Help! I Need to Get Things Done! by Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Struggling to get things done? Struggling with all of the distractions? Too busy to finish any of those great projects? Boy, do I relate!

I am an “idea” machine! If I had a dollar for every idea that floats through my mind, I would have an instant business! 🙂 Feel my pain?

Yes, if you are here on this site, you probably have those ideas. Need is an action plan to make them a reality? Here are some things that help me…

1. Brain Dump!

Are you thinking, “But, Cindy, the last thing that I need is a list of MORE ideas!” Brain dumping does bring out more ideas, but it is essential for productivity.

I set aside regular time to grab a notebook (or my iPad–LOVE IT!) and just dump my ideas that are floating around my brain. It helps me to have categories so I KNOW that I will find those ideas later. Once I set up a “spot” to keep my ideas, I can clear my brain.

Without brain dumping, my brain gets soooo full and distracted that I cannot focus on ANYTHING. I think it is because I am so afraid that I will forget those great ideas. 🙂 Well, it is not just that. I am also tempted to dig into some of them because they are so much more fun than the work at hand.

Relate? Why not brain dump? It will settle that deluge of ideas!

Then, what? That brings me to the next thing…

 

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2. Get a plan.

When I find myself overwhelmed and needing to re-motivate and re-charge, I pull back for a getaway with God to get my plan. Someone wrote that if we do not plan, then we are really planning to fail. I SEE THAT! At the times that I have found myself struggling to get things done because of all of the distractions and busyness of life, nothing has helped  me more to get back rolling strong like getting away with God to get His perspective and His plan. Talk about a great way to simplify, prune, and get back on track!

Maybe today you are battling with getting things done, why not pull back and get a plan? Take some time away. Take everything to the Lord in prayer. Be still before Him. Stay until you can hear His Word for you and your business. Lay down all of the options before Him. Let Him loose to move on your heart which things should be first, which things should be simplified, and which things should be pruned away all completely. He will be faithful to help you get back on track!

3. Attack!

Yes, attack! But, not just attack with the new project on your heart, before you dig into that, attack a few other things:

–> Attack procrastination–You can have a clear mind and super plan, yet be stuck. Been there? Oh! I have! In fact, I was there just last week. I had everything ready to roll and everything that I needed to get things done, but I was stuck. I was paralyzed. What do you do then? Well, I had to get honest. I was procrastinating. Procrastination is my biggest enemy to productivity. Once I saw it for what it is, I could attack procrastination and get back going strong. Want to be productive? Attack procrastination!

–> Attack clutter--Oh Yeah! Nothing distracts me more than clutter. And, clutter seems to have a magnetic attraction to me. Yes, the “stuff” clutter, the “things to do” clutter, the “life” clutter. It all follows me around like a puppy dog. Of course, it is not cuddly and sweet like a puppy dog, it drives me crazy! I won’t even know what is gnawing at me until I pull back and take a look around me. It can be the piles from projects that I am working on. It can be a never-ending to-do list. It can be things in my life that are past their time. It can even be my purse! Whatever “my clutter” is, I have to SEE IT and then ATTACK it! When I do, I am stunned at how much more I get done. Plus, I LOVE my life. Let the clutter build up and things bog down, life gets unmanageable, and I get tired and weary. Does clutter LOVE you too? Why not attack it?

–> Attack disorganization--Periodically, I will find myself in my default state-completely disorganized and MESSY! YES! Probably 20% of my books and workshops are on the topic of organization, but I still battle this one! I can assure you that I will never BE THERE when it comes to organization. However, I have learned how to manage the messies. Want the secret? Well, you read it–you have to ATTACK disorganization. Maybe it is cleaning out. Maybe it is setting up a place for everything and putting everything in its place. Maybe it is revamping your schedule to work for this season of life. Maybe it is getting all of your to-do’s and ideas organized in one spot. Maybe it is setting up systems or routines for those rocky areas of life or business. Take the time to get organized. It will make a HUGE difference. You can’t just do a little at a time. Instead, dig in and attack disorganization. You will then be ready to roll!

Ready to get things done?

Today is the day! Don’t let today slip by! Today is the day to pull back for a bit and get things ready to make those dreams your reality–your life! Take that time. Don’t stay in the struggle. Don’t let the days slip by. Let’s press past the distractions and the busyness. Let’s get laser sharp vision. Let’s press toward the mark!

“I’m not saying that I have this all together, that I have it made. But I am well on my way, reaching out for Christ, who has so wondrously reached out for me. Friends, don’t get me wrong: By no means do I count myself an expert in all of this, but I’ve got my eye on the goal, where God is beckoning us onward—to Jesus. I’m off and running, and I’m not turning back. So let’s keep focused on that goal, those of us who want everything God has for us. If any of you have something else in mind, something less than total commitment, God will clear your blurred vision—you’ll see it yet! Now that we’re on the right track, let’s stay on it.” Philippians 3:12-16, THE MESSAGE

Cindy2015Need MORE Help?

