably better–if you want to use a true block system–it’s better for your blocks to be a little bit longer. So, for example, our morning block starts at 6:30 and ends at 8:30. I wake up at 6:30 but I don’t wake the kids up until 7. So first thing in the morning, I have a half hour that I can meditate, write in my journal and do some reading if I want to.
So those are things that I do by myself before I wake the kids up. But I didn’t create a block from 6:30 to 7. Does that make sense? My block from 6:30 to 8:30 includes myself reading and doing my journaling, waking the kids up, helping the kids get dressed, dressing myself, having breakfast, cleaning up breakfast, packing backpacks and getting the kids out the door. That’s all during that morning block.
We also include my boys practicing the piano for 15 minutes each in the morning. But I didn’t create a specific timeframe for that because it really depends on how fast they’re moving and if they are hungry right when they wake up or if they want to wake up and practice piano and then have breakfast or so we allow the block to be the framework and then the flexibility of activities happening within that block to kind of let us kind of ebb and flow. Does that make sense?
So the same thing happens with my next block. The kids go to school and so I have another block from 9 until 12:30 this is what I call my home or DIY block. So this is when I’m focused on any cleaning projects. I want to do organizing projects at home.
This morning I painted the chicken coop for a little while. That’s something that I had been wanting to do and I didn’t have a specific time to do it. And so I planned it during this morning’s home block. This is also when I exercise, I can exercise at 9:00 right when I drop the kids off for school, or I can exercise at a 10:30 class at the gym, it doesn’t matter as long as it’s in this particular block.
There are days that I don’t need to run errands at all, but if I do want to run an errand, I know I need to go to The Home Depot and get something, I need to go to Target and get something, I will try to do all of my errands that I can think of: grocery shopping, getting the car fixed, getting the car cleaned, buying supplies for DIY projects, all of those things I try to include in my 9 to 12:30 block.
Of course, I don’t do all of them every day. I don’t need to get groceries every day. I don’t need to go to The Home Depot every day. I don’t need to paint the chicken coop every day. But because I know that between 9:30 and 12:30 is my time for that, somewhere in there, I can look ahead at my weekly schedule and choose a day that that particular task is going to get done. And put it in the morning of that day.
I hope this is clear and making sense to you. The block schedule is simply meant to be a framework, so a morning block, a mid morning block and afternoon block. Afternoon for me from 12:30 to 3:30 is work time. So I look at my schedule. I have a lot of different things that I do for work. Podcasting, posting to social media, working on sewing projects, working on blog posts, working on emails, I’m doing speaking presentations, all of those different things.
But again, I don’t have to do all of them every day because I know that between 1230 and 3:30 is my work block each day of the week. I can choose one task for work that I’m going to complete. Some of them take me the whole three hours. Some of them I’m going to work on a section of a project cause I won’t be able to finish the whole project. Some of them like recruiting a podcast I can do in less than three hours. And so around that I can include some of the cushion activities that don’t have a specific timeframe that they usually take some maintenance type things.
Step 3: What To Include In Each Block
But it’s important that what you’re doing here, this is number 3, is deciding what type of tasks you want to include in each of your different blocks and then writing a list of what those might look like.
So I just shared some of my exercise, errands, household block, that’s one. My work block is another from 3:30 to 5:30. Over here is our afterschool block. And so that’s just snacks, homework, piano lessons or soccer practice or gymnastics, bike rides, crafts, those are all kind of afterschool things, but before dinner things. So I want you with number 3.
If you’re following along on the pdf in number 2, you will have created some natural blocks for yourself. In number 3, I want you to choose what you’re going to accomplish, what types of things, not specifics, but what types of things you’re going to accomplish during those particular times, so things that help you decide what tasks to put together would be, what type of hat you have to wear for that task or what type of clothing you’ll have on naturally during that type of task.
One of the reasons that I decided to not have my work hours in the morning, which is probably naturally when I have more energy and more creative energy, but instead put my work after lunch, is that in the morning I like to exercise and then I’m sweaty and it usually is a couple hours before I get to taking a shower and so I included some of the other things that I can accomplish while I’m dirty and sweaty, which is painting the chicken coop.
