Category Archives: Time Management

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

Pruning: Cutting Out Things to Become Stronger and More Productive

I love being and working outside, especially this time of year with planting and gardening. Plants make me happy. I might even describe myself as an amateur gardener. However, I use this “gardener” term very loosely! Over the years I’ve learned a lot about God through the planting process. In fact, the bible is full of gardening and agricultural analogies, being they were so prevalent in that culture.

Because I love gardening so much, it’s easy for God to talk to me and for me to understand in gardening terms. For that reason, it happens a lot. Just this past week in fact I was reading John 15 where Jesus is describing himself and the vine, us as the branches, and God (the Father) as the gardener.

During this particular reading, the pruning process stood out to me. I think this was because of what God has been speaking to me about lately. Specifically, this made sense with regard to removing distractions when spending time with and listening to God. I mentioned last week that I was being “corrected” in this area! Therefore, pruning distractions fit right in the theme of what I was already learning.

John 15:1-8 (NIV)

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.”

Bearing Fruit=Being Successful

Continue reading

My Addiction to Hallmark Christmas Movies

My addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies...

My Addiction to Hallmark Christmas Movies

When I asked Eric what I should write about recently, he said “your addiction to Hallmark Christmas movies”. Did you sense some sarcasm in that? Me too. Actually, it’s not a bad idea though. I’ve got to be honest. I really am addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies! Sadly, he’s not lying. I admit it. I’m a full-blown Hallmark junkie.

I’m a huge fan of the Hallmark channel and their original movies, albeit cheesy and predictable as they sometimes are. Maybe it’s the predictability that I like? I always know they will tug at my heart strings. Even if they have some sad parts, I can also always count on a happy ending. Real life doesn’t always have happy endings, so the certainty of watching one can be enticing.

Maybe the movies are an escape too? That might be where the “addiction” comes in. Addictions are often an escape from something else aren’t they? Hallmark Christmas movies can offer an escape from an often stress-ridden and drama-filled holiday season. In the movies, we can see the picture-perfect holiday season, traditions, memories and romance.

Where conviction and moderation come in

Many years ago I discovered that I was developing unrealistic expectations and discontentment in my marriage due to my obsession with romantic movies and books. I felt a strong conviction that I needed to overcome this struggle (that I previously didn’t even know I had). To overcome this, I had to start watching my intake of “romance”. When I started noticing discontentment, I knew I needed to limit how much I was reading and watching. I had to start practicing moderation (or sometimes even eliminate them completely for a while).

If I’m not careful, I can do the same thing with these Hallmark Christmas movies. It can be easy to develop unrealistic expectations of what a Christmas holiday should look like. Real life might start to pale in comparison to fictional films if I fixate on them constantly. I might start to think, “Man, my Christmas stinks compared to the picturesque traditions and moments they have.” Without caution, I might forget that…THEY AREN’T REAL!!!

My conviction may not be yours

Continue reading

Did You Know To-Do Lists Are Scriptural?!

Did You Know To-Do Lists Are Scriptural?!

Did You Know To-Do Lists Are Scriptural?!

I think time management is something that a lot of, if not most, people struggle with in life.  Even those people who are excellent managers of their time still have certain areas where they may be more lax or need some improvement.  Something that helps me tremendously is making to-do lists.  I am very much a list person.  To-do lists keep me on track, hold me accountable, and help me not to forget things.  They are also extremely therapeutic for me…more on that in a bit!

In my study of the bible, I’ve discovered something.  God is pretty good at time management.  I know, earth-shattering news right? 😉  Really though, I’ve learned that good time management skills are important to God.  He is also a God of order and structure (for the most part…sometimes the way He goes about things doesn’t seem very structured in the beginning!).  God is a planner (see Psalm 33:11, Proverbs 19:21, Jeremiah 29:11, Galatians 4:4 and Ephesians 1:11 for just a few examples).  I also felt a bit of kinship with God because HE likes lists TOO!  There are lists all throughout the bible.  He even gave people to-do lists. 

