Building Your Routine (Harnessing the Power of Habit) | Summer Boot Camp

Good evening! It’s Monday!

If you follow me on Instagram, you might know two things:

  1. my fam moved into a new house
  2. I went on a mini vacation to Chicago to visit some friends this past weekend.

And if you read the blog, you’ll also know that I’m behind in my boot camp. I reeaally wanted to just quit since I’m already behind BUT! there is still time so I’m pressing forward. This third post in my experiment is about building a routine.

3 Building Your Daily Routine

So when I was planning to do this boot camp, I didn’t really factor in moving from one dwelling to another and how much that would impact this process. Oh goodness, have I so quickly forgotten what it’s like to load up your life in boxes and not be able to find anything for days? I own more stuff than I’ve owned in a very long time finding my groove again is slow in coming. This is going to be a difficult week to build a routine.

However, on the flip side, with this move comes a shorter commute to work, more space to work at home if I want to, and more room to do early morning things without disturbing the rest of the house which is a huge plus!

One thing that I’m working on this summer is my morning routine. I wrote about this in my post, The Ultimate War Room Game Changer as well as My 5 Simple Rules for the Best Morning Ever. Mornings are such a great time to get things done if you carve out the time. It’s much easier to roll out of bed just in time to take a quick shower, maybe grab something to eat and rush out the door to my job. It’s much more challenging to wake up early enough to have my quiet time, get in a work out, do some writing, drink water, eat breakfast, and get ready for work.

The benefits are huge but the habit is hard to come by.

This week, I’m going to start building my morning routine again. Now that my life and circumstances have changed, I need to tweak what I’d been doing before. The process is simple:

  1. list the activities I want to get done in the morning
  2. address the trade offs–what needs to be done, given up, or rescheduled in order for me to accomplish these tasks?
  3. plot them out on a schedule
  4. try it out for a set amount of days
  5. tweak as necessary
  6. Don’t give up. Work at it until it’s a habit.

That is my assignment for the next week, maybe two. My family is going out of town for the 4th of July weekend so I’m going to need a little extra time…

As far as habits are concerned, I’ve got a couple of books on my list that deal with early morning as well as habits.

5 AM Miracle

The 5 AM Miracle by Jeff Sanders {Amazon}

I actually started this book earlier this year but haven’t finished it. Sanders also has a podcast by the same name that I’ve listened to for awhile and definitely recommend as well. I’m going to revisit this one during this process :).

better-than-beforeBetter Than Before by Gretchen Rubin {Amazon}

I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time but haven’t pulled the trigger and purchased it yet. But I love Rubin’s podcast, Happier, which she co-hosts with her sister Elizabeth Craft and it’s high time I check this book out. In it, Rubin talks about what she calls the 4 Tendencies and how they relate to habits and living a happy life. You can take the 4 Tendencies quiz HERE on her website. Check out her site, her books and her podcast, she’s got great stuff! I plan to purchase this book before the week is over.

Trade-offs, schedules, and lists. This is some of the stuff of productivity and project and life management. Fun. Hard but fun.

On that note, I’ve got to prep to hit the sack. It’s 8:30 and I need to be in bed in the next half hour if I’m going to get up in time to start re-building my routine. Here we go!

Good night!


The blogger at Purple Ink Studios is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com

Embracing the Quarterly Season (Setting Smarter Goals) | Summer Boot Camp

Good Evening! It’s Monday!!

This is supposed to be a morning post but I didn’t have enough time to finish and post before leaving for work. However, it is a Monday post and even though it’s been a looooooong day and I was seriously considering skipping this post, a deadline is a deadline so press forward I shall!

This week, I’m tackling setting smarter goals.

2 Embracing the Quartely Season

Last Monday, I wrote about writing a mission statement and redefining resolutions. I have written my personal mission statement and while I’m still working on my resolutions, I did write my goals for the remainder of the year. With six months left in the year, there is still plenty of time to get a lot done.