That’s not something that I would want to do after I’ve showered and gotten dressed for the day, cleaning up different sections of the house, doing laundry, prepping meals. Those are all things that it’s easy for me to do when I’m in my exercise clothes and cooling down from running or from a doing a workout that once I’m dressed and showered, it’s less likely that I want to go clean toilets around the house.
Right? Does anyone feel me on this? And I know that if I shower and get ready sometimes for work, I want to film videos or I want to go to meetings or I want to do phone calls and I feel better if I do those things when I’m dressed and ready. So if I had my work hours in the morning, the likelihood of me actually exercising and painting and DIY errands and stuff in the afternoon is going to be lower.
So think about the natural rhythm of your day and the types of things that that can go together. You may also want to consider the weather of where you live or if certain activities that you enjoy have natural timeframes to them. I know when we had young kids, I would always want to do a fun outing in the morning because my kids were a lot more happy in the morning. As soon as we got to nap time and then after naps and they were hungry and a little more cranky in the afternoon. It was less fun to hang out with them doing fun things.
So we’d always do our outings, our fun outings in the morning when it was a little cooler. Friends could get together with me and then we would, the natural sort of end to that fun time was around noon when we’d have lunch and we’d either have lunch at the park with friends, which we were already playing at the park or we would all leave and go home and have lunch and then do nap time.
So if you are a mom with young kids, you will probably have a lot of your natural rhythms fall around your kids’ schedules and that’s okay. You want this whole system to make your life easier and more wonderful, not harder.
Step 4: Consider Your Energy Levels
Number 4, I put this in. I want you to, as you’re doing this, to consider your energy levels. Are you an early riser that will determine how early you want your morning block to start? And I want you to be realistic. Don’t start your day at 5:30 if you never actually get up at 5:30. If you tell yourself that you want to get up at 5:30 but you don’t actually do it, set yourself up for success.
What we want is for you to realistically live a life with more intention. And so be realistic and be honest with yourself about, about what that includes. If you’re a night owl, if you have an after lunch slump and really after lunch, all you want to do is like read or watch a show and be considerate of that. Don’t plan all of your really high energy, high creativity activities for after lunch when you know you’re not going to want to do any of that stuff.
The more considerate you are of your natural energy levels, the easier it will be for you to actually accomplish the lifestyle that you want to accomplish.
Okay. At this point, you should have your list of things that you want to include in your life on a daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly basis. You should also have some blocks figured out for your own life that fit your own rhythms and your own natural breaks in your day. Mine includes one, two, three, four, five, six different blocks plus this actual sleeping block between 10 and 6:30. That’s my sleep time.
I think five or six per day is probably a good amount. You have those timeframes figured out. And then you should have also, at this point, figured out what types of activities you want to include in each of those blocks. Now we’re going to plug all of this into a framework of an actual week.
Right now we have a general list and sort of a day wide open framework. But then what about our actual weekly guidelines? So if you look at your pdf, this is what this looks like. We have Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and I’ve given you space to include your blocks. So you write down your blocks along the edge and then you can draw the lines. You can look at the example and see how to do that. This is where we start to put these things altogether.
I want you now to look at your list of things to include in your life and determine which block they fit in in a regular week.
For example, my wanting to go on a walk to the local market to eat lunch that fits within my 9 to 12:30 block. That’s not a work task. It’s something that I can do in my exercise clothes because I can take the dog on a walk over there and then that kills two birds with one stone. And it’s something that I want to do before I begin my workday, just to give myself a little, you know, have a, have a nice lunch and give myself a little time.
So I chose one day, like I said, this is a weekly thing. This is not something that I have to include every single day. And so I chose Tuesday and so within my block for my morning block, my 9 to 12:30 you know, home block or home or personal care block. (I should think of good names for the…they don’t have actual names for them, I just have them written down for like what I want to accomplish so I can determine for myself.)
Tuesday felt like a good day. So I have that written down and I have a standing appointment now with myself on Tuesday morning and you know, around 11:15 on Tuesday, I’m gonna walk down to the market and have lunch with myself and I’ll probably bring a book and then I get to actually read as I, you know, this be this little nugget that I’ve created for myself in the place that I’ve created.
