I'm a big believer in eating meals with your family, but I'll admit, it's not easy. It takes creativity and patience, along with a bit of trial-and-error, but it IS possible!
Today I'm sharing my meal planning process. This works for me and maybe it'll help you too.
A MASTER MENU LIST
This is exactly what it sounds like. I created a list of our favorite meals and put them into a table format. My full list is about 2 pages long. Click here to print a blank template.
In the picture above, you can see that I've listed meals on the left. At the top, I've listed the months.
Every time we eat a meal, I put a check in the box for that month. Note - I don't mark the meal until we've actually eaten it. After all, some weeks life gets busy and the plan changes!
And yes, if you look closely, you'll see some of my meals are super-easy. No judgement allowed! Family meals are important to me, but I never said it had to be fancy!
PLAN A WEEKLY MENU
This is where the Master Menu List really comes in handy!
Every Saturday or Sunday, I make a meal plan for the week. I simply grab that list and choose meals that we HAVEN'T eaten recently.
If you're like me, you can get into a rut and make the same thing over and over. That's fine of course, but this system helps rotate meals and I like that.
Planning Tip: I found it helpful to have a rough schedule of when I'll cook and when we'll eat leftovers. After all, some teaching days are so busy that I can't cook big meals. On those days, we'll eat leftovers, I'll use the crockpot, or it'll be something super simple, like pizza bagels.
Here's my current meal plan:
WHAT ABOUT NEW RECIPES?
Honestly, I'm not an adventurous cook. Life's been busy and it hasn't been a top priority.
But THIS year, things are different. I have a Master List of recipes that I plan to try and guess what? I've already tried several of them in the past couple weeks! It's all about spoiling my son before he heads off to college. Discovering new meals is one way I'm doing that.
Over the next few months, I'll share my favorites with you. Some of them have been huge hits with Kevin and Matthew!
MY FAVORITE BREAKFAST!
NOTE: If you don't like oatmeal - STAY WITH ME! My husband doesn't like oatmeal either, but this is more like....granola and he loves it. So does Matthew!
It's called Overnight Oats. I heard about this a long time ago, but avoided it because I don't like mushy oatmeal.
Steel oats is more my style. It has a nutty, chewy texture and I love it!
My overnight oats recipe is for steel oats, although you could use either. It literally takes less than 5 minutes to make the day before. The next day, just grab a spoon and dive in!
Overnight Oats Recipe
Grab your favorite mug (I love this one!) and mix the following:
NOTE: Steel oats are very hard and this mixture needs to sit for at least 8 hours to be soft enough to eat. The best part is that they'll maintain the chewy texture for a couple days in the fridge, so go ahead and make a couple mugs for the week. You'll be glad you did!
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This Year I'm Saying YES to My Family
Teach Piano AND Have Dinner With Your Family? YES!
Quick and Tasty Meatballs
Creamy Chicken Noodle Soup
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
Family has always been important to me, but this year, more than ever, I'm putting family first.
My son, Matthew, is a senior in high school and you better believe, I want to treasure this time before he heads off to college.
So instead of teaching most afternoons, I'm leaving time to cook yummy meals and try new recipes.
Is it my shameless attempt to lure him home when he's off at school? Absolutely!
But seriously, my real goal is to simply be...AVAILABLE. If he's free and wants to hang out with me (be still my heart!) I want to be available.
The last thing I want is to look back with regret because I didn't cherish this time.
NOT AFRAID TO SAY NO
Of course, all of this hinges on my ability to say NO and truthfully, that's not easy for me. I'm a "yes" girl at heart. I want everyone to be happy.
But setting boundaries is important. I've written before about the necessity of learning to say NO and this "yes" girl is definitely getting better! Mostly because I'm getting a lot of practice!
The school year hasn't even started and I've said NO to:
Yikes! Just looking at that list stresses me out! But you know what's crazy? Normally, I would have said "yes" to everything without even blinking.
I would have reworked my schedule to make everyone happy and then I would have been completely overwhelmed.