If you need more help, don’t miss any of Cindy Rushton’s LIVE workshops that she will be teaching on these topics. She is scheduled to speak for many conventions, conferences, retreats, and Bible Studies. If you want for her to come to your area, message here today at CindyRushton@Gmail.com

Spring Clean Your Commitments with Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Hello Sweet Friend!

What does your calendar look like? Is it just too busy? Want to change things, but have no idea what COULD go? Is it time to prune?

There is something about spring that requires that we cut out the extras and gear up the things that really matter. If we don’t, there are ramifications. We get…

Tired
Weary
Stressed out
Pushed to our limits
Pulled in too many directions
Edgy
Snippy
Irritable
OK…angry and downright bitter.

Relate?

It is time to spring clean our commitments. It is time to look at all that we have on our calendar and really evaluate:

Is it necessary?
Is it essential?
Is it stressing us out?
Is it pushing and pulling?
Is it worth it?
Is it the very best…or just another GOOD thing?

It is far too easy to just get in our ruts and let things go. You know the end result–a year that is a bit disappointing. A year filled with regrets. A year that doesn’t seem to count.

My sweet friend, 2010 is a year that we get a new beginning. TODAY is a new beginning. Why not join me “spring cleaning” yet another area of our lives this week–our commitments. Let’s roll up our sleeves and dig into the messies. Let’s pull everything out and really look at all of our commitments. Let’s evaluate, prune, organize, clean out and clean up. We can do it together. Then, we can reach for a year that really counts!

Ready? Let’s dig in…

Too Much In A Day…

Yep! This is one of my greatest struggles.  I am one of those people who hopelessly plan too much into my life.  I want to DO IT ALL!  And, the sad thing is that I try to!   Recently, one of my personal studies has been (don’t laugh!), “How to Manage My Time.” Why? Well, because I want to eliminate any possible hindrance so I can do MORE!! Hehe! I know motives may not necessarily be great here. Actually, they may signal a blaring warning that tells you that this is one area that I personally struggle with RIGHT NOW. True, but I have to share some of what I am finding (and applying) in my study. Who knows? It may help you to tame your schedule so you can busy doing the things that God has called you to do too!

For one thing, it really helps to sit down and really look at your day.  What DOES get done in a typical day?  I have found that I do get a lot done in a day. I will never be accused of being idle. In fact, I am writing this article while my husband runs errands (see the next section of this article about that!). I really do seize every moment I can. But, at the end of most days, I still have the same complaint, “I need MORE hours in my day!”

We are only alotted 24 hours a day. One prayer request that we can be sure WON’T be answered is the request for 85 hours in a day! Why? Because it would still not be enough for people like me!  So, how do we make more hours in our day?

Make that list of what IS being done in a day. Make another list of what you would REALLY like to see included that you are not getting around to. See if what you are doing and if what you would like to do fits into what God has placed  on your heart as your priorities. Make sure that they help you to reach toward the “mark.”  For me, when we began homeschooling I struggled for a while with distractions and hindrances that are so common in a busy home. After, well, a whole year (I am very slow on some things!) the Lord showed me the value in looking over my typical day to see how I could fit in the things that were most important and those little things that are always going to pop up.  I found that there were categories that most everything could fit into: Quiet Times, Chores, Table Time, Family Time, Productive Free Time, Ministry/Business, and Family Read Alouds.  Actually this is the basic order for my day every day (well, now the kids are both graduated and out of the nest–so that time is now set aside for getting fit/healthy and even more  business/ministry). It is possible at home. It is possible on the road. It is possible when we have company. It is possible when things go a bit hay-wire!  These are the priorities for the day, but there are still things even with ME that never seem to get done unless they are part of the schedule for the day.

For example, this past summer, my doctor prescribed that I go to the Wellness Center for exercise daily.  I had wanted more time to actually get around to exercising. But, it just seemed that if I had another 55 hours in my day that then I could have time to devote to exercise! Instead of asking for the impossible while neglecting such an important area of my life, I opted to fit this time into my daily schedule FIRST each day. It is amazing how much better everything else is running. Not only do I feel better, but I also have more energy and focus. Plus, my conscience is clear instead of being plagued with guilt, condemnation, and frustration. Yes. Make your list and see what you are doing AND not doing.

