Five Quick Time Management Tips

Louder for the folks in the back. 🗣

I will take a productive day over a busy one any damn day. In fact, I have designed my lifestyle and trained myself on how to be more intentional with my time and energy. I have always found it interesting to watch people that can’t get their work or personal tasks done in the allotted time. Some even wear it like a badge of honor when they are working nights and weekends just to keep up, but it’s not a badge of honor and it’s definitely not a status symbol to be busy. It is our responsibility to stop this before we have another generation of stressed out, anxious, tired, overwhelmed “busy” kids.

In fact, I have found that being busy is more likely to uncover 3 things going on. The first and biggest is an inefficient use of time. Next is overthinking and lacking the ability to quickly make a decision and move on to the next task at hand. Finally, it can also uncover a perfectionist who is more focused on everything being perfect than everything getting done. So much time wasted on the above.

Obviously there are cases where the amount of work expected and the time provided to complete are off balanced, but I can promise this is a rarity. If you are one of those people that’s not managing your time, not able to make a decision quickly, and trying to make everything perfect, there are options to help you grow and get better with your time. Whether in work or your personal life, here are my 5 secrets to maximizing your energy while minimizing your output.

  1. Create a focused list first thing in the morning of 2-3 items that will serve as your goals or focus that day. If you are spending more than a few minutes on something not on your list, then just stop. It’s that simple.
  2. Time block either 30 mins or 1 hour and spend that time only doing what aligns with those 2-3 items. Don’t check your phone or emails during this time and it is best to start first on your biggest and scariest task. This not only gets it off your plate, but it also gives you a sense of accomplishment and energy to complete the next task. Then take a 5-10 minute break to get up, walk around, grab a snack or whatever before you start the next time block. This may be one of the best kept secrets! It really helps focus on one thing vs multi-tasking, which has been proven to not be effective.
  3. If other items do come up, and they will, just block them out until your time block is up. You do have to plan for these unexpected tasks in your day though. Make sure you are keeping an hour or so a day set aside to handle new tasks that need completed quickly. Follow the time blocking tip to handle, along with OHIO mentioned below. Lastly, it is perfectly OK to say no. Try it once and see how good it feels and how easy it is may surprise you! No explanation needed. Also, I think a lot of people feel like they are doing the right thing by saying “yes” to everything, when in fact you are likely hurting yourself, your other priorities, and whatever you decide to take on if it’s not within your areas of focus or you don’t have capacity for it.
  4. OHIO-Only handle it once is another one of my favorites. If it’s something that you know could possibly come back onto your plate at some point, try and anticipate what could cause that to come back and go ahead and address it. This is especially effective if you have an email that has several questions. Sometimes it is easier to just call the person and answer all questions, along with asking them if they have other questions. This cuts down on the back & forth emails that require you to think about it and focus on it for several rounds of back and forths. Put yourself in the other persons shoes and think what questions you may have and just answer all of them.
  5. Delegate!!! My best example of this is house cleaning. I know my weakness is cleaning and it takes up a large portion of my weekend. I started delegating this to a professional about two years ago, and have never looked back. I am now able to focus my time and energy on my family, my health and growing my business. All of these items make it worth every penny spent and it gives me the opportunity to bring in more money through growing my business that easily covers this expense. Delegating work to the right person gives you more time and energy to focus on the items you are good at.

Since time is a non renewable resource, time management skills are something that more people should be focused on improving instead of continuing to work “harder”. I also honestly have zero patience for those that believe they have to “hustle and grind” from sun up to sun down and are spreading that nasty rumor to the rest of us. Those that fall for the hustle and grind are setting themselves up for a lifetime of inefficiency IMO. Y’all go ahead..I’m going to focus my energy on the two or three tasks that are most aligned with my goals and then I’m going to take a nap. 🤷‍♀️

Anyone else on the work smarter not harder team?!

Three Thrifty Travel Tips

Nobody likes listening to Linda talk about her travels to literally wherever she wants whenever she wants when all you can afford is to travel your ass to the couch in your living room. So let’s stick it to Linda and become world travelers if for nothing else but to have stories for Linda at the water cooler on Monday. Here are the 3 things that matter the most when considering your travel strategy.