It serves so many fulfilling purposes. I love to read. I love to be outside. I love to walk. I can walk the dog. I love to take myself out to lunch. I’m doing something to create an abundance of fulfillment of the things that I know that I love and also to create the feeling of more time because I know that when I do this, when I’m sitting down by myself at a restaurant in the middle of the day having a great lunch. I feel like I have an abundance of time, especially when I’ve scheduled it in and I know that there is nothing else that has to happen during that moment.
I have planned on this. It’s something that I’m choosing to do. One thing I feel like I have learned so solidly in the last few years, and I think you feel this come out as you read my book. It’s that we don’t need to be in a hurry.
We’re often so in a hurry for the next thing or to get to the end of our to do list or to accomplish that next big goal or to to prove something to someone, maybe just to ourselves that we are in a hurry. We’re rushing through our lives and we’re not always enjoying them as fully as we can.
And so part of what back, you know, backing this up and not just doing a block schedule, but including some very intentional moments of fulfillment into our schedule is so powerful because it looks like you reclaiming your life. You, like that fisherman, recognizing that right now you can be doing all the things and feeling all the things that you want to feel without having accomplished anything more without earning $1 million, without running a huge company, without writing and publishing a book, without starting a new business, without having three more children. You right now can live an incredibly fulfilling life.
If you listen to my show about achievement versus fulfillment, you’ll know that this is something that has Americans. It’s kind of bred into us and taught into us that you should always be striving for something more, and there is a natural inclination towards progress. That very important distinction is that the striving for progress and for improvement should not hinder the continual feeling of contentment and enjoyment of our actual regular present life.
You can actively be working for something wonderful at the same time that you know that even if that wonderful thing never happened, that you get to feel everything wonderful about your life today. I hope that makes sense. So let’s go back to our weekly framework. Start to look at your daily and weekly things to include in your life and plug them in here.
I have my meditate, journal writing, all in my morning. And then I’ve also broken up a few things during my daily morning: a little bit of cleaning around the house is something that I want to do between that 9 and 11:30 block. I love going to the farmer’s market on Saturday, so I have that down during my morning block as far as my work tasks so I don’t have to do everything every day.
I record the podcast on Monday. That’s one thing that I need to do once a week and I plugged it into my Monday schedule. On Tuesday I’ve written down to write, that could be writing blog posts, that could be working on the book that I’m working on, the next book. Wednesday I have scheduled for my videos and my coaching calls.
For Thursday. I’ve set aside from 12:30 to 3:30 every Thursday to–just because I like it, it’s something that I like to share on Instagram. I work on a monthly project of my daughter and myself. Twinning. Sewing can also contribute to things that I share in DIY is on the blog, but also just because I love it and it fits well into my work block because so many for so many years I worked as a sewing blogger and so it just feels like it fits there now even though it’s very rare that my sewing is included in my regular sort of content idea production.
Now I’m on Fridays. I thought it would be a great day to work on book marketing and to do local visits to bookshops and libraries and things so I can keep the ball rolling on my, on promoting the book. Now again, this is still a framework and so for this week record podcast, I have written down in my actual schedule for this week of, you know, whatever the dates are.
Monday I’m recording Episode 56 and I have that written down. So Mondays. Generally I like to record a podcast on Mondays during my work hours, but for this week, this is the show that I’m recording. I can look and because I have three hours and it doesn’t take me three hours to record each podcast, although this one is getting long. Um, I can record two podcasts, some Mondays. And so I have it written down for next week to record two episodes on Monday because that will be the time.
Think how much easier it is. It takes me a little while to get settled in to find a comfortable spot to get my computer set up, get the microphone set up, pull up the program, pull up the music library, which by the way, shout out to Pleasant Pictures Music Club because I still am using and loving Eric’s tracks.
Every single week you can find a discount code. I think it’s livefree15. If you’re a content creator and you want to use some amazing beats in your, um, videos or your podcasts, you can use pleasant pictures, music club library, and get 15% off using livefree15. So go check that out. A little plug for Eric.
