Would you like to have one day a week—just for you—to replenish, think, plan, create, and get your feet back under you? That is the goal of today’s post…to show you how to make that happen.
For years, I typically felt like a pinball machine. I’d bounce from one thing to the next—never really getting anything done, but feeling tired and busy all day long.
As I learned how to get organized, my pace slowed, my home and office became calm, and my lists started to get checked off—consistently. But one day I attended a leadership class at a business conference where high-level CEOs were explaining how they structured their time. I sat in the back with my notebook and pen ready, but secretly I was thinking, “I’m already organized. I don’t know if there’s anything they can teach me.” Oh boy, was I wrong.
I proceeded to listen to multiple CEOs explain the concept of working “on” the business and not “in” the business. And then I started imagining that concept being applied to my family… And my personal life. And I got incredibly excited.
What has resulted is NOT a perfect science. I don’t do this every single week, and I don’t have a perfect plan in place. But over the past several years, I have learned how to take a regular “April Day.” And I want to show you how to do the same thing.
I’ve got a planning template available for you at the bottom of this post that will give you some helpful ideas you could replicate. But first, I’m going to walk you through a few foundational concepts. Then hopefully this template and these ideas will change your life!! (Are you getting excited?!!!)
(1) Have the appropriate conversations. The first one might need to be with yourself—as you give yourself permission to replenish, rejuvenate, and refresh. I don’t need to explain how hard this is for some people. But if you’ve ever heard the analogy of “sharpening the saw,” that totally applies here.
You also might need to have a conversation with your spouse, your employer, your children, your co-workers, or someone else who depends on you during the day. My conversation with Eric looked something like this:
“Honey, you know how I’ve been scattered and frazzled a lot lately? I know it’s been hard on you and the family. It’s been hard on me, too, but I think I’ve figured out a way to make things better. I’m planning to take one day a week out of the ‘chaos’ to replenish, reflect on my goals, think through my projects, and get things set up for the week for our family and business. I’m confident that this is going to help me to be happier and more relaxed—and it will ultimately help me to get more done and achieve the vision we’ve been working towards.”
Eric was more than happy to support that. He had a few suggestions and ideas regarding which day of the week/hours I would be gone, how we could work together to best balance the needs of the children and the business, how we could still make time to do our couples’ planning session, etc., but here’s the thing—no one likes seeing a loved one constantly falling apart. And when I could show him a simple way to support me in achieving better balance, he moved heaven and earth to make it happen. (In fact, he’s become the one pushing me out the door when I get distracted, saying, “It’s your day! Go make it awesome!”)
I recognize that not everyone has a supportive spouse (or supportive people around them, in general), but even if you start really simply—with just an hour or two at the library or something like that—I strongly believe this will make a HUGE difference for you.
(2) Block your special day on your calendar as a recurring event. You can change it up, occasionally, if needed, but making this a regular day at a regular time is ideal.
***You might not be able to get a whole day, to begin with. When I first started out, it was a few hours in the evening while Eric put the children to bed. Then it graduated to a few hours in the afternoon while a babysitter came over and played with our kids. Then I started taking some time at the library by myself. Not a whole day, but part of a day.
The goal is to do SOMETHING with the time and energy that you have available.
(3) PROTECT it. If someone asks me to attend an event or set up a meeting during my day, I do everything I can to protect it—just as I would a doctor appointment. I don’t think of that as selfish…That’s how I keep my sanity.
When the day comes….
(1) Lay a solid foundation. Clean up the house, see everyone off to school, exercise, have your regular morning routine, finish any date-specific tasks (sometimes Eric and I need to get something done for the business, for example), process any emails that came in overnight, and get your brain in a spot where you feel stable.
(2) Replenish your spirit. I typically can’t jump right into a planning session. I need time to transition from “busy life” to “gaining inspiration for my life,” so I’ll find a sunny, grassy spot and take a rest while I listen to an uplifting podcast, occasionally go get a massage at my favorite place, take a walk in a beautiful area, run fun errands (like buying a new shirt or getting some healthy non-perishable food I’m excited about at the grocery store), take time out for personal worship, or read a great book.
If you’re an extrovert, you could call a friend, go visit someone you haven’t seen for awhile, explore something you’re excited about, ride your bike, visit an art exhibit, etc. The goal is to do something that feels FUN to you.
(3) Eat. Sometimes I pack a healthy lunch. Other times I go to a favorite restaurant and get a meal I’m excited about. ? But this part is incredibly important because you don’t want to plan your life when your stomach is thinking only of food.
When it’s time to plan….
(1) Find a quiet place. Sometimes I stay in our basement and work there. Other times I go to the library. Occasionally, I’ll sit in a quiet restaurant, if they don’t mind me using a booth for a couple of hours.
(2) Silence your phone and close your email or social media browsers. Incredibly important….
(3) Focus your attention on your plan.
Typically, I have my laptop, paper planner, and a notebook in front of me. Then I go through this process I think you’ll love:
- Clean up anything cluttering your mind—ideas, reminders, random thoughts that are causing a distraction.
- If you pray, this is a good time to offer a prayer!