In the past, I would just write a list at the beginning of the year with all the goals I wanted to accomplish. Something like this:

  • Exercise every day
  • Learn how to drive a stick shift
  • Learn how to play the guitar
  • Sleep more
  • Read the Bible everyday
  • Blog 3 times a week

Does this look familiar? By the end of the year, I’d maaaybe have one or two things done. The thing about goals is that you can’t just write them down. Goals have to turn into task lists. You have to break them down into actionable items, otherwise they’re just going to sit there and collect dust. So for instance, for exercising, a task list could look something like:

  • Get a gym membership
  • Schedule days during the week to go to the gym
  • By work out clothes and new gym shoes
  • Make a list of pre and post workout shakes
  • Set a fitness goal (weight loss, strength training, etc.)
  • Find a work out buddy
  • Lose 50 pounds
  • Buy new wardrobe when desired goal is reached

You get the idea. But instead of creating task lists for the entire year, break it up into the quarterly seasons (Jan-Mar, Apr-Jun, Jul-Sep, Oct-Dec). Identify what needs to be done for each of your goals and plot those items in the quarter you want to get them done. Don’t try and do everything at once, spread activities out so you’re not overwhelming yourself. Maybe a goal spans en entire year, maybe just one or two seasons. A first quarter schedule could look like this:

January:

  • Set fitness goal
  • Get gym membership
  • Figure out which days work best for working out. Coordinate with work schedule, family responsibilities, social engagements, sleep schedule, etc. (Allow at least two weeks to find a good rhythm)
  • Buy new work out clothes

February

  • Research pre and post workout shakes
  • Find a work out buddy
  • Track progress through this month

March

  • Lose 5 pounds this month
  • Research healthy lunches to bring to work and cut out sugary drinks this month and track progress

I’m just throwing out examples, not suggesting any particular order necessarily. You get what I’m saying though. Quarters are good chunks of time to divvy up a task list–not too long to lose steam and not to short that you can’t get a lot done.

The reality of goals is we probably won’t get everything done on a list and that’s okay. Life happens, plans change, you tweak and adjust and move on. The point is to have a good starting point and a framework for planning things out.

There are 2 quarters left in the year–July through Sept and October through December–so this week, I will be writing out my goals some task lists for the next quarter at least.

My to-do list for this week is short and sweet:

  • Write my task lists for the goals I wrote last week.

Right now though, it is way past my bed time and I have a staff meeting at work I have to leave a bit early for!

Good night y’all!

How to Use Multiple Planners | December Boot Camp

(This post contains affiliate links)

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti (it’s a book by Bill and Pam Ferrell, check it out 😉) but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. Which is why one planner isn’t going to work.

After coming to terms with this fact, (I literally thought there was something wrong with me when I couldn’t seem to function with my one DayTimer) I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

And then it happened.

Corie, The Reset Girl, did a scope on her master planner list in her main planner. You can watch the replay on katch.me/therestgirl. My mind was blown and something inside my noggin clicked and I knew I’d found what I’d been looking for. So over the past few days, I’ve been developing a master planning system of my own.

Here’s how it works:

I’ve recently made a discovery: one planner isn’t going to cut it for me. Now, I know that men are like waffles and women are like spaghetti but there’s something about me that is very un-spaghetti like. Some things just need to be compartmentalized in order for me to function. I finally decided to join the land of multiple planner planning.

 

1. Determine how much time you have to invest in planning.

Be honest about your time. You may want to have time for multiple planners and notebooks but your reality doesn’t match up. Maybe you can count on a whole Sunday afternoon or just a few minutes during your lunch break. An awareness of your time will keep you from setting yourself up for failure and unnecessary disappointment.

2. List all your planning needs.

This includes all the areas of life that requires you to make lists, schedules, and notes. Examples include:

  1. Daily planner
  2. Home management
  3. Work
  4. Prayer/Bible Study
  5. School
  6. Home business
  7. Food Journal
  8. Exercise tracker
  9. Homeschooling
  10. Church
  11. Goal tracker
  12. Brain dump
  13. Family schedules
  14. Reading
  15. Finances
  16. Recipes
  17. Projects
3. Decide whether or not you can group your needs together.

For example, if you’re keeping a home management binder, would that include your recipes and finances? Or do you want your recipes in a separate binder? Decide how far you want to compartmentalize everything and make sure that everything flows and functions well.