1. Where you go matters. It also matters what time you plan to go. For example, some of my favorite trips have been to the mountains in the off season, like early Fall for hiking. Everything is reduced usually, including cheaper flights, AirBNB rates, and even those trusty Colorado souvenirs you want to pick up. So a good key is, if everyone else is going to this same place at the same time, don’t be like everyone else. Also, just because Linda is spending three weeks hiking in Rome, it doesn’t mean that your trip is less travely if you pack up the car and take a quick long weekend road trip to the next state over. Travel is travel is travel and it’s about experiencing something new, not about a competition of who can get the farthest from the zip code they reside in.

2. What you pack matters. I once made it to Jamaica for a six day trip with only a carry on. Being intentional with what you pack will help with expenses and time. (no extra bags or overweight charge, or maybe a smaller car is ok to rent without oodles of luggage) Don’t be afraid to pack one pair of jeans to wear multiple times or leave those super uncomfortable six extra pairs of shoes at home and pack that one pair you know will get you through site seeing blister free. Now that you know what to leave behind, let’s pack the essentials. A reusable water bottle is a necessity, and just make sure you empty it out before security. Now, if you are traveling, you can save a TON by packing some snacks and quick meals. If we are road tripping, we bring things we usually don’t eat, like chips and a loaf of bread and peanut butter for easy sandwiches. Grab some travel ready fruit like apples and oranges and some baby carrots and you have several meals and snacks. Yes I know Linda is posting all her gourmet meals on Insta, but remember, you can go out to one or two quality meals to experience the local cuisine and totally get the same foodporn ammo to post..just cheaper and likely a bit healthier also. (Linda leaves out the part about that 5 extra pounds she brought home as a souvenir)

3. Where you stay matters. Find a place that jives with your agenda nicely. If you are just looking for some time to chill and enjoy a nice hot tub or swim and don’t have a rental car, then maybe a hotel makes sense. If you will be out soaking up all the free local attractions, then AirBNB on the outskirts of the city will probably be a great fit. You can pick a place based on amenities and the proximity to what you want to do. Closer isn’t always better, especially on the budget. But if they have free breakfast, dinner, coffee, and tea, well then, it may in fact be a great choice. Or if you are bringing stuff like we do, then make sure you have a kitchen area to prepare those on the go meals. I know Linda only stays in 5 star all inclusive resorts, but let’s remember kids, you are paying a premium for all that inclusion, even the stuff you won’t be using. So give a no inclusion, off the beaten path, quirky little cottage a try and you may discover that it’s even more enjoyable.

What is it that you are looking to get out of your next trip? For me, traveling is always a time to unplug, explore, try new things, and spend quality carefree time with my family. So regardless of where you go, how you get there, or what you bring, don’t be like Linda. Be unique, and don’t lose site of your why. Safe Travels!

Shout out for NO SPEND SATURDAY

OK so we DID get our Costco groceries haul for December, but just necessities..right along with milk and eggs, Cheez-it’s are totally necessary right?! Also, my uncle and cousin were passing through town and kind enough to take us out to lunch so we could catch up.

2.6 mile trail walk with kids FREE

Impromptu photo shoot FREE

Finding a tree stump to sketch FREE

Finding a cool leaf FREE

New walking stick FREE

New pet caterpillar FREE

Is it just me, or have you noticed that the less you spend, the more freedom you have to enjoy yourself?!

No stress of watching your hard earned money leave your bank account or worrying about if you got someone the right thing or if it’s the right size or color or whatever the many stressors that come with shopping are. No stress about how the other bills are going to get paid now that you decided to make this purchase, or the extra hours it will take to cover what you spent. I know that when I spend money, the dynamic changes. I now have expectations and pressure to make sure it’s a fun time or a good meal or the best most memorable gift. Maybe it’s just me, but if I take spending out of the equation, then I literally don’t have to worry about it. It then becomes about enjoying the moments and making memories with my peeps.