Not this year! My priorities are set.
These are the "yes" decisions I've made:
A SIDE BENEFIT
One of the best parts of this decision is that I feel a huge weight off my shoulders. Since I'm not overwhelmed with commitments this year, my focus will be better. And I'm excited about that!
There will be TIME. Because I'm MAKING time - for the things that matter most.
I'd love to hear how you're making time for the important stuff!
Going after goals isn't easy, but hey - you can definitely increase your odds of getting there faster. Yay! ✅ Start practicing these simple steps and you'll bust out your goals in no time!
Let's get right to it!
1. STOP FOCUSING ON RESULTS
Gasp! But what about goal setting?! Can't I think about that?
Stay with me - I'm not saying to ignore results. In fact, I always START there during the planning stage. BUT... once the planning is done, it's time to shift gears and think about RESULTS.
Real success comes when you get laser-focused on the actual PROCESS of reaching your goals.
Here's where it gets exciting! Let's take a real-life example that all of us are familiar with: Going to the dentist.
No one wants cavities. Or a root canal. Just the thought is painful! Yikes! 😩 No, we all want to leave the dentist office with good news at every checkup.
BUT...it's not something that we think about on a daily basis.
We don't think "You know, I really should brush my teeth tonight so I don't have a cavity in September." No way! We just do the daily habit of brushing our teeth, trusting that we'll get a good outcome at our next dentist appointment.
That's how it should be with ALL goals!
Stay committed to focusing on the PROCESS and eventually you'll get the results you want. 😃
Let's run through a few scenarios related to teaching piano:
Example 1 - You need more students.
The fastest way to see real results is to focus on the PROCESS daily. What does that look like? You could:
Now focus on one step every day and you'll be registering new students before you know it! 👊 Click here to get the planner pages to help with this!
Example 2 - You need more money, but don't you want to teach more hours.
Instead of stressing out over a lack of money, focus on the PROCESS. You could:
Okay! Let's keep going! But first, I've got a worksheet just for you to help you map out YOUR ideal steps to reach those goals.
2. STOP DREAMING ABOUT YOUR GOALS
What? You don't want me to dream anymore?!
Well...it's good to dream. Just don't stay there! 😃
Here's the truth: When it comes to goal-setting, one thing that people miss is writing down their goals and reviewing them daily.
Oh, we all know we're SUPPOSED to do that. But few people ever do.
Real success comes when you actually WRITE DOWN your goals. (Don't roll your eyes at me. 🙄This really works!) Put your goals down on paper.
Here's a great exercise I want you to try. You'll see in no time how it helps you push past "dreaming" and gets you seriously focused on what you REALLY want.
Truth bomb! The second day I tried this, I literally couldn't remember what goals I wrote on Day 1. 😳 Embarrassing yes, but I'm keeping it real.
That's when I realized there was POWER in writing down your goals. It gives you the opportunity to process what you REALLY want. And REMEMBER what you wrote down. ✅ Cause some of us need that! 🙄
If you're after serious results, don't skip this step!
3. STOP LISTENING TO YOUR FEELINGS
Oh I know this sounds crazy! But hear me out! Many times in life we WANT to do things, but we don't FEEL like doing them.
Serious results come when you focus on what you WANT, not what you FEEL like doing.
Feelings come and go. Often, they'll lead us AWAY from our goals. Let's go over a couple examples and you'll see what I mean!
Example - You want to get in better shape.
I'll be the first to admit that some days I complain - I don't want to work out!
But WAIT! That's not really true. I WANT to work out. I just don't FEEL like it. There's a big difference! Don't trust your feelings when it comes to going after goals!
Here's another example - You want to rewrite your studio policies.
Most of us won't cheer "Yippee!" at the thought of working on this project. Nope. More than likely, you won't ever FEEL like working on it. But you know you WANT to get it done.
This is when you have to be a grown-up, ignore your feelings, and do SOMETHING. It'll bring serious results in no time!
