Take Time to Write EVERYTHING Down!

What do you want for this year? Think for a moment with me… Next year, this time, what do you want to see different in your life? What would you like to see finished? What would you like to see accomplished this year?

Dear friend, this year is the year of fullness. I have committed to make this year a year of commitment, accomplishment, and productivity. Want to make this year the very best ever too? Let’s find some keys to productivity. Let’s dig in and get moving strong. Ready? Well, today let’s look at one of my biggest keys to productivity…

Take time to write EVERYTHING down!

Talk about a key to productivity! If there were one thing that I really believe makes the difference in my own productivity, it is this one discipline. I know, I know what you may be thinking…

“But, Cindy, I write things down and that is as far as they go.”

or

“I write things down, but then I can’t find it again.”

or

“I get too overwhelmed when I see ALL that needs to be done.”

Oh! You are going to love this, beloved! Let me take you by the hand and show you how to make this work for you. It is soooo important. You see there are some secrets that productive people have. Want a few?

1. They have ONE PLACE to write things down. Now, this does not mean that it you will have only one place forever and ever. Let me give you an example from how this looks for me. I always have my “Little Black Book” in my purse. No, not for phone numbers of old beaus–I am married to the ULTIMATE beau! 🙂  Rather, I invest in one small notebook that is small enough to carry everywhere I go, yet big enough to hold my goals, lists of steps to reach those goals, brainstorms, etc. This is SO IMPORTANT! Invest in ONE notebook as YOUR “brain” for this year.

2. They take time to pull aside and “brain-dump.” Yes, you read correctly. Want a secret to productivity? This one will make sense as you pull it all together. Yes, dump your brain regularly. Actually, take some time to dump out everything in your brain now–all of those things that need to be done, all of those things you wish for, all of those things that you want to do, but cannot find time to do. Dump it all into your “little black book.” As little things come across your mind, dump them. That will be your “place” for every idea, hope, dream, goal, to-do, and wish to all be dumped off of your brain and “kept” for you. Wondering why this is a secret to productivity? Glad you asked! The leading hindrance for most people is the stress of having to remember or not forget details. This distracts. This takes the focus from what you need to be doing. Actually, this contributes to forgetting what needs to be done in the task you are doing at the moment, causing things to take longer than they should. Not to mention, we are much, much less likely to ever do things that float in our head as well-wishes. Instead, dump it all in a safe place–your very own “Little Black Book.”

3. They plan. They plan yearly, monthly, weekly, and daily. You probably know this. However, do you know how to make it work? This is an essential!  Here is how I do it.

Every year, I plan a nice Mommy Getaway to really evaluate and plan out the next year. I cannot express how much of a difference this makes for me. I am not talking about putting every day on the calendar. I am talking about sketching out the events of the year and planning my projects for my home, business, family, and myself. I PENCIL in my yearly plans. I also spend time brain-dumping anything that may be floating in my brain. I love this time. It helps to give me a grasp on my year and get in gear.

Of course, this is not enough. Each month, I pull back for an afternoon or weekend to plan out my month. I go back to my yearly plan and pray over what REALLY needs to be on my calendar. Once the final projects and events are chosen, I brainstorm all that needs to be done (all of the things to do) for that project to be completed. Now, do note that because I have “my place” for brainstorming, my little black book, I can brainstorm as things come to mind all along the way. This makes that monthly planning very easy.

Another thing that helps me along the way are my checklists for common projects–like all of the things to do to finish a book or an audio set or prepare a seminar. I have done those things so many times that I have developed checklists so I remember each step that needs to be done to get everything ready. Same thing for my holiday meals or other home projects. Talk about a time saver. Well, wondering what you do with those? I take those and put them on my monthly calendar at a good pace to get things done incrementally.

Each week I make sure that everything is done for the week before and take a good look at what will be done the following week. If I need any supplies, I pick them up over the weekend so I am ready to go each day-nothing can mess up your schedule like missing what you really need to get things done.

Finally, every day, I plan the night before. I end each day going over my daily list of things to do. Any of the the tasks that did not get done for the day are moved to the following day’s list. I also plan in the next steps and make sure that everything is ready to go when I wake up. I get SO much more done when I have a clear picture of all that needs to be done before the day begins. Want a key to productivity? PLAN!

4. Work your plan! Finally, want to know the difference between writing things down, having the perfect plans, and getting things done? This is it! Productive people work their plans! This means that we don’t just write things down. But, we also have a plan for working the plan. This is the bottom line that determines whether we are productive or not. So, how on earth do you do this one? A few quick tips:

–>  Keep your planner WITH YOU! Keep it out and keep it with you. I have a small daytimer that I can carry with me all of the time. All of my important information is WITH ME all the time.