The weekends, and especially those leading up to the holidays are HARD. Everyone has a deal going and all of our senses are inundated with smells of candles or food, seeing a must have item advertised for $5 off, touching all those soft blankets and stuffed animals, hearing the ads and workers at the store telling us today is our last chance, etc. This is all that most of us are used to..our society has been like this for as long as I can remember, and as long as we continue to consume at the rate we do, nothing will change. We truly have to make an effort to avoid, so if you are able to stay strong on any shopping front, you are winning. A great way is to start with a No Spend day or weekend. Another great way to do so is 1) to set a Holiday budget and 2) stick to it. Know who is on your list, know how much you want to spend, and make sure you have the funds to cover any of this. If not, your family and friends would much rather you bake some cookies, or spend time with them than to have you go into debt to show your love. Trust me on this one!!

Who else left their stress at home and their money in the bank today? Any other tips for surviving the holiday season?

Intro time

Intro time! I want to learn more about all of you, so please share as little or as much as you want. I will get it started. 👋

My personal residence in the Kansas City area is what I call “the zoo”. Always lots of dogs and kids running in and out and if the garage is open, then let yourself in. 😉

I have two awesome kids..one who is learning to read and the other is reading lines in her latest city theater play. I have a very patient and supportive husband, with a beard, who breaks gender stereotypes by cooking, doing dishes, AND the laundry. 🧺

A few hobbies include meditating, yoga, running, reading, writing, eating but not cooking, and volunteering on the board for Habitat for Humanity and as a big for big brothers and big sisters. I work for an insuretech company and my degree is in sociology with a minor in psychology and I LOVE people watching. 👀

When I look back on what we’ve done this year since I started mysemibasiclife, it’s been a journey of finding our values, embracing minimalism, doing a No Spend Year, paying off $165,000 in debt, buying two rental properties, and continuing to build wealth through diversification. 💰

My goal is to help you take control of your mindset and financial future, so you can design a life and a legacy to leave your mark on this world. 🌎

I’m an open book, so ask me any questions and tell me about yourself. 👯‍♀️

Photo credit: my yelling and my IPhone timer

Seven FREE Apps to help you become stress free

Ok..so my title may be a little misleading..since becoming stress free is likely impossible. But I needed to get your attention and it sounded catchier than seven free ways to reduce stress. 🤷‍♀️

You guys..it’s 2019 and we KNOW that we are all living with a more demanding schedule causing a more stressful life AND it has been proven to have an impact on our health. Some studies say that as many as 80% of people are feeling both physical and psychological effects of stress, such as fatigue, headache, stomachache, muscle tension, anxiety, nervousness, irritability, and sleep disturbances, just to name a few. Do you currently feel stressed?

I keep talking about minimizing the demands on your time and that as a society we need to stop glorifying “being busy” as a status symbol of success, but are you listening?! We also need to start ditching unhealthy coping mechanisms, like drugs, cigarettes, over or under eating, alcohol and my personal favorite..the art of ignoring your stressors until you have a nervous breakdown.

You guys..can we please try to be proactive instead of reactive already?! I’m not begging you, but pretty damn close, because this is that important!! I’m even going to make it easy and convenient and FREE for you, so that takes away all of your excuses. Here are seven tools and/or apps to keep in your back pocket, and you should be at minimum doing 2-3 of these things in your day to day, and holding on to the rest for those extra stressful days.

1. Headspace-this app reminds me of Notorious BIG and the song Hypnotize. 🎶 sometimes your words just hypnotize me 🎶 This app has helped to hypnotize me both to get to sleep at bedtime, and then back to sleep middle of the night when my brain was ready to party. 🧠

2. YouTube yoga videos-there are SO many videos that it’s likely you could watch a new video each day for the rest of your life. Depending on you and your unique coping, you may need either a restorative gentle video or an intense vinyasa flow. Or maybe you fall in the middle..but just don’t fall in the group that doesn’t take advantage of the free yoga available and go get you some zen! 🧘‍♀️

3. Journaling-Daylio, Jour and Reflectly seem like good journaling apps, or if you’re like me, you can always just grab one of those random notebooks around your house and write it out (don’t act like you don’t have a hundred of them).

4. Music-ok so my AppleMusic isn’t free, but the radio is, or YouTube music videos, or Spotify or Pandora. Make yourself a few playlists..one for high stress and needing some good vibes and high energy, and another for relaxing music to calm your soul.

