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Using PowerSheets in College

When Jess asked me to write about how to use PowerSheets as a student, I jumped on the opportunity because I benefitted from using them during my senior year! I am a proud University of Kentucky alum, and I’ll take any chance to relive the glory days.

One of my favorite thing about PowerSheets is that they aren't limited to a certain season of life, but they grow with you—PowerSheets can be used by anyone, anytime. I started my 2017 PowerSheets as a college student, and looking back at graduation in May, I can see how although my goals have changed quite a bit, my PowerSheets are still working.

One important thing to note is that my PowerSheets weren’t a homework, studying, and project to-do list.

While those things are important for success in college, I used PowerSheets as a means of uncovering what mattered to me—whether that be inside or outside of the classroom. College is a great time to grow in areas of your life that will last beyond student life—this could be community involvement, relationships, finances, healthy habits, etc. I'm delighted to share what I learned using PowerSheets as a student, and I'd love to hear from you!

1. Keep your Tending List visible.

PowerSheets only work if you use them. And to use them, you have to see them! I kept my backpack pretty much packed with the same items—my planner, a binder (that I used for all classes), a calculator, and a snack for the day, so there wasn’t a whole lot of space to bring my PowerSheets.

That's where the perforated Tending List comes in handy! Simply tear out your Tending List and tape it to the inside of your class binder or planner. You can consistently check in on a weekly basis and make adjustments without having to add another book to your school bag.

2. Use semester breaks to complete the PowerSheets Prep Work.

I received my 2017 PowerSheets as a gift over the holidays, and balancing family and friend time over the holiday break made it hard for me to start the Prep Work before my spring semester. Whether you’ll be using a Dated One-Year Workbook or a Six-Month Undated Workbook for 2018, I highly recommend starting as soon as you can leading up to winter break. This gives you enough time to enjoy the break and thoughtfully work through the Prep Work before filling out your January Tending List.

3. Focus on what matters to you.

Being a college student doesn’t mean life outside of class is put on pause. As I completed the Prep Work, I found that a lot of my focus for 2017 included uncovering what I wanted to do post-graduation, cultivating relationships I had built, and spending valuable time outside of class in a way that refreshed my soul. If you were to look at my Tending Lists from the beginning of the year, you will find a lot of goals focused on the student organizations I had leadership positions in and my community in Lexington, and that was a good thing! I chose the most important things, and I prioritized them on my Tending List each month.

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Many of my favorite college memories came from serving on the DanceBlue leadership team and planning #DB17, which showed up often on my PowerSheets. Marc was a great mentor for the year leading up to the 24-hour no sitting, no sleeping, dance marathon and now, post-graduation!

4. Be specific.

This tip can actually apply to anyone, and it’s been a game changer in how I write out my Tending List each month. For example, instead of “start saving”, I added “open a Roth IRA and invest $x”. The more specific my action steps were, the easier it was for me to make progress on them. It also made it easier to me to translate goals into my daily planner! To learn more about using your PowerSheets alongside your planner, join Lara and Emily Ley for a live class on How to Create a Cultivated Calendar!

5. Set aside time on your lightest class day to do your Tending List each month.

Try to keep your monthly check-ins consistent and mark it on your calendar. Maybe it’s during your Tuesday or Thursday break between classes, or maybe it's during homework break on your Monday afternoon library stints. Either way, consistency is key! One important thing to remember is that you don’t have to wait until the day before to do your Tending List for the upcoming month. I used to try to do it on the last day of each month, and when something came up I would feel guilty about not getting it done. Now, I start my PowerSheets the same time each month (the last Friday of the month), and it's been a game changer! This is why we give you a PowerSheets Prep Day sticker in our sticker book!

6. Give yourself margin during exam seasons.

Is it just me, or does it always seem like your professors met together and decided to give exams all on the same day? I found myself have one week with little projects or assignments due, and then another week with all my exams! Even if you aren't a student, I'm sure you can relate. In the “What’s Ahead” section, be sure to note if you have a busy month ahead in your classes and include dates. Writing out dates will help you see if certain weeks are heavier than others, and it will allow you to build in margin and avoid trying to do too much. In this case, feel the freedom to leave some of the lines on your Tending List blank!