Making a List,  Checking it Twice  (or FIFTEEN TIMES!!)…

I made my list. Then, it was easier to see the holes in my life that were not being filled. Sure, I was accomplishing a lot with my children, our ministry, and even my marriage relationship. But, there were still glaring holes beaming out at me and plaguing me with guilt and condemnation! Yes, I wanted to exercise. I have stacks of wonderful audio tapes that I would love to hear. I want more time to sit back and relax, even if it is occasionally! I wanted more time to make memories with the children.  Of course, I also wanted to be more productive.  Those are the things that seem to give me the “feeling” that I am not accomplishing as much in my day as I really wanted.  Of course, I was accomplishing the “work” in each day. On many days that was ALL that was accomplished. No wonder there was a feeling of frustration! We are geared to do more than just work day-in-day-out. So, what to do?

Look At Your Typical Day…

First, I had to take an honest look at all those things that were included in a typical day. Many were right down the line with the vision God has placed in my heart. Yet, there were still things that God had placed on my heart that were not ever making it into my days. Plus, there were other things that were very questionable. I had to look at every single thing in my day to really evaluate them all…

–>  Were there things that could be combined so I could accomplish more tasks at one time?

–>  Were there things that can be delegated to others so I could have more time for things that only I could do?

–>  Were there things that simply needed to go? Were they past their season? Did they need to be eliminated because they were really not that essential to what we were about?

I am not saying that I was doing anything bad. I don’t think that is how the enemy typically hits some of us. Think about it. If you were given a temptation to do something downright wrong, would it really be a temptation to you? The way that the enemy prefers to hit gals like you and me is through the GOOD THINGS. You know–those things that no one else will or can do at church. Those little things that have “sweet” motives. Those little things that don’t look too hard, but end up zapping us. You know them. Just evaluating them has helped me sooo much. Everything that we do cost us in our two greatest commodities:

TIME
ENERGY

We have to make sure that what we are doing really matters. If we don’t, we will just stay busy, busy, busy. We will stay on the go. At the end, whether it is this year or at the end of our lives, we will look back with regrets.

I don’t want that. I know that today it is tough to let go of “our babies” whether they are activities or positions or systems that we have had in place for years or methods we have been using successfully or commitments. However, it is sooo worth it. Let’s evaluate every single thing we do, every single thing on our calendars and be ready to let go of anything that hinders or distracts us. It is sooo worth the hard work.

Combine Tasks…

Yep! This may help you too. See if there can be things that can be combined.  For me, exercise and listening to those teaching tapes get two things done. Neither fit into my schedule before because I felt that exercise was just frivolous (looking at this body OBVIOUSLY shows I was not right!). Listening to my teaching tapes seemed to always not fit in—I had to concentrate when I write or answer email, my family did not really appreciate hearing my tapes, and there was really no time other than that! However, fitting them together is the perfect answer! That 30 minutes a day is life-giving.  It makes the other 23 hours and 30 minutes a whole lot better!

There were many other adjustments and changes. Not too easy, but definitely helpful! Things like cooking in the crockpot overnight so we are at home while it is cooking, but not having to stand over a stove during the day…going through the mail as we walk back from the mailbox and dumping the junk-mail into the trash before we walk in the house (our can is right outside the door!) rather than do a big clean-out during the year…   Doing more things at one time really helps to use the time I have to the fullest!

Delegate!  OUCH!

Delegate! Yep! Talk about another toughie for me! I have worked on this one year-after-year for two decades. I suspect that this one will always need a conscientious effort by me. It is too easy for me to jump in and try to do it all.

The first time I ever delegated stands out in my mind as a turning point for me.  My children were 7 and 4 at the time. We were living in our camper in Selma, AL while Harold was in the State Trooper Academy there. Living in the camper was probably one of my most life-changing experiences because I learned how much of my life at that time was “fluff” and wasted.  Living in the camper forced me to only have my most essential belongings with me. (still have not unpacked many of the boxes we had stored away—now way over 15 years ago!!!) We made more memories than ever. Each day we had plenty of time for me to just mother, keep my home, homeschool, and even play games at the end of the day!  Life was simple. Homemaking was easy. I made easy meals. Cleanup of the whole camper was usually 5-10 minutes or at most 25 minutes (big change from my 10-12 hour cleaning days before!)!  The hardest part was the small space and taking laundry OUT to the laundrymat every few days.  The good part was that in Selma the laundrymat was AT THE POOL! The children could play and I could enjoy watching over them while I read, did laundry AND tanned! (had the best tan and read more that 6 months than ever in my life!) However, in the midst of this EASIER life there were STILL struggles!

How could it be? Well, I could clean up, but while I was cleaning my children were idle—arguing (yep, these PERFECT children were acting like other children!), messing up the other side of the room (EEK!), and dirtying up their clothes (EVERY DAY!).

