5 Tips to Add Extra Hours to Your Week that Actually Work - Melissa K. Norris

5 Tips to Add Extra Hours to Your Week that Actually Work

By Melissa Norris | Homestead-Life

Feb 18

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Feel like there’s never enough hours in the day to get it all done?

Many of us are wanting to get back to basics, cooking our food from scratch, raising it, making it at home, but often times, living a simple lifestyle isn’t easier.

We can become overwhelmed with the shear amount of things we have to do in a day and feeling like we don’t have enough time to do all we want to.

 Welcome to Episode #101 of the Pioneering Today Podcast

Resources to find more hours in your week

Overwhelmed: How to Quiet the Chaos and Restore Your Sanity. This is a faith based and practical steps book to help you create a plan for getting out of overwhelmed. 

Free work sheets for creating a morning and evening routine (scroll half way down the page for the free worksheet download)

Need help with finding wholesome yet easy to prepare Made-from-Scratch meals and natural home and body care products? Get The Made-from-Scratch Life: Simple Ways to Create a Natural Home

Want free sample menu plans, meal planning worksheets, pantry inventory sheets and more? Get your bonus workbooks and sheets for The Made-from-Scratch Life here

My special gift to you, a free copy of my Menu Plan Worksheet! With spots for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks, meal prep notes, and a grocery list all on one sheet so you have it all together and front and center!

Click Here to for Your FREE Menu Planning Worksheet

5 Tips to Add Extra Hours to Your Week that Work


Kathi: I think you make a really good point, because simplicity isn’t always easy, is it? You’re not taking the easy path necessarily, you’re saying I know that simple living is a faith based point of view, honoring what God has given us. People think that the simple life is I’m just going to do less and life will be easier. I think someone like me, who is trying to shift into a simpler life, that upfront there may be more work. 

Some of the ways Overwhelm can apply to this life choice. When we decide we’re going to make a shift in the way we heal, cook or clean, instead of saying I’ve decided we’re going to get rid of all the chemicals in our home, forever and ever, amen and you take a big black garbage bag and you fill it with everything and throw it out,  you say, everything now is vinegar and lemons, do tiny steps.

Because don’t people do that? They just go all in.

Break things down into doable steps

Instead, we talk about micro-steps. I can get overwhelmed if I think I have to change every cleaning project in my house. Instead, I say I’m just going to look up three articles for research, or one article,  and I’m just going to change one thing. I’m just going to replace my window cleaner today. Next week I’ll replace my floor cleaner.

I tend to be an all in person, “I’m going to cook from scratch every meal for the rest of my life.”

The first time I blow that, like the person at McDonald’s knows me by my first name. We live in this place of extreme and we don’t allow ourselves any grace. Getting out from overwhelm is a lot about self grace and self care and instead of making 180 turns it’s making 180 1 degree turns.

We can do tiny things every day that gets us closer to the life God has called us to. We can look at where we were 6 months ago and see where we’ve grown and how far we’ve come and that’s very powerful.

Melissa: I’m an all or nothing person and the problem with that is the first time you mess up, you throw your hands in the air and say I can’t do this.

When we first started really cooking from scratch and kicking out GMO’s processed foods and getting back to whole and basic foods, I was the one suffering with health issues so I was the one who was dedicating to making these changes.

My husband and son where like, “You want us to eat what?” Even now my husband will still buy some of their favorite snack stuff from the store instead of being irritated and put out, we have to have those grace moments. 

If you are the one making the changes and cooking, take baby steps. When I first started using fresh ground wheal wheat I had to start with replacing a 1/4 of the flour with the whole wheat, now I can use all fresh ground whole wheat. But it couldn’t be that boom overnight change because they were rebellious.

Kathi: Any time we’re asked to make a change and it’s not our own agenda is hard. We say change is hard, but its especially hard when someone else has bought into it and we have not been converted. One of the things that really helped us form eating out to eating at home was getting better at cooking.

My husband and I started watching America’s Test Kitchen. We’ve together watched these shows and invested in some good tools and said we’re going to learn to cook together. When I saw how excited he was to try and cooking things, we can be mutually persuasive to go to this lifestyle we want, is to capitalize on other people’s interest to get buy in and build your team to change.

Melissa: As we get into  the simplicity or for example as cooking more meals from scratch. There’s a time thing, you have to plan out that you have the ingredients from a well-stocked pantry or going to the store to purchase them, any prep work included to make it, and the time, if you’re not used to doing it, it’s going to be adding more time to it. Once you get used to it, the time goes down, but many of us feel like having enough time to do things is already an issue.

There’s a reason the convenience of processed foods and drive thru’s became so popular. What are some tangible steps with micro management that we can use to tackle our schedule so we have the room to do these things that are important to us without feeling overwhelmed?

Steps to Create More Time in Your Day

Kathi: The first step I’m going to tell you is going to feel very counter intuitive, but go with me here.

