Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Tools for Time Management

This month's Intentional Life Project theme is TIME MANAGEMENT. (read more about the intentional life project here)  

Wow, that's a biggie for me.  Sometimes I feel like I have a million and one things/ideas swimming around in my head and it almost makes it overwhelming to just get started on ONE of them.  Am I the only one who becomes paralyzed by the never-ending-to-do list?

This month's prompt has forced me to be more, well, intentional about looking at how I spend my time an how my day is organized.  I'll be tracking my progress and my goals throughout the month.

Squishy Cheeks & Cupcakes
Download your own Goal Tracker here

Here are some of the strategies I'll be using this month to organize, schedule, and hopefully make the most use of my time:

1) SET A SCHEDULE:  I know that I am most creative in the morning and am able to complete higher-level thinking activities before noon.  Knowing this, I can schedule those activities that require me to think or be creative in the AM and the more routine or mindless activities in the PM.  I've set a daily schedule in Google Calendar for myself as a reminder of what needs to get done each day.

2) TRACK MY TIME ONLINE:  I recently signed up for RescueTime and am really liking the information it is giving me about how I spend my time online.  There are different reports available and it also sets and tracks goals.  I have two goals; the first is to spend less than 2 hours per day on all distracting time and more than 4 hours per day on all productive time (the program categorizes each website as either distracting, productive or neutral and allows you to change the categories manually for an accurate measure).

Squishy Cheeks & Cupcakes
my weekly RescueTime report

3) GET UP EARLY:  I am down right shocked at my progress on this goal for the month.  I am NOT a morning person at all, but for some reason, I have been able to get up when my alarm goes off at 5:30 most mornings.  I know the first step to creating any good habit is to do it over and over again and I'm thinking that this may be one habit that I could actually stick with.  It has felt really good to get going in the morning and not be rushed to get out the door by 7:00.  

The Intentional Life Project

I'll be sure to share with you all how it goes for the rest of the month and hopefully I can continue these practices when the month ends!

xo, Jenn
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Do you have any tips for successful time management?  I'd love to hear them in the comments section.

Have you heard of the TOMATO TIMER?  Read about it here.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Back to Juicing Basics


After a long week off for spring break, I have been feeling a bit sluggish...could be because I never made it to the gym and sat around crocheting and eating chocolate all week (pretty great if you ask me).  But, the fun is over and now it's time to get serious about making some healthy choices.  Not anything crazy over here...there will still be chocolate, believe me!

One choice that is pretty easy for me to make is to start juicing again.  This past summer I invested in a juicer and would make 1-2 juices every day while I was home with Peanut.  It's no secret that I'm not a veggie lover (sorry veggies), but I can tolerate juicing for some reason.  I think part of it is knowing that I can get in all of my vegetables in one shot and don't have to think about eating them the rest of the day (unless they're cooked with bacon...mmmm...bacon).

So this week, I'm getting back to juicing basics and after 2 days I can say that I'm already feeling better: I have more energy, feel less bloated, and have more mental clarity.  Huh?  Go figure!

Here are a few basic juicing rules I stick to to keep things simple and manageable for me, a working mom and wife with a small business.

JUICING BASICS

Search for Recipes: Before heading to the grocery store or farmer's market, I like to search Pinterest for some juicing recipes.  It's easier for me to have a list ahead of time instead of picking up random fruits and veggies and then finding I don't have enough to get me through the week.
*I've started a Pinterest board to save my favorites and some others that look good to try.

One Recipe Per Week:  Instead of going crazy and buying every fruit and vegetable in the produce isle, I will stick to one juice recipe and buy enough ingredients for to make one juice per day for that week.  This might change in the summer months when I'm having more than one juice per day and the produce is more readily available, but for now, I don't have the budget to be buying bushels of apples, spinach, and kale.  And this way I don't have to think about what I'm going to put together each day, which is good for my foggy morning brain.

ingredients
juicing ingredients for the week: spinach, kale, apples, lemons, celery, cucumbers, parsley
Prepare Ingredients in Advance:  It is less time consuming for me if I can prepare my ingredients in advance as much as possible.  This means washing all fruits and vegetables (especially if not organic) immediately when I get home from the grocery store.  I use an all natural wash from Trader Joe's.

Side note: In the past, I've made a large juice on Monday and drank 1 cup each morning until it was gone.  After doing a bit more research, I realized that I should be having between 16 to 20 oz of juice per day and after 3 hours of juice being exposed to the air, it loses a great deal of it's nutritional value.  So, by Thursday, I was drinking all of those tasty (ahem) vegetables and not getting any of their hearty goodness!  So, while it would save me a lot of time to make the juices ahead of time, I feel it's better for me to make a fresh juice each day.

apples

Drink on an Empty Stomach:  My routine is to make my juice after taking a shower in the morning and drink it while I get ready. I've read that you should consume your juice on an empty stomach and about 20 minutes before a meal.  Also, juicing is not a meal replacement for me (I don't want to wither away - ha!), so I will typically have a small breakfast of eggs and toast before leaving for work.  

Chew Your Juice:  Yeah, so you should be chewing or swishing your juice while you drink in order to get your salivary glands going and start the digestive process.  So I walk around all morning swishing my juice and showing my husband my green tongue (he loves it, really).  

I'm not an expert on juicing by any means, but these are the things that have helped me to make this process easy and doable.   If you have been thinking about juicing I hope that these tips will help get you started.

JUICE #1
  • handful of fresh kale (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • handful of fresh spinach (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • small bunch of parsley (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 lemon
  • 2 green apples
  • 1 cucumber


Don't forget to save up your pulp to make these yummy Juice Pulp Muffins!!

happy juicing!!

xo, Jenn
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Do you juice?  What advice do you have for me?  
Any favorite recipes you would like to share?

Monday, April 7, 2014

Monthly Fitness Challenge - April

Ahhhh... Spring break is over and I'm back to work.  And while I loved having the time off to really do whatever I wanted to do (lots of crochet, a little sewing, and binge watching LOST), I'm OK with getting back to a regular schedule and routine.  A routine that usually includes working out (which I did not do AT ALL when on break).  

So, even thought it's the second week of April already, I'm just now throwing out this month's fitness challenge.  This month, we're focusing a little bit of everything - buns, guns, and abs.  


If you haven't joined the Monthly Fitness Challenge Facebook group yet, you really should.  This month I'm making things a little more interesting for everyone with a GIVEAWAY!  I haven't figured out what the prize will be (I'm thinking a stash of my favorite fitness/health goodies), but it will be great, I promise.  

Do you have any fitness goals for the month?  How do you plan to reach them?

xo, Jenn

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