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!
If you liked this post, you might enjoy:
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.
UPDATE: This post was written in August of 2018. I'll post an update on July 2, 2019. You won't believe what a great year it was! I'm so thankful that I said "YES" to my family!
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!
If you feel overwhelmed trying to balance family and business, you'll love my newest webinar, Upbeat Moms! Click here to get an exclusive coupon.
In the Upbeat Piano Teacher Mastermind, we talk a lot about goals. I love goal-setting. But there’s a downside to setting goals.
If you really want to achieve your goals, you have to get good at saying no.
Here are some comments from our group. The topic was about putting students on a waiting list.
"Saying no is the worst!!! How many are on my waiting list? None. That's because I keep creating new time slots for them all!!!!!!!!!!! Aaaaghhhhh!"
"I love teaching and have a difficult time turning people away. In my mind I'm saying "It'll only be a couple hours," but I know it'll ruin my whole day off."
"I have a real tendency to say yes to all students - and then my home life gets crazy."
MY PERSONAL STORY
That last quote is from yours truly. Yes - I confess - in the past, I’ve added students AFTER all my slots were booked, thinking..... It’s just 30 more minutes.
True . It's 30 more minutes of work and 30 more minutes away from my family. I always regretted it.
But recently a friend looked at me and said "You've gotten good at saying no." Really? I hadn't noticed. My immediate concern was "Have I been rude?"
But then I thought about it and decided to take her words as a compliment. It meant that I was keeping my priorities and that's everything to me.
My 5-STEP STRATEGY FOR SAYING NO
Here's a basic formula to help you have some backbone! I'll follow it up with a couple examples.
How does this play out in real life? I asked my Upbeat partner, Sara Campbell, to weigh in with a couple examples. She does a fantastic job of putting on her "business hat" when necessary!
EXAMPLE 1: SCHEDULING REQUESTS
Let's say a family wants to have lessons on Saturday mornings, but you don't teach that day.
Glad we’re connecting about the fall schedule. The studio is not open on Saturdays, but here are three options for you: Tuesday at 5pm, Wednesday at 3:30pm, or Thursday at 4pm. Let me know which works best for you and I’ll get that on the schedule! Thanks so much. Looking forward to seeing you and Sam at lessons soon!
EXAMPLE 2: MAKE UP LESSONS
Let's say a student chooses to miss her piano lesson.
I’ll miss seeing Cindy in person today! I hope she has a nice time at the amusement park! During her lesson time I’ll record a short video assignment that she can watch tomorrow at home. This will help keep us on track during this busy time of year! Thanks again for letting me know about her absence. If she has any questions about her assignments, have her text me! I’ll be happy to help.
ONE FINAL TIP
Don't delay giving an answer because you feel bad.
Being wishy-washy isn't fair to the other person and it won't "soften the blow" at all. in fact, it'll make things worse and cause hurt feelings.
If "no" is your answer, go ahead and say "no." (Confession - though I strongly believe this, I still struggle with it. Hey, I'm far from perfect!)
How do YOU say "no" when necessary? I'd love to hear!
NEED MORE HELP WITH YOUR BUSINESS?
Upbeat Planning Academy is only held ONCE a year and we're about to start!
It runs July 2nd - August 10th. (Between June 26th and June 28th, you can get it for less than half the regular price! Yay!)
Upbeat Planning Academy is a LIVE Coaching Class filled with practical solutions to help you ditch the stress and overwhelm of running your own business and learn to revitalize your studio instead.
Here's what you'll learn in the Academy (It's different from all the business info you're used to hearing!)
Space is limited in the academy, so click here and register now!
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.
Those of you who know me know I LOVE learning about productivity and planning. (That's one reason Sara and I offer our Planning Academy for Piano Teachers.)
I'm ALL about finding ways to maximize my time, so I can enjoy more time on the things that matter - my family and friend. Yes, teaching is fun, but I really want to enjoy life outside of piano too.
That's why I'm SO excited about this new productivity course from Crystal Paine. You've probably heard me talk about her before. I absolutely LOVE her courses (especially Make Over Your Mornings. I have no doubt this one will be great as well. (And the whole course is only $17!)
Best of all? if you register now to get on the waiting list - you get exclusive freebies!
I just signed up! Have you?
The course starts on January 1 and includes:
I'm SO excited and I'd love to have you join me! Let me know if you register!
Note: Some of links in this post are affiliate links. Read my disclosure policy here.
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.