4. Determine what planning and note taking methods work best for you.

Going for something simple or do you like all the frills and furbelows? Do you need a planner with monthly and weekly spreads? Binders? Composition notebook? Spiral bound? Disc-bound? Erin Condren? Filofax? DayTimer? Midori Traveler’s Notebook? Kikki K? MoleskineFranklin Covey? Happy Planner? Bullet Journaling? The possibilities are endless! And It doesn’t have to cost a whole ton of money. If you have the desire and the funds to splurge, have at it! But there are a myriad of inexpensive options everywhere. If you really want to get creative, hop on Pinterest and YouTube and see what other planner girls are making and using!  

5. Match method with need.

Maybe you keep track of health and fitness in a spiral bound notebook. Better make it a 3-subject because you’ve got some detailed notes to keep about health issues, routines, and supplements. Maybe you’ve got an old Franklin Covey binder lying around somewhere and you could use that to keep track of your home business.

Consider the functionality of the method you use. Maybe a bulky planner won’t fit in your backpack so you choose something more compact for keeping track of school assignments. Or you’ve got small kiddos who can get messy so don’t sink your money into an expensive homeschool binder.

6. Choose a dashboard.

This is the planner or notebook from which your planning system will operate. This is the fun part for me and why my mind blew when I saw Cori’s master list.

Now that you know your needs and methods, create a master list to keep track of each one and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner.

And here’s what my master list consisted of:

  1. Master Planner | Happy Planner
  2. Personal Notebook | Single Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  3. Prayer/Bible Study Journal | Mini Binder
  4. Writer’s Notebook | Steno pad
  5. The Student Life | 3 Subject Spiralbound Notebook
  6. The Reader’s Notebook | Mini Binder
  7. Health and Fitness | Composition Notebook
  8. Home Management Binder | Binder
  9. Blog/Business | Binder
  10. Church/Ministry | DayTimer
  11. Brain Dump | Fauxdori

Master Planner Key - create a master list to keep track of each of your planners and their functions. I find it best to choose the planner that goes with you everywhere. For me, it’s a 365 Happy Planner. Inspired by The Reset Girl

Whew! I know, it’s a lot!

Of course, I’m not going to be using all of these every single day, but I wanted to have designated spaces to keep track of the various things in my life that are important to me. Like I said in yesterday’s post, this is the way I engage best with tasks and goals. My eye is drawn to color coordination, my brain is alert and excited when pages turn or when ink glides across paper, and my interest and creativity are peaked when I see the row of notebooks and binders ready to be used and filled. It’s nerdy, I’m totally aware, but it works!


As part of my boot camp, I’m going to go through some of my notebooks and planners and show how I use them. Maybe that’ll give you some ideas and inspiration! Stay tuned!

Happy planning!

How to Jumpstart Your New Year’s Resolutions | December Boot Camp

The year is quickly coming to a close. In the midst of all the wonderful holiday bustle, something else is jumping around the corners of our minds: New Year’s resolutions. *Dun dun dun*

In past years, my resolutions came as sort of an after thought. On January 1st, I’d make a list of the things I wanted to accomplish and change in my life and then, well, that was pretty much it. By the time February or March rolled around, I had either forgotten my list or hadn’t made any real changes that turned into progress. I had good intentions but no real action. This year, I decided something had to change or 2016 would just be a pathetic repeat of the past. My solution was to do a boot camp.

What is a boot camp?
In episode 33 of one of my favorite podcasts, Happier with Gretchen Rubin, Gretchen and her sister Elizabeth discuss the benefits of tackling a project in the form of a boot camp. The idea is to set up a specific amount of time to tackle something that may be difficult or not necessarily enjoyable and have some fun with it in order to get it done. It’s a short amount of intensive concentration on a particular project. I love this concept! You can make anything into a boot camp from cleaning the hall closet to potty training your child. In my case, I decided on a December boot camp. 

How does it work?
First, you have to define the problem you want to solve or the task you want to complete and then work out a process to solve the problem or get the job done.

