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.

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!

This Year Start Little, See Big Results

House cleaning. Let’s face it. It’s a necessary evil if you want your home to be liveable and pleasant to be in.  You want to be able to have guests and that may not be possible if your house is always a mess.  When it comes to cleaning, you don’t have to deep clean every day.  You can start little and see big results in no time.

One of the easiest ways to start small and get something accomplished is to work while you’re watching television.  Commercials take two to five minutes every fifteen minutes of a television show.  Why not take that time and go through stacks of mail, fold a load of laundry, clean out a desk drawer, or wash a few dishes.  If you do this during each commercial break, you can see big results in just one evening of watching your favorite television shows.

Instead of letting things go, do things as you see that they need to be done.  Don’t wait until tomorrow if it’s something that can be done in a short period of time.  For instance, if you’ve had a glass of water or something else to drink while watching TV, don’t leave the glass in the living room or den.  Take it into the kitchen when you go through or before you go to bed for the night.

Teach everyone in your house to put things back when they’re finished with them.  If everyone would do this one thing, the amount of clutter you have in your home could be greatly reduced.  It would also help if everyone put their clothes in the hamper after bathing or showering rather than leaving the wet towels and clothing in the floor of the bathroom.

Set aside blocks of fifteen to thirty minutes each day.  Focus on doing one thing at a time.   Write specific tasks you would like to complete on your calendar.  Here’s an idea of what this would look like:

* Monday – Clean out one desk drawer. Throw away any pens that don’t work, straighten it up, and put things by type.

* Tuesday – Find and file all bills that need to be paid in a particular folder so they’ll be easy to find.

* Wednesday – Clean out one dresser drawer. Purge any socks that are mismatched, ensure everything is in good repair before folding and replacing, and get rid of anything you haven’t used in six months to a year.

* Thursday – Empty one refrigerator shelf or drawer, wash it, and then throw out anything that has expired.  Make a list of items you need to replace.

* Friday – Tackle the pile of shoes in a clothes closet. If shoes no longer fit and aren’t worn, put them in a bag or box, and take them to a local charity.

* Weekend – Take time to work together as a family to tackle one large clutter problem.  Remember that many hands make light work

De-cluttering your home may seem like a daunting task, especially if you’ve let clutter rule for too long.  You can start small, see big results, and then conquer clutter once and for all if you work a little at a time.  Celebrate your victories when you have one project done and then start on another until your home is the way you envisioned it.

http://ultimate-womens-expo.com/images/125x125.pngNew Year? How about a NEW YOU?

Join Cindy Rushton for the ULTIMATE women’s event online: The Ultimate Women’s Expo. Preview Chats have already begun. Check out our site and sign up for our event so you can catch each and every session! Check it out today at this link: http://www.Ultimate-Womens-Expo.com/