To give you just a couple of examples… When God instructed Moses to build the tabernacle, He gave him very specific to-do lists of how to do it and what to use (Exodus 26).  In Matthew 10, when Jesus sent out the 12 disciples, he sent them off with specific to-do lists of who to talk to, what to do, what to take, where to stay and even what to do if and when they were rejected (Matthew 10:5-14).

So I guess you could say that making to-do lists is scriptural! 🙂  OK…so maybe it’s NOT a sin to avoid to-do lists, but planning ahead and making lists definitely has it’s benefits.

A few reasons for making to-do lists…

To-do lists hold us accountable—We are much more likely to accomplish tasks that are written down.

To-do lists are simply lists of daily goals.  We discussed previously that we are much more likely to achieve goals that are written down.  

Planning ahead and making to-do lists can save us time.

That might sound a little strange to someone who doesn’t make lists.  When teaching this I often get counter-arguments from my students asking “it takes time to make the list so how could it save time?”.  Well, sometimes we have to invest a little to save a little.  It’s kind of the same concept when investing money.  Yes, it costs up front, but the payoff in the end is bigger.  I often give them a tangible analogy by showing them a trick for how to wrap your earbuds to avoid tangles (see the video below to watch how I do it or click here to watch it directly on YouTube).  It takes investing a little bit of time to wrap them (when it’s sometimes inconvenient—like right after I get home from a walk or jog).  Then the payoff comes later when they just pull apart in less than a second, instead of me having to fight to untangle them for 5 minutes or more.  Making to-do lists are the same.  We invest a little bit of time up front to write out a list of tasks to be accomplished in order to save time or keep from wasting time later.  We are less likely to get distracted and less apt to work on useless tasks when we work off of to-do lists.  We also don’t run around aimlessly when we make plans and write them down.

“An intelligent person aims at wise action, but a fool starts off in many directions.” Proverbs 17:24 (GNT) 

“Therefore I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air.” 1 Corinthians 9:26 (NIV) 

“A hard-working farmer has plenty to eat, but it is stupid to waste time on useless projects.” Proverbs 12:11 (GNT)

  Continue reading

Start the Day Right…

Start the day right...Here's an example of how this really shifted my mood from bad to good!

Start the Day Right…

“This is the day that the LORD has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 (ESV)

Success magazines and self-help sites are loaded with “start the day right” theories, especially this time of year with New Year’s resolutions in full swing.  I’ve gotta say though, this “start the day right” thing really works!  I know…why am I so surprised that this actually works!?  I’ve been teaching this for years, and I’ve even experienced it on more than one occasion.  Nevertheless, I still surprised myself last week.  I’m going to tell on myself…

Eric leaves for work before I even get up most of the time.  Sometimes, not always, he gets on these kicks where he sets his alarm for super early but then hits the snooze button.  Consistently.  Over.  And over.  I’m a pretty light sleeper, and it typically takes me a while to even get to sleep.  I’m also a pretty cranky person if I don’t get enough sleep or if I’m overly tired.  Oh, I did I mention that he often doesn’t wake up to the sound of his alarm so I have to wake him and tell him that his alarm is going off…every 9 minutes…for sometimes an hour.

Needless to say, this occasional morning snooze habit of Eric’s tends to make me a little angry drive me insane.  I promise I really try to stay calm and not get angry.  Really I do.  This particular day was not one of those days.  This morning it was all I could do not to take his alarm and knock him over the head with it.  I’m telling you, I was thinking some very bad words in my head!  However, I was proud of my self-control because I did not utter a one of them out loud (ashamedly, that’s not always the case!).  That being said, I still was extremely angry and cranky.

I didn’t FEEL like getting up early to read my bible and have my quiet time.  I didn’t FEEL like playing praise and worship music.  Nevertheless, I sucked it up and got up regardless of my feelings.  I made a decision to start the day right, even though it went against every grain in my body that day.

I went into the kitchen Continue reading

Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

Here are some Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

Life Lessons to be Learned in Fantasy Football

I recently joined a Fantasy Football league.  For anyone that knows me well, this is probably extremely shocking news.  Most people might say to me, “Don’t you have enough football in your life already?”  You see, my husband and son are avid football fans…of ALL football.  My son plays.  My husband coaches.  They’ve played Fantasy Football for years.  My husband occasionally plays flag football with the church.  They both watch…and watch…and watch…both NFL and college ball.  So basically, football is a 7 day/week phenomenon at our house with all the practicing, playing and watching.  Thus, why I’ve come to despise it.  I’ve often referred to myself as a football widow.

