As busy women, I know that we all have a lot on our plates and sometimes, that “a lot” can seem more than a tad overwhelming. I’ve been thinking about this quite often lately because, as my Virtual Assistant business grows, so does the need to manage my time more wisely. Now, I haven’t always been the best when it comes to time organization and management but, within the last six months or so, I’ve been more cognizant about how the management of my time, or lack thereof creates a lack of productivity which has a direct correlation to my earning potential.
So how do you profit from productivity?
Let me explain a bit more…right now, financially, I am singularly focused on getting out of debt, that’s my goal! As those of you who have been hanging out with me on the blog for any length of time know, my full time job is as a Health and Well Being Director for an area non profit. Now, as with most non profit job, I’m not doing it to become a millionaire, and if I am…I’m in the wrong business. There’s no “overtime” or “bonuses” for me to take advantage of in order to speed up my debt pay off…instead, I need to find ways outside of my full time job to increase my income and get that debt paid down and OFF!!
And that’s where my VA Business comes in. As a Virtual Assistant, I make anywhere from $21-$25 per hour…pretty awesome money for something that I can literally do from home, on my couch, in my pajamas. BUT, in order to MAKE that money, I have to find the time in my schedule. By using a system called “Time Blocking”, I’m now able to work anywhere from 20-30 hours a week on my Virtual Assistant business (in addition to the 40-45hrs a week on my full time job) while still doing super important stuff like sleeping, house hold chores, and the spending that ever so precious time with my husband. Apparently “time blocking” is an actual THING called the Pomodoro Technique. Feel free to read about it at length but basically, I work on one task for 25 minutes before either taking a break or moving on to another task.
One of the key ways I’m able to do this is by making my weekends as productive as possible so that I’m able to free myself from time wasters during the week. I define “time wasters” as that 2 minutes here and 5 minutes there that could’ve been saved had I been better organized and prepared…you know things like sifting through the clean laundry pile for a pair of socks because I didn’t take the time to put the laundry away or stopping at the grocery store in the middle of the week for one ingredient needed for dinner because I didn’t make a list the first time I went.
Think about alllll of the time wasted on simple little things like those examples. Add that time up and how much do you have? It could very possibly be hours! Eeeekk!! We’re wasting HOURS of time each week that we could be turning into dollar signs????!!! Oh heck no!
Let’s fix this now!
I’ve created a list of 40 Tasks I tackle during the weekend to make for a more productive and stress free week. I’ve divided this list into 5 categories, General Organization, Household, Self Care, Relationship, and Blogging. If you’re not a blogger than feel free to skip that section HOWEVER, if you’ve ever even thought about blogging then you might still want to take a quick look through. I mention some of my favorite systems that literally save me HOURS each week! Ok…here we go…
This post contains affiliate links. For more information, see my disclosures here.
Starting the week off organized means you’re not wasting time looking for stuff, fixing stuff or planning stuff.
1: Update Planner and make sure I’m prepared for meetings/projects for the week:
I keep my schedule in two places…my work schedule resides in Google Calendar. It kinda has to because, at my job, our calendars are shared so we can know where the other directors are if needed.
But Y’ALL, I don’t know what I’d do without my day planner! Yes, I have an online calendar for work but, for LIFE, my day planner is like an extension of my hand! This year, I’m using the Happy Planner by Create365. I really like it because #1- It’s not crazy expensive like some other planners I considered, #2- it has a notes section on each page #3- it’ has a cute little “Monthly Updates” section where you can set goals, write down important dates, list everything from what you’re reading to what you’re crafting to what you’re dreaming about! Sooo cute and creative!
Grab it on Amazon for only $18!
Ok, let me first say that Trello is NOT just for business, you can totally use everything that I’m about to tell you to organize events in your personal life. But here’s how I use it…
Now that I’m dealing with multiple clients who have multiple projects each, I have to know where the priorities for the week lie. Trello has become my GOD SEND when it comes to that! Think of Trello as an online Cork Board. On Trello, I create Client Boards based off of their current projects. Examples include “Social Media Management”, “June Masterclass”, “Blog Summit”…from there, I add lists like “To Do/In Process/For Review/Done” and THEN create cards that I can move around to different lists as the task gets accomplished. I’m able to add my clients as team members on their boards so that they can add lists and cards and always see, in real time, where we are on a project.
