Saturday, July 14, 2018

How Multi-Tasking is Ruining Your Productivity and How to Fix it

I feel like every day starts the same. I wake up with all this inspiration to have a beautiful and productive day, but when it comes down to it, I feel like I'm just spinning my wheels while staying in place. I begin cooking breakfast, and then I notice all the dishes in the sink so I start those, then I notice my dog's water bowl is empty, and while I'm there I see I haven't vacuumed the den in days and the summer coat my dog is shedding is all over the floor. Once I get back to the eggs, they're burnt. Multi-tasking! I'm so guilty of it. I want to get as much done as I can, so I do as much as I can all of the time. I pick up extra tasks while I'm doing other things and then everything ends up taking ALL DAY. Maybe you've seen the video on Facebook of the girl who spent all day starting 100 cleaning tasks, and at the end of the day being exhausted, with nothing done. Multitasking makes you feel like you're being productive, but really, you're not doing your best work in any of these tasks, and they're taking much longer to finish. Multitasking spreads your energy and attention, usually too thin. When you're working on one task, you're focusing on the other tasks you're trying to do. How can you fix it? Let's try single tasking!

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What is Single Tasking?


Single tasking, like the name suggests, means focusing on a single task at a time. In the example we just talked about, focus on making breakfast first, and then move on. The way you do this is by minimizing interruptions. You're free to direct your entire attention to the one task, which means you complete it more efficiently. Often, this means the final product is higher quality than it would be when you multitask. Imagine, your eggs could be perfectly cooked instead of trying to scrub the burnt bits off the bottom of the pan. Or imagine actually being able to sit down and spend time with your child reading a book without checking your phone or worrying about the dishes, or what's for dinner tomorrow. 

Minimizing distractions is easier said than done, however. If you're the type who often checks your phone, even when there's no alert for new messages, you might need to turn it off or keep it in another room. Maybe keep your charger in a certain room, and leave it there, away from you. Similarly, when you log on to your computer, you need to make sure to keep your email closed and stop yourself from opening Facebook or Pinterest in a background tab. There are lots of apps that will help you limit your time on certain Web sites, such as http://offtime.co/, or https://inthemoment.io/

Using it to Your Benefit


Single tasking may be easier when you know when you'll have a chance to check your email or social media site, however. Studies suggest that taking a short break every 90 minutes help you to be more productive. During those breaks, you can give in to the urge to check all your alerts. Another popular method to increase your productivity is called the Pomodoro Method. This is essentially spending 25 minutes working, then five minutes off. After four 25 minute sessions, you take a longer break. Then continue as need be.

More Tips to Consider


One of my favorite productivity tips is writing everything down. I carry a notebook with me everywhere. I don't rely on memory to make sure I finish everything on my to do list. I often use a program called Trello, I can use it on all my devices and it's a great free program for list making. You can organize your things in boards, and have expiration dates, or check lists inside your cards. There is SO much to Trello, you can use it as a stay at home mom, for your work, as a to do list manager, or even as a list for groceries you need. And best of all IT IS FREE. You could upgrade if you wanted, but I have never done so, and I can't imagine a need to anytime in the future. But back to list making! If you take those thoughts out of your brain and put them on paper or into an app, you can focus better on the single task you're trying to do. It helps you stay focused because you won't waste brain space on trying to remember something else. 



My second favorite way to increase my productivity is to set up my day beforehand. Before I go to sleep, I try to plan out some of what I need to do in the morning. By planning out my most productive time of the day -- when I first wake up -- I can increase the amount I can get done, and prevent myself from spinning my wheels trying to find traction. You can wake up and know exactly what you want to get done, and what single task you should start with.

How do you know what to start with? Make a list of six things you need to get done the next day, and then organize them by importance. Starting at the top, do the most important thing first, and when that job is done, move on to the next. 

I made you a nifty work sheet you can end your day with every evening, grab it below today, so you can be productive now!
You may also like Meal Planning Basics!

Thursday, July 5, 2018

Meal Planning Basics

A few years ago I had been at a very low point in my life. I am almost positive I was suffering from postpartum depression and anxiety. I didn't feel like myself at all, and I had no idea how to fix it. I was scared of everything. After a woman told me I was a crappy parent for bringing my children out to dinner I was at such a low, and I had a hard time getting myself out of it. Even my chiropractor told me he could tell I just wasn't myself.

I began searching for ways to feel better. I didn't know I was suffering from anxiety, I thought this was just who I was now. I was terrified of raising my children as a person who felt so disconnected from everything. How could I possibly be who they need to be?

