PROPER PLANNING FOR MAXIMUM PRODUCTIVITY

By Jenny Jiménez on October 22, 2018

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a good weekend.  I know how fast it can go when you’re busy.  Crazy how quickly it got cold right?  I remember complaining about the heat and 24 hours later complaining how cold it was and upset that I had to turn my heat on, LOL… never satisfied I guess.

I wanted to take some time to discuss how I plan.  If you are anything like me then you are always pressed for time.  Seems like there aren’t enough hours in the day and I have found that if I do not plan right then I don’t feel very productive.  It just doesn’t feel like I got anything done.  Do you ever feel like that?

I’m sure you’ve seen posts before on planning but usually those people have two parent households or have help from family members or friends.  I’m giving you my perspective on planning.  It may not work for everyone but remember as a single mom to two kids, I did it all alone.  It was rare that I got help from anyone but after some time I did find a rhythm of doing things that worked for me and so will you.  We’re moms right, hey it’s what we do – we figure things out!

So back to planning, I use a total of three planners and calendars to plan on a regular basis.  I have a planner for my everyday things that I keep with me always (except when I’m out and about on weekends), a large calendar for the family that I keep in my kitchen and another planner that I use for house hold items like bills and such, and that one I keep at home with my office things. 

All Calendars

For my daily planner, I am usually carrying an A5 or a personal size planner.  This past year I used the personal size but with the year ending and I just know I have a ton of projects and things to work on next year so I just ordered my 2019 refills in the A5 size.  I absolutely love the Filofax planner.  It has a band to keep close and for years I had ones with buttons but after using this one with the band, I find that it saves space and it serves as a little holder for me to keep my To Do Lists or anything that I need to mail out – like my water bill 🙂 .

Planner

Planner zoomed

Family Calendar

For our family calendar we like to keep events we do together, doctor’s appointments, etc.  This calendar is also used by the kids to write down their work schedule for the week and any sports practices and games.  They also jot down when something is due like clothing money or fundraising due dates.  I get them involved in this one so there’s accountability and in hopes that one day they’ll be more organized.  One can hope, right!  I purchased this calendar at target last year and I’m definitely on the look out for the 2019 to come out, however as you can see by the smudge above, you want to write on it with a permanent marker.  Since the paper is a smooth shiny cardstock, things rub off.  We have tons of colored sharpies so it’s not a big deal, plus I like to write in colors that are used in the flowers that month.  LOL… I know cheesy 🙂 .

A FEW THINGS TO REMEMBER WHEN PLANNING…

Make every minute count.  I’m not saying you have to plan out your entire life but do your best to track and jot down what your day and week will look like.  This will help you stay on top of things especially when the unexpected pops up, like a sick kid.  

Don’t be afraid to move things around.  While it’s good to plan, you cannot plan everything.  As hard as you may try, something will always come up that you did not plan for.  Don’t be discouraged and let this unexpected event throw you off track.  Just move things around.  

Multi-task when appropriate.  Make the most of your time.  While cooking or cleaning up your kitchen and home go ahead and make some phone calls.  Reach out to your friend or relative and just use your earbuds while you are tackling your other errands.  I do this all the time BUT do not recommend this when spending quality time with someone.  In that case, that person should have your undivided attention so they feel valued.   

Stick to your schedule.  As tired as you may be, having and sticking to your schedule is the best way to ensure that you are accomplishing what you need so you make time for more important things.  Did you catch that?  Yes, I said make time.  The time won’t just happened.  You have to make it.   

Ask for help.  It’s okay to ask for help when you need it but remember as the head of your home, you need to find a way to make things work.  Ask for help when necessary but I’m a big believer or planning for the What Ifs.  Don’t just assume that everyone you ask for help will be able to.  Just stay calm and always have a Plan B.  

Avoid over-committing.  Parenting alone can sometimes feel, well lonely. Yup I said it (but you were thinking it 🙂 ).  No one says you have to be alone all the time but watch out for over committing yourself.  This will quickly lead to burn out.  We want to do it all and help where and when we can but we can’t always do that.  Be selective about how you choose to spend your time.  

Write everything down.  You have enough to remember.  The stress of everyday life will take hold of you if you don’t write it down.  Get into a daily habit of writing it down.  A daily brain dump.  You’ll be surprised how great it feels to empty your brain down on paper.  Besides, that’s one less thing on your mind.      

Be realistic.  When jotting down your To Do List be realistic about it.  Do not try to tackle a list of 20 items in one day.  That’s too much for anyone to do.

Don’t feel defeated.  It’s okay if you didn’t get to every item on your To Do List.  While you may be Super Mom, you are still human.  Give yourself a break and don’t beat yourself up over it.  Try and tackle it tomorrow.