  1. Make sure you have one day of rest. I’m a huge believer in that. You need to have one day where you’re not being productive and scheduling things. We need a solid begin and end to each of our weeks. 
    I come from a faith background and I’ve always been told have a Sabbath and I feel like, God, you’ve given me nine days of work to do and now you want to take away day so I have to do it in six.
    We can either use our Sabbath to prep for our Sabbath or use our Sabbath to prep for our week. I would rather go with the first option so I can use these 6 days to create a day of rest. Monday starts the beginning of my week.
    If you’re working a 5 day a week job, lets remember that Saturday is your day off, that is also a work day, you’re working 6 days a week. Because if you’re planning meals, going grocery shopping, whatever it is, that’s your work, cleaning your house, that’s work. When we try to work 7 days a week and try to shove all this house stuff in our already crammed schedule, no wonder we all feel overwhelmed. 
    You need a section of your week, I call it prep and plan.
  2. Create a Prep and Plan time. This is where you prep for the things that are going to happen around your house and plan. Make your meal plan.
    This really helped me when we started cooking all of our own meals. I was coming up with 30 different meals for the whole month and that was really overwhelming.
    Instead, I said I’m going to cook these 7 dinners and get really good at them and we’ll have them several times, then we can start incorporating in new recipes. Based on the same diet, but I’m not reinventing the wheel every single week. It’s to have a basic meal plan and as you get really good at it you can add in new things. To do the basics and to do them well is the essence of simple living.
    Melissa: One of the bonuses in the workbook for The Made-from-Scratch Life, is a Master Meal Plan list for dinners, snacks, breakfast, is to make a master meal list you know how to cook and you know your family likes. This is what you use to plug into your meal planning first and it works. 
  3. Use your family to help come up with your master meal plan list. Ask your family what some of their favorite foods are that you know how to prepare.
    Kathi: I like to create loop meals (Left Overs On Purpose) where I can cook a whole chicken and I can reserve some of that for chicken soup two days later. Be strategic with your prep and plan time. Every minute that you sit down and plan you save twenty minutes whether it’s in the grocery store or in your kitchen cooking.
    It feels so weird because you’re not being productive for that hour but it’s going to save you so much time.
    Melissa: Taking the time to plan really does save so much later on, and often times when I get into something without planning, I realize I’m having difficulty because I skipped that planning step. Especially during the middle of the week I feel like I don’t have the time to plan. How do you go about plugging in the planning into your regular life?
    Kathi: For most people I would say use Saturday as your planning day. 
  4. Creating a Routine and Planning Time. If you can start with even an hour to plan out your week it will help. One of the things that has really helped me cut back on my planning time is having an established morning and evening routine.
    And by the way, I’m the least planned person on the planet. I really believe if I can do this anyone can. Routine always struck me as boring and unnecessary. But I’ve come to understand is if I’ve got some routine in my life, I’m deliberately choosing what is important to me, instead of letting others choose what my priorities should be.
    In the morning my priorities are to spend time with God, to be creative (which is writing for me), and the evening routine is to get me prepped for the next day. Critical vital things like setting up my coffee the night before, cleaning up the kitchen so I don’t hit the floor in the morning greeted by a mess. It’s putting out my walking clothes so I have less of an excuse in the morning. It’s doing these things and having a solid routine is huge.
    Melissa: You mentioned the walking clothes, I started in October getting back into an exercise routine that for 5 days a week, I had to work out for 5 minutes and if I wasn’t into it after the 5 minutes I could quit (tip courtesy of Chalene Johnson) and since then I’ve worked out 5 days a week without fail.
    One of the things I’ve noticed is if I put on my sports bra before I go to bed, when I wake up I’ve got that first part on and it’s easier for me to get started working out.
    Kathi: If I sleep in a sports bra I’m 100% more likely to workout. And for people who have struggled with creating a morning and evening routine we have free worksheets here.  (scroll part way down the page to find the freebies without purchase). But can I tell you when you’ve completed your morning routine you can take on the world and when you complete your evening routine you sleep better.
    Melissa: I feel really good about my morning routine but the evening routine is where I need to work.
    I know you have a thing about removing 2,000 items from your home in a year and we completely cleaned out my daughter’s room and I think I hit that 2,000 mark in two days. But we created a morning routine for her. We set up her clothes in designated categories by school, play and farm, and then dress up. This has made mornings so much easier as she knows where to go for what clothes depending upon the day.
    By the way Kathi has a podcast, Clutter Free, that I listen to frequently.

    Verse of the Week

Kathi: This really goes with the Psalm 90:12 Teach us to number our days that we may gain a heart of wisdom. When we can look at our days as not endless but finite. What if today was my last day? What would I want people to know my priorities are and to live like that. It really is very clarifying and gives you sense of purpose and planning that is the opposite of overwhelmed.

***Contest Closed***

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About the Author

Melissa K. Norris inspires people's faith and pioneer roots with her books, podcast, and blog. Melissa lives with her husband and two children in their own little house in the big woods in the foothills of the North Cascade Mountains. When she's not wrangling chickens and cattle, you can find her stuffing Mason jars with homegrown food and playing with flour and sugar in the kitchen.

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