3 Hacks for Planning Your Day

Have you ever tried and tried to stick to an hourly schedule but found it impossible?

Do you ever get to the end of the day and half your things are still on that to do list?

Have you ever stayed awake worrying about all the things you need to do tomorrow?

Yeah, me too! Today I want to share with you 3 Hacks for Planning Your Day. These are three things that have revolutionized the way I approach my schedule + daily to do lists.

1. Paper vs. Memory

I used to keep a running tab in my mind of the things I needed to get done. Remember earlier how I talked about staying awake worrying about things you need to do? I used to lay in bed worrying I would forget something that I needed to do! I finally realized that I just am not very good at remembering it all! I now keep runnings lists a variety of places (work lists are on my computer, blog post ideas in a notebook, other projects on a note on my phone) so I don’t have to remember it all! This has been so freeing!

2. Routines vs. Schedules

Some people love their schedules, and that’s so great! But in my life currently (and I’m guessing many of you are in the same boat), a daily schedule where I plan out each hour just isn’t possible. My days are too different and unpredictable to possibly plan for how I am going to use all the hours. Instead of trying to stick to a “schedule”, I embrace the beauty of routines. My morning routine is probably my favorite. I even have a few different routines, for my different kinds of mornings: bus mornings, hotel mornings, + home mornings. I try to plan to night before things like the following: what time I will get up, when I will have quiet time, what exercise I will (or will not:) be doing, what time I need to be ready for the day, and whether I will be eating breakfast on my own or with others.

If you’re struggling to stick with a “daily schedule”, I highly recommend building some routines in your life in place of the schedule.

Last evening, I figured out what time I needed to be ready for the day, planned what I wanted to do this morning in the time I had, and set my alarm for a time that would give me a decent night’s sleep while still giving me enough time to do my morning things.

3. Top 10 vs. Everything

When I used to sit down in the morning to write my to-do list, I would write down everything I could think of that I should, could, wanted to, or was supposed to get done that day. And it was just too much. I ended up overwhelmed, discouraged, and frustrated more days than not. I simply wasn’t being realistic. Most of us can’t get done everything we can think of every day!

Here’s what I did: I started categorizing my lists and numbering them. I choose the top 10, or 20, or whatever number! These are the things I decide are most important for that day. I usually have a running list (like I mentioned in #1) of other things I can do if I get all the things on my list done with time to spare. But I specifically try to make the list doable. I want to be able to get the whole list done, unless something catastrophic or completely unforeseen happens- and there are days when it does.:)  But most days, I can get it done!

The number is different every day according to the things I need to do and how long various tasks will take, but the goal is two-fold: 1. To organize the items into categories 2. To keep the list realistic. I try to watch the number…..if I have 15 or 20 items in each category, then I probably need to re-evaluate and cut some things!

Today, my list looks like this:

Hotel:

  1. call new hire
  2. send scheduling email to new team member
  3. schedule employees for this week
  4. work short evening shift at hotel
  5. check work email
  6. do payroll

Home:

  1. make lunch for the family
  2. refrigerate fermented cabbage
  3. help unpack bus from San Antonio trip
  4. put dahlias in sand
  5. do a short ministry task for Dad
  6. cook + freeze big batch of black beans

Personal:

  1. send invitation for bachelorette party
  2. run 3 miles
  3. write a blog post
  4. organize bedroom
  5. do Scripture memory
  6. get package ready to send

 

And now I’m off to complete that list!

I’d love to hear what you think!

What is your biggest struggle in planning your days? Would one or all of these hacks be valuable to you?

much love,

Allison

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6 Things to Do instead of Being on Your Phone

I have really been convicted recently of how easy it is to live distracted, yet ineffective. I have come to realize that it takes intentionality to not mindlessly overuse technology. If I just do what comes easy, what doesn’t take any brain power, I reach for the phone, surf social media, scroll through blogs, etc.

But it’s not who I want to be. There is more to this life than keeping up with everyone’s statuses, and reading the inspiring posts, and following the celebrities and fitness gurus.

Last night I had an epiphany. I had a nice long supper break ahead of me at work, and I was about to do something mindless like sitting at the computer and surfing when I heard the still small voice say, “Come away from the noise. You need something else more right now.” I grabbed my Bible and journal, turned my phone on airplane mode (I still had my work phone on for work calls or family emergencies) and proceeded to have a leisurely, quiet supper digging into the Word of God, quieting my spirit, reflecting, meditating, and praying. And it was SO REFRESHING!

Media can be a powerful tool, but in those times when we need refreshment, “escape”, or rejuvenation, media isn’t usually the best option.

Would you join me on a journey of freedom from the pull of the noisy unnecessary?

Try one of these next time you have some alone time and are tempted with the “media escape”:

1. Read the Word

The Word of God is rich. I am amazed at the new truths that are always there no matter how many times I read it! I am currently reading in Job, and have really been amazed at all the nuggets of deep truth I am finding there.