I have 2 problems to address:
  1. Not having a plan for taking intentional, actionable steps toward my goals.
  2. Bad habits hindering my progress.
So I need 2 solutions:
  1. Figure out the ways I best engage with a project or task and then use those things to thoroughly engage with my goals and tasks.
  2. Tackle the bad habits that are keeping me from getting things done, thus jumpstarting the new year.
Now that we know the ‘what’ and ‘how’ of a boot camp, let’s set set up.
new year's resolutions

1. Decide How You Best Engage with Tasks

As a paper addict and nerdy planner girl, it’s a no-brainer that planners and notebooks are the key to keeping me on track. The acts of writing things down and being crafty keeps me engaged and helps me keep lists and priorities in check. If you’re not the creative type, decide how you best engage with task completion. Maybe it’s a simple to do list and reward system. Maybe you need an accountability partner or a buddy to work alongside with. If you’re not sure what your tendencies and preferences are, then you can use the boot camp to experiment with different ways to get things done. 

2. Create a Dashboard

Lister extraordinaire, Corie, The Reset Girl, did an awesome scope where she showed her master planner list (your can watch the replay on katch.me/theresetgirl). My mind was blown and something inside me clicked–I needed to create a planner system. I’ll go into detail about my master planner system in another post but basically it is my dashboard from which I operate. Again, you don’t have to be into planners and all the bells and whistles for this to work but I HIGHLY recommend getting a simple notebook and calendar to keep track of your objectives and progress throughout the boot camp.

3. Determine Resolution Objectives
Since I’m tackling my New year’s goals and resolutions,  I need to know what my goals are. What do I want to accomplish next year? What are my short term projects? What are my long term lifestyle changes? You don’t have to figure out everything now, you just need to figure out what direction you’re going in so you can determine how to get started.

4. Determine Bootcamp Objectives
Now that you know where you want to go, now you have to decide what you want your boot camp to accomplish. I want my boot camp to lock down the necessary habits I’ll need to accomplish my goals. Things like tracking health and fitness, sticking to a sleep schedule and committing to regular prayer and Bible study require good, healthy habits. During my boot camp, I’m going to experiment,  research and practice the things that will help me lock down those habits, giving me a jump start for the new year.

5. Set a Time Frame
I’m doing my boot camp for the 31 Days of December. Yeah, it’s kind of the craziest time to be doing this but it’s also the perfect time because when January 1st comes, I’ll have a running start! If you want to do a December Boot Camp but your schedule is super jam packed, then try a week or 10 days. 

6. Do Your Research
Read. Watch YouTube videos. Ask questions. Do what you have to do to know what you want to know. And then…

7. Take Good Notes
Track your progress, note what didn’t work so you know to try something different. Keep tabs on what you responded well to and what made you tick. You’re going to want this information later on, believe me!

8. Give Yourself Some Grace
This is a time for practice and progress, NOT perfection. So if you skip something or a plan doesn’t work out the way you want it to, don’t stress, just keep going.


A new year means new goals & new challenges. As you think about your new year’s resolutions for 2016, be intentional about finding the best ways to keep yourself on track! Make it a boot camp and jumpstart your resolution success!

Happy planning!

5. You’re Not Good at Everything | 31 Days

This is post 5/31 of Write 31 Days. See full list HERE.

One point. One measly, stinkin’ point. How in the world did I fail by one point?!?!

This wasn’t my first CLEP exam but it was my first fail.  Standing there with my score in hand, my fried brain feeling so utterly at sea, I had no idea what to do next. The worst part about the whole thing was I had to wait six months to retake the test. Stupid test.

It was my first attempt at the College Algebra CLEP exam. Math. The one subject that always been my arch nemesis in school. I don’t have a natural liking or ability for it so any good grades I managed to receive came from long hard hours of working at it. And I generally did not enjoy it. Math. The only subject I’ve ever been tutored in while in high school. And now, after all the blood, sweat, and tears I put into prepping for that exam, I failed. By one point.

Ugh.

I have a confession to make. I wasn’t going to share this but…I snoozed again this morning. Yeah, I know, Monday morning and I already fell off the wagon. Now I’m behind in my routine. Again. 

We all have a list of things we’re not particularly good at. Those things we can’t seem to conquer, master, or get over. Sometimes they’re such simple things and we don’t know why it’s so tough to just do it

I should be able to do this! My friends can do it, why is it so hard to get it done?!

We compare, we calculate, we reason, we make excuses. 

Stop it. Let me tell you something. 

You’re not good at everything.