Prioritize and Set Goals.  This one is very important.  Since you are parenting alone, you want to take some time regularly, whether it’s weekly or monthly and think about what’s important to you.  Get these things on your schedule.  Make time for them and set deadlines to keep you on track.  While doing this remember to keep positive!  And finally…

Make time for YOU.  Do not forget to make time for yourself.  This could be time to pray, meditate, exercise, self care or anything you like but you NEED TO make time for you.  Often as single mothers we put everyone else’s needs above our own and that’s okay to an extent but we have to make ourselves a priority also.  When we make time for self love, we are building the necessary foundation so we can be the proper leaders that our children need us to be.

If you have any specific questions or some topics you would like to see on the blog, feel free to leave me a comment.

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog on the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post! 

Now get planning!

Jenny

The post Proper Planning for Maximum Productivity appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jimenez.

LOST COMMUNICATION

(The importance of keeping communication with your kids)

By Jenny Jiménez on October 15, 2018

Good Morning! I don’t know about you but these weekends seem to go by quicker and quicker as we near the end of daylight savings time.  My already jam packed days feel even shorter 😦 .

I wanted to take some time to talk about communication.  Seems like a foreign word now a days with all this technology but it is still super important.  I consider my relationship with my children to be a good one.  We’ve always spent a lot of time together and enjoyed doing different things and each other’s company.  This is because we have good communication, a skill that seems to be lost in our youth lately.

It should be every parent’s priority to maintain open lines of communication with their kids.  Remember, if you’re not teaching them someone else is.  Your kids won’t just open up to you.  They need to feel safe and secure, which is a direct consequence (outcome) of spending “quality” time with them.

I’ll take a moment to breakdown what good quality time means. Quality time is spending time with your children without distractions.  Where neither parent nor child is on their phones, computers or any electronic device or multi-tasking and are 100% focused on their kids.

Parents and people often mistakenly think that quality time means it has to be long.  On the contrary, it can be short BUT it should be meaningful.  I work a full-time job outside of the home so for many years, especially when my children were little, this meant that the only time we had to really catch up was during dinner.  I will say that it was very helpful (and actually still is) that I plan ahead and have weeknight meals that are quick to prepare.  It rarely takes me over 30 minutes to make dinner during the week.  I set it up so that I use a lot of shortcuts and save the more time consuming, homemade meals for weekends, preferably Sunday.  I can always do a future post on quick weekday dinners.

I love dinner with my kids.  They are both so funny and we always have a great time.  They open up and have such great personalities.  There are days that they can go on and on and on.  This is our excuse for dessert at every meal… gotta keep that conversation going (hey don’t judge 😉 )  I don’t know what I’m going to do when they go to college. It’s going to be so quiet around here, too quiet perhaps. 

Anyway, focus Jenny… so back to communication, I try not to direct the conversation unless no one wants to speak (which is rare in this house) or just to get things going.  I usually let them take over and tell me about their day.  If you’ve ever sat down with a child that’s in school and really get them going, they can go forever.  It’s amazing how much happens during the course of the day that you overlook unless to stop to really think about it.  We talk about anything and everything from their day, classwork, homework, any projects they are working on to current events and everyday things going on at home, like chores and housework or upcoming projects.

Really the idea is that you want your kids to know that you are there for them and that although you may have had a crazy day at work and your eye is still twitching from stress, that you still care what’s going on in their lives.  Besides they’ll just think you’re winking at them throughout dinner 😉 .

You’ll see that over time they’ll initiate talks with you.  Spending time together regularly, even as teens, will be the norm.  At least in my home it is.  Since they were very little we hop on my bed with snacks, yes snacks and watch a movie.  It’s generally something without crumbs that is in a bowl for easy cleanup.  Hey you have kids so do NOT expect your home to be perfect.  It may be a while before Home and Garden is knocking down any doors.  Besides, family comes first in my book, ALWAYS!  My son is so tall now, 5′ 10″ I think since last I measured, that we were feeling a bit crammed during our bedtime movie nights.  My daughter and I would stay at the top of the bed while he’s spread out across the bottom of the bed.  He got sick of being our footstool that I used it as an excuse to bump up to a king bed (okay so I have a Napolean complex thing going on).  Now we all fit.  I usually stay in the middle to prevent these two crazies from going at it playfully while I’m trying to watch a movie.  

Usually my daughter falls asleep while my son and I stay up and watch the movie.  We wake her up afterward to get the heck out of my room, ha!  We don’t always  watch movies in my room.  We watch in the living room a lot also and sometimes one of the kids want to “host” me in their room… so cute.  Anyways, you get the gist.  The point is to use any and every opportunity to spend that precious time with your kids.  It doesn’t always have to cost money.  Whether it’s during dinner or yard work or even a ride to school, make the most of every second, besides most often the best times are the FREE ones!

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog on the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post! 

Now get talkin’!