One day in particular, a Monday (Could I find a better word to give you a “picture” of this scene?) to be completely accurate, I had so much pressing in that day. I was standing at my 1 ft X 1ft X 4inch deep sink (it still felt like Mt. Everest!) full of dishes.  The children were behind me just finishing their breakfast.  And, they had the audacity to begin fussing over WHO could watch their movie (and WE homeschool!). The quarreling was getting ON MY NERVES—the really touchy ones!  There I was…washing dishes…the laundry was there needing for me to fold it…the toilets needed cleaning…we needed to begin our lessons for the day…my husband was gone for another week at the academy, leaving me with my PERFECT little morons, I mean children, lambs, beloved little ones…and here they were ARGUING! I snapped. I admit it! I simply snapped. I told them, actually screamed at them, to stop arguing and just fold those clothes if they had that much energy. Still washing my dishes…silence permeated the room for several minutes until giggly-giggles took over. I turned around to find that almost ALL of the laundry was folded and they were LIKING IT! Tears filled my eyes. The Lord spoke to my heart. I did not have to do it all myself! MY children COULD help me!

Oh yea! And so can your children!  What CAN be delegated?  Anything! Everything, well, there are a few things that only YOU can do. Find them and delegate the rest! Oh, it may not immediately be the same standard that you do things yourself, but who looks in the dresser anyway?  (only sick people we should never try to please, if you ask me!)  Plus, think of how valuable it is for children to learn from an early age to pitch in and be a “part” of the family.  So, take a look at your list of things that YOU are doing each day. Look at what can be delegated. Then, delegate to your little ones!

Eliminate!!

Finally, go back to your trusty list. What can be eliminated? This is where you may experience anxiety.  But, really look at all you do in a day. Are those things really important? Can they be done in another way that can give you more time? Let me take you home with me again. I love to have healthy, homemade meals. But, reality says that if I want to save time, this was one of those areas that really could be simplified down so much that much of the time spent in the kitchen on a daily basis could actually be eliminated. Gasping? Well, so did I–at first!

I took an honest look at our meals. We could eliminate so much that I could gain HOURS each week. How? Well, I decided to do more bulk cooking, buy more “ready-made” meals, like Lasagna from Sam’s, Baked Chicken (heat and serve) from Sam’s, Pizza (yep, and my children LOVE it!), and even Heavenly Ham! Yep, Heavenly Ham (should be getting a percentage here, huh?).  What may seem like an extravagance is really a great way to save precious TIME and have great meals whether using the Ham as the meat for a meal or as sandwich meat. One big ham lasts our family for several weeks. In addition to tasting great and saving me time cooking and preparing the ham, we also cut at least an hour of cooking each day for lunch for those two weeks. All I have to do is add vegetables (we have a freezer full of vegetables from the garden that just have to be de-frosted and warmed!) and bread!  A typical meal can come together in 15-30 minutes!  We can also use food like the Heavenly Ham for lunch. We just make sandwiches and either eat just the sandwich or have a sandwich and homemade soup, that also can be made in a big pot!  Easy.  Saves time for other more important things in my schedule—like enjoying  the family I am feeding!!

Now, you may not feel that cooking can be eliminated in your daily schedule. Each of our families are so very different. This is where only God can help you to decide what can be combined, delegated, eliminated OR done by you each day! Hear HIM and He is guaranteed not to fail you!

Too Much Going…

Hummm….well, here we get a little personal, huh?  This is an area that God RESTRICTED for me.  It was just not as clear-cut as DO, COMBINE, DELEGATE, OR ELIMINATE. Instead, my “going” has to be decided each and every day during my daily time with God.  Each instance must be thrown up on that altar for God to classify for us!

What about you?  Do you struggle with all of the going? Does it get to be too much? What are we to do?

Beloved, first slow  down!  Watch out for too much going!  Oh, it may not even be for “bad” stuff!  It just keeps us from having what we really want!  Think about it…

Is this a hindrance for you?

Let’s get a little more personal.  Do you go so much (even for good things) that you sometimes find that you cannot truly enjoy your home? When was the last time you had TIME to leisurely relax and enjoy your home? For me, this is a constant struggle. A daily struggle!   There are so many “to-do’s” that press in that I get too busy, going too many directions before I even know it!

Testing…

I have had a test for years that I periodically do to evaluate my lifestyle and schedule. I ask myself,

–>  “Can I spend one entire week at home without feeling as though I am not getting to do all I need to do?” (Yep, I am squirming a bit here too!)

–>  “Is my home supplied well enough that I can stay home without having to “run” to get more things that I “need” to cook, teach my children, manage my home?” (Gasp! EEK!)

