Mommy Review Monday: Full Focus Planner

I have mentioned in a few of my previous posts that I use the Full Focus Planner.  I happened upon this wonderful thing on one of the many podcasts that I listen to.  It’s been wonderful for me.

Here’s what I like about it:

  • It’s black and non-discrete.  There’s a lot of flashy journals out there and, for some folks that’s awesome, but I prefer something low-key.  It’s not too big, allowing me to fit into most of my medium size and larger purses.
  • It’s got two built-in ribbons that help in keeping your place like a bookmark.  I typically keep one on my current day and one by my quarterly goals list.
  • It has an elastic band to keep it shut, which is nice.  I sometimes will also use this as a third bookmark.
  • It’s got enough for 90 days to complete a whole quarter.
  • It has daily quotes that are inspirational, etc.  I have shared quite a few of these because they’re usually pretty wonderful.
  • It has your daily “Big 3”:  The 3 biggest things that are most important for your day’s to-do list.  There’s also a weekly “Big 3.”  Example:  My “Big 3” this week are- Stay on Noom, Work-out 3 times this week, and Stay Focused at Work and Don’t delay (yes, I know that last one sounds funny but sometimes I lose focus).  So far, I’m doing well on #1 and #2….it’s only Monday though, so I’ve got time to get back on track for #3.
  • There’s a checklist and system for deferring, delegating, checking off, or cancelling.  For a check-list lover like me, this is perfect.
  • Everyday is two pages- 1) The date, your “Big 3,” your checklist and 2) Notes- where you can either put more to-do items, as I usually end up doing, and/or write notes.
  • There’s an index and all of the pages are numbered to make it easy to find things.  I honestly would not have ever considered this but if you’ve got something really important that you know you want to know what page you can find things in that topic about.  For example:  I’ve got a project called “Grapevine Stadium” and I had a few meetings about it with notes on pages 4,6,20, and phone calls on 8, 10, and 24.  I can quickly go to these without flipping through every page.  You have full control over how you structure your index.  I only index things that I feel are really important.
  • There’s a goal setting portion in the front where you list your SMARTER goals.  Then you break your goals down by finding out why and what you need to do to make it happen, along with setting frequency and due date, etc.  It breaks it down into achievement goals and habit goals.  These are all important for making sure that you achieve the goals you have.
  • Each week you look over your goals, your “Big 3”, etc. and it asks you how you did and what you could do better.  It’s a really good reflection.  It also asks you to set your “Big 3” for the following week.  I take this time to look at what I have on my calendar for the week to help me with them.  Then I try to pencil in my “Big 3” for each day of the week, knowing that these will likely change throughout the week but at least I have a general idea of the most important things I need to get done.
  • There’s a full year calendar in there, which is nice to put the most important things you have on your calendar in one place.
  • There’s the option to buy a “subscription” and they will automatically send you a new journal every quarter.

What I would change (there’s not much):

  • I’d add a pen holder, although I’m sure I could buy one for it.
  • I’d change the layout of the calendar.  It doesn’t give enough space to write hardly anything in there.  There are often times more than one thing I need to add in a day.  Now that I think about it, I might start noting the page number that items are on to make that easier.  But I still wish it was more in traditional calendar form so I could see what day of the week it was.  I’m sure it was done this way to save space and have fewer pages.  After all, you don’t want a planner that is too large.
  • I would’ve bought 4 journals at once rather than doing the subscription so that as I get closer to that next quarter I can start putting my to-do lists into their assigned days.

Overall, this is the best planner I’ve ever had and it really has helped me.  I’m slightly ADHD, so I need all of the (Full) focus I can get.  Pun intended.  I’ll continue to use this and I’m hopeful that I’ll see the change in the calendar maybe someday but, even without that change, it’s awesome.  I definitely recommend it if you’ve got a lot going on in your life and you’re into setting and achieving goals, whether personal or professional.

Happy Mommy Review Monday!