–>  Set up your planner to work with YOUR LIFE. My daily things to do probably look very, very different from yours. What I need in my binder is different today than last year. One key that really made a big difference for me was when I finally set up my binder with forms that *I* needed. In fact, that is the story behind our Make Your Own Brain-in-a-Binder that I developed for my own planner. I always buy a nice binder and throw out anything that does not work with my life. Then, I print out pages that help me to put all of the things I need in one place. I use my planner all day long every single day. It goes everywhere with me. The key was in setting up my planner to work with MY life and all of the things that I do each and every day.

–>  USE IT! Nothing helps me more than having my binder out first thing in the morning over my Quiet Time (to pray over my day)…sitting out in the family room all day…going back over all of the things to do all throughout the day (after each task)…going back over my day as I wrap up the evening…AND most of all, planning the next day right before I go to bed so everything is ready to get going the next day. USE that planner. Watch to see the difference!

Yes! Write things down. Make that time. It will make a HUGE difference in your productivity. It will help you to get a plan for reaching for those dreams.

So, what do you think?

Ready to make this year the very best ever? Want to make this year the most productive year ever? Why not take time today to write everything down? Why not begin today to put those dreams on your to-do list, bit-by-bit, day-by-day?

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Need help organizing?? Let us help! Grab Cindy’s Make Your Own Brain-in-a-Binder today. She will walk you step by step through the process toward getting organized! You will love it!

Actually Reaching Your New Year’s Resolutions

New Year’s resolutions are made every year by millions of people.  Unfortunately, many if not most of them are never completed.  If you plan to make a resolution, you may want to set a New Year goal that is not beyond your reach.

Your ultimate New Year’s resolution may be to learn a new language or how to dance all forms of ballroom dance.  However, an unreasonable goal is to assume you could do either of those in a short period of time.  Some goals are possible within a month, such as losing five pounds, but learning how to speak fluent Chinese in that amount of time absolutely is not.

It is important for us to plan for the future so we’re not aimlessly wandering through life.  Sometimes setting long-range goals can be overwhelming because they’re so far out in the future that we doubt if we’ll ever meet them.  If there aren’t intermediate goals along the way to your ultimate goal, it will be too easy for you to lose focus and give up.

Instead of having just the one, long-range goal, consider having small goals that you can work on – even on a daily basis.  This will help you by allowing you to feel a sense of accomplishment when you meet one of the smaller goals, as well as letting you know you’re on the right track to reach your goal.

How do you break down one big goal into several smaller goals?  That all depends upon what your goal is.  You can choose best what you need to do each day to help keep you on track.  Don’t let your gaze go too far down the trail that you have laid out for yourself.  If you don’t stay focused on the day at hand, you might miss something wonderful along the way.

Remember that reaching a goal is much like going on a journey.  If you’re too focused on the destination, you’ll miss the beauty along the way.  You can stop along the way and smell the roses rather than speeding along the path you’re on and missing them entirely.  By setting smaller goals that you can reach, you’ll be moving toward your goal and be much more likely to actually reach it.

Don’t give up if things don’t work out exactly like you’ve planned.  Things in life happen that may keep you from reaching a small goal in the time you had hoped.  When things settle back down you can pick up where you left off.  It may take longer to reach your goal than you wanted, but that’s no reason to give up.

Give yourself a reward when you’ve reached a smaller goal, rather than waiting to complete the large goal.  Knowing you’ll have a small reward when you have met a goal may be the impetus you need to keep going when you feel discouraged.

When you have a goal in mind, consider the steps you can take.  Set New Year’s goals that are not beyond your reach.  Reward yourself when you’ve reached a small goal and then keep going to the next one.


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Non-Edible Gifts by Cindy Rushton

Excerpted from Cindy’s best sellingChrist-Centered Christmas . 

* Spicy Cinnamon Sticks…Gather a bunch of extra long cinnamon sticks and tie with a holiday ribbon and a sprig of holly or baby’s breath.  Cute to hang on the tree, sit around, and place on gifts instead of a bow!

* Painted Wooden Ornaments…
Purchase pre-cut wooden Christmas cutouts that are pre-painted.  Tie with gold, green, or red thread and use on the tree or as necklaces.  Hot glue a pin on the back to wear as a holiday pin!

* Cookie Cutter Ornaments…Purchase metal cookie cutters and tie bright holiday ribbon through the top!  Easy, Inexpensive, and Precious Gift!

* Recipe Book…It could be just holiday ideas like this one or it could be a collection of all the treasured family recipes.  It could be a collection from all relatives’ submissions.  Be imaginative!  Be sure to keep a copy for your daughters!

