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Archive for the ‘Organizing’ Category

Arthur Cundy, a friend of our family, has a website called www.arthurcundy.com. He has several videos on Web Design and being more productive in your work. After watching the video mentioned below, I felt that he had some great ideas about goal setting that I can apply to my own life. I hope them can be beneficial to yours too!

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In my quest to learn more about being disciplined as I had stated in Organizing Methods Are Not One Size Fits All, I happened to stumble upon an article called How to Be Consistent & Get Stuff Done on www.workawesome.com. This article really made me think about why I am not as consistent as I need to be in various areas of my life, therefore affecting my level of discipline. I will share what I feel my issues are and how I plan to change them so that I can improve in this area.

1. Not Understanding the Power of Consistency: My mentality about consistency has always been just that it is important and that I need to do it. However, I have taken the time to understand the power that it can have in my life. This power is the ability to complete things that are started. I usually have great plans, but things get difficult to stick to without being able to see what the finished product will look like. Having a true understanding of consistency helps you to know that long term work will pay off.

2. Being Speedy Instead of Persistent: I’d like to believe that I have a A-type personality, because when I set my mind to do something, I am driven. I enjoy setting deadlines in order to meet goals. I also will do my best to work very hard at what I set out to do. While these are wonderful traits to have, I tend to work too hard, attempting to meet deadlines and with that, have a tendency to feel burnout. I have decided that this can no longer happen, so I am learning about the importance of being persistent. Persistence is when you continue working at a task even when the initial reason you started it has passed. For example, when someone is persistent about exercise, they may have initially started because they wanted to lose weight, but after a period of time has passed and the weight is lost, they still continue because the ultimate purpose has surpassed the original (i.e., exercising for health reasons). In my case, I need to set a shorter time frame on a daily or weekly basis for working on my goals. Then if I do this small bit each time that I plan it, I will be more likely to keep doing it and not burnout.

3. Making Excuses for Why Today Doesn’t Work: Have you ever heard your alarm in the morning go off…and just wanted to shut it off completely, getting back to what was important… sleep? This was me this morning! The alarm sounded like the most annoying invention ever created and if there was a hammer on my nightstand, I would have smashed it. Instead, I turned it off, telling myself that I was going to get up in 5 minutes…which turned into 25 minutes. Then I dragged myself to the bathroom to wash up for the day and stared in the mirror, reassuring convincing myself that the plans that I set out to do were going to happen! Today was different though. I wasn’t about to let my mind and body control what I had set out to do. Excuses were not going to work today! This is the internal battle that we sometimes must have…not  allowing ourselves to come up with excuses as to why today doesn’t work! As I stated before, persistence is key, and it won’t happen if we don’t take to time to make our plans a routine and natural part of day-to-day life.

4. Being Influenced By Inconsistent People: When I was in high school, I remember having 2 really great friends who truly helped me to be consistent with studying. They were a really great influence. They (in addition to my parents) helped me to see that studying and reviewing material every night really pays off, especially when you need to prepare for an exam. In college, I also had some great friends who were consistent about working out (dancing), studying, planning get-togethers, and meeting at the library for focus groups.  This was a great benefit to me since there was plenty of accountability. Now, I am at the point in my life where a lot of the accountability is left up to me. Indeed, I have friends that I talk to about different areas of my life and in those discussions, natural accountability occurs. However, it is not the same. For example, if  I come up with an excuse for doing the laundry when I had planned, it does inconvenience the family a bit, but we come up with other outfits to wear for the day. No big deal!  If I had planned to go to the gym with a friend, but she couldn’t make it that day because something came up, I had to make a decision as to whether I was still going to go or not. Then you have those conversations with acquaintances about gym visits and it “seems” like a lot of people…the common statement is, “I had planned to go, but this week has been so hectic”. In these cases, it is not intentional that I end up being surrounded by those who are inconsistent, however, it does mean that I need to make more of an effort to associate with those that are less likely to make excuses! In addition, I need to be open in talking about my own inconsistent areas so that I can get the help and advice that I need.