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Wellness Wednesday: Eating Healthy on the Road

I’m on the road a lot for work. Eating healthy on the road is hard. Extra hard when you love food and you use food as a way to keep you entertained and/or you have a 3-4 hour drive.

Here’s what I’ve been doing lately to make it work:

  • Pack my lunch and snacks when I can. Keeping easy-to-grab stuff is good. Examples are:
  • Yogurt
  • Fruits such as apples, bananas, and clementines that are prepackaged and easy to take with you
  • Light popcorn
  • Bags or containers of easy to munch on veggies.  My favorites are carrots and sweet snap peas.
  • Boiled eggs.  See my post on cooking these in an instant pot.
  • Healthy muffins
  • Nuts.  I actually don’t do this because I don’t feel like the “juice is worth the squeeze” calories-wise but these are super healthy for you in moderation.
  • Pre-made salads or bistro boxes.  I’ve not done this yet but I know a lot of people that do.
  • I’m still scoping out the best places to eat out but my favorite go-to is Panera Bread.  There are so many healthy options there and I always get a fruit cup as my side.
  • When I eat at a place with customers, there are typically not all that many great options- even the salads are horrendously high in calories and fat.  I stick mostly to the vegetables- as long as they aren’t a casserole or in a sauce.  If I can’t find anything, I’ll go with a baked potato (sweet potato if they have it) with sour cream on the side and a side salad with extra tomatoes, no cheese, and dressing on the side.  It’s hard.  I’m not going to lie.
  • When they sit those chips and salsa down in front of me or that delicious smelling loaf of bread, its soooo tempting.  I try to think about my end goal and resist.  I drink a sip of water every time I want a bite of it.
  • If I have a customer that says they don’t want to choose or I know they like sushi or seafood, I’ll often times suggest this because it’s an easy one for me.
  • If I’m spending the night out of town, I try to stay in a place that has a mini fridge and microwave.  I can either pack something in my cooler to bring along or I’ll sometimes make a run to the grocery store for a frozen dinner and some fruit or yogurt for a sweet ending.
  • I pack a couple of drink mixes (either Crystal Light or Kroger’s brand) with me to satisfy my sweet cravings and help my water intake.  Win-win.
  • Sometimes when I’m in a hurry and don’t have time for getting a healthy meal but know I need to have something decent, I’ll run into a convenience store and grab a banana and a Muscle Milk protein shake.  Most stores now have bananas (and if I’m lucky a few other options too).

What are you’re beat healthy eating tips for the road? I could use the recommendations!!!

Happy Wellness Wednesday!

Sweet Saturday: In the Kitchen

Today was a great day with the girls. They love to “pay kitten” (aka Play Kitchen). They’re very creative and I only had to retrieve one chewed up plastic French fry from Kate’s mouth. I call that a success.

People often ask if they get along well. And I always answer with “Eh.” Their personalities are very much their own, as are their looks but on occasion we will catch a few super sweet moments between the two sisters when they think no one is watching.

And it warms my heart!

As you can see, we moved their rooms around so that they now have Anna’s kitchen and table that she’s “too big for” now. If it didn’t make these two so happy that might make me a bit sad. Such is life!

Downstairs in the real kitchen, I’ve almost made it a whole week back on Weight Watchers. My goal is to get healthy and fit back into my old clothes, at least the few pre-twin pieces left after last year’s KonMari-phase cleared out my closet of anything that “I didn’t love.”

This year I’m not doing resolutions since last year failed so miserably. I think the Balanced app is a great idea but took too much time. I quit about a month in.

In 2018, I’m just trying to get back on track with goal setting and one of my goals is to get healthy. Weight Watchers has been good to me before. I lost 40 lbs in college.

And now I get to lose it all over again. What a great opportunity (typed in very sarcastic tone)! The good things is, Weight Watchers seems to have done some good updates and the app is super user friendly.

I’ll probably be finding all kinds of tricks to eat as much as I can for as little points as I can so stay tuned!