5. Walking/Running-no app required..just the outdoors or a treadmill. But if you’re looking for coaching, the C25K app or the Nike Run Club are both apps I love and use!! Bonus points for grabbing a dog to take with you, they get stressed to you know.

6. Daily affirmations-I have an app called affirmations, and it’s one of the first things I look at on my phone after I’m up and moving in the morning. I get a new one everyday, and it’s just that daily reminder that you are a bad ass and can handle any of life’s stresses today, so bring it.

7. Reading-I use the Libby app., which syncs with my library card and gets me free ebooks and audiobooks. Nothing like feeling stressed and taking a moment to forget it all and get lost in a good book.

These are all ways to ditch stress and get back to being awesome.

How do you manage stress?

Carnival Season

It’s carnival season around here..one of my favorites for watching my kids just be kids and enjoy some screen free fun time, it’s also my favorite for people watching, and don’t forget the funnel cake.😋 🎡

The one thing I don’t like is how much it all adds up in price..parking, vendors, a ride here, a ride there, games and then of course the drinks and food. 🍕🍦🍿🥤

This year..we just picked one of the three carnivals we usually go to. I also avoided the $10 parking by finding a spot on the street for free. We ate before we left the house and brought our own water.

My best move was convincing my kids the games weren’t as much fun as the rides. Since they only care about the prizes anyway, I told them we would go to Dollar Tree after, and they could pick out any item in the store. They didn’t even ask to play any games, and we even saw another kid asking his parents to play and Caleb told him that “the games were a rip off because they were just trying to take his money to get rich” 😂

We did splurge on the $20 all you can ride wristbands for each kid, and a $5 funnel cake to share, so with my Dollar Tree promise, I was all in for $47. I was proud of this, because we usually spend at least double, if not triple this during carnival season, and we end up with meltdowns about “one more game”, and end up with a bunch of crap toys or stuffed animals we don’t need also. 🧸

To be honest, the spending less part was great, but we had more fun this year with one carnival and without all the extras. Getting used to a more simple minimalist lifestyle gives us a chance to really enjoy the best things in life that have always been free..the memories. 💕

8 ways to eat out for less

Chipotle is my weakness and I love everything about it..except that it would cost my family around $750 a month if we ate it for dinner every night. 🤑

So we try to limit it to be a once a month treat, and try to find ways to make it even more affordable than it already is. Today, we got 6 servings of food for $16.72!! I also got enough napkins for both of our car glove boxes for the next few months..lol.

But while I was ordering today, I thought about some different ways that you can save money while eating out, no matter what you’re craving.

1. Don’t eat out at all..and if you’re like me and know that not eating out at all is a recipe for disaster, then limit it to once or twice a month and budget for it. (if I don’t eat out at all, then I will fall HARD off the wagon and go on a wildly expensive and unhealthy eating out binge)

2. Eat before hand. Yes you read that right..grab a snack first so you aren’t ordering more than you need or super sizing because you’re starving. Or if you’re eating out for dinner, make sure you had a good lunch that day.

3. Does everyone really need a meal or at minimum..their OWN meal? Likely not, so do like we do and make quesadillas at home for the kids and let them eat a little guacamole and chips as a side or you can share an order of food also.

4. Much like the previous tip, the portion sizes are ridiculous these days and WAY more than one person needs in one sitting. I ask for extra rice because it’s free, and I can make 3 meals out of one bowl.

5. Find some add ins or sides from home. We usually do chips from home and add some carrots and grapes for sides. Or if you’re ordering a pizza, skip the breadsticks and make a salad at home with it instead.

6. Look for promotions! Chipotle was doing BOGO for wearing a youth soccer jersey this weekend, so I dressed my soccer star in his and got a free bowl for it. I know Chick-Fil-A does similar dress like a cow promotions. This makes it fun also, because you can dress ridiculous and get some crazy second looks from people.

7. Join the rewards program. Don’t get me wrong..don’t use the rewards program as an excuse to eat out all the time, but if you can earn a free entree down the road for when you do plan to order, then take full advantage of that. If you’re like me and get excited and forget, Chipotle has a way to upload receipts afterwards. (as long as you do it within 30 days of ordering)

8. Do carry out. If you dine in, you are more likely to get pressured into adding on drinks, appetizers, and desserts that you don’t need. Also, you will need to add a minimum of a 20% tip, and tipping is also something you have to do for delivery. So avoid it and go grab your food and take it to the park or take it home to eat. Save the fancy sit down meals for extra special occasions, like an anniversary or birthday.