It takes a little while to get it all set up. So how much easier is it for me to sit down and record one show or sit down and record two shows? It’s like it, it, the only difference is the actual time that I spend talking for two shows. The setup and the take down for one or seven is the same. So you can see how batch processing makes it so much easier to get more done in the blocks that you do have scheduled.
Our afterschool block includes snacks and homework and piano. Piano lessons only happened once a week though. Soccer practice happens twice a week. So on Tuesdays and Thursdays I have soccer practice written down. On Wednesdays I have piano lessons written down. Mondays and Fridays are days that are a little bit more free. And so we could do an afterschool bike ride because no one has lessons. We could do a craft. So I can schedule those things in because I have them all written down in my framework. Doesn’t mean that they all happen every day.
I just want to make sure that that’s clear and that you can create your schedule every single week. So you may say my week doesn’t look the same every week. That’s okay. Your framework can look the same even if your week doesn’t look the same. Someone asked me about things that don’t naturally fall within other things like emails for your kid’s school or um, for PTA or if you are member of a different organization or something.
It doesn’t fall within home or a work necessarily. It’s like extracurricular and I say choose where it feels like it fits the best. For example, I am on the PTA board at the local elementary school. I’m in charge this year of the building and grounds and coordinating all of the renovation and volunteer work that we need to maintain the building and the grounds.
And that for me falls into my morning block because it’s not household for my personal house, but it’s very much household for the school building and so, and it’s also something I can do before I’ve showered and gotten ready, I can be managing phone calls and emails for that. I can be coordinating that. I can go over to the school if there’s something I personally need to work on. And so I’ve fit it in, even though it doesn’t align with all of the other things there, it’s similar enough that it’s okay to put it in that block.
Now here’s a big question. What happens if something out of the blue comes up? Well, it’s your life, so you get to shift things around and it’s okay. Someone asked me on Instagram, what if something happens? Like you have a sick child who comes home from school. So let’s say I have lunch and then at one o’clock, I’m just getting ready to record the podcast and someone calls me from school and says, one of the kids is a little sick. Can you pick them up? Absolutely. I can be there. I can pick them up, I bring them home and I get to spend some time being there for my child.
Whatever I needed to do in that block, whatever I had to planned on. First of all, I make sure that it’s not so urgent that I have a little bit of space. So I record podcasts on Mondays, but my show doesn’t go live until Thursday morning so I can record the next day or I can record the next day or if I need to, I can record later that night and just stay up a little bit later.
The framework is not meant to be unbreakable. It is meant to give you a guideline for things that you can control that you can choose.
Step 5: Plan To 80% And Include Transitions
My number 5 piece of advice and then I’m going to give you a couple other sort of scenarios to hopefully help with this. My number 5 piece of advice is to plan to 80% and include transitions. So what I mean plan to 80% is that I is to not fill up every single minute of every single day. Basically I have a tendency to be a high achieving, wanting to include all the things at once all the time.
And I’ve been known, Dave would agree, I’ve been known to schedule things so back to back that it’s planned almost down to like the minute that if something anything goes wrong, then the whole rest of my day or even sometimes the whole rest of my week will topple like dominoes. And so I say plan to 80% meaning don’t allow yourself to have everything need to line up so perfectly that you don’t have any space for emergencies or for accidents over things taking a little bit longer than you think they might.
An example of this in my schedule is that my kids get off the bus at four o’clock, but my alarm goes off at 3:30 and says, get ready for the kids, the kids are coming home. And so that gives me time. That half hour gives me time to, for example, today, put away the computer, put away the microphone, prepare an afterschool snack. It works really well at my house.
If the kids come inside and there’s a snack ready for them so they don’t go foraging, and I can have a little bit of time to mentally put on my mom hat again. I’ve been deep in work and excited about projects and talking to people and strategizing and recording and doing all of these things and I want to be ready back to be interested in my kids what happened in their day and have everything put away so that for the next few hours I get to focus on them and I can be prepared to sit down and do homework with them. Not Feeling guilty for the things that I left and done with my work, but that that has been put away. I’ll get to it again tomorrow and that today, right now I have time to be present for them and the things that they need.