At this time, a friend in direct sales asked if I wanted to join her clean eating challenge for the week. I found it as an opportunity to change something in my life I saw needed to be fixed. My husband and I sat down and decided we weren't going to eat anything out of boxes anymore. No more hamburger helper (I can't believe I'm admitting out loud that we used to eat that crap!) or fast food. We discovered quinoa, and tried to eat a home cooked meal for dinner every night.

I had never felt so good in my life. After I did this week with my friend, I had started working out, and feeling amazing. I feel that changing my eating habits permanently changed my life. It's easy to follow once you see the change it creates in your life. How can you harness the same results in your life?

Meal planning. It will change your life.






What's so great about meal planning? Well, I'm glad you asked. You see, you're going to eat food every day for the rest of your life. Why not plan for it? Why should it be a surprise you need to cook those meals? With just a little work at the beginning of your week, you can prevent fast food eating and convenience food dependence. I believe in you! And at the end of this post I will have a cute meal planner for you to print out and try in your home.




Let's get to it. How to meal plan. Meal Planning for Beginners. How to Meal Plan for the Week. How to Meal Plan for a Month. What is a healthy meal plan? How to meal prep. How to meal plan on a budget. How to meal plan for weight loss. Menu planning ideas! 



Start With a Master Food List

The most beneficial part of my friend's meal plan was the master food list. The first part of planning meals is picking out the food you want to make this week, and then creating a shopping list from that list. You can find these online, or create your own. When we plan our meals we pick out five dinners for the week, and then take the ingredients and put them on a list for grocery shopping. After a few weeks, we started putting the list together based on where were in the grocery store. First was veggies and fruits, then meats, dairy, and finally extras in the middle. We could easily plan for days that we were going to be away, or home late when we looked at our schedule. It was also super simple to create goals with a list! 


Consider Your Goal

My goals were quite simple. I just wanted to feel better. I wanted to stop panicking every time meal time came around. I wanted to have everything I needed available so I could create dinner simply, without much will power. What are your goals? Do you want to reduce stress, or have more down time to enjoy being with your family? Maybe you want to lose some weight, or follow a keto diet. 

Look at Your Week 

Do you have other plans this week? Make sure you plan for what you're doing this week. If you have a kid's gymnastics class on Wednesdays, you'll want to plan for it so you aren't running around trying to figure out a last minute meal while everyone is starving. I find that almost always leads to fast food. Don't forget to plan for snacks, too! 





Consider Your Containers or Cookware

One thing many people do not consider about meal planning are the containers they will be using. This can make a big difference in how you plan out your meals. Most people do use containers that have several slots for protein, vegetables, fruits, and sauces, you know what diet I'm talking about. If you will primarily be doing full meals, then these are ideal. You may also want to bento boxes, soup containers, or other options. Consider what types of meals you want to have and then make sure you have the containers for them. It's also important to make sure you have all the pieces you need for cooking. For example, some Instant Pot recipes require accessories such as a small spring form pan for cheesecakes, or stacking insert pans for lasagna, rice or quinoa. It's important to have these ahead of time. 

Time Frame Planning

Considering your time frame is something that goes along with meal planning basics. You need to make sure that you are planning for a set amount of days. Most people do weekly meal planning while larger families may do planning for the whole month. The time frame along with the food lists and goals can greatly affect your budget, so considering a time frame is vital.

These basic principles of meal planning can help you get started. Remember, there is no set defined way of meal planning. The idea is to work with the diet you want, plan the meals, and make sure they work for you and your lifestyle. It may take a little time to get things on a solid track, but once they are you will find meal planning to be an easier route on many levels.

Don't forget to pick up your freebie, a meal planner with a bonus list for groceries. Everything you need to get started today, so go ahead and grab that below.

Do you meal plan already? What are some of your favorite meals?

Monday, July 2, 2018

Last Minute Patriotic Dishes

Fourth of July Dishes to Pass. Patriotic Meals. Fourth of July food to make. Patriotic Food.



Below you'll find affiliate links, any time you click on a link and make a purchase you're contributing to The Life of a Navy Nuke Wife, and my family. Thank you for your support!

Here we are, just days before the Fourth of July, and you've been invited to a pot luck and have no idea what to bring. You want something easy but also fun, and it has to be delicious. It's all about being patriotic, the more ways to add in red, white, and blue, or stars and stripes, the better. For those of you like me who put things off until the very last minute, this round up is for you. I don't want you to worry about what you'll bring to a pot luck, let me take care of that. I put together seven beautiful dishes to pass at your next get together. These are great and simple to change for other holidays too.

