My New Weekly Routine

 

Hi There. Happy Friday. I just love Fridays, don’t you? This Friday is extra special because I am coming off a new weekly schedule/routine. I am happy to say that I was able to increase the hours I am working at my marketing job from 12 hours per week to 20 hours per week. This past week was the first week of working more, and, I must say, I am exhausted!

I haven’t worked a full day for a year and a half. Whoa. That is insane, especially because I used to work 50+ hours per week! I am out of working shape, that’s for sure. I do like having a more consistent schedule, making more money (more travel!!), and still having days where I can focus on writing. My routine and Copley’s was totally different this week and thought it would be fun to share. I love reading about other people’s routines because it gives me so much motivation and makes me want to be more productive when I see how productive other people are.

Like most people, trying to find the time to work, exercise, hang out with friends and family, cook, travel and work is difficult. Each day is just a little bit different and if I stay organized, I’m more likely to get everything done that I want. And that extra cup of coffee in the afternoon certainly helps.

Every day I want to accomplish these things: some kind of exercise, hanging out with Vinn, taking Copley on walks, cooking a good dinner, cleaning something and studying German. I do my best to get most of these done and consider it a huge win if I do. Extra bonus points for reading before bed instead of watching TV.

 

New routine with Google Calendar

 

I have found through trial and error that having specific things to do on specific days helps me reach my goals and makes me feel productive on the days when I am not “working.” I put working in quotes because even though I don’t go into the office on Mondays and Fridays, I am working on blog stuff, which is more fun, more satisfying and, honestly, much harder. Here are the major things I accomplish on each day:

Monday: Blogging, cleaning the bathroom, laundry, possible lunch with a friend, gym/weights day.

Tuesday: Work 8-3, German lesson, cardio day.

Wednesday: Work 8 – 5, German homework, gym/weights day.

Thursday: Work 8 – 3, German lesson, cardio day.

Friday: Blogging, travel planning, more cleaning, possible lunch with a friend, gym/weights day.

Saturday: If we aren’t traveling, I use Saturdays to go to the grocery store, have another cardio day, perhaps some cleaning and then do something fun with Vinn and Copley.

Sunday: Rest day all around. We’ll do something around our city or take a day trip somewhere. Or we spend the entire day on the couch watching Netflix. No shame.

I put my routine in my Google Calendar still and I love it. Everything is color coordinated, I can see all my appointments, blog post ideas and to-dos in one place. My new schedule is definitely still taking some getting used to, but I am excited to have a more definite schedule. Would you be interested in seeing a “day in the life” type post on a working day vs. a non-working day? I want to write posts that you’re interested in reading. I’d love to hear how you schedule your lives, too.

What days are the busiest for you? Do you use an online calendar or a paper planner?

 

Getting It All Done, One Expat's Work & Blog Routine

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5 Favorite Organization Products

 

There’s something about August that makes me want a fresh start, probably because it used to be the start of a new school year. And a new school year means new pens, a planner, new notebooks, new clothes, and new goals for the future. In the spirit of a fresh start, I am using this month to get better organized and create a space with less clutter.

I absolutely love having a clean, organized home and believe these 5 products really help me stay on top of it. Now, I just need to find some way to organize all the beer Vinn buys.

*This post contains affiliate links.*

Glass Jars

Nespresso Pods Organization

I am obsessed with glass jars. I have four in the kitchen. They are great for storing baking ingredients and Nespresso pods. I love that they are nice to display but also great for storage. I also love that these are relatively inexpensive, come in a variety of different sizes and can be used in many areas of the house. I even have a pretty large one to hold wine corks. These jars on Amazon are absolutely perfect.

Acrylic Mail Sorter

The amount of mail we receive has drastically increased now that we live in Germany. Most of it is junk mail but we do receive several bills on paper. I have a system on my desk as a way to organize all the paper thanks to an acrylic mail organizer (similar here). The first slot is for things that need to be dealt with (like bills), the second for cards or gift cards and the back two are for small papers that don’t really have any other place.

