How to Increase Energy Levels during a Season of Busy-ness

Happy October, friends!

Many of us get excited this time of year because we’re starting to slide into the flurry of the holiday season. We all get a little busier as we head to school events, plan for travel and holidays, and get our homes prepared for spending more time indoors. As our schedules get more cramped,  it’s important to focus on ways to increase energy levels and reduce stress. Here is what I do to beat a season of busy-ness.

For me, this time of year is also the busiest season at work; as an insurance broker, enrollment season is now just days away rather than weeks or months away. I feel that I’ve done a lot of work getting ready for the upcoming enrollment season. But this is the time to really clarify my schedule to be sure that I keep what’s most important in front me.

How to Increase Energy Levels during a Season of Busy-ness

With that in mind, here are my Quarter 4 priorities:

I Fuel My Body Properly.

Last year, one of the biggest game changes for maintaining my energy levels was making changes to my diet. I switched to a Paleo Diet about 90 percent of the time and simplified meal planning (and grocery shopping) by subscribing to Prep Dish.

Continuing to meal plan and prep ahead is definitely on the plan this year. But I’m also making sure that I’m taking a multivitamin and fish oil supplement daily, and I’m focusing on maintaining hydration. For me, at least 80 ounces of water daily keeps the brain fog to a minimum.

Workouts are Non-Negotiable.

I’ve said for years that when my work schedule gets busy, getting into the dojo is even more of a priority. Regular exercise is a way of managing my stress levels, and the endorphins increase my energy and help me think more creatively.

And since many of us study healing arts in our martial arts school, I can ask for a treatment (read: free massage) when a good workout doesn’t seem to help me release the tension that comes with working long hours.

I Give My Mind a Chance to Rest

This goes beyond trying to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night, although that is a priority for me as well. During enrollment season, I also make a point to leave the office for lunch each day. I meditate more often, and I prioritize activities that allow my subconscious mind to free-flow a little.

For me, this means journalling (which is why I’m ordering a fresh Five Minute Journal) and trying new crochet projects. That creative time is important to avoid mental fatigue.

I Recognize I Can’t Do It All.

This is partly not committing to things that will drain me mentally. But it is mostly knowing when to ask for help. I’m fortunate that the Mister is totally willing to take care of household chores or cooking or running errands on those days (or weeks) when my focus has to be on taking care of work. We know that building our business is a team effort that will move us closer to our future goals.

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In addition to knowing when for help, I’m outsourcing some of the planning/shopping through subscription services such as Grove Collaborative to send our household’s cleaning and personal care products on a monthly basis. Like having my grocery list prepared, not having to keep track of what cleaning supplies we need creates mental white space.

So rather than trying to be Super Woman and do ALL THE THINGS, I let go what doesn’t need to be done right this moment and I ask for help when I need it. And I say no to invitations or opportunities that will steal energy from me rather than grow it.

10 Ways to Save Money This Month

Between school starting and the holiday season drawing near, many of us start looking harder at ways to save money in our budgets. In fact, one of the budgeting facebook groups has even adopted the hashtag #$avetember to encourage and inspire its members.

I’m always on the hunt for ideas to squeeze more dollars out of my budget and wanted to share some tips that we use to keep the budget on track. If you’re looking for more ways to save money and grow your savings account, here are my top 10 ideas:

  1. Save your loose change in a jar and make a deposit at the end of each month.
  2. Look up your grocery store’s weekly flyer and create your meal plan based on what is on sale; this can be especially significant for sales on meats and produce.
  3. Plan several meals using the same protein. For example, leftovers from a roast chicken would be used for tacos and soup later in the week.
  4. Purchase produce that is in-season. If possible, shop at a local farmers market or join a local CSA.
  5. Freeze or can in-season produce so you don’t have to purchase it at a higher price when out-of-season.
  6. Learn to make to make your sauces, seasonings, and broths from scratch. We make these at home: tomato/pizza sauce, chicken/veggie broth or stock, taco/chili seasoning, stir-fry sauce, etc.
  7. Group and map out your errands for one afternoon rather than taking your car out several times throughout the week.
  8. Make use of your library to check out books, magazines, movies, etc. Check to see if your library allows you to borrow digital or audio books.
  9. Make use of your library for other community programs. Our library offers classes in crafts such as tie-dye or knitting, has movie nights (or mornings), has regular yoga classes, etc. all for free to its members.
  10. Get familiar with your city’s parks and museums community events. Our community has weekly free concerts in the summer and field days with games for the kids, hosted by public safety.

When you have to tighten the budget, what do you do to save money? Share with us in the comments or send me an email to let me know.

If you're on the hunt for ways to save money and grow your family's savings accounts, here are 10 ideas that we use to keep our budget on track.

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5 Ways to Find More Time in Your Schedule

The lazy days of summer are behind us. September brings a slew of challenges to our calendars, including back to school, sports (hello, college football), getting ready for the holidays, etc. For me, quarter 4 is always the busiest work-wise, so I have to dial down on my systems, even more, to find more time in my day-to-day schedule.

Time is a non-renewable resource, so I think it’s even more important this time of year to not waste our precious minutes. Here are my top five ways to find more time in your schedule and keep your sanity as the year speeds toward its end.

1. Plan your week and your day ahead of time.

Each weekend (usually on Sunday mornings), I sit down and lay my schedule out for the week on paper. This allows me to visually see which days will be extremely busy and when I have more flex time; I use this as a guide to write out the next day’s to-do list as I wrap up my work day. Getting a handle on my weekly schedule has been key for me in finding more time in my week.

2. Meal plan and meal prep.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, not having to figure meals out each day has freed up so much time on my calendar and eliminated a lot of stress from my life. I’m a big fan of the Prep Dish meal planning service. If you don’t want to do a comprehensive plan on your own, check out Meal Plan Rockstar to learn how to create your own seasonal meal plan and revolving pantry/shopping list.

3. Do a load of laundry each day

Running a small load of laundry each day allows me to stay caught up, rather than having a huge mountain to deal with at the end of each week. Also, I wash sheets and all the towels every weekend. Who wants to spend all their time on a day off chained to the laundry room? Not me.

4. Create a solid evening/bedtime routine

Getting in the habit of laying out your clothes and packing lunches each evening makes the mornings so much more peaceful. Because I have tomorrow’s to-do list laid out already, I know exactly what needs to go in my office bag so I’m not hunting for it on the way out. A solid nighttime routine has helped me find more time in the mornings, and I believe that a more peaceful morning leads to a more productive day.

5. Create a checklist for recurring tasks

I know it sounds structured but it works. Write down the tasks you find yourself doing on a weekly, monthly, quarterly basis and put a reminder in your calendar until these things become a habit. Do not put the stress on yourself of trying to remember everything.

What are your tips to find more time in your schedule? Let me know in the comments what you do to find…or send me an email at aubrey@aubreyeshaw.com so that we can have a conversation.

 

5 ways to find more time in your schedule

 

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