–>  “Is a quiet, peaceful homelife impossible because I am too busy going to activities?” (OUCH!)

–>  “Are all those activities truly God’s will?” (Sniff, sniff!)

–>  “Would all those same activities go on just as well without ME?” (Well, uh, how would I know if I am not there?)

–>  “What CAN I eliminate to give us more time at home as a family?” (Ok…Ok!)

–>  “Does my husband feel that all I am doing is essential? God’s will?” (Well, uh…)

It is amazing how much CAN GO!  Just last week, Harold and I got a great big laugh when we both shared what had been on our hearts, at the same time! I had noticed that we were losing time with errands on almost a daily basis.  Oh, and almost the SAME errands every single day!  My reasons were simple, I wanted for to be a good steward of the money, not buying anything that could go to waste. But, as a result, our time was being wasted…gas going and coming was being wasted…I was not as prepared for each day as I could have been…and the atmosphere of our home was interrupted every day with “to-do’s.”

This is not the only area that gets out of control easy at our home. Our schedule is just as wild!  I must manage our outside activities or very quickly we become THEIR servants!

I know what you are saying. I say the same thing, “Oh! But This is GOOD!” Yep!

We travel on a weekly basis throughout the whole year.  Because of this, as we decided to travel this much, we had to eliminate many GOOD things from our schedule.

Naturally, I am just as much of a “clutter-bug” with our TIME as I am with books, papers, etc.  Loosening my grip on those GOOD THINGS is so, SO hard!   Yet, there is no way to truly do exactly what God has called us to do, except to prune! Oh, yea! That hard word!

Cutting back.
Slowing down.
Getting back to the core.

Keeping only what is bearing fruit, so all of the nutrients (energy) can go into bearing MORE fruit!  Truly, the person was “right on” who said that if satan can’t get us to do WRONG things, then he will keep us busy doing a lot of GOOD things which ultimately hinder us from doing God’s VERY BEST. That person must have been JUST like me!  What about you?

Too busy “going” to BUILD your home, to be ALL THERE, to do what really matters, to do what COUNTS?

Slow down.
Slow down to enjoy your home.
Slow down to make your home special, a fortress.

It is time to SPRING CLEAN those commitments!

But! How *DO* ya do it? ???

Have no idea how to even begin? Have no idea what you genuinely could let go? Is it just too confusing? Afraid you or your family will miss something?

–>  Go to God with your schedule. Place all activities on the altar. Wait on Him.  I promise that God will lead you, direct you and teach you. He will not leave you in the midst of confusion. He will come alongside of you and help you whether it is big or little choices that need to be made. Just take it all to Him and turn Him loose!

–>  Share your heart with your husband. Let your husband set your schedule.  Husbands really do have a gift for seeing through activities. They can see straight through all of the sugar-coating all the way to a vision for how it will really look in our homes and how it will feel as we live it out. Through the years, Harold has had a keen eye for things that we SHOULD “go for” and for the things that were going to be a trap and get us off track. It is not always easy for me to follow, but when I dare to listen and follow, I am amazed at how much better things go. Get your sweetheart’s TRUE insights before adding anything into your schedule. Also, lay everything out today before him. Ask him what needs to go, what needs to stay, what is missing. You will LOVE the results!

–>  Look over all of the activities very carefully, evaluating them honestly. Do they work toward the call that God has for your family? Are they necessary? Do they compete for “down-time” that your family really needs to fellowship, rest, and develop a lifestyle of learning?  Have you been in a rut, not getting things done, with no idea WHY? Let’s really look at everything with the “pruning sheers” in hand. Let’s be willing to let go of all of the good things so we can reach for the very best things, the things that COUNT!

–>  Be on guard! Titus 2: 3-5 instructs the older women to teach the younger women several very important lessons. One in particular applies here– to be keepers of their homes. A keeper is a “guard” or “one entrusted to guard.” Godly women are called to be a guard over their homes. We must constantly guard our home. This is more than just a fun “spring cleaning” that we MIGHT want to do, rather it is essential that we come back to a place regularly where we check to see how we are doing, where we reinforce “the gates” and repair any breaches. We must constantly evaluate whether our homes are in conformity with the vision God has given us for our family.  We must constantly check our “gardens” and uproot any weeds or overgrown plants that hinder the growth of our most precious “plants,” our children! We have to constantly make sure to have time with God, time with our husbands, time with our children, time within our homes, time to minister to those within our sphere of influence, and time left so we can take care of ourselves!  We have to be ALL THERE ALL OF THE TIME! That means that this is not an extra–when-we-get-around-to-it option. This is an essential. We need to set aside time to make sure that everything we do really counts. We need to be on guard against those things that have a way of easing into our lives to our detriment.