* Pictures…Frame a special drawing from the children!  This is sure to be a hit!

* Books…Try your hand at creating books complete with your own original story and illustrations…This is an EXCELLENT school activity!

* Handprint Wallhanging or Sweatshirt…Place bright paint in pie pans (acrylic for burlap wallhanging or fabric paints for sweatshirt).  Have each child put his handprint on material.  The following verse can be painted or attached:

Although we are sorta small
And leave our fingerprints on the wall,
This will help you remember the way
Our fingerprints looked on Christmas Day!

For wallhanging, put a thin dowel rod across the top.  Tie yarn as a hanger.  Fringe the bottom, and you have a fun, sweet gift!

Don’t Miss Our Book Christ-Centered Christmas! Available in Ebook version!  

Christmas On a Budget by Tawra Kellum

Tawra's Family

Between high gas prices and consumers’ fears of a financial squeeze, it seems as if a nice Christmas is out of the picture this year. Not so says Tawra Kellam, editor of Living-on-a-Dime.com. To prove it, here are a few of her ideas from to help make Christmas memorable without breaking the bank!
Go Potluck! You buy the turkey — Have everyone else bring the side dishes and drinks. Turkeys in our area are .39/lb this time of year. If you buy just the turkey, it will only cost you about $5-$10 to feed everyone for a large family gathering.

Celebrate Christmas the week after Christmas. Take advantage of the after Christmas sales and plan your large extended family gathering for the week after Christmas. Besides being less expensive, it is unlikely to interfere with anyone else’s Christmas plans.

Don’t give gifts or give inexpensive gifts to hairstylists, babysitters, teachers and others. I found several wonderful small scented jar candles on clearance for .25 each. I will put three of them in a small basket (purchased at the thrift store for .25) with some tissue paper, ribbon and nice note. A great gift for $1.25!

Break up gift sets. If you find an item that comes in a gift set at Christmas, give parts of it to different recipients. This is great for bath or perfume sets.

Yard sales and thrift stores equal great savings. You can find a lot of new or nearly new items for pennies on the dollar.  For our son, we found a working telescope in the box. It cost $1.00, so we saved $24!  He got what he wanted and we didn’t have to take out a home equity loan!

Make memories, not more junk. Most kids get more than plenty for Christmas from grandparents, aunts and uncles. If you can only afford one gift for your child, make it a memory! Wrap a note in a box with instructions for a treasure hunt. Send your child all over the house with clues and then have the real gift sitting under the tree when they return. Simple, but a great memory for them!

Dining On A Dime e-Book - Eat Better, Spend LessMy favorite book!

NOW AN EBOOK! AND ON SALE!!!

Dining On A Dime Cookbook: Eat Better, Spend Less! (e-Book version) $19.95 – Sale! $10.00 (this week–click here!)

Without cutting coupons! Unbelievable? It really is possible!

The award winning Dining on a Dime is packed with over 1,200 money saving recipes and tips, kids tips and snack ideas, gift baskets, menus, food storage directions, Cleaning Cents and Pretty for Pennies.


Jill Cooper and Tawra Kellam are frugal living experts and the editors of Living-on-a-dime.com/. As a single mother of two, Jill Cooper started her own business without any capital and paid off $35,000 debt in 5 years on $1,000 a month income. Tawra and her husband paid off $20,000 debt in 5 years on $22,000 a year income. Tawra and Jill teach thousands of readers each month how to save money on their grocery bill and get out of debt.

Last Minute Gift Ideas

Christmas! Yes! It is here. Been caught off guard without a gift yet? I HAVE! If you find yourself scrambling for some last minute gift ideas, don’t panic. The following suggestions will help you find something that is just right:

Yummy Treats: Food makes a great holiday gift. Everyone eats, so everyone can use it! If you like to bake, make some cookies or candies and put them in a decorative box or tin. Another option is to buy the food already made. Some items, like a cake, will only need a bow.

Say Cheese: If you have a photo of the person you are giving the gift to (or a picture of their child, spouse, dog, etc) you can create a personalized gift in seconds. All you need to do is print out the picture and stick it into a frame. If you don’t have a photo, a picture frame still makes a great gift.

Gift Baskets: Creating your own gift basket is easier than you think – and it will look like you spent much more time on it than you actually did!

If there is a movie fan on your list, throw together a gift certificate to a video rental store, a box of microwave popcorn and some candy.

If you know someone who is always on the go, encourage them to relax with a box of tea, a mug, some bath salts, and gossip magazine.

A few small items packaged together nicely can turn into a great present!