The other tool that I use for client maintenance is a Client Management Platform called Dubsado. Dubsado is a “client management system for independent entrepreneurs to keep their contracts, invoices, questionnaires, and accounting all in one easy to use place.”…It puts everything in ONE SPOT and even has a client portal so that my clients can log in and see any emails we’ve sent back and forth, contracts or invoices. The whole system streamlines things so beautifully! Dubsado‘s “free trial” period is actually open ended which means you get to try it for free until you’ve reached your 3rd client. How cool is that???!
4: Create “To Do” list for the week
Usually, I’ll do this in my day planner but a friend of mine just told me about the app ToDoist so I downloaded it. I haven’t tried it yet but let me know in the comments if you use and like it.
I like to divide my To Do list into 3 categories “Must Get Done”, “Should Get Done” and “Would Like to Get Done”…by limiting the must get done to no more than 3 priorities, I take the pressure off myself to try to tackle this humongous list throughout the day or week BUT, if by chance I get everything done ahead of time then I already know what the next priorities are.
5 & 6: Update Budget Planner/Schedule and Pay Bills Online
I always make sure to take a couple minutes on the weekend to look over my budget, make sure there weren’t any unaccounted for expenses, schedule or pay any upcoming bills, and check off those expenses that have cleared my account. By doing this, I can modify and adjust my spending plan for the coming week as needed.
If you’re looking for a printable Budget Planner, feel free to consider mine…it’s only $5!
7: Work on any DIY/Home Improvement Projects
We definitely don’t do this every weekend, but, when we have a project that we know is going to take some time, setting aside that time for the weekend makes it so much easier to plan for. A few months ago, we turned three terribly ugly chairs into a great DIY Outdoor Bench that we’re now getting to enjoy!
8: Fill Our Gas Tanks
Don’t you just hate it when you get in your car on a Monday morning and realize that your gas tank is almost on empty? Don’t let that be you. Fill up while you’re running grocery errands on the weekend.
9: Clean the House
Like most people, I can’t say that I’m a huge fan of cleaning BUT waking up every morning to a house that, for the most part, has order and looks and feels decluttered is so calming to my brain. When there’s stuff all around me, it’s hard to concentrate on the things I need to get done because my brain just wants to put everything in it’s place.
This is where the timer method really comes in handy…I decide on a room to work on then set a timer for 25 minutes and JUST work on that room. If there are things in that room that should be in other rooms, I clump them together by room and then, at the END of the 25 minutes, I take those items to said rooms. 25 minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time but you can get so much done when you’re singularly focused and working to beat the clock. I’m serious people, I work hard in those 25 minutes! I’m huffin’ and puffin’ and sweatin’ but most of the time, it’s 25 minutes and DONE!
10: Use an organic fertilizer on our vegetable garden
This year, I planted my very first garden. The house that we bought in August has a built in raised bed garden area that kinda forced me into gardening but, I gotta tell you, I’m loving it! There are actually fruits and veggies starting to grow and it’s so exciting!
My main goal is to not kill my plants while maintaining an organic garden free of pesticides or unhealthy chemicals so, I’ve been using a mix of Fish Fertilizer and an All Purpose Plant Food from Ecoscraps. So far so good, I’ll keep you updated!
11: Wash/Fold/Put Away Laundry
Ok, full disclosure? Scott and I can be pretty terrible at this one. Between his Air Force Uniforms, my work clothes, and our combined workout wear, it’s A LOT of laundry for 2 people! We try to wait until the weekend to do our laundry which is usually 5-7 loads when you factor in towels and bed linens but, if we have to do laundry during the week, we usually just throw the clean pile on the guest bed where we can shut the door and have it out of site and out of mind.
This is a great short term solution if we don’t have a lot of time during the week but we try to make folding it and putting it away on the weekend a priority because it makes getting ready during the week sooooo much easier! No need to rummage through the laundry pile looking for that other sock! It’s right where it’s supposed to be…in the sock drawer!!
12: Fill Up our Reusable Coffee Pods
We try to be kind to the environment (and our wallets) by using reusable coffee pods but taking the time to fill them in the morning can be frustration. We’ve had good luck with these pods.
13: Load and Run the Dishwasher Sunday Night
So that we have spoons and bowls in the morning…duh!