You might see then why joining a Fantasy Football league seems counterintuitive.  However, a friend somehow convinced me that it will be good for me (and my family), and for some crazy reason I tend to agree!  More or less, it’s a “If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em” philosophy.  My choice to join them is based on wanting to be a part of something that they enjoy so much, even if it’s not an interest of mine.  My hope is that I will also learn to love and enjoy it as they do (well, maybe not quite as much!).  My friend promised me I would have fun, so I’m going to hold her to it!  I also look forward to the benefits that come from sharing experiences together.  According to clinical psychologist Dr. Willard Harley, recreational companionship is one of the top five needs for a man in marriage.  In fact he puts it this way, “The couple that plays together stays together.” (Source: Harley, Willard F. “The Second Thing He Can’t Do Without–Recreational Companionship.” His Needs, Her Needs: Building an Affair-Proof Marriage. Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell, 2001. N. pag. Print.)   

Although I don’t necessarily agree with all of Dr. Harley’s insinuations that unmet needs are the cause of affairs, I do believe in the importance of shared or common interests and in recreational companionship.  Eric and I do this in other areas too.  For example, we both love going to auctions and estate sales, we love being outdoors and on the water, as well as enjoying a few other common interests together.  Now, football (or any sport for that matter) might not be my top preference, but it IS my husband’s and also my son’s.  Therefore, because it’s important to them, I’m choosing to make it important to me.  Who knows—I might even really enjoy myself!  I won’t know unless I give it a try.  Don’t get me wrong though, I still definitely think there can be a ditch there.  When our lives revolve around football I think that’s really sad…and almost idolatry.  For now though, I’m choosing to be a part of the madness. 🙂 And I might as well get some good blog posts out of it as well! 

Here are a few life lessons I’ve learned from Fantasy Football so far…

Continue reading

Funny Friday: Procrastination

Funny Friday: Procrastination

Image courtesy of John Atkinson, Wrong Hands

 

Funny Friday: Procrastination

To go along with our previous discussion this week: 9 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination, I thought I’d share a fun cartoon with you.  Maybe you can relate?

“They wandered from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another” Psalms 105:13 (NLT)

Sounds like procrastination to me! 🙂

9 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

Do you have a problem with waiting until the last minute?  Here are 9 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

9 Tips for Overcoming Procrastination

Okay…I have a confession.  I completely procrastinated writing this week’s post.  Typically, that’s not a normal occurrence for me.  Time management is usually a forte of mine, but I do tend to slip into bad habits and have a lapse of judgment from time to time.  I know, shocking, right?!  Anyhow, I had good intentions of writing a little bit at a time and finishing up over the weekend.  However, I did everything BUT that…graded papers and essays from my college classes, watched TV, went shopping with my mother-in-law for my birthday gifts (who could pass that up!), ran errands, and just really enjoyed not having to sit at football practice nearly every night (even though I usually did get a lot of work done AT practice).  When I finally decided to sit down and write, I prayed about what to write first (as I always do).  I apologized and told God that I had been procrastinating and that I should’ve started sooner.  I asked if He had any ideas for what He wanted me to write about.  Guess what He said…Write about overcoming procrastination.  Ha!  He’s a funny guy.  I love that God has a sense of humor. 🙂

Procrastination is such a trap because we don’t know what tomorrow will bring.  We may put something off until tomorrow, and then when tomorrow comes something unexpected may come up that prevents us from doing that thing we procrastinated.

“Do not boast about tomorrow, for you do not know what a day may bring.” Proverbs 27:1 (NIV)

“Yet you do not know [the least thing] about what may happen tomorrow. What is the nature of your life? You are [really] but a wisp of vapor (a puff of smoke, a mist) that is visible for a little while and then disappears [into thin air].” James 4:14 (AMP)

Overcoming procrastination is actually a topic we spend quite of bit of time on in my classes.  I love showing this video clip Continue reading