Jenny

 

The post Lost Communication appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jimenez.

PRODUCTIVE AND THEMED GROCERY SHOPPING

By Jenny Jiménez on October 8, 2018

Hello ladies! What a crazy day it’s been, and it’s only Monday, ha!  I wanted my first blog to be something helpful and practical that you could use, so I’m going to show you today how I meal plan and do my grocery shopping.  Most people have their own way of doing this but as a single mother living on a single income, I’ve found that this method works well for me and my family.  Working outside of the home at a fulltime job and managing my home solo makes me aware of the very very very little time we single moms have to get things done.

MENU AND GROCERY LIST

First things first, I like to write out my menu and grocery list on Wednesdays.  I usually do this during my lunch break or when I have a few minutes to think about it.  Since we have a limited amount of time on weekends with our kids, I find that unlike others who recommend you do this on a weekend, I prefer not to.  I want my weekends to rest and for spending quality time with the kids and family.  I’ll give some suggestions on that in a future post. 

I like to theme my menus.  For instance if it’s a chicken week, my menu may look something like this. 

BP1 Weekly Fridge Menu

I found this calendar that I use for my weekly menu at Christmas Tree Shoppes for $1.99 if I recall.

BP1 Weekly Fridge and Menu 

Children hate the word leftovers so the goal is to make different meals that consist of some of the same ingredients.  I mean who doesn’t love getting the most of their time and money.  After all, I have teenagers at home who love to eat (I do too but we’ll keep that between us ;))

I don’t always theme my menus but if I know it’s going to be a crazy week then I find that doing this saves a ton of time.  After my menu I write out the shopping list.  Since I’m doing this during the workday most of this is by memory of the ingredients I think I have and may need.  I’ll take a few minutes to look through the pantry and fridge when I get home and make some adjustments as needed.

TJJ Blank Weekl Menu_Shopping List

This is a weekly menu with shopping list that I created to keep me organized and on budget each week.

 FREE printable link below!

 

TJJ Weekly Menu_Shopping List Example

This is an example of my menu and shopping list this week

Be sure to also include the prices of your grocery items as I did in the completed list above.  At least what you can remember.  It’s important to write down the prices on the grocery lists because it’s going to help as you budget your grocery allowance.  Get into the habit of looking at prices if you don’t already.  If I don’t know the price of an item, I give a good guestimate, usually on the conservative side.  For example if I think a green pepper might be between $1-2, I’ll write it out as $2 (the higher amount on my list).  This way you’re not going over budget.  I like to know what I’m working with.  This is also a good idea because if you ever see an item on sale that is really marked down, you can always stock up on it. 

GROCERY SHOPPING AND MEAL PREP

You’ll notice that I did not have to include pasta, spaghetti sauce and shredded cheese to my shopping list.  This is because I like to stock up on some items when I see them on sale for a really good price.  Every once in a while I’ll find shredded cheese for $1.25 for a 2cup/16oz bag (the standard size).  When this is the case I buy several bags and freeze some of them.  By several I mean 20 bags.  I also do this with the spaghetti sauce and pasta… beans and tomato sauce too! I live by a Wegmans and this time of year their pasta boxes go on sale for $0.79 and the spaghetti sauce for $0.99.  I’ll usually buy around 20 boxes of pasta (spaghetti, ziti, penne, etc.) and around 35-40 jars of sauce (tomato/basil, marinara, meat, parmesan and romano, etc.).  I’ll use the marinara sauce for dipping mozzarella cheese sticks in or when making meatball hoagies or pizza, such as my naan bread pizza in my menu above. 

I budgeted $75 to shop but only spent $53.23.  Since I’ll have enough money left over after my grocery shopping, I would most likely take $10 or $15 and put it aside for when I shop in bulk or great sales, like with the cheese or pasta. 

So, just to review, I write out my menu and shopping lists on Wednesdays then go shopping on Saturday and meal prep either on Saturday or Sunday.  It really depends on how busy my day on Saturday is.  The reason I prefer to go grocery shopping on Saturday is because super markets are crazy on Sundays.  That’s when a lot of people go grocery shopping and I really don’t like going grocery shopping and feeling like I’m in a Black Friday sale, and afraid I’m going to get run over.  It’s better for my sanity.  My workweek is stressful enough and I want this errand to be as stress-free as possible. 

One more thing, remember the goal is to only shop once per week.  Even if something runs out, you’ll have to make due until next week’s shopping.

Stay tuned to future blog posts by subscribing to my blog on the right so you’ll be the first to know when I post! 

Oh, don’t forget to click here to download a FREE printable copy of my Menu/Shopping List above so you’re prepared for your next shopping trip!  You’ll just need to subscribe with your email to download.

Happy Shopping!

Jenny

The post Productive and Themed Grocery Shopping appeared first on Tenacious Jenny Jimenez.