14,15,&16: Cut Fruit For the Water Infuser/Fill Up the Brita Pitcher/Fill the Keurig/Make Iced Tea
Last month, as a wedding gift, we got a really awesome Water Infuser. I absolutely love it! Taking the time to cut the fruit for it on the weekends definitely saves us valueable time in the morning as does making sure that everything else is full. Have you ever noticed how painfully slow Brita Pitchers filter??!!!
No more running to the grocery store in the middle of the week because I forgot the stupid onion! Meal Planning & Prepping is essential if you want to save time and money at the grocery store.
18 & 19: Cut and Organize Coupons/Load up the new deals on Target Cartwheel
On average, I save between 40-60% off of our groceries every week and I DON’T spend hours each week cutting coupons. If you’re interested in learning more about couponing, you can check out the free webinar I hosted: The Busy Girl’s Guide To Couponing I did on it or my course: Cashing In On Couponing. (use code 10OFF for $10 off)
20 & 21: Make a Crockpot Breakfast Bake and Blueberry Protein Breakfast Muffins
Quick, easy and healthy breakfasts are a MUST for us. Having something that can cook overnight (Breakfast Bake) and something that we can grab and go (Blueberry Protein Muffins) are great for days when there’s just no time
22: Wash/detangle/style my hair
I’m a black girl with natural hair so my weekly wash/deep condition/detangle/style routine usually takes about 3 hours. Ugh! Honestly, I’ve been super low maintenance with my hair lately and my go to “style” has been a flat twist in the front with a puff in the back. It works for my active lifestyle and all I have to do in the mornings is spritz it with a combo of water & leave in conditioner, add a bit of EcoStyler Gel to the edges, and go!
23: Clean my makeup brushes.
I hate cleaning my makeup brushes but I do like having clean, clear skin so I do it anyway. Eimear McElheron has a great video on an inexpensive and effective way to Clean Your Makeup Brushes. Quick tip: Don’t forget to clean your brush handles, those things are germ magnets! I use either a makeup wipe or clorox wipe to clean my handles.
24: Foam Roll
After a long and intense week or workouts, I’m usually pretty darn sore! Foam Rolling or “self myofascial release” as us Fitness Professionals Like to call it, is like getting a deep tissue massage that releases all of the tight spots in the muscle; which not only reduces soreness and increases range of motion but also decreases your risk of injury due to tight and over active muscles. Check out this video on foam rolling from Jessica Smith TV.
Here’s the Foam Roller I use…I have the 36″ one.
25 & 26: Workout & Stretch or Do Yoga
If you’re like me and don’t really wanna leave the house much on the weekends, especially on Sundays, then an at home workout might be just what you need! I wrote a blog post earlier in the year about 5 Home Workout Apps that are actually worth your time and money…some are even free!
If you’re looking for a yoga routine, I really like the classes from Yoga With Candace on YouTube.
27: Sing Karaoke using the Smule Karaoke App
Soooo, before I was a health and well being director, I was a professional musical theatre actress. No lie! That’s what my degree is in and that’s what I did professionally for 12 years. And, although I don’t sing and dance for a living anymore, music is still one of my first loves. I discovered the Smule Karaoke App about two months ago and loved it so much that I bought the $50 yearly subscription! I seriously have so much fun with this and can now often be found in our home gym belting out Dear Evan Hansen or Hamilton (those are musicals if you weren’t sure).
The point here is, make sure you’re taking time to do what feeds your soul!
28: Get my nails done (every other week)
This is one of my guilty pleasures but I don’t feel the least bit bad about spending the money. Ya know why??? Because it’s in my budget!!
29: Take several naps
Life is hard, napping is good! End of story!
30: Go out to brunch
Scott and I both really like food…which is why we work out so hard! Sunday brunch is a must for us. We’ve found several spots that have become favorites.
31 & 32: Watch TONS of Law and Order and CSI Miami
So, by now, you all are probably like “damn, does she SIT during the weekend?” Short answer is “yes!”….I’ve got the dishwasher going, laundry going, and planning social media all on the comfort of my very comfy couch. Having a productive weekend does NOT mean that you don’t get to rest!
33: Take a dip in the hot tub.
Usually it’s naked hot tubbing…I’ll let you fill in the details 😉
34: Have Sunday Morning Lazy Sex
Ok, we’re all adults here. Sex is an important part of a relationship. Scott and I both have crazy busy schedules so, reconnecting during the weekend is important. And “Lazy Sex” as we’ve coined it, has become an important Sunday ritual in our relationship.