7. Find inspiration from others! It was always helpful for me to see what goals other students were setting, so I flipped back through my PowerSheets to pull some examples for you below:

Monthly

  • Create a list of prospective companies I would like to work for (and why)
  • Research and open a Roth IRA + deposit summer savings
  • Create study plan for Finals week
  • Submit application for school organization leadership team

Weekly

  • Attend office hours for (insert your most difficult class here)
  • Encourage girls in bible study
  • Meet with career mentor/professor
  • Prepare well for DanceBlue meeting
  • Work on homework from a coffee shop - Breaking up my homework routine was so refreshing each week!

Daily

  • Pack a snack
  • Encourage a friend
  • Charge laptop
  • Pack backpack
  • Skip the bus and walk

Are you a student? Do you use PowerSheets? I'd love to hear any others tips you might below in the comments!

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How To Create a Cultivated Calendar with Emily Ley

Feeling overwhelmed? Like you don't have time for the good stuff in your life because your days are full of the to-do's on your list? Are you exchanging celebrating the people you love and adventures with the things that don't fill you up? If that's you, you're not alone! And we want to encourage you to do something about it!

Join Lara Casey and Emily Ley, creator of the Simplified Planner, for a free class on Thursday, September 28th at 3pm EST on How To Create a Cultivated Calendar

We've often asked why we don't include a day planner in our PowerSheets, and it's simple: they are two entirely different products that work together. In order to know what to put in your planner, you must first know your priorities and goals. Lara and Emily will share how to uncover good goals and what matters most, and then teach you how to use your PowerSheets and Simplified Planner (or any planner!) together to get the most out of your time.

We're even planning a special treat for all you sticker lovers out there :)

If you are not able join us live at 3pm EST, there's no need to fret! A replay will be available for all those that have registered, so be sure to sign upto receive access to the broadcast afterwards!

We can't wait to spend some time with you next week!

Leave us a comment to let us know you're coming! We can't wait to spend the afternoon with you!

PS. Our 2018 #PowerSheetsAreComing on October 25th! Sign up to stay updated over the next few weeks and to be the first to see the new collection next month before it goes live!

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Facebook Groups for PowerSheets Users

One of our very best PowerSheets tips is to find a PowerSheets buddy to keep you accountable in making the little by little progress on your goals. Why? Accountability is a game-changer, and it's so helpful to have your tribe to go to when you need advice or encouragement or when you want to celebrate accomplishing a goal!

However, we know that sometimes distance, life circumstances, or work schedules can make it harder to have face-to-face interaction on a regular basis, and that's why we're thrilled to offer five Facebook groups for the Cultivate family. These Facebook groups offer hundreds and thousands of women who are using PowerSheets to cultivate what matters in their own lives, and after spending time there myself, I'd bet money that they're some of the most encouraging groups on all of Facebook!

  • PowerSheets Group: This is our main Facebook group, and it's the hub of all things PowerSheets-related! Our team spends a few hours each week browsing all your goals and cheering you on as you make progress. I also get a lot of ideas for blog content in this group, too!
  • Moms Cultivating What Matters with PowerSheets: Anything from book recommendations for moms-to-be to creating a morning routine to finding baby socks that don't fall off is shared here! I'm not a momma myself, yet, but these ladies seem pretty wise and you can bet I'll be using this resource in the years to come.
  • Students Cultivating What Matters with PowerSheets: Are you a student? This group is a great place for students to encourage and inspire each other in this unique season of life! Our Customer Delight and Shop Manager Kaylee is a recent graduate herself, and she's one of the group's biggest cheerleaders!
  • Business Owners Cultivating What Matters With PowerSheets: One of my favorite parts of this group is watching women take dreams of businesses and begin to plant the seeds to build them. Whether you're dreaming up a business idea and writing out a business plan or a seasoned business owner yourself, you're sure to find extra encouragement here!
  • Cultivating Faith with PowerSheets: We know many of your goals is to cultivate your faith (and not just with our Write the Word journals). These ladies are quick to offer encouragement and practical resources to implement your faith in your life.