P.S. If anyone has any tips on replacing tasty coffee creamers with a low point alternative, PLEASE let me know!

Thursday’s Thoughts:  Like riding a bike

From my Five-Minute Journal, today’s quote was from Albert Einstein:

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving. 

Although this morning was the first time I’d heard this quote, I think it’s been something that I’ve always subconsciously tried to use in my life when things are a challenge. 

Just like “putting one foot in front of the other” or “taking one baby step at a time” help us make moves in the right direction, the concept of peddling to keep balanced is just as true. 

Right now you hear a lot of hype about “work-life balance.” There’s an abundance of advice on this topic but- let’s face it- this is a hard thing to do!

And, quite frankly, I get sooo overwhelmed trying to keep a good balance that I often times loose balance. Similar to learning to ride without your training wheels, you’re going along fine until you start thinking about balancing too much. Then what happens??? 

You freak out and you loose your balance. (P.S. It’s even more likely to happen if you wear princess dress pjs to ride your bike-see Anna below)The moral of my rambling Thursday’s Thoughts may sound like I’m advocating for mindlessly riding throughout life (and probably not wearing a helmet). 

But, the truth is, I think if we all just keep peddling forward without putting on the brakes so much, we’re a little more likely to have a smoother ride as we go up and down the hills and valleys of our lives. 

Safe travels and let me know your best tips for this ride through life…

Wellness Wednesday: 6 Reasons to Drink More Water & 6 Ways to Make it Happen 

Today, one of the things I aim to accomplish is to drink enough water. I live in a state of dehydration- most days running on coffee alone. Yes, I realize that this is terrible.
So…I’m working on it. I know on the days that I have consumed the right amount I feel soooooo much better. Why not do it every day, you may ask? I could come up with a million different reasons. None of them really all that great.In an effort to “talk myself” into drinking enough each day, I’m listing a few reasons of why I should get my daily quota:

  1. Humans are 60 percent water so it affects our digestion, absorption, circulation, creation of saliva, transportation of nutrients, and maintenance of body temperature. 
  2. Water is essential for the kidneys to function….so it makes sense that you’re more likely to get kidney stones if you don’t drink enough water. (both of these two reasons seem pretty crucial to well being….)
  3. When dehydrated, the skin can become more vulnerable to skin dryness and wrinkling (so, that explains my wrinkles…and I was pissed that my expensive skin care wasn’t working)
  4. Water is used to lubricate the joints (I can certainly feel the difference in my joints when I drink more- yes, already at 34 years old thanks to dehydration)
  5. Drinking water when you think you’re hungry may be the fix you need to avoid that unhealthy snack. 
  6. Water is the cheapest drink you can get- even if you have buy it. Cha-Ching! Frugality in its simplest form right there. 

If you don’t believe me, check it out at WebMD

Here’s how I plan to help myself with this:

  1. Drink a big glass of water when I wake up before working out 
  2. Drink another glass before I let myself have my first cup of coffee (I know this is going to be a hard one)
  3. Drink another glass before I have lunch
  4. Drink another glass before I have an afternoon cup of coffee or snack (can you tell I like coffee???)
  5. Drink another glass as I’m fixing dinner
  6. Drink another glass before bed

These are all big glasses so six should be plenty in combination with the fruits and vegetables that I regularly eat that also have water content. Did you notice there’s a bunch of befores in that list? Carrot and stick folks- thats the way I’ve got to roll with habit changes.

Here’s a few more things that I’ll be doing to help me:

  • Use crystal light one or two times to keep it not so flavorless 
  • Drink warm water with lemon. This makes me feel classy. That may be weird but that’s ok. 
  • Have a yeti, knock-off yeti, or water bottle with you and full at any time. 
  • Drink a few sips after every call I make (since I’m in sales that’s a lot every day). 
  • Order water with lime from Sonic rather than a fountain drink. Or just avoid Sonic works too. Again, frugality and health often coincide. 
  • Eat healthy. Eating healthy makes you want to drink more water and drinking more water makes you want to eat healthier. 