I think it’s helpful to plan on transition time. My kids don’t have to be to school until nine. I think the tardy bell officially rings at 9:05 or 9:10, but we leave our house at 8:30 to walk to school. It doesn’t take us a half hour to walk there, but because my alarm goes off at 8:30 and it says walk to school, it doesn’t actually say walk to school. It actually plays the Moana song that “We know the way” song.
And my kids know that when they hear that song, I come downstairs with my phone smiling and they’re like, “oh, okay.” And that’s usually when they hurry and finish putting their shoes on. They grab their backpacks. We try to have everything done and everything ready. But if you have kids or shoes, you know that the time that you think you’re going to leave is not always exactly right. And then also we have a buffer.
So if someone gets upset on the way or if we want to stop and look at pet, pet a dog that walks by or notice something cool along the way, I want that walk to school to feel like it has time because it’s one of the things that I love. I love being able to walk to school with my kids. I love being able to spend that time with them. And so I don’t want to be running out the door and saying, “Hurry, we have to get there.” You know, “Let’s walk as fast as we can or everyone’s late.” Or we have to hop in the car and miss the walk completely.
I’m allowing a lot more time than it actually should take, but is probably more realistic. Like in real life. It probably does take about a half hour to get everything ready, get out the door and walk and then be to school on time every day.
Allowing for those transitions is really helpful in planning for them. Expect for things to be realistic. When our expectations are realistic of what actually will happen, then it allows us to embrace it. Embrace some of the chaos and break some of the, um, the time frame.
You know, if I know that at least once a week, one of my kids will only have one shoe because they don’t know where the other shoe is. But I know we also have plenty of time to find the shoe or to figure something else out. Then I’m going to be able to feel the way I want to feel, which is not rushed. Patient, kind, having some creativity is to, you know, “Where is the shoe? How can we find it? Let’s think of where,” you know, rather than just being frustrated that, that the shoe was gone again. Does that make sense?
Doing that, allowing for transitions and only planning to 80% allows you to feel more of the way you want to feel in your life. If at this point you have filled out your worksheets, you will have a list of things to include in your life. You will have a daily framework of your blocks, things that work for you and the actual life that you’re living right now and your schedule right now.
Have A Plan B
I want you to be realistic about it. Don’t plan on the way that you think it should be. Plan on the way that it is. One note that I want to make about that is for kids that are nappers. I know that as a mom with kids who nap, we like rely on those naps. Like nap time is the break that you get during the day. That is the free time that you get, but even good nappers sometimes have a bad nap. And so I want you to have a plan B for that.
If you schedule your nap time, you know, from 12 o’clock to three o’clock or one o’clock to whatever the nap time is, and you use that as a block, that’s a natural block that I would say falls into that. You’re gonna use that time to read or to work if you work from home or to work on a project. If you want to open an Etsy shop and that’s when you’re going to have some creative time. Whatever you have planned during that nap time, I want you to think of a Plan B for if the nap doesn’t go right first of all, what you’re going to do, how, what your reaction to that will be, and also when is another time you could get that done.
And so I have a couple suggestions:
One of them is if nap time doesn’t work out the way that you hope it does, maybe it’s okay for nap time to become a quiet time. And that could be turning on a show. It could be turning on an audio book, it could be letting them play with some toys that they don’t normally play with.
This may be unpopular or you may think that I’m a really bad mom, but I’m going to say this. I think that it’s okay for us to ignore our kids for a little while. If they’re safe, it’s okay for them to be bored for a little while. And so I know that when my kids were younger that sometimes they would want to engage like all day long, all the time. And if they woke up early from a nap, sometimes I would just say it’s quiet time until two and just leave them with books and toys in their room and let them play.
And unless they’re hurting, they’re actually in danger, or they are actually hurt or sick, it’s okay. Even if they’re a little bit upset and maybe you let them have some quiet time and learn to play by themselves while you get an hour to read or to do something fulfilling with headphones in because I am gonna tell you, you will be a better mom at the end of that nap time, quiet time. Then you would be, if you’re super frustrated and impatient with them because they aren’t giving you a break. Does that make sense?
The other thing you could do is have a plan B where if a nap time fails for some reason that you do something fun that you enjoy with your child. So have a nap time fails, maybe you go get ice cream together and you know this first time parenting guys for is may seem like rewarding the child for not napping.