2. Memorize Scripture

Memorizing Scripture is good for the brain (all you students out there should take advantage of this!) and most of all, it is good for the heart. “Thy Word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against Thee.” Psalm 119:11

3. Pray

Prayer is powerful, and Satan knows this. There is a reason that prayer is one of the greatest struggles for many Christians. Sid Roth said, “The enemy will try to limit your praying because he knows your praying will limit Him.”

4. Go on a Walk

Fresh air does wonders to clear brain fog, alleviate headaches, and bring balance physically and emotionally. And the exercise of a vigorous walk is always good!

5. Study an Informative Topic

The other day I had some time, and I started browsing some articles on leadership. This is something I need to do more- purposefully study topics that will help me to learn and grow. Study is hard, especially in a life that is already full of work and responsibilities. But study can be a surprising source of refreshment and clarity in the work that we do.

6. Read a Book

It has been said that “Readers are Leaders”. Many of the best leaders of history and our day have also been readers. Reading is not only profitable to our minds, but settling in with a good book, even if for only 15 minutes, can be very relaxing.

What about you? What is your greatest temptation with technology? Which of these 6 things do you want to start doing more of?

-Allison

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Hard Workin’ Gals: 3 Tips for Finding a Job (Part 3)

Hey girls! I am super excited to share with you 3 Tips for Finding a Job.

Sometimes it’s hard to know what you should be doing. I hope these ideas and some personal stories from my life will be an encouragement to you. Maybe after reading you will have a fresh perspective on how to find work you will thrive in!

Also, if you’ve missed the other parts of this series, find them here:

Part 1: “Hard Workin’ Gals: Should Christian Girls Have Jobs?”

Part 2: “Hard Workin Gals: How to Find Your Work”

1. Think Creatively

You don’t have to be highly skilled or have years of experience to enter your dream field of work. Sometimes you just have to be willing to stick your neck out. Other times, you have to think outside the box.

I have loved violin ever since I was a toddler. When I was 13, a mother asked me to “assistant teach” her daughters violin. Although I wasn’t really ready for the responsibility of being a solo violin teacher, having these sisters come to my house every week for me to give them input during a practice/teaching session was the perfect way for me to get my feet wet in a job that I knew I wanted to pursue. Within a few years I had my own small business teaching violin students.

Specifically if you are young or very inexperienced in a field you know you want to pursue, think creatively and find ways to learn.

If you are interested in business, take some business courses, intern with a businessperson, or start reading lots of business books.

My brother loved mechanics but didn’t want to got to 4 years of school to learn the trade. He volunteered to help an older and very experienced mechanic friend work on buses many a winter evening. In his spare time, he read mechanic books (getting suggestions from good mechanics, and picking up other titles at Goodwill), and joined online forums to learn from a whole community of mechanics.

Before he was 20, he was offered a job at a large farm implement dealership, which he ended up turning down. He started buying broken four wheelers to fix and resell, and soon his name got out and farmers started asking him to do complicated mechanic work on their farm equipment. He now has a growing business doing what he loves most.

“Never despise small beginnings.”

Apprenticeships can be a great thing. When I was 14 years old, my mother (knowing I had a passion for flowers) encouraged me to meet our neighbor lady, a professional landscaper who had stunning flower gardens. “You should ask her if you can come work in her flower beds in exchange for her giving you some landscaping tips for our flower beds” my mother said. Mostly to honor my mother, I did as she suggested. After an afternoon of working with my neighbor, she came to my house, gave me landscaping suggestions, and proceeded to offer me a job. It was an incredible opportunity, made possible because my mother encouraged me to learn from someone who was a professional in the field I was interested in. I absolutely loved that job, which I held for the next four years. My boss was an incredible person to work for, she was a really good teacher and I basically got a free mini-education in landscaping, while getting paid to do something I loved!

2. Face Your Fears

I am a third born. I have two older siblings that are both really great leaders, and I was always content to follow them. I actually grew up preferring for someone else to be in charge, and to get to come alongside them and join in.

Leadership wasn’t my thing. I didn’t think I was good at it, and I didn’t like it.

It was literally a fear thing for me- being in high responsibility leadership positions made me panic!

I think God has a sense of humor, because four years ago, I exchanged my landscaping job for a completely different kind of work at our small town hotel. When I started the position, it was mostly secretary, advertising, and marketing related work. It’s probably a good thing I didn’t know what I was getting into, because I might have been tempted to run in the other direction if I would have realized I would need to become a much more assertive and confident leader as I became responsible for finding, building, and leading a team of employees, troubleshooting problems, planning team meetings, and making countless decisions.

In the end, sometimes we need to face our fears and do the very things we think we are least gifted at. If it’s truly a weakness and something you continue to really not enjoy doing, then it’s probably not a good idea to make it your life work. But be willing to give it a shot, because you just might end up thriving where you thought you’d miserably fail!