Those are some of my secrets to saving money while still getting your favorite fast food fix. What are some ways you save when eating out?!

Final Food Prep Post

Last one guys..I swear. I didn’t want to overwhelm you with a bazillion in one long post, so this will be my third and final on my food prep containers.

The kids tested these warming bad boys out and said their macaroni stayed warm for the four hours until lunch..once again Karen..move along if you don’t like what we’re eating over here. They even have an adorable built in spoon that we will enjoy exactly one more time before it gets lost. 😜


And my fave is this little personal salad buffet. I mean..you can put ALL THE TOPPINGS..and the DRESSING even. Refer back to my previous post about how all the food shouldn’t be touching until I’m ready for it to touch. It’s also a step further than my weird quirks, since it helps stuff stay fresh. I asked my husband for his review..a man of many words said “I liked it”. And there you have it folks. The best review he’s ever given. 🤷‍♀️🥗

Last but not least..the full lineup that is setting me up for years to come, including my reusable snack bags and salad dressing/dip containers-with links below. Let me know if you have any personal favorites for meal prep!!

Reusable snack bags: (not my exact ones because they no longer sell, but similar)
 

Salad dressing cups:

Where’s me lucky charms 🍀

Another of my go to food prep containers and I have a few more to bring your way in the next few weeks. This is another amazingly easy container for making breakfast for breakfast or breakfast for lunch. I know I know..cereal has sugar..and also I don’t care. Look Karen..If you don’t like what we’re eating over here, then don’t sit by us at the lunch table. 🤷‍♀️

I’m not telling anyone to eat cereal every day for a meal..so lighten up a little and think of it as a treat once in a while. This container would also be great for oatmeal/granola or yogurt/berries, or rice/beans, or soup/crackers..the possibilities are endless honestly. It even has built in ice pack and is microwave safe. Basically great for anything you want to be separated at one point in time, but then mixed together at a later time to form a delicious meal. 🥣

If you want to be like me and not be like Karen..then follow the link below..and go get you some cereal and milk in bulk at Costco. 😉

The Best Meal Prep Items

With back to school upon us, along with another year of back to work (after a weekend off..lol), I thought I would share some of the containers that I absolutely love!! If you are trying to stop eating out as much, whether it’s to save money, eat healthier, to simplify your life, or whatever your reason, the right containers can set you up for success! It took me under thirty minutes to prep lunches for myself and my five and ten year old for the upcoming week. With the amount of time it takes to run out and grab lunch, along with the cost, I expect to save over $2,600 dollars for me, $1,000 for kids and 7,000 hours of my time. (15 mins each way to grab a $10 lunch x 5 days a week and kids school lunch at $2.50 a lunch x two kids)

The first and absolute favorite is what I refer to as the “food tackle bait” containers. These bad boys are perfect for bento box snacky type lunches, since they have containers perfect for people like me who get weirded out by their food touching. 😂. Also for non-food touching weirdos..it’s still nice to keep things separated and fresh so you can prep in advance. You see modeled here in the back containers with hummus/crackers, guacamole/chips and strawberries, carrots and almonds. Perfectly balanced. 👌🏼 The front container is another awesome one for those of you who like sandwiches of any variety. 🥪 Seen modeled below in the front with an English muffin, peanut butter, celery, apple slices, and pretzel twists, all of which I’m fully prepared to dip in peanut butter. 😋

You guys..I’ve tried a LOT of meal prep containers, and these are hands down the best bang for your buck.  My old ones were cheaper, but they also were cheaper quality and cracked and broke in under two years.  These are heavy duty and also have more space for food.  I’m so excited and I don’t get excited over much, so if you are just as excited and ready to set yourself up for meal prep success, links below to each item.  Follow me for more upcoming posts on ways to simplify your life and save money and your health in the process!

Let me know what you think of these containers and what you plan to do with all that saved time and money!!

Food tackle box container (Please note this is a different but better option as mine are currently unavailable):

 

Sandwich container: