This week we have a guest post from Kristen Ashbaugh, mom of two and business owner. She uses and loves our planners and shares below her experience using them to grow her businesses while balancing her family life.
I don’t know about you but being a mom AND an entrepreneur isn’t easy. There are days where things just feel so overwhelming that you can’t get anywhere with your to-do list. Especially with young kids. ESPECIALLY when you are all stuck at home because of a global pandemic.
I am a mom of two - one school age and one toddler AND I own two businesses. Both of these businesses grew a lot during the pandemic, and as a result I had to find a way to get it all done despite having even less time on my hands to do so. What I needed was the perfect daily planner, and I found that in Next Level Daily.
I want to share with you the 5 things I love the most about my Next Level Daily Planner and how it’s literally changed the way I organize my life...for the better.This planner helps you to:
- Create a better work-life balance
- Set goals and actually take actionable steps towards them
- Create better daily habits and actually stick to them
- Prioritize your daily tasks by what is most important so you can complete those first
- Reminds you to practice gratitude and take time for reflection
- Create a morning and evening routine that works for you
I have always been a planner lover and used one annually to schedule my days, weeks, and months, and to contain my to-do lists. But it wasn’t until I started using Next Level Daily that I realized I was doing it all wrong.
Ok, maybe that’s a stretch, but my previous (much more expensive) planner wasn’t really cutting it for me, and as a result I wasn’t seeing the results I wanted out of my life.
So I made the switch to Next Level Daily a few months ago, and I couldn’t be happier. Here is what I discovered:
I learned to prioritize self care.
As someone who struggled with creating routines and maintaining self-care practices, this planner has been amazing! With designated spots to write them into my day, I am able to make time for these things and check them off as I go.
It’s not only a good reminder to go for your walk or take a moment to breathe (or, you know, shower) but you also get to check those items off which FEELS so awesome! It fuels my need to feel like everything I do is productive AND gives me permission to prioritize myself in my day. It’s a win-win.
Daily planning is SO much better than weekly!
The daily planning page has literally everything I need for the day. I can plan out my entire schedule, create my to-do list in order of priority, and write down my daily gratitude and affirmations. It includes space to check off my morning and nightly routine items (aka. me time!) and include other important items and thoughts in the notes sections. It literally has it all.
What I didn’t realize as a busy mom, is that stuff comes up throughout your week all the time. Kids get sick, things get canceled and rescheduled, and life happens. When you plan for your entire week at the beginning, you end up crossing stuff out or moving it to different days and the whole week ends up being an unreadable mess by the end.
With a daily planner you can be more flexible about where things go because you fill it in as you go. Important appointments can be kept on the monthly calendar and filled in each day as needed.
I tend to write in my next-day’s schedule and to-do lists the night before so I know what is coming and can sleep easy knowing what my next day will be like.
Oh, and a fun hack, you can use your Friday page to outline your Weekend in the notes so you don’t have to use a full page for those days. That way you can get 4-5 months out of your Daily pages instead of just 90 days!
Vision planning and annual planning are key for the busy Mompreneuer.
Not every planner has these sections and I have found them super helpful for me as a business owner. Not only can I visualize and write out my personal and professional goals but I can also use the annual planner to map out my year as it pertains to those goals.
First you start by mapping out your 3 month, 1 year, and 5 year goals AND identifying any limiting beliefs you might have that could be holding you back.
Then, you can fill out your Annual planning page with steps you can take to work towards these goals. You don’t HAVE to use this page this way, but that’s how I chose to use it and it has been really helpful for me to plan my weekly and daily tasks around these bigger goals.
This has helped me get super focused and see significant growth in my businesses in a very short time.
A personal mission statement, mentors list, and life balance pages are the best thing I never knew I needed in my planner!
For one, do you even have a personal mission statement? I did, sort of, but I had never written it down! What a cool way to define your life and give you a visual representation of what you stand for to keep with you as a constant reminder.
Anytime you feel out of alignment, this is a good place to come back to and meditate on. Also, your list of mentors. So cool!
Also, I have a lot of people I follow for inspiration (anyone ever play the WWBBD - what would Brene Brown do - game in their head?!?!) This is a great place to list them out as a reminder of where to go for inspiration when you feel lost.
Working on a better life-balance one day at a time.
The life balance worksheet is a good exercise to do when you feel off. Usually when something in my life is off, it can be traced back to something on this list. I love that this planner allows me to do a check in and assess what I need to work on over the coming months.
When I made the switch to this planner recently, it helped me realize that there were some areas I had been neglecting like making time for my partner and connecting each day with my kids individually.
It prompted me to plan a getaway for just me and the hubby AND schedule in kiddo-time each day before bedtime so that I could connect with them one on one. It has made a huge difference!
It was also a good reminder to do my annual financial check-in and look at areas I want to work on.
Since using the Next Level Daily planner I’ve thrown my old planner in the recycle bin. I now start my days feeling much less chaotic and with much more of a plan that I know is working for me, not against me. And, while I still have the kids at home and am running two businesses, I’m able to make the most of the time I do have to work because I have a much clearer picture of what needs to get done and in what order.
All in all, I would highly recommend Next Level Daily to all of the busy moms out there, because this planner is truly an all-purpose workhorse to help you live a full and balanced life.
You NEED this planner. Get it here!
Kristen Ashbaugh is a busy mom of two, and serial entrepreneur. She owns Kristen in Stitches, a hand-dyed yarn and knitwear design company where she loves to let her creative side flourish. Her other love is helping small businesses with their branding and marketing through Kristen Leigh Creative, where she works as a freelance Director of Marketing.