This is the fifth in our new series of emails called “How I Monk.” In this series we will be highlighting + celebrating members of the Monk Manual community as they’ve meaningfully applied our tools and resources to find peaceful being and purposeful doing in their everyday lives. If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here… #HowIMonk
Name: Rachel Schmidt
Occupation: Social Worker/ Licensure Specialist
Where are you based: Mississippi
A bit about who you are and and how you spend your days:
I am a wife and mother to 4 children on the journey of discipleship, constantly learning and striving to grow in my faith and God given gifts. As my secondary vocation, I practice social work at Mississippi Department of Child Protection Services, where I have been employed for almost 5 years.
My current role at the agency is to train and license foster parents for the state. When I am not working, I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, cooking/baking, playing board games and reading.
Monk Manual Tip: I use the dotted area at the bottom of the daily pages to put a quote or scripture that strikes me for the day. I love being able to revisit it throughout the day when I open up the MM again.
How has your life changed since using the Monk Manual?
It has really helped me to prioritize and focus on finding balance in my family life, professional life and spiritual life. I have found it beautifully integrates each part of my life and encourages me to focus not so much on how much I have to get done, but the bigger picture. I don’t consider this a planner but a daily companion in my journey of life.
One of the things I struggled with most, aside from sticking to it daily, was probably picking a theme to orient my focus toward each month. While some months this came more easily to me, other months I found this part difficult. One thing that has made this easier are the Monday Momentum emails & texts paired with monthly themes chosen by the MM team. So if I do not already have a theme in mind, I default to MM’s theme.
What originally drew you to the Monk Manual?
The MM was recommended by one of the podcasts I was listening to during the early months of COVID quarantine. What I think most drew me to the MM was the simplicity of it as well as the vision of being+doing.
I started a masters social work program in August that same year and the Monk Manual has carried me through that entire program and beyond in my professional life as well as my personal and spiritual life.
This system has really helped me plan my months and weeks more intentionally.
What are some of your personal Monk Manual practices?
There are a few systems I have come across that have been helpful in my own life and I have been able to implement with my Monk Manual. The first is having a capture system where I can keep all of my “to-do’s” in one place. For this I use the dot grid notebook that comes with the Monk Manual. It fits perfectly in the back folder of my Monk Manual and has more than enough room. I also use the inside cover to keep up with important passwords.
The second thing I have started doing is keeping a list at the back of my MM titled “Waiting for”. With my work, there are a lot of things I delegate or send off that I need returned in order to complete my work and it can be difficult to keep track of everything. So I use this space to keep track of it. From emails that I am waiting for a response to documents that I am waiting for signatures. Then when these things are completed, I cross it off that list.
What suggestions would you give to new Monk Manual users?
Stick with it! Consistency is where the benefits start coming through, rather than perfection. This is what I believe sets the Monk Manual apart from other “planners” or methods like bullet journal, etc. The value system and beliefs that this tool has been crafted around really shapes the fruitfulness it can have in your life.
Practically, I would also suggest using the yearly and quarterly goals addition. This has helped me to keep up with the goals I made at the beginning of the year and evaluate where I am each quarter.
Overall Monk Manual as a company has helped me focus on what matters most to me, family, helping others, and living a fuller life along with the chaos that spreads through it. I feel so blessed with so much, and through my Monk Manual practices, I’ve learned to truly appreciate what I have, while I have it, and to be thankful for the time I get with others before it’s gone.
If you’d like to be featured in a future “How I Monk,” share your information with us here.