1. Red White and Blue Parfaits from To Simply Inspire


First we have a great breakfast option. This beautiful parfait can be made to your own preferences. Do you love raspberries? Blackberries? Maybe you're a big chia seed fan. If you want to replace the yogurt with chia pudding, I have the perfect recipe for you. Choose your favorite granola, and enjoy!

2. Fourth of July Deviled Eggs from Singing Through the Rain



This is an awesome statement dish. The blue is so bright and beautiful, people are bound to notice it. Dress up a simple recipe that everyone loves and make it unique to your event. The only thing I would change about this recipe is how the eggs are cooked. I love hard boiling eggs in the Instant Pot. Really, I love every single thing I can possibly put in the Instant Pot when it's in the Instant Pot. You can finish those eggs in twenty minutes. What's not to love?

3. Patriotic Popcorn Crunch from This Mama Loves



I love this recipe because it's so easy and pretty. You can customize this recipe for other holidays also. I love how bright it is. I would add some red or blue icing tossed into this as well, or perhaps some M&Ms if I could find some locally. The possibilities are endless for mixing in to popcorn.

4. Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches from Cincy Shopper



This is definitely more of an indoor food, not really something you can bring to a picnic and leave on the table until someone comes and eats it. But this would be so fun to make with the kids, they love adding sprinkles to things, and they would love this.

5. Red, White, and Blue Trifle from ChicnSavvy Reviews



This list is full of simple to prepare, shareable food. This is another great example. This could be created the morning of a party, and be ready by the afternoon. I love how it looks like you spend a lot of time on these, when you can do it the day of!

6. American Cherry Pie from The Food Charlatan



What is more American than pie? Pie with stars and stripes! Talk about a conversation piece, this beautiful pie will be the talk of the party. This is the one recipe you should probably bake the evening before, but, it's still pretty last minute.

7. Marshmallow Pinwheels from Home Cooking Memories



Full disclosure, this is the entire reason I wanted to make this post. I am so in love with these. They're beautiful, simple to make, and so ridiculously fun. I feel like these would be such a hit for the children and young at heart. Simple yet beautiful.


There you have it, 7 beautiful and simple dishes to pass at your patriotic party this week. So go shopping and get a few things so you can make these awesomely social media shareable dishes tomorrow!

Need fresh groceries delivered today? Try out Amazon Fresh and let them bring the goods to you! Do they deliver in your area? Check them out!

What is your go to pot luck meal?




Friday, June 22, 2018

How to Have Healthy Snacks Ready To Go This Summer

You know those days when you walk into the kitchen wanting something quick and easy, then you open the fridge or cabinets and all you find are ingredients. Ugh. There aren't many things more self defeating when it comes to diet. Especially when the kids are screaming about wanting another banana or some bread -- my kid will eat straight bread all day every day if we let him -- but you want to provide something nutritious instead of empty calories. Maybe you already have your breakfasts and lunches ready each day. You know your family likes a certain breakfast, and lunch is usually the same thing each day, right? But those snacks between meals. There is the problem. You want a snack but nothing is readily available. This leads you down the self destructive path of finding whatever convenience food you can, or worse, eating nothing and then eating TOO MUCH later because you're starving. 

Let's avoid overeating all together by having snacks ready to go when you or your family are ready to have them. 








Plan Out Equal Snacks


One of the keys to success with healthy snacks are taking away all the guesswork. Decision fatigue is real. Making too many decisions in a day can often leads to depleted will power. You'll be less likely to resist making a bad decision because you're too tired to fight yourself. Hi! I'm here to help you. Make the decisions before you're already tired of making decisions. Plan the snacks out so you have lots of opportunities for healthy choices. After you've been fighting with kids all morning to eat their breakfast or clean up their toys, you're going to need the easy pick up and go snack. Plan out both sweet and salty snacks. If you're planning for the month, you'll need a month worth of snacks. Isn't that common sense? Well, when you're planning sometimes you forget these things. Some snacks can be both salty and sweet, so they're great no matter what you're craving, like granola or trail mix, or these superfood "cookies".