- Review the goals you’ve already set for yourself, your family, and your profession or community involvement. I have a 50-year-plan, a 3-5 year plan, annual goals, quarterly goals, monthly projects, and a weekly focus. They’re all outlined, so I just do a quick review. (If you’re in our Life Architecture program, you’re probably in the process of creating these. If you haven’t yet set goals, now might be a great time to identify what you want to accomplish in the next 90 days.)
- Evaluate—even if it just takes a minute. How are things going? What needs to change? What is working really well? (I answer these questions from my own perspective, but then I also try to look at it from God’s perspective.)
- Review your project list – Current, In Process, Next in Line, and Someday. Make sure only 1-3 projects are in your “Current” list for each category: personal, family, and business. (Check out our podcast about how to manage projects in Asana here!) Clarify, reprioritize, send follow-up messages…
- Clean up anything else you’d like—Next Actions List, Routines List, etc. (If you’re in STEP, you have a Weekly Review all outlined for you there.)
- Review any new information you’ve received since your last planning session. Conferences you’ve attended? (Link to conference-planning template) Books you’ve read? Meetings?) And update your projects, routines, etc. with that information.
- Look ahead at your week and identify things you can do to get ahead, to solve problems you’re facing, and to make things easier tomorrow than they were today/yesterday…
- Record any thoughts, ideas, or things you want to remember in your journal (sometimes I use my planner or Evernote). This is also where I ask God if there’s anything I have missed or anything further I need to consider.
(4) When you feel like you have your head together for at least the next week, you’re done!
I hope that was helpful! If you’d like a worksheet to give you some kind of a framework for your first special day, we have both digital and printable options available to you.
Having time for you is not a luxury. It’s essential. How often do you make time for everyone else? Phone calls, emails, requests, needs—things that were never planned in advance, but for which you are asked to respond—right away? It is a beautiful thing to be of service. It’s a beautiful thing to do your job well and to be there for your family and loved ones.
But when you consistently make time to invest in your own mental, spiritual, and emotional health, the results will astound you!!
Why is it important to me to take this time for myself? How will I feel when I have taken time to “sharpen the saw?”
Look at your calendar, pick a time, and have these conversations. Schedule this day and then protect this time. Happy [insert your name] day!
Do you have any questions about how to make this work for you? Or maybe you had some great ideas you’d like to share that we missed–please share in the comments below! We look forward to hearing from you!
I can’t thank you enough for this episode! Just yesterday (Thursday) I was noticing that by Thursday I am often drained and unproductive after a busy first half of the week and was thinking about how best to recharge. Then today I have a very rare day when all of my family is away and I can do whatever I want. It was difficult and a little stressful trying to decide what to do—the house could certainly use cleaning and I have plenty of projects, to-dos that could be moved forward. But thankfully I caught your podcast on my morning exercise and it really helped me decide how to spend my day in a way that is rejuvenating. I really enjoy podcasts and learning from you and others, but I have to say your podcasts are my favorite—I always leaving feeling uplifted and inspired by your willingness to expose your weaknesses and the way you have turned them into strengths! If we ever meet in person I will feel like April and I are old friends! Thanks again!
P.S. I loved the laundry episode as well!!!
April Perry says
Oh my goodness, you just made my day!!! Yes–I hope we do get to meet in person someday. It’s so fun to get to make friends online. Excited for you, and I hope that you can make “Alicia Day” a regular thing. 🙂 . xoxo
Rebekah Jennings says
13 years ago, when I had my second child, my mom began having “grandma day“ for three hours every Wednesday with my kids. At that point, I was the only one of her children with grandchildren, but she has done this consistently over the years and now it has grown to include any grandchildren not in school during those three hours. It is such a gift to me to have three scheduled, consistent hours every single week for myself. She never puts any restrictions on what we need to do with our time. I think it also helps keep the babysitting requests manageable for her, since we always know we can schedule appointments, go shopping, do personal worship etc. during that time.
April Perry says
I read this out loud to my family. SO GREAT!!! I totally want to have a day like that when we have grandchildren. So smart. Thank you for sharing this, Rebekah!!!!
My sweet MIL gave us a Grandma day as well. Later it meant that the older child might stay home with me for more focused study time, but Wednesdays were Gma time. She took my kids with her when she led Story Time, and they were her “helpers.” Then there was playtime. Weekly time was the BEST blessing.
Loving the things I have learned from your podcasts! I appreciate the perspective from which you present your ideas. How is the “April Day” different than your weekly review time?
April Perry says
Greta question, Dana!! I’ve actually started doing my full Weekly Review during my April Day, but I add in more replenishment around the planning session. So, while I do process my inbox, review my routines and projects, etc., I also have time to rest, have fun, think, and get a little space for myself. Sometimes I break up parts of my Weekly Review and do it at other times when I’m home (like if I have a lot of papers on my desk that I don’t want to take with me somewhere), but ultimately, the Weekly Review happens during April Day. Hope that helps! Are you thinking something like this might work for you?