Sweet friends, what does it look like? Are there things that need to go? Are there things that are very good, but they are keeping you from the very best? Today, roll up your sleeves and dare to spring clean. Dig in and really do that hard work. It is SO worth it! Choose those commitments that are the very best and let go of all of the rest–even the good stuff.

The Bible says that there are works set from the foundation of the world.  There are thing that really count–and things that do not count. Be faithful in YOUR works!

Seek God’s wisdom for your commitments–EVEN your lifestyle and schedule.  Don’t let the enemy distract you by what is “out there” somewhere else. Stick to the main thing–that thing that cannot be taken away from you.

Don’t feel guilty about letting great things go.   Do ALL you can to preserve that home atmosphere from ALL distractions that are out there. Don’t get too busy to build your home for truly you have much to look forward to—just look at Proverbs 24: 3-4:

“Through skillful and godly wisdom is a house (a life, a home, a family) built, and by understanding it is established [on a sound and good foundation], and by knowledge shall its chambers [of every area] be filled with all precious and pleasant riches.” Proverbs 24: 3-4

Ah, yes! Build your home! As you do, you will move forward, making this year really count! Roll up those sleeves. Dig in and do the hard work. Let’s get busy spring cleaning our commitments!

This post was excerpted from this week’s Time for Tea Ezine. The weekly ezine is available for FREE by subscription. Don’t forget to sign up today so you don’t miss even ONE issue! Scroll up on this page and look on the right sidebar to sign up. See ya there!

Time to Spring Clean! with Cindy Rushton

Cindy2015Have you looked at the calendar? Do you know what Saturday was? Yep! The first day of spring! I am soooo ready for spring this year. It has been so damp, gloomy, cold this year. I am ready for some sunshine, fresh air, and nicer temperatures. Believe it or not, I am even ready to spring clean this year. So ready that I have already been spring cleaning EVERYTHING!

Want to join me? Super!

Over the next few weeks, we are going to look at several different areas of our lives that need to be “cleaned out” so we can have the best year ever. I really want for you to dig in and do the hard work WITH ME so we can spring clean our lives together.

What we will do is look at the need. Then, I will give you some action steps to help you get going. Good deal? Ok…

Let’s look at the first area that just might need a bit of “cleaning” out. Ready? If you want to print this out to read and apply, just download the PDF version here: DOWNLOAD BY PDF.

Ready to get busy spring cleaning? The first area is spring cleaning our day. Let’s dig in…

Spring Clean Your Day

Seem like a strange place to begin? Well, sometimes the real mess in our lives is caused by the one thing that gets into a rut and is so hard to SEE as the problem. I have missed this one over and over and over. Sometimes I have blamed my messies on my homeschool curriculum. Other times I have blamed it all on my husband (sorry, but I have). Other times I have blamed it on my children and their lack of….you name it: obedience, behavior, help, etc. Even since the kids have grown up, I have blamed it on my business. Looking everywhere but the most obvious: MY DAY.

If my DAY is a mess, it is funny how every other area of my life gets messy–my commitments, my home, my relationships, my business, ME. Funny thing, it doesn’t take much to get it together and keep it together. But, how?

1. Dust off that schedule!
Nothing can help things to run more smoothly than taking time to get our daily schedule together. It gives us a framework to our day. It keeps things moving smoothly. When things get out of whack, there is usually one of two things that I need to do:

Get the extras back off my schedule.
Adjust to the new things in my life and work them into a spot in my schedule.

It is spring. How is your schedule? Does it need to be cleaned out? Have too many “extras” gotten into the schedule? Is it time to cut them out of your day? Or, are you in a new place? Is it time to readjust your schedule? Is it time to take a little time to get that “new thing” into your lifestyle so that it is not such a struggle each and every day? Why not roll up your sleeves and get to work dusting off that schedule. You will see your day shaping back up very quickly.

2. Make time for what really counts–what really matters to you.
There is no reason to live even one more day just going through the motions like a hamster on a wheel. Let’s make this year really count! Let’s make time for what really counts. Let’s make time for what really matters. I know that we are four months into the year. I know that days fly by and it is easy to let time fly by just barely getting things done for each and every day. But, why don’t we clean out anything in our day that is holding us back from doing the things on our heart? Why don’t we make room for those things FIRST in our day? The other things may be clammering, squealing, and pitching fits to get our attention, but let’s commit to make THIS YEAR really count. Let’s be intentional about getting those things done first. Then, watch how our day changes. It will shape up and become a sweet history without regrets.