Pineapple Key Holder 

Keys Organization

Having a designated area for our keys makes it extra quick to leave the house because we aren’t searching for our keys in pockets or purses. I love pineapples because Vinn proposed at the pineapple fountain in Charleston and love having different pineapples around the house. I think the one I have is supposed to be nailed to the wall, but I love it as a key holder.

Wine Rack 

Organizing Wine at Home

This is a super small thing, but I love having a wine rack. It’s great for knowing what and how much wine we have on hand, as well as for a cute display. We have one from Crate & Barrel that can hold up to 8 bottles of wine. We usually have 6 bottles of wine at home at a time and this works perfectly.

Baskets 

Like glass jars, baskets are great for storing Copley’s toys, my hair products and makeup. I know this isn’t groundbreaking, but I used to use those big see through containers to store everything. While these worked well, they didn’t look pretty. Now with baskets, I have everything contained in a nice way, while still looking great.

These are my five favorite organization products that help keep my home neat and tidy. I would have all of my kitchen countertops covered in jars if I could. I would love to know your favorite ways to stay organized at home, at work or even on your phone!

 

Keeping Your Home Organized

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The Life Changing Power of Google Docs

Confession time: I really love to-do lists, mostly so I can check things off once I’ve done them. Hello, Type-A personality! I love taking notes and writing down goals and random thoughts. I would be the girl that would bring her Moleskin notebook to a meeting and not a laptop. And then keep all of the old ones so I wouldn’t forget the meeting notes from six months ago. But all of that changed in the last year thanks to an unpredictable schedule, working less and switching to an online calendar.

With these changes also came the change to an online note-taking system. I don’t really have a need to take notes anymore and I started losing the loose pieces of paper where I would write random thoughts, like what to get a friend for her wedding gift, the name of a restaurant someone recommended or the shampoo my dermatologist recommended.

I started taking notes in the Notes app on my iPhone but once I got into the groove of putting all of our vacation research into Google Docs, I realized that I could also use the web-based system for all of my note taking. And, let me tell you, it has changed my life!

organization

I now use Google docs to track my eating habits (trying to be healthier this year and look pretty darn good as a bridesmaid in my best friends’ wedding), a list of gift ideas, blog post ideas, restaurants to try and upcoming vacations. I love that it’s FREE (!), I can take notes on the app and it automatically updates all versions, it can’t get lost and I can share any document with friends and family. My sister recently started a document to organize the upcoming trip to Spain so me, my mom and my sister can all do research and put everything in one place.

I really like that I can have a tab open with Google Docs and then a tab open for vacation research. It’s so easy to just drop all the information into the online document, like website links, so I can easily access it whenever I need to. I find that the unlimited access is something that I truly need and can’t have when it comes to pen and paper. I still love writing small to-do lists and other things, but switching to an online note taking system has been the best thing for my mind and my love of no clutter around the house!

How do you take notes? Are you a paper junkie or an online organizer?

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New Cleaning Routine

This past week I tried something new: I did some kind of cleaning chore every single day.

I wanted to try and see if it would make our house feel cleaner and if I would feel less stressed about cleaning. I would do some kind of cleaning activity daily in the past, but I count one load of laundry or just wiping down the kitchen counters as a daily activity. I would reserve the real cleaning for the weekends when I would have more time to dedicate to it and I would clean everything in one fell swoop (or sweep, get it?)…and then I would be exhausted.

I honestly thought this was the only way to go about cleaning. But, after reading a post on Blair’s blog, I knew I could do something different. She wrote about how she changed her cleaning routine and that it totally changed her. I felt inspired to give it a try!

cleaning routine

Here’s what I did:

Monday – clean the bathrooms

Tuesday – dust

Wednesday – vacuum

Thursday – rest

Friday – wipe floors

I still clean the kitchen counters daily and throw in a load of laundry pretty much every day, but that doesn’t feel any different. And what I discovered was fascinating. I found that I can actually accomplish so much in 3o minutes. It took me 45 minutes to clean the bathrooms but that was the longest time I spent cleaning in the past week. And that is worth everything.