Click the links above to join one (or a few) of the ones that are applicable to your season of life, and request access. A member of our team will approve your request in a jiffy, and then you're free to introduce yourself and share your PowerSheets goals and progress. I've learned so much from these amazing ladies, and I can't wait for you to be equally encouraged!

We can't wait to say hi to some new faces in these groups!

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A Comprehensive Guide to Fitness Goals

We've talked quite a bit in the past about how to get fit and how imperfection can help you get in the best shape of your life, and we firmly believe those posts are full of encouragement and practical advice for you. We also know that when it comes to setting goals that work for your lifestyle, everyone is different, and sometimes you need a little inspiration when it comes to filling out your monthly PowerSheets Tending List.

We're starting a new series where we're going to be sharing a collection of monthly, weekly, and daily goals that align with larger themes we see in our PowerSheets community. Our hope is that you use these guides as resources when you're looking to make progress on one of your goals and need some inspiration to fill out the lines of your Tending List. Remember, these are simply suggestions to help get your wheels turning, and we welcome any additional suggestions in the comments!

First up, fitness goals! Whether you're a triathlete or you hate running with every bone in your body (I certainly lean more towards one of those than the other), the list below will give you some ideas for your Tending List if you're looking to prioritize your health and fitness this year!

Monthly Goals

  • Download Couch to 5K
  • Find a personal trainer
  • Join a running club
  • Sign up for barre membership
  • Choose an exercise plan
  • Join the local YMCA
  • Buy a pair of running shoes
  • Purchase a Fitbit
  • Find an exercise buddy for accountability
  • Create a workout Spotify playlist

Weekly Goals

  • Exercise 3 times a week
  • Run 10 miles
  • Track weight and measurements

Daily Goals

  • Be active
  • Take the stairs
  • Park far away
  • Hit 10,000 steps
  • Go on a walk after dinner
  • Lay out workout clothes before bed

These are just a few suggestions of tangible goals you can add to your Tending List each month to make progress on your fitness goals for the year!

We'd love to hear from you: what else would you add to this list?

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Your Go-To Guide for Meal Planning

Let me set the scene: It's 5:30 pm, and you're leaving work. You're hungry, but you have no idea what's for dinner (or if you even have food at home at all!) I've been there. You think "A quick stop by Chipotle will give me dinner AND lunch for tomorrow. surely that makes more sense than going to the store and then cooking." I completely get it. But once you start adding up those Chipotle and Panera runs, your wallet thins out pretty quickly!

Meal planning and prepping often gets a bad wrap because it seems overwhelming, but I'm here to share my best tips and tricks for those of you who are looking to make progress on your nutrition goals this year. I'm calling this a go-to, grace-filled guide to meal planning. So what's the point of meal planning? It's two-fold, not only will planning and prepping your meals give you control over what you're putting in your body (goodbye weekly Chick-fil-a trips!), but it is also much more economical. I'm sharing my best tips below, but it isn't an exhaustive list. I'd love to hear from you in the comments.

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If you follow my #TendingListTuesday updates, you'll know that "Plan and Prep Meals" has been a weekly goal for months!

Set realistic expectations. It wouldn't feel fair to write this post without starting with this tip. One of my best pieces of advice is to set realistic expectations as you start meal planning and prepping. There are going to be times when you rock your week–you'll do all the organizing, prepping, cooking, and come in under budget to boot! But there will also be times you eat an entire pizza instead of saving some for lunch and you find yourself at Food Lion the next morning buying Spaghettio's for lunch...🙈  Give yourself grace, and remind yourself that you can and will make progress each week.