3. Balance it all. Many times it does not take anything big to get things out of balance. In fact, usually it only takes something small and insignificant to get things out of whack. Take some time to really look at your day. You may want to take a few days to journal each and everything that you are doing and how long it is taking. My journals ALWAYS point to the problems instantly. Look back over all that is getting done AND those things that are not getting done. Evaluate:

–> Are there things that are getting out of boundaries? My life is full of things that have a tendency to get out of their boundaries. We homeschooled our children from the time they were in pre-school until they graduated. Everything about homeschooling had a tendency to take longer than I planned. Actually, the best lesssons-those that I would not trade now for anything-took the longest. I could have homeschooled all day and all night and never got everything done that I really wanted. Same thing with business. I have had a home business for over 20 years. You would think that I could set my hours and stick to it. Yet, I have noticed that my business is as bad or worse than homeschooling about taking way more time than projected. Oh! And, that is not all! Even homemaking has a tendency to get out of boundaries. Any one area can demand so much that everything gets out of balance. I have to watch out! I have to work hard at setting limits and sticking to them. How about you? Is it time to simplify, clean out, organize, and systematize things so that it is easier to keep everything in its boundaries? Roll up your sleeve and dig-in! It will make a huge difference!

–> Are there things that need to go? I don’t know if you are like me, but I have always had a resistance to change. This can be good news if you depend upon me to be consistent and be a person of integrity. (SMILE) Of course, this one quality has gotten me and my life out of balance more times than I can recount. Ready for a true confession? I am so bad to hold onto things until I am simply NOT able to hold on any longer. I can see clearly that things would be easier or that things would be better yet there is something within me that struggles every single time with letting things go. Want the good news? Every single time that I have let go, every single time that I have unclasped my fingers from around those things, it has always been sooo much better! It has always been worth it. Everything has smoothed out. Every season we have to let things go if we are going to have room in our lives for new things. It is sooo worth it! Until we do, things just get messy. Things get bumpy. Things get stressful. Need to let things go? Today is a great day to pile it up and get rid of it.

That brings me to the final idea…

4. Get on track and make this year your best ever–day-by-day! You may have started this year with big intentions. Maybe you wanted to lose weight and get in shape. Maybe you wanted to pay off your debts. Maybe you wanted to get your home organized. Maybe you wanted to make time to remodel that room in your home. Maybe you wanted more time with your spouse or children. Maybe you wanted for this year to be that year that you read through the Bible. Well, what was your goal? What was your resolution? What would make your day a success? What would make this year really count?

When we look at the year, it is made of days and moments in those days. In order for our year to be a year that counts, we have to begin with each moment, getting it on track so that we have a collection of moments and days that really count. Why not go back to those resolutions and give them another look. I know it is not January. THIS is when you look at them. This is when we put them on our daily schedule. This is when we live them out. Let’s get on track and make this year the year when we DO IT! Deal? Get on track today. Make this year your very best year ever–day-by-day!

Ok…we are not done yet. We have much, much more to dig into. Don’t miss next week’s ezine!

Cindy2015Need MORE Help?

If you need more help, don’t miss any of Cindy Rushton’s LIVE workshops that she will be teaching on these topics. She is scheduled to speak for many conventions, conferences, retreats, and Bible Studies. If you want for her to come to your area, message here today at CindyRushton@Gmail.com

Making Your Quiet Times Happen this Year – Even When You Can’t Get Up in the Morning by Jennifer Schwilling

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Reading the Bible and praying more is right at the top of Christian womens’ goals and resolutions lists, up there with getting organized and losing weight.  Unfortunately, just like organizing and weight loss aspirations, our best plans and intentions to have daily devotions or quiet times tend to fizzle a few weeks into the year.  What happens?  We’re convinced of the value of spending time getting to know our God through His word.  We’re convinced of the power of prayer in our lives and others’.  How does something this important and desirable keep slipping through the cracks in our days?

One of the ways we unintentionally keep something from happening is making it too difficult or complicated.  Do you admire a friend who is able to read her Bible an hour or two a day?  Or a friend who studies Greek daily?  A favorite author who writes about watching the sun rise as she prays over her day?  All of these things may be good, but do they work for you at this point of your life?  Maybe you have three small children running around and 1 – 2 hours of uninterrupted reading time just isn’t going to happen.  Maybe you are anything but a morning person.  In your mind is anything less than your “ideal” quiet time not worth doing?  In other words, are you making it more difficult than it needs to be?

All you really need to have your quiet time are three things:  A time, a place, and your “stuff”
– your Bible and anything else you’re planning to read.  Place and “stuff” are pretty straightforward.  You need a place to sit and read and something to read of course.  Where we usually get messed up is time.  We usually know “what” we want to do, it’s the “when” we have a problem with, as in the “when” just not happening!