Did the house feel cleaner? Yes. Did I stress less about cleaning? Yes. Did I feel more inclined to be clean and organized? Yes. Do I plan to stick to this plan? Yes.

Now that a week has passed since I cleaned the bathrooms, I noticed that they were less dirty after one week, with some spot cleaning in between. This past Monday, it only took me about 35 minutes to clean because I wiped down the sink every other day and pick up the hair that somehow falls out of my head and onto the floor in clumps.

I love having a clean home and it makes my OCD heart flutter!

What’s your cleaning routine? Do you find it helpful to do it all at once or small tasks every day?

How Moving to an Online Calendar Changed My Life

Let’s talk organization. I am a super Type-A, semi OCD, lover of color coordinating, standard first-born lady. I need to write down everything so 1) I don’t forget to do it and 2) so I can have the satisfaction of crossing it off the list once it’s completed. Am I right? Is there anything more wonderful than marking something off your to-do list? No, the cheese stands alone. Fine.

I used to always have a paper planner. And I loved it. I looked forward to every September when the next year planners would come out in Target/online and I would browse the section for way longer than I’d like to admit. But, for the last few months, I’ve noticed how my paper planner wasn’t fitting my needs anymore. For the record, I had an Erin Condren customized planner. And while it served it’s purpose for a decent amount of time, it just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

I searched for other paper options but couldn’t find anything that fit my needs. And then a few days ago, I saw on Blair’s blog how she created her own planner because she felt the exact same way. I never thought about making my own paper planner and while I love that idea (and Blair’s planner), I decided to go the digital route.

A little over two months ago, I completely switched to an online calendar through Google Calendar. I mentioned it in my Friday Favs post in July and I can honestly say I can never go back.

Here’s a screen shot from this week.

online google calendar

I have different color calendars for different types of appointments, to-dos, etc. I have a calendar for my teaching schedule, my marketing job schedule, my blog editorial calendar, workouts, vacations, general appointments, spending, Vinn’s after work appointments and meal planning. I love seeing everything in one place. And, all the colors really do make me happy.

I also use the calendar for my to-do’s. These are more general to-do’s, like an article I want to read, a podcast I want to listen to, blog goals and other random things I need to do or buy. I do keep a paper daily to-do list for small things like vacuuming or laundry and a Google Doc for future blog post ideas. I used to keep these things on the sidebar to-do list, but I love having my blog ideas all together and a to-do list on my desk for simple things. And, I can still cross things off!

Probably the biggest reason I made the switch to online is because I can easily make adjustments. When I had the paper planner, I would have to scratch out an appointment or deadline if it changed and it just looked incredible sloppy. This especially became apparent after I started teaching and classes would get cancelled all the time. I hated the look and that if something changed, I didn’t have enough space for new things. Now all I have to do is delete the appointment or move it to it’s rescheduled day. There’s no evidence. It’s so much cleaner and nicer.

I chose Google because I can also have the app on my phone. I tried the calendar app that’s in my iPhone already and it just didn’t cut it either. The Google Calendar app is amazing and adds cute pictures based on your appointment. For example, when I have a tennis lesson, a tennis racket is behind my appointment. Everything syncs if I make a change on my phone or my desktop and I get alerts for my next appointments on the go.

I find myself feeling more organized, feeling content with how my days go and that there are enough hours in the day to work, blog, exercise and spend time with my family. I actually follow the schedule and get a lot done during the day and night. I’m going to bed feeling accomplished and ready for what the next day will bring, which means I sleep better!

Do I miss the paper planner? No. I am obsessed with having my calendar online.

How do you organize your appointments/calendar? Any tips for daily organization?