Invest in the right containers. I've found that having the right containers and tools is essential to meal planning and prepping. There is nothing worse than making a batch of quinoa, putting it into a Tupperware container, and then ransacking your kitchen looking for the lid. I used my recent move as an opportunity to throw out my old plastic containers and invest in some new glass containers. I'm able to easily divide leftovers into lunch or dinner portions for the upcoming weeks. I recommend starting with a set to see which sizes you use most frequently, then buying a few extras individually. My favorites are from Ikea (here, here, and here), but there plenty of other options out there, too! Budget tip: Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals are a great time to stock up!

Create a bank of easy, go-to meals. Pinterest and your favorite blogs are a great starting point, but I like the idea of crowd-sourcing, too! Use your social feeds to ask for your friends' favorite meals, and ACTUALLY RECORD THEM SOMEWHERE. Whether it's a cute recipe box or digitally on your Pinterest board or Google Drive, make sure these are all aggregated in one spot so that when it comes time to choose recipes you can be efficient. If you aren't a recipe follower (ahem, me!), then create a typical shopping list for the week, and bookmark it somewhere. This is my favorite shopping list template, and I use it week after week to avoid overbuying.

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Here's this week's meals for me. You'll see that it's pretty simple and there are a lot of leftovers. I didn't add breakfast since I'm eating the same thing–yogurt, homemade granola, and berries.

Know yourself, your family situation, and your lifestyle. I'm a notorious meal-repeater. I typically eat the same breakfast and lunch for two reasons. It saves me from decision fatigue, and it saves me money because I'm only cooking for one person. If I want to mix things up, I'll split a Hello Fresh delivery with my boyfriend for some variety. Depending on your family situation, your meals will likely look very different than mine, and that's okay! Budget Tip: Email me if you want to try Hello Fresh, and I'll share my referral code for $30 off your first Hello Fresh box.

Schedule a weekly meal planning session. Take 30 minutes one day per week to plan your meals and shopping list. I spend time Sunday afternoon planning my meals, and it's a breeze and prepares me to go grocery shopping. My typical agenda is below, and while it might seem long, it rarely takes more than 30 minutes:

  • Look at your calendar or planner and decide how many meals you need for the week. Consult with your spouse, a roommate, or children's calendars to make sure you on the same page. For example, some weeks I have my book club and won't need to plan for dinner. I typically write out my weekly meals in my Simplified Planner, and from there I can see any gaps. Tip: don't forget about snacks here! I plan for two snacks during each workday.
  • Check your freezer and pantry. Are you out of staples? Do you have food that is about to expire and you want to use? Figure those things out now so you can choose your meals accordingly.
  • See if there are any sales at your typical grocery stores. I do all of my shopping at Trader Joe's (there are no sales), but this can inform your meal planning for the week. Tip: You can easily view your local flyer for most stores online.
  • Plan out your meals. Using the recipe bank you created above and starting with breakfast (it's the easiest!), plan your meals and snacks for the week and write them down. Whether it's in your planner or on a notepad on your fridge or in your calendar app, make sure you can see what's on the menu.
  • Make your shopping list from the meals. Write down everything you need for the week, and be sure to stick to it. Tip: If you're prone to forget your list or aren't heading to the grocery store until later, go ahead and take a photo of it, too.

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Head to the grocery store. Grab a snack, your reusable shopping bags, and get to shopping! This isn't required, but I like to add a rough estimate of prices beside each item so I don't have sticker shock when I head to the register. When I get home, I immediately unpack my groceries and start chopping, prepping, or roasting things as necessary.

Incorporate these steps into your PowerSheetsIf you're starting from scratch, add "Create a bank of recipes" to your monthly goals next month. Maybe you add "Meal plan and prep" to your weekly goals. Whatever it is, writing it down will help keep you accountable! Tip: Use the grocery cart sticker from our sticker book to add some color to your PowerSheets!

Whew! That was a long post, but I hope it was helpful. Now it's your turn; I'd love to hear from you! Leave a comment and share any tips or favorite recipes you have! I don't claim to be an expert in meal planning and prepping, and I'd love to learn from you!

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