Make To-Go Snack Options


When planning snacks, it's so easy to plan for those snacks you'll enjoy at home. But are you home all the time? What about when you're going to Target, or you have a doctor's appointment? When you're home, it's easy to make some popcorn prepared exactly the way you like, but it's not very practical when you're traveling. Instead, you can make the snack ahead of time and put them in single serve bags. It's simple to grab it and toss it into your bag and go. You'll have your snack ready if you need it, but if you decide not to eat it, you can put it back into the mix with the rest of the snacks you've prepared in your snack drawer. 




Prepare a Snack Drawer

Oh yeah. I said it. Make a whole drawer or basket dedicated to snacks. Single serve snacks, because over indulging is pretty likely with a basket full of tasty treats. With pre-made snack, you can grab whatever you want. Your kids can grab whatever they want. You can have several different types. Whatever you're in the mood for, you can keep in your snack basket. You can even have one in the fridge for cut veggies or prepared fruits. I try to do this as soon as I get home with fruits. I clean them and put them together for the snack basket. We de-vine all the grapes and put them in a large glass container and give a handful at meals for the children, have lots of string cheese, and several bags of carrots. Make sure you have some healthy snack readily available at all times. 

Consider Your Lifestyle

When you're planning out your week in your planner, don't forget to add snacks. I almost always forget to add them in, and then my poor planning leads to unhealthy decisions, and then I'll likely pay for it later with a less than stellar mood. When you're planning the snacks you'll have on hand, make sure you think about if you'll be able to sit down and eat easily. Most of the time with a busy lifestyle (or really any lifestyle) it's not so easy. If you're going to be driving or on the go pick snacks easy to contain. The last thing you need is spending your afternoon cleaning up yogurt out of the intricate details of your minivan. Whenever you can, choose reusable containers! 




What are your favorite snacks for yourself or your children?







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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Essential Oils for Anxiety

What is it about essential oils? Is it the direct sales that encouraged the recent growth of popularity? Perhaps it was because we have used them for generations before now, and they've always been effective. Living in a country of skeptics, it's raised a lot of questions. How can essential oils help with my Social Anxiety Disorder? Is it just some hippie dippie thing I should ignore?

First off, I am not a doctor. I am merely someone who suffers from social anxiety, and I have seen results from a variety of ways, and I want to help other people. 





Are essential oils safe? What essential oils are safe for consumption? How do you use essential oils? Can essential oils help relieve symptoms of anxiety? What is the best essential oil for panic attacks? 



People who suffer from anxiety or panic attacks are often looking for ways to find relief from the attacks without turning to medications. There are so many ways to alleviate some of the symptoms naturally, without medication, I talk about a few natural social anxiety remedies here, as well as some daily habits for reducing anxiety here. In addition to watching your diet and getting regular exercise, it is also might be a good idea to give essential oils a try. Here are a few of the best oils for anxiety. I hope they help you like they help me!

Lavender


Lavender is recommended for any ailment that has to do with relaxing your body because it has such a calming effect. You can relax, get better sleep, get rid of nervousness, and even reduce your overall amount of panic attacks by using lavender. Lavender is really great in a bath when you are trying to calm down, or you can put it in an oil diffuser. There are also DIY lotions and scrubs that can use lavender essential oils that will also help to relax you.

Chamomile


Another relaxing and calming essential oil is chamomile. This oil helps with your anxiety, worry, and irritability. It is often recommended for people who are having trouble sleeping because you will feel your body and mind start to relax when you use it. However, it is not typically recommended to people with allergy problems, so if you suffer from allergies, please use caution. 

Rose


Rose is an essential oil you can take for stress, anxiety, and depression. It is safe whether you have allergies, are pregnant or nursing, or even if you are extra sensitive to certain oils. As with all oils, just make sure your rose essential oils is properly diluted or mixed with a carrier oil. You can easily add some to a pot of boiling water and inhale it to relax or add it to a foot bath to start relaxing your body.

Other Essential Oils


There are a lot of other essential oils you can try for your anxiety. You can use them alone with a carrier oils or create your own blends for anxiety or stress. These oils include:

* Frankincense
* Basil
* Geranium
* Jasmine
* Clary Sage
* Mandarin
* Lemon
* Wild Orange
* Bergamot
* Marjoram

This is the brand on Amazon I trust the most, however, you can try lots of different brands to find the one you love the most. Try making your own blends with these essential oils to help with your anxiety. You can add some drops to a hot bath to relax your body and mind, use them in a footbath, or create your own body treatments. During a panic attack, applying oils to your skin directly with a carrier oil might give you the fastest results.

What essential oils do you love for anxiety?
Do you have any tips or tricks?


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