So now I guess I better go get back to drinking more water…

Stay hydrated, my friends!

For more info on Wellness and my Well Being journey check out my first Wellness Wednesday post. 

Mommy Review Monday: Five-Minute Journal 

A few days back I posted about my new journey using The Five-Minute Journal and said I’d let you all know how it’s gone for 5 days- and now it’s been more than that but I decided to wait to post on Mommy Review Monday. I did make it the solid 5 days that it challenged me to do in the intro and I’ll soon be rewarding myself with a new large white pie dish (and you can bet I’ll be baking a big apple pie in it first)!  In case you’re wondering, it has you identify a reward if you do complete 5 days in a row (carrot) and a consequence if you don’t make it (stick). My consequence was to give Garen $100. I realize that may be a stupid consequence. (I had a really hard time coming up with something). 

So here’s what I think so far…

What I like:

  • It only takes 5 minutes. Seriously. They weren’t lying. It only takes that long total for morning and night entries combined. If you’re taking more than that you aren’t writing what comes to your mind first, which seems beyond the point to me. 
  • I really like the quotes of the day. They’re all very inspirational and not all the ones you hear over and over again. 
  • I like the challenges. One day a week there’s a random challenge. This week is to read or skim over your favorite book. Fun, right?
  • It’s nice looking back at what you thought would make the day great in the morning VS. what actually made the day great at the end of the day. 
  • It’s geared towards the positive. We all could use a bit more of that in our lives. 
  • I like the texture of the cover. Yes, that kind of thing does matter to me. Weird, I know. 
  • I like that there’s a ribbon in it for a bookmark. I’m always up for added convenience. 
  • I think that it has been super helpful in reminding me how incredibly fortunate I am. In a world where I just got irritated because my same-day Amazon shipment didn’t make it, I sure can use this as a kick in the rear. A positive kick in the right direction. 
  • Priced at $22.95 and sold by Intelligent Change on Amazon, I think it’s well worth the money. Don’t they say “you can’t put a price on happiness” or something like that?!?  As a side note, I just discovered their website and it looks amazing so I’ll be checking that out too. Told ya I was a nerd!

What I would change:

  • I would make the cover a darker color. I’m imagining how dirty it might get after making a few overnight work trips with me. 
  • I’d also give the cover a little more flex. I like journals to flex a bit more than a traditional hardcover but I know I’m just being picky and they had to cater to a wide array of preferences. I’m sure this is a good happy medium. 
  • I would include a pen holder on it. One of the initial challenges that I identified when considering excuses I might come up with to not write in it religiously– Failure to have a pen conveniently nearby. Lazy, yes. Truth, also yes. I keep one in my nightstand but who knows if I’ll always remember to put one on my hotel night stand when I travel. 
  • Maybe slightly more room to write. Not very much or it would encourage writing too much, defeating its own purpose. 

So, there you have it. I think it’s great and I would highly recommend to anyone who:

  • Wants to have a more positive outlook on life
  • Wants to journal but doesn’t know where to start
  • Wants to journal but doesn’t have time 
  • Wants to be more grateful for the people and circumstances in their lives

New Journey with the Five-Minute Journal 

I’m starting a new journey with the Five-Minute Journal. I’m nerdishly excited about it as I’m always looking for good self-improvement methods. This jumped out at me after listening to a pod cast (I hate that I can’t remember which one) with the authors/creators of the journal. They recognized a need- people need to remember the positives in their lives, identify actionable methods to achieve their goals, and use self-affirmation. I know that I need this. On days that I wake up and think about positive things first and what I want to accomplish, my day goes better. 

Their idea of having a quote followed by just three simple things to go through, which takes not more than five minutes is fantastic. Let’s face it- with a full time job and four kiddos, taking more than five minutes is pretty unrealistic. They even have you set a five-day goal for doing it five days in a row which is so clever. 

I’ll let you know how it goes after the first five days. Stay tuned!