Grab your Upbeat Planner Pages + Goal Setting Guide here! Before you know it, you'll be getting serious results in EVERY area of your life!
I have a couple friends that I meet routinely for coffee. Well, they do coffee. I'm a tea girl.
A couple weeks ago, we were scheduled to meet and I literally couldn't get myself out of bed. I was so tired, I kept resetting the clock for 15 more minutes. Then again - 15 more minutes. Finally I just texted them and said I couldn't make it.
I was just too. tired.
Fast forward to last week and something weird happened. I've never been one to bounce out of bed at 5am, but on Wednesday, I did. I woke up around 6:30 - without the alarm clock - and realized - I feel good. Really good.
It was kind of.....weird. And it made me realize that hadn't felt "good" in quite a while.
The combination of a busy season of life and the recent time change has been tough. I feel tired. And unmotivated. I don't feel like myself.
I know exactly what the problem is - I need to rework my morning strategy.
Because even though I don't always bounce out of bed, I do LOVE getting an early start to the day. It feels fabulous to check off some of my priorities before breakfast.
Here are 3 things I'm doing to revamp my mornings:
1. CHANGE-UP MY MORNING ROUTINE
We all go through different seasons of life. Routines need to adjust accordingly.
My morning routine always includes quiet time (Bible reading and prayer) and I like to get in a short workout. This is where I've been struggling recently.
At the end of the day, plans are great, but plans that include "fun" are much more successful!
To "up the fun" in my quiet time plan, I'm adding in a good book - 40 Days to a Joy-Filled Life. And as far as the treadmill goes - It's probably going to be doing a walk/jog with a good Hallmark movie!
I'm also going to come up with a reward system. Something like....workout 4 days this week and (insert reward here!) I'll have to spend some time thinking about that!
2. PRIORITIZE EXERCISE AND SLEEP
Okay, so technically I've listed 2 things here: exercise and sleep. But they really do go together! When I get daily exercise, I sleep better. Period.
As far as actual sleep, I've found that 7 hours seems to be perfect for me. That will be my focus for the next couple of weeks. Which means when the alarm goes off - I need to get UP!
How can I prep for this? I'll put away the electronics early and curl up with a good book instead. Training my brain for sleep will pay off.
3. MAKING OVER MY MORNINGS - For the 3rd time!
Starting Monday I'll be revamping my mornings with Crystal Paine's Make Over Your Morning program.
This will be my THIRD time going through it and I'm SO excited! The first time, I did it with a good friend. Round #2 was with a few friends, and this time I'm teaming up with some Upbeats!
If you're interested, you can click here for more information. And before you ask - no! You DON'T have to get up early. But you can if you want!
***If you decide to do this, please let me know! I've started a little FB group where we can encourage each other. We can cheer each other on!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
A teacher recently posted on Facebook:
I am starting to plan my first week-long (5 days) Music Summer Camp ever and I'm a little (ok...a lot!) nervous about it! I'm looking for some insight and advice on how to run a wonderful, fun music camp.
It made me think back to my first summer camp. Between you and me, I was pretty nervous:
Fortunately I got over my fears and overall my camp was a huge success:
But it was far from perfect.
This week I'm writing a series about my 3 BIG rookie mistakes. Today's post covers Mistake #1 AND how you can set yourself up for success!
MISTAKE #1 - MY CAMP WAS TOO BIG
For that first summer camp, I went all out. I packed 12 kids into my 2-room studio. Not only did I have a huge group, they stayed a long time - 5 HOURS a day for a FULL WEEK!
Yep - I went a little....overboard.
I'll give myself credit for being organized.
But at the end of the day - it was too many students for my first camp. And definitely too long.
DO THIS INSTEAD
I would have saved myself a lot of stress if I had:
In the end, I think I could have earned the same income, but with a LOT less stress!
A SNEAK PEEK AT MISTAKE #2
Make sure you come back tomorrow. I'll share with you the big mistake I made with planning camp activities and what you should to do differently.