When I first started blogging, I had NO IDEA how much time I would actually be investing in this project! I was sure it was just about writing something, sharing it and done! #nope! Once I’ve actually published my blog post…if I actually want people to read it…THAT’S when the work really begins! It used to take me sooooo much time to complete my checklist of blogging things to do BUT, with a few key gadgets, I’ve significantly cut down the amount of time I spend on the necessary evil that is social media.
35: Schedule all Twitter & Facebook Posts via CoSchedule:
Guys! CoSchedule literally changed my life! I know that sounds like a huge exaggeration but it’s honestly not! I went from HATING the thought of scheduling social media to being able to do it all for the week in a little under two hours! What I love so much about CoSchedule is that my editorial and social media calendar is combined and located in ONE PLACE so that I don’t have to jump from screen to screen when planning a week or month’s worth of content! It’s all right there! I use CoSchedule‘s least expensive plan ($19) and, while it doesn’t have quite as many bells as whistles as some of their other plans, it’s still been everything I’ve needed and more! And they’ve even got a 14 day trial if you just want to try them out!
36: Schedule all Pinterest via BoardBooster:
There are two things that CoSchedule doesn’t do SUPER WELL, #1 is schedule for Instagram and #2 is schedule for Pinterest! Now, we’ll talk about Instagram in a little bit but for Pinterest, my choice is hands down BoardBooster. Here’s the deal with Pinterest, in my opinion, it’s a must have for any blogger! Any time I look at my Google Analytics, Pinterest is BY FAR my highest referrer. But Pinterest rewards those who are pinning more often (read: DAILY and 60-100 pins!!) Yeah, when it comes to being productive, trying to keep up with that kind of pinning schedule is not the way! Enter BoardBooster where I can schedule pins all at once and throughout the week, BoardBooster takes those pins and pins them to my Pinterest Boards! #amazeballs!
37: Write and Schedule blog posts for the week:
Once again, I use CoSchedule’s calendar that integrates via a plug-in with WordPress.org. At any given time, I try to have 4 weeks of topics chosen and on the calendar so that when the time comes to write, I already know what topic I’m going to write about. I also have a running list of topic ideas in my daily planner that I just take from and add to as needed.
If you’re brand new to blogging and are looking for a good website host, I use Bluehost! Now, I’ll caution you and say that some have had issues with their customer service but every time I’ve called with a question or issue, I’ve found that it’s gotten quickly resolved!
38: Write and schedule my Tuesday Blog Newsletter:
When I first started blogging, I used MailerLite to capture subscriber email addresses and mail out weekly newsletter emails. What I LOVE about MailerLite is that #1- It’s free up to your first 1000 subscribers #2- Even their automations are free up to the first 1000. BUT, I’ve outgrown them (a good problem to have) and now need a service with a few more capabilities. Enter ConvertKit! I know I can’t do a great job explaining all of their features and why they won me over so, just head to ConvertKit’s Website where they’ve got a great 3 minute video that tells you why it’s totally worth the $29 a month!
39: Get ready for any upcoming FrugalFabChat Webinars:
For the last two months, I’ve been hosting biweekly webinars on a variety of topics related to Women, Money, and Wellness. I run my webinars through a platform called Crowdcast. How does Crowdcast save me time? I can literally set up my webinar registration page and be ready to go in under 5 minutes! Now, there are free options out there but I didn’t want to have to spend an hour or more getting everything ready each time I wanted to hold a webinar. When we’re talking about turning time into money, that just didn’t make sense for me.
40: Create Instagram Pics & Schedule via PLANN app:
The last blogging related task that I tackle on the weekend is creating and scheduling my Instagram Posts. For that, I use the PLANN app. The PLANN app is a visual Instagram Planner that allows you design your Instagram feed in advance! How cool is that? You can even create hashtag categories so all of your hashtags just need a “cut and paste” when you’re ready to publish a new post. And PLANN is super cheap in comparison to other Visual Instagram Schedulers!
Final Thoughts: Now I know that some of you are like “dang girl, that is a long list, don’t you REST on the weekends?” and the answer is “yes, I do rest”…I would say 75% of this list is done while sitting on the couch watching Law & Order reruns. But here’s the bottom line, having big goals sometimes requires big sacrifices. However, there’s always a way to create balance!
I hope you’ll join me for my Productivity Webinar, I guarantee is won’t disappoint!
Comment below and let me know how you balance it all and stay productive!