You’re just not. And that’s okay, you don’t have to be. I think we all know this intellectually but then we face a task or situation that requires us to perform and we kick ourselves for not being able to deliver. It happens in school, on the job, in our families, with our friends. 

So I want you to say it. Go ahead and say it. 

I’m not good at everything and I don’t have to be.

Now the pressure is off and you can focus on two things: 1. cultivating and capitalizing on the things you’re naturally good at, 2. searching out the help you need to work on the things you’re not good at but still need to get done or delegating the task to someone else who is actually good at it.   

Obviously, that College Algebra exam wasn’t something I could delegate, so I got a tutor to help me work through the material and prep for a re-take. I passed the second time around and washed my hands of math classes forever.

Until my final term at TESC when I had no choice but to fulfill a three-credit slot with a math class. Are you serious!?

Sometimes you don’t win. You have to grin and bare it.

I’m still not great at math. I still snooze in the morning and struggle with my routines despite my best intentions. I’m not good at everything and I don’t have to be. I do know what I want to be good at and I have to work hard at it until I am. However, I won’t kick myself when I fail at the things that don’t come naturally to me. I tried and I’m going to try again. I tried and I’m going to figure out what needs to change in order to get it right the next time around.

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The BF and I have this saying about knowing enough to figure out what we don’t know. And that’s education. You know that there are things that need to be done and knowledge and expertise that are required to accomplish them. So you figure out how to get it done, you don’t just leave it or do it halfway cause you’re not good at it.

You know you need those credits for school so figure out how to get it done. You may not like the subject and that class may not apply to anything in your real life but you have the satisfaction of figuring out a problem and doing your best.

You know that project needs to be done at work or in your home so you figure out how to get it done yourself or delegate it to someone who will do it for you. Now you have the satisfaction of a job well done and the added experience tucked in your pocket for next time.

You’re not good at everything. That doesn’t me you can’t or shouldn’t get it done, you just have to put in extra effort to make it happen.

I’m through with CLEP exams and I’ll never take another math class (fingers crossed) but that just leaves room for the million and one other things that I’m not good at but need to figure out a way to get done. So I’ll keep learning and growing so I can master and conquer.

I’m not good at everything but I’ll do my best to do my best at everything.

#write31days

March Report Card

It’s April, yo!  And that means it’s time for my report card for March.  In case you didn’t know, I write a to do list at the beginning of every month and then grade myself at the end of the month to see how many things I actually got done.  You can check out my to do lists and report cards on the sidebar.  For now, let’s take a look at how I did in March!

March Report Card (1)

  1. Plant the Garden F.  This isn’t really my fault (yes, with the excuses).  We had some landscape issues, and weather funkiness, and…okay so maaaaybe I could have tried harder. *SIGH* I’ve got plans to get some stuff later this week or early next week.  Because of the lateness of the season, I’m going to stick to mostly flowers and herbs.  As for my goal, yep, March was a fail.
  2. Read 3 Books – A.  I did manage to finish several titles last month.  I finished a print book I started in January (Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman), one audiobook that I started two years ago but dropped and never finished (A Time to Kill by John Grisham), a whole book on my Kindle (Rich Mom Home Business Startup Bible by Renae Christine, one of my all-time favorite YouTubers), and Beverly Cleary’s Ramona Quimby 8-book series on audiobook (it was a lovely trip to my childhood).  Thank God for audiobooks!
  3. Learn 1 Song on the Piano – F. This didn’t happen in any shape or form.
  4. Start a Recipe Binder – C. I’ve started intentionally collecting recipes and planning the binder organizer but haven’t put it together yet.
  5. Spring Cleaning Challenge – F.  It really has just been downhill, y’all, oh man.  This didn’t happen either.

Recurring Goals

  1. Work out daily, M-F – A. I have been working out faithfully, thank you very much!  I’ve skipped maybe a day or two but my sore muscles testify to that well-deserved A!
  2. Blog at least twice a week – B. I lost some time transitioning to this site.
  3. Practice piano for at least an hour daily – F. Yeah, didn’t happen.

I’m not even going to go through the motions of calculating my grade, I failed.

Not dwelling, moving forward!

I’ll be posting my April To Do List tomorrow!

Happy April, y’all!

Elyssa