I’m talking about like if they are so young, you know that some naps just don’t work. I don’t know. And I know some people are just like really good at allowing their kids to nap, whether or not they are going to nap. Like nap time is sacred, whether you’re awake or asleep, you are in your room during nap time. And so I’m, you can consider that.
The other thing that I would say about that, about kind of changing plans surround around our kids themselves is that, um, a, you know, that I feel like it is a okay to get a babysitter. Like pay a babysitter. You can listen to our episode 10. Dave and I shared a whole episode with a ton of babysitter ideas. Some of them paying for a babysitter and some of them free like trading once a week or twice a week with friends.
So you host, you know, it’s no different having three two-year-olds at your house than having one tear out your house. Like you have to pay attention to them. They’re going to be needy, they’re going to need snacks, they’re gonna need entertainment. And so why don’t you find a couple of friends to switch with to give yourself some time. And then you plan on that in your block schedule. You know that from nine to noon, one day a week your kid is with another family having a fun time while you get some time to yourself and that once a month or once every two months, depending on however many kids you do this with, you have them all and you just plan around that.
So having a babysitter or figuring out childcare 100% factors into this. And definitely like, I think that in order to give yourself the time that you need, if you have young kids, that becomes really important and to like get rid of the mom guilt, listen to my episode about wholeness in motherhood and just like recognize that you need to be the best mom that you can.
And the way that you do that is by being yourself and allowing yourself the time that you need to take care of yourself as well. The other thing might be for, okay, people working in like at work for example, Dave uses this type of a block schedule when he’s at work. He goes to work in the morning, you know, it’s like a normal company. So he goes in at 8 or 8:30 and he gets home around 5:30. And he naturally has his work day divided by break times and lunchtimes. And so he will get to work and spend the first couple of hours doing one particular type of task that he needs to do on the computer, some research, that kind of stuff. And then his meetings, he schedules four just right before lunch and then his afternoon time he has other tasks that he does.
And so even within a regular work day, like I said at the beginning of the show, you can have your before work block where you’re getting up and exercising and eating breakfast and you know, whatever in the morning. And then your work time blocks maybe one from the time you get there until lunch and one from lunchtime until the mid afternoon. You take a break and then you have the mid afternoon, you know, your final work block.
Maybe you have a commute, a block that includes your commute, but it also includes some other things that you want to get done. Maybe if you have a long commute, it’s a good time to listen to a podcast or to do some planning or do something, you know, catch up on phone calls with friends or whatever. And then you get home from work and you have your, you give yourself some transition time and then you have your after work block, and maybe your evening and get ready for bed block, too.
For young moms or for people who work for themselves, like freelancers, if you’re home all day, and you dictate a lot of your own schedule, this is when it’s so fun to figure out what you want your day to be filled with and then choose those things.
So I would say for people who are freelance workers or doing entrepreneurial type things like I do, determine what the types of tasks are that you want to be doing and then assign them different days and maybe you have so many different things that you, it will take you two weeks to get through. Like the whole list. I would venture if you’re focusing on more than 10 areas in your business you probably are doing too many things there. You may be spreading yourself too thin if you have that many different things.
I think things that need to be done every week, laundry, things like dishes need to be done every day. And so just decide like when is that going to happen. And we have our putting the dishes away from breakfast as part of our morning block and the kids help with that. And then we also have putting the dishes away after dinner as part of our evening block.
And so the kids, you know, rotate through helping with that for laundry, that’s something that will happen in the morning hours except for Milo who does his own laundry now that he’s 10 and he has a day. And so that comes when he does his laundry during his afterschool block on Wednesdays because that’s his day to use the, um, laundry machines that have washer and dryer. So I think that most of what we do can be slid into different like categories.
If you’re not naturally drawn to rhythm or schedules and it feels like, oh, like I could, you know, I would rather die than have all of my minutes of my days assigned. I want to invite you to consider the idea that by creating a framework, you actually have more freedom. Because when you don’t have a framework at all for the way you’re going to spend your days and your time, and you also don’t have a clear idea of what you want to do in your life, what you want to fill your life with, then you’re sort of sending darts into the dark.