(And don't forget about the Free Group Coaching Bonus that comes with Group Lessons 101. Valid only if you register by 3/31/18.)
OTHER CAMP POSTS YOU MIGHT ENJOY
Don't freak out, but yes - that's really my cabinet. Sometimes it's organized and sometimes it's not. BUT...no one ever knows because I can close the doors. Phew!
Brilliant, huh?! Moving that into the music room was such a good move on my part! (Go me!)
At some point, every business needs to change and grow - but when you're a piano teacher, where do you start?
I started with that cabinet, but you might need a different starting point. I can't wait to share 4 low-stress ways to make BIG changes in your studio right now:
1. Get rid of the clutter.
Organizing isn't hard - but KEEPING things tidy. Now THAT'S the challenge!
I'll let you in on a little secret - if you have piles of books. games, or anything hiding in the corners of your music room, it's not "hiding" from anyone!
As you can see in the picture above, I have piles of stuff too BUT my music room definitely LOOKS clean and organized. Oh the blessing of having a pretty cabinet! 😀
Remember, first impressions really do count and banishing the clutter will significantly improve the look of your studio - instantly!
Where do you start if you've fallen into the Clutter Trap? You'll get the quickest results if you:
The next couple weeks.think about what storage boxes and organizers would help you manage your "piles" better. Keep an eye out for sales!
2. Dress for success.
Oh my goodness! If I hear another teacher whine about having to look nice for piano lessons, I'm gonna go crazy! 😮
Yes - dressing nicely is something I'm passionate about. Teaching piano is our BUSINESS and to be successful, we must dress appropriately!
Think about it. People get dressed differently for different things. How you would dress for a wedding or a day at the beach? Or what you would wear if you going on a winter hike in the mountains? Of course you'd wear different clothes for each event.
As piano teachers - we need to dress for WORK! Even if we’re teaching from home. 😀
One thing I know for sure - the way we dress affects our mood and our focus. It also affects our students. If they notice you’re wearing old jeans and a sweatshirt, THEY'RE automatically going to be laid back and relaxed too.
And it absolutely affects our reputation! If we want to keep new customers and attract new ones, we need to treat teaching piano as a business - because it IS our business! That means we dress for WORK.
No - you don’t have to wear a dress or high heels. 👠
Yes - it's fine to wear jeans. (But not grubby, disgusting ones!)
The point is to look put together. So wash your hair. Put on makeup. Toss on some jewelry! And for crying out loud - wear shoes. You would never trust a doctor who was walking around in the hospital barefoot! 😮
Take care with your appearance and it could transform your business.
3. Do something different.
Bored students can kill a studio faster than just about anything. (Gasp! Shocker!) It's true - no studio can survive this!
Fortunately, it's an easy fix. Though it does take some effort!
I've found that nothing brings more life to a studio than SURPRISES. So get your thinking cap on and do something different. SOON!
✅ Here are a couple ideas to get you going:
Here's the point - students will get into a rut if you never change up your lessons. Create a few simple surprises and watch the smiles light up your studio!
Happy students make happy families. Happy families tell their friends how great you are and THAT builds business FAST!
Are you with me? Great! I've got some fabulous planner pages for you to help you map out YOUR goals!
4. Motivate yourself!
Since we're talking about getting into a rut....
If YOU'RE bored - your students will be bored. That certainly spells disaster for any piano studio.
We ALL need inspiration and motivation. That's one of the reasons why I created Upbeat Piano Teachers. I wanted teachers to be able to get ideas and encouragement anytime - anywhere.
So what inspires you? Think about it and make your professional growth a priority! Do you love to read books? Hit the library and check out some business or productivity books. 📚
We also have a lot of YouTube videos that you can watch. Click here for dozens of videos to watch.
Just do something to keep yourself excited and upbeat!
You've got this!
How do you improve your business each year? I'd love to hear!
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Hi there! I'm Tracy Selle. A Christian wife, mom, and author of 101 Piano Practice Tips. I'm also a piano teacher and founder of Upbeat Piano Teachers.