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My Toolbox

As a woman with ADHD, working a full-time job and side hustle while parenting a toddler doesn’t just happen on its own. It’s the product of years of study and trial and error. Here’s a place where I keep you updated on what’s helping me these days.

Big Picture Stuff

Around October each year, I use Jennifer Dzuira’s Plan Your 20XX. I’m not so much into New Year’s resolutions, but I love a good To Don’t list, which is part of the exercise. Having a vision of the year ahead and organizing your quarters into themes can really help when you’re trying to tackle a lot of stuff at once.

Evening Routine

My ideal evening routine involves making lunches the night before in bento boxes. These days, lunch is some combination of lunchmeat, cheese, nuts, fruits, and vegetables. (Think those bistro boxes at Starbucks without the hefty price tag.) I also like to make a batch of cold brew in a pitcher.

If I’m feeling especially ambitious, on Sundays I’ll batch cook these sous vide egg bites in my Instant Pot, using these silicon molds. I like these because I can get my protein fix in a quick way without a bunch of fuss in the kitchen. I love adding Tabasco sauce or sriracha to these.

It’s also important for me to go to bed at a decent hour, and to help I use pillow spray and this particular eye mask. If I have a lot on my mind, I’ll also do a meditation using Headspace or put on some sleep sounds using Brain.fm. Hot soaks in Dr. Teal’s Epson Salt Bath help me relax for the night as well.

I aim for 7 hours of sleep of night, which puts me in bed around 10 p.m.

Morning Routine

I set my alarm for 5:30 a.m. and immediately go to my walk-in closet, which is my makeshift woman cave. If I go into my office, it wakes up my cat, which wakes up my kid. The whole reason I’m getting up early is so I can get things done before my kid and husband are awake.

After lighting a candle (this is my fave), I do a 10-minute meditation on Headspace, then write a few pages in my blank book (these are my all-time fave – they come in a lot of rich colors). After that, I’m getting my kid ready for the day, then working on my side hustle before it’s time for my day job.

At Work

Before starting my work day, I do a brain dump and identify my top 3 priorities using these planner pages. I don’t use the entire planner system, these loose pages seem to do the trick. There’s also a place to block your time and list what you’re grateful for.

I use these headphones to block out distractions.

Throughout the day if I’m stuck, I may put on this kitchen timer to complete tasks using the Pomodoro Method. Other things I try – depending on what my tasks are – include podcasts on Stitcher and white noise on Brain.fm. If my task requires deep thinking, I use white noise. If I’m working on repetitive and boring tasks, a good podcast helps keep my brain engaged. Boredom is essentially the kiss of death.

After work I love to unwind with this feminist coloring book.

At Home

At our house, the chores are divided and my larger chores are laundry and meals. For laundry, I rely heavily on my laundry cart with wheels. One time I got so behind on laundry, I went to a laundromat and it made me realize how convenient it was to have a cart – it’s basically a ready-made folding and handing station that’s portable. This allows me to do my folding and hanging wherever I need to be – in front of the TV while my child plays, for example.

Meal prep is another chore assigned to me. I love using my Instant Pot to take frozen meat and bring it to cooked with very little effort. I’m also a big fan of bento box lunches and egg bites, as mentioned earlier.

In addition to Instant Pots and advanced meal prep, I have found intermittent fasting to be really helpful on regaining control over my relationship with food. It’s also much easier from a planning perspective. For learning more about this way of eating, I recommend Gin Stephen’s book Delay Don’t Deny.