5. Not Being Consistent With the Happy Face Method: In the article How to Be Consistent & Get Stuff Done, Scott H. Young explains how a man used a calendar to help him keep track of every time he exercised. When he exercised, he would color a red triangle in the box for the date. The times that he missed would be obvious because the boxes would be missing the shape. He called this the Red Triangle Method. I have a method to that is quite similar, but involves using colorful Happy Face stickers in place of the triangles. I especially remember using this method when I was in my senior year of college at Cornell University. Each time I studied as I had planned, I added a sparkly sticker to my calendar. I have to say that academically, it was one of my best years. I also used this method last summer when I was working out consistently. I put a sticker each time I completed my cardio as planned and one X across the box for the days that I did strength training. I was able to meet my weight loss goals that summer. Now, it is just a matter of applying this method to other areas of my life  and being persistent/consistent with it. I truly believe that it will work for the short-term and the long-term. There is nothing like having a visual of your accomplishments!

Quotes to Think About:

“I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.” -Drew Barrymore

“Let your character be kept up the very end, just as it began, and so be consistent.” -Horace

“The secret to success is constancy to purpose.” -Benjamin Disraeli

What areas do you need to be more consistent in?

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I’ll be the first to tell you that I have tried so many different methods to help get various areas of my life organized. For example (just to share a few):

  • I have read Time Management from the Inside Out by Julie Morgenstern. In this book she provides tools to help you create balance in your life in a way that makes you feel like you have accomplished what you set out to do each day.
  • I have fully read the Flylady.net website and happen to like the new design. I actually have to say that at one point I was a faithful follower of the methods that were laid out such as decluttering for 15 minutes a day or the super fling boogie!
  • I have created by own Home Management Binder. This is just one central location in which you keep everything that you would normally have to do during the day from memory on lists such as cleaning schedules, meal plans, grocery lists, etc. Basically, it is made to use a resource and reminder of what you plan to do rather than driving yourself crazy deciding each day.
  • I have created schedules for my son’s time at home, family goal sheets, holiday plans, traveling preparation plans, and the list goes on and on.

Through all of this, I have realized that no matter how good the method, it really hasn’t worked for me (especially, if I am being honest with myself.) You may ask… Why? Even with the best intentions, the carefully laid out plans, and the determination, these methods are definitely not one size fits all. I have to say that even with tweaking, it is difficult and seriously a test of true willpower and discipline to follow through with your plans day in and day out.

After some realization of this fact, I realize that these are the areas in which I need to improve. It is not just with being organized, but with numerous aspects of my life. So to make a valid attempt, I know that I need to do a great deal of research on how to really get better in these areas. My plan (part 1), at the present (instead of jumping in head first and drowning after about 10 days of being consistent), is to first do a great deal of research on these topics (including the spiritual perspective on these matters) and share what I have learned .

I would greatly appreciate any valuable info that you may have…so feel free to send it my way! I will be happy to look into it.

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Our time is so precious. Either we can waste it or use it wisely. I prefer to use it wisely, although I don’t always do it. It’s not that I purposely waste it, but somehow, if I don’t set priorities for what I want to accomplish, things don’t get done. What things am I talking about?
– time with God
– errands
– meals for the week
– chores
– spending time with my family
– spending productive/relaxing alone time
– work responsibilities
– time with friends
– sharing my faith
and the list goes on…

Even as I start to look at this list (not including the details) there is the potential to become overwhelmed. However, knowing that God never gives us more than we can handle, I believe that there is a way to manage our priorities to the best of our abilities. How?

Here are my goals for organizing my priorities:

1. Review priorities on a consistent basis. I know that I need to see the things that I want to focus on. When my priorities are not visible, I tend to lose focus. I have a little notebook that I use for my quiet times and a page is dedicated to my current priorities.

2. Schedule time to contribute to my priorities. Today, one of my goals was to finish the laundry (chores). In order to do that, I needed to pick up some more laundry detergent (errands) and make an appointment with myself to actually wash, dry, and put away the clothes. For me, haphazardly saying that I am going to “do the laundry” doesn’t mean that it will magically get done.

3. Pray about my priorities. This point is so important! When I don’t feel like following through with what I scheduled myself to do, praying about it seems to help to much. God provides me with the strength and will to complete what is important.

Do you have ways of organizing your priorities? Feel free to share your thoughts and ideas!

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The past few weeks have been very challenging for me. I have dealt with health issues, stress, and numerous other things that have complicated life. However, there comes a point when you have to make decision to organize your thoughts to help change your perspective. This week I have made a decision, once and for all, to take my thoughts captive and make them obedient to Christ (a daily effort)! In that effort, I realized that not only do I need to read my Bible in a way that helps me to attack my areas of weakness, but I also need to make my environment a better haven for my thoughts to be obedient to God. Therefore, I will be “cleaning house”. Please join me in this journey if you are ready to clean up your humble abode.

My Personal Goals for