You may be following all your whims but realizing that you never actually are accomplishing or feeling the way that you want to feel or doing the things that you want to do. And so by allowing a framework and also creating the list of how you want your life to look and feel and then combining the two, you are almost ensuring that you are stepping closer to the life that you actually want to lead. The other thing that I’ve noticed is that there is so much freedom in knowing that I have things kind of scheduled out.
So let me tell you one last thing about the way that I’m doing this. I have my things to include in my life. I have my block, you know, my day, hourly written down list. I have my weekly framework. And then at the beginning of each week, I do this on Sundays, Sunday afternoons. I look at my week ahead and I, the way that my planner is, I have each of the days of the week down. And I also have some to do lists.
And so I have started using my to do list on a weekly basis and I give, I’ve divided my to do lists into these different sections. So what do I want to do at home? What do I want to do for work? And then I wrote down a section called joy, what do I want to do just for fulfillment and joy. And so then each day of the week I choose one thing from each section, one thing. So today paint the chicken coop and record the podcast.
All the daily things happen like within the framework of our life, like those morning things and doing a little bit of cleanup around the house and exercising and taking the dog on a walk. Those I have sort of plugged in that’s naturally going to be part of the rhythm and I’ve set my life out up in a way that they happen kind of in a domino effect because I put it on my exercise clothes in the morning. I walk the kids to school with the dog and then I take the dog on a run and I’m already accomplishing like five things all at the same time because of the way that I’ve layered them together.
This is actually called habit stacking and it’s a very efficient way to include a lot of the things that you want to do in your life altogether because you take one that you have to do or that you’re already doing and just add some other things onto it that you also want to do and it’s just a higher likelihood that all of them will happen. I have found that by choosing one thing in each of these blocks of my day to focus on that those things have happened.
And so sometimes I know in the past sometimes I’ve chosen a bunch of things that I want to do and then I try to just like work through them as the week goes on and I get distracted and I spend a ton of time on social media and I kind of get lost. Like I’ll go to the store for one thing and then I kind of wander around and then I remember there’s another store across town that I wanted to go to and then I kind of get off on a tangent, like my own life takes a tangent because I start to follow breadcrumbs that are not things that I laid out for myself, but that just naturally happened.
Who has done this? You go to Target for one thing and then you wander around the whole store and then you end up not only buying a bunch of things but also realizing that they, you remember something that you saw that’s at a different store that you had wanted to get. And so then you leave and you go chase that, you know, for a little while. And then that reminds you that you need to get your car washed and then you drive through the car wash and then that reminds you that. And so you, you know, you look on Instagram and it makes you hungry. And so you go to the, you know, drive through in and out, which I would love to have an In N Out nearby, but I don’t anymore. So that’s not something I have to worry about.
It’s like you chase your tail doing things that like, why did you even spend time on that? I don’t even know. That was not on my radar, but I spent half the day doing it.
This last couple of weeks has been so efficient and I’ve been so much more focused. I’ve noticed I’ve spent a lot less time scrolling through social media. I’ve been really intentional about when I’m there, then I’m interacting in the way I want to and then I’m sharing the things that I want to, but my hands are busy actually living my life. I’m going on walks, I’m going on runs, I’m reading, I carry a book with me. So if I’m waiting in line somewhere, I can read rather than scrolling.
I don’t wake up and automatically use my phone anymore. I wake up and automatically go right in my journal and do a meditation. Um, by having some intention and having a very clear framework, I felt like I’m more able to do the things that I want to do and live the way that I want to live. And that is freeing.
It’s incredible to be able to recognize that if I died tomorrow, that I am, I am living the life that I want. Like I’m living it right now. I wake up and I, you know, I have this beautiful morning routine and I’m going to do actually my bonus episode for Patreon this month in September is all about a Mindful Morning Routine.
So if you’re not yet a Patreon member at the “podcast plus” membership level, you can go to patreon.com/livefreecreative and join on Patreon. There’s three different levels, the podcast plus membership is $6 a month and that includes a bonus episode with a worksheet every month and also a digital book club that we’re starting this month as well. And it’s going to be so awesome. There’s already been a wonderful group of people who’ve joined and I’m so excited that I have a whole podcast bonus episode for Patreon coming about mindful morning routines.