Here is a common scenario.  We hear that waking up early to have our quiet time is the best way to go so that’s what we shoot for.  If you’re an “early riser” this can work great, but for the rest of us…  Tell me if this sounds familiar:  You wake up later than you planned (again) and you resolve to get on track and have your quiet time later that morning.  Then “something” happens and you have to put it off until lunch.  Lunchtime ends up being taken up with “something” else and you figure maybe in the afternoon you’ll catch a little time.  Guess what… “something” keeps happening until you’re laying in bed wondering what happened to your quiet time.

So if you don’t get up early in the morning is all lost?  Not at all!  Look at your day and pick the best time that works for you.  Don’t worry about your friend, your favorite author’s schedule, or what you’ve heard is “most spiritual.”  What time of your day tends to be the least hectic and most likely to be somewhat quiet?  The kids’ nap time?   While dinner is in the oven?  My best time is right before bedtime!  It’s quiet, there’s nowhere I have to be, and everyone else is in bed too.  Be creative!  What’s important isn’t the time of day you pick, it’s that you pick a time that works best for your current schedule and that you guard it from invading “somethings”.  The “best” time for your quiet time is the time you can realistically make it happen!  You might have to experiment a bit to find the best time.  Also, have your place picked out and your “stuff” where it needs to be so looking for your Bible and a pen doesn’t end up being a “something” that comes up!

So how long should your quiet time be?  Again, look at what works for you.  I’d love to have two hours a day but in this season of my life when I have four kids, one with special needs, two hours isn’t going to happen on a typical day.  God knows your circumstances and responsibilities – He created your family!  Do what you realistically can.  You can probably get 20 – 30 minutes into your day.  Some days you’ll have more time, some days you’ll have less.  If you can’t find even 20 – 30 minutes, take a look at some other activities you find time for like checking e-mail, web surfing, Facebook, telephone calls, reading…  We make time for these things without thinking twice about it.  Not trying to be legalistic… just something to think about!

It’s not too late to get your prayer and Bible reading resolutions and goals back on track.  Sit down and take a few moments to think about what the best time is for you and make a plan of attack!

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Don’t you just LOVE Jennifer? I ADORE HER!

She is one of our speakers at our upcoming (in just a FEW WEEKS) Ultimate Women’s Expo! Don’t miss her! You will be fired, inspired, encouraged, and equipped to make THIS YEAR count!

Are you a “night owl” who needs more help making a consistent quiet times happen?  Jennifer Schwilling’s new e-book Night Owl Devotions is all about thinking outside the box to make meaningful devotions a part of a busy mom’s life.  You can visit her on-line at:  http://www.MomsNoChaosZone.com or http://www.DaisyChainDailyCarnival.com

Sleep to Succeed: A Lesson in Productivity

Cindy2015Ever feel that there are not enough hours in the day? Oh! I do! There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day sometimes. With your schedule, something always gets put off until tomorrow. In order to catch up, you might be tempted to work longer but that will have the opposite effect.

When your schedule runs long or you have a pressing project at work, the first thing that enters your mind is that you can come in early or stay late to get it done. The problem with that idea is that the rest of your routine will suffer. There will be less, if any, time for your family. From the point that you steal time from one area to benefit another, you will be playing catch up.

Over time, your body will respond to the added demands. It won’t be pretty. Stress of any kind that is prolonged can cause health problems. You are more likely to develop illnesses because of a depressed immune system. You won’t be your kind and cheery self anymore as you become short tempered and bite everyone’s head off.

What about your goals? Whether work-related or personal, your goals never seem to get met. The laws of nature are a funny thing. In our society, we have the idea that to get more done you have to speed up and sacrifice. While that may be true in some situations, the part that we choose to sacrifice makes a big difference.

To get ahead and get more done you need to slow down. Sleep is a part of your daily routine. It’s a part that we don’t pay much attention to. After all, if you are tired, you will eventually fall asleep, right? That’s not how sleep is supposed to work.

The human body is like a beautiful machine. All machines need maintenance to continue working. The body does its repair jobs while you sleep. There are several sleep cycles. During the deepest sleep, the body can go about restoration and repair because you are not keeping it occupied with movement and thought. It’s sort of like a short hibernation period.

Unfortunately, many people don’t get enough restorative sleep for it to matter. You wake up tired and that leads to concentration problems. It’s hard to think of new ways to increase your productivity when you can’t keep your eyes open. Burning the candle at both ends will leave you with nothing.

Do yourself a favor. Get your 7-8 hours of sleep a night. As a result you will wake up refreshed and your focus will be clear. You’ll find you have more energy and get more accomplished in all areas of your life. There is less downtime needed during the day because you got all of the rest you needed when you slept.