Our greatest passions and talents are often formed by doing the very things that scare us the most.

3. Pursue Your Gifts

If you are trying to find the right job, a really good place to start may be just sitting down and making a list of things you enjoy, would like to learn more about, or have dreamed of doing. A few of them may scare you a little (like we talked about above), but really, you should just go out and do them anyways!

While it can actually be a really good experience to do something you don’t particularly enjoy, there is nothing wrong with pursuing a job in a field that really excites you! After you’ve made that list, start brainstorming! It can be a good idea to find a main job/source of income, and then work at developing another one of your passions on the side.

Maybe you love people, and can get a waitressing job that allows you to interact with customers 24/7. If you are an artist, you might work at making that into a small business by selling art or teaching art classes on the side.

If there’s something you would really like to pursue, but isn’t a viable money making venture or job opportunity yet, use your spare time to work on it! Your hobby could possibly be your work down the road! The key here is to be diligent and patient. Don’t quit your job just because there’s a hobby you want to turn into a business. It would be smarter to continue your work while researching and working towards whatever business venture you might want to start. Then, once it is actually a viable, revenue producing proposition, you can decide where to go with it.

Questions? Thoughts? Comment above- I’d love to hear from you!

-Allison

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Why Don’t I Have Enough Time?

Have you every wondered, “Why don’t I have enough time to get it all done?”

Sharing something personal here- I am currently having a major problem getting Scripture memory done every day. I know that it’s not a time problem, it’s a priorities problem. 

Have you every looked up the definition of “priority”? It might shed a little light!

pri·or·i·ty
prīˈôrədē/
noun
  1. the fact or condition of being regarded or treated as more important.
    “the safety of the country takes priority over any other matter”
       a thing that is regarded as more important than another.
      plural noun: priorities
      “housework didn’t figure high on her list of priorities”

We all have the same amount of time. It’s what we do with that time that matters.

So for me, I have not been treating Scripture memory as important. In order to get it done every single day, I am have to start making it a priority over some other things. For me, reading is something I absolutely love to do, but Scripture memory should be regarded in my days as more important than any of the books I’m reading.

I doubt if it’s only me that struggles to prioritize.

Don’t have time to memorize Scripture?

Don’t have time to send an encouraging text?

Not enough time to give someone a Gospel tract?

Running out of time to listen to that little brother’s lonnggg story?

Don’t know how to find time to get your work done?

Guess what? The One who created us is the One who gave us 168 hours in our week. 

Let’s ask Him to help us do that things that are HIS will for us today. He has indeed given us enough time for everything that he wants us to accomplish. He is waiting for us to ask Him for wisdom in the “how” and grace to be willing to realign our hearts with His and have a Kingdom perspective.

What do you struggle to make time for? I’m cheerin’ for you!

much love,

Allison

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Hard Workin’ Gals: How to Find Your Work (Part 2)

Hey girls! Continuing right along with the topic of young women and their work, I want to talk a little today about how to go about figuring out what work you should do! There are a few things a girl should keep in mind when choosing her work.

Is the environment healthy?

This doesn’t mean perfect, but it does mean you need to be wise. Working closely as an assistant or secretary to a man (other than father, brother, or husband) could be asking for trouble. (These situations aren’t always disastrous, but they need to be approached cautiously.)

Does the work keep you from serving others?

There is no cut-and-dried formula for how much time young women should devote to various types of work (including her “paid work”, household chores, church/community projects, etc.) There are also seasons (as I have experienced) where your job may demand the majority of your time and energy, leaving little for family and investing in people.

The key is balance, and evaluating your work on a regular basis in light of how things are fleshing out with other priorities in your life.

In this job, can you become more of the woman God created you to be?

God created us and we should seek, as we work, to develop the things He placed deep within our nature.

I love thinking of my work in this way: In the work I am doing, how can I develop the characteristics God has placed within me as a woman- gracious, nurturing, strong, life giving, feminine, creative, gentle, helpful?

There is so much scope for growth of our character within the context of our work. This is exciting!

For me, it’s about more than just putting in the hours and making the money. I want to do my work not only in a way that honors God, but so that I am living out who He created me to be as a woman. Even though one of my particular “jobs” includes extensive leadership of other people, my goal is to nurture those people as individuals, invest in their lives, and encourage them. In marketing and customer service, I get to exercise creativity in strategizing, learning, implementing new methods and ideas, and interacting with customers.

Do you have a stewardship mentality?

It’s about more than earning money, although that’s part of it. It’s a heart attitude of using the resources of time, talent, and energy as good stewards.

Good stewardship doesn’t happen by default. It takes intentionality. The bad steward buried what he had. The good one put a sound mind and creativity to work and got busy multiplying what he’d been given. Which will you be?

 Which one of these stuck out to you the most? 

love,

Allison

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