That has been an incredible kickstart to my day that you know, I go outside and I let the chickens out of the coop and I feed them and I take the dog on a walk and I spend time with my kids and all of this before nine o’clock in the morning and like I could die at nine o’clock every single day and feel like the way that I spent my morning was exactly the way that I wanted to, that I am choosing to live my life deliberately.
I am choosing with intention what I want my life to look and feel like and then creating it and I can’t tell you the power of just deciding and then that gives you the first step and all the energy that you need to just to follow through, choosing how you want to spend your time and creating a framework to actually make it happen.
Okay. I think that’s it for today. I hope that this has been helpful and helped you think about your life in a new way and consider, ask yourself some questions about really what it is that lights you up every day and how you can spend more of your time deliberately doing those things.
The block schedule worksheets are available. If you sign up for the sheets themselves, go to the show notes and just put in your email address and you can get those sheets sent right over to you for free. You can fill them out if you fill them out. I would love to see you share them and fill them out and share them on Instagram. Tag me @livefreemiranda So I can see also if you have questions about the show after you have filled out the worksheets.
Now I want you to actually do the work. Don’t ask me questions about the theory. Don’t listen to the show and say, “But I don’t know how this will work for me.”
Do the actual work first. Print off the worksheets, fill them out, consider it, spend a little bit of time on it and see if you can’t use your own inner wisdom to answer your own questions about how to help it work in your life. You know your life better than I do and so if you have specific questions about how to make it work with your schedule or with your family or with your situation, do the work first.
If after you have done the work, you still have questions and you need some help, problems solving then at that point, you can send me an email at Miranda@livefreecreative.co and ask me a very specific question about a hang up that you’re finding as you’re doing this for yourself.
If you’ve done the work, I think 90% of the questions you have will have disappeared if you still have questions about it and not just questions about, you know, validation questions like, is this the best way to do it for myself because I don’t have the answer to that. You have the answers to that. You and maybe your partner and maybe your family or some good friends, you will have the answer. I mean that’s actually just like an intuition question. Like is this the best way for me to spend my mornings and spend some time meditating on that, thinking on that and find out that answer for yourself because you have the answer to that question.
If there’s some specific logistical questions, I would love to see if there are, and if there are, those are things that we could talk about in a future episode. I could do a Q&A working through the details of this type of a schedule in a future episode. So do the work first, ask questions second and I can’t wait to see. I can’t wait to hear about how it’s going for you.
I can’t wait to see what you come up with for your own life. And I can’t wait to watch as you discover, as I have the absolute joy that comes through living your life intentionally.
If you love this show, there are now three different ways to support it.
One is to share it with your friends and family, whether you do that through an Instagram post and Instagram story or texting someone or talking to them in real life and recommending the show to them.
The second way is to leave a review on iTunes. It takes a couple minutes to scroll down to those little three dots about sharing, press it and actually write a couple sentences about what the show means to you.
The third way, the newest and what I think is some of the most fun way is to become a patron of the show and actual supporter. There is a “thank you” level, a “podcast plus” membership level and there’s two spots as of the time I’m recording this, there are two spots left for a personal creative mentorship with me and you can go to patreon.com/livefreecreative to find everything you need to know about becoming a patron of the show.
Starting next week I’m going to have some thank you’s to share on the show specific names of people who have joined and become part of our patrion family.
The last thing that I want to share today is that if you love my show, it’s highly likely that you will love my book. This year in July 2019 my book More Than Enough was released. It has already reached thousands of people and I hope for it to reach thousands more. You can find the book on Amazon search More Than Enough by Miranda Anderson. You can also download it on Kindle or on Audible, just like the podcast.
The book offers very personal experiences and perspectives and also invites you to do the work in your own life. There’s a workbook pages that are included at the back of every chapter for you to actually apply the learning in your own life. I hope that if you haven’t yet, that you will find it and that you will love it.
Thank you so much for being here. I can’t wait to chat with you again next week. Talk to you then.