Great podcast!! I am thinking over some ways I might incorporate this idea into my schedule. One question- I am a long time Mind Organization for Moms user/fan (!!) , it sounds like this is very similar to the weekly review process- only more fun. Is this your weekly review or do you do another more formal weekly review at another time during the week. I have really neglected my weekly reviews the last couple of years. I’m trying to get better because they make a huge difference in my week.
April Perry says
Hey Jenifer!! So happy to see you on here! Yes, this is now when I do my formal Weekly Review. It’s so hard to carve time out when I’m at home and other people need me, but if I get away for it, my success rate skyrockets. 🙂 Excited for you!!
A full podcast as an answear to my question? Thank you so much April?♀️?? I have blocked the time on my calendar every wednesday, but I dont protect it. I am really comitted to work on that. It is not only this event, it is my yoga, every activities that is for me. Thanks, I have learned so much from you guys❤
April Perry says
Awesome, Cecilie!! So excited for you to really protect that time and see the benefits. And I LOVED that you asked this question. We’re here to help serve the community, and if there’s anything we can contribute (that we’ve learned from years of struggling!), we’re happy to do so. Thrilled to have you with us! Keep posting good questions—we’ve got a great community here, and as we all work together, I think there will be great things ahead. 🙂
Hi, April and Eric,
This podcast came at a perfect time. I was feeling a little overwhelmed and feeling that my needs come after every one else’s needs. This is both at home and at my business. Listening to you both talk about this made me realize how I need to advocate for myself and carve space for time to replenish and recharge and not feel guilty about it. I was prepping to pick a fight with my hubby and I’m glad I listened to this first. 🙂
April Perry says
That made our morning!! We are excited for you to carve out some special time for you. Even if it’s just an hour or two here and there, for starters. You’ve got this, Aileen!!!
I loved this! And you did not say what I thought you would. How freeing that this time can include an activity or even a phone call to a friend. I thought you were going to say a whole 24 hour period! But instead, you emphasized working out the time that you need. Because I have not been doing this, I find myself looking at my goals on Evernote, but just glancing instead of taking enough time to visualize and plan. Also I loved your summary on setting yourself up for the day, doing the morning tasks before getting started. Thank you for taking the time to share.
April Perry says
I’m so glad that this was helpful, Janet! Even the fact that you are “glancing” at your goals inside Evernote is awesome, and I have no doubt as you carve out a little more time to think and plan, you’re going to see amazing things happen in your life. So proud of you for moving in a great direction. Thank you for your kind words and for being with us at LearnDoBecome!!!
Oh what a wonderful podcast!! I have listened to it twice and I am planning my first official “Lannette’s Day” this Friday since I have the day off work. I have so many goals sitting on the back burner and feel quite overwhelmed so this podcast came right when I needed it! One goal requires some quiet time which is why it hasn’t made much progress. Thanks for sharing your ideas and challenges April. It gives me hope!
Taryn Wood says
Lannette, we’re so excited for you! Enjoy your first “Lannette Day” tomorrow! We know that you’ll love it!
I love this idea, even for just a couple hours, as I find my days are taken over by all the planning and organizing in small sessions instead of getting it all done once a week and getting momentum from there! I know a lot of people are moving to online planners and calendars, but just this year I went from my Franklin Planner to one called the Get to Work Book. While I don’t have my own business and it might be a bit much for me, it has a lot of spaces for Projects, action items, to do lists, places to reflect on the past month, what to let go of and make goals for the next. Sounds like something that might be great to go along with an “insert your name” day planning session.
Hello. I tried to download the Evernote template and receive an error message saying I do not have permission to access it or it has been moved. Do you have any ideas? Thank you – I’d love to download this resource.
Taryn Wood says
Hello! So sorry to hear you’re having some technical difficulties with the file. Are you using a computer or a mobile device? Do you have an account set up with Evernote? Perhaps you could try another browser? If you continue to have troubles, feel free to contact us at [email protected], and we will respond as quickly as possible.
It is great to hear about this topic. For years, I have been doing it but not exactly on same day. For mind clearing, Sahaja yoga meditation has been a superb rejuvenation and transformations of my entire being. I have been practicing for 28 years and growing up. Your site came to my attention today and it’s nice to know, God gifted you to be a good instrument to help others who are on same boat. How may I support your work? I Love the concept.
Taryn Wood says
Chelie, thank you for your comment! We’re glad you found us and look forward to having you explore our website. We invite you to join us for a class! Our hour-long class focuses on four simple steps anyone can use to get a better handle on life, home, goals, projects, and tasks. The class is available to be watched on demand, at your convenience. You can find that replay by following this link: https://learndobecome.com/step. We look forward to having you jump in the class and know this will be a well spent hour. Enjoy! Please let us know if you have any questions at all.
Really cool to listen to because I have a day a week but haven’t always used it best, so excited to try our ideas to make it even better!!
Belinda Katon says
For over 20 years I have set aside one week in February as Belinda’s week to rejuvenate. I go to the beach & rest & read. It is so great to not be responsible for anyone or anything. This podcast has shown me I don’t have to wait a year to do something for myself. It also encourages me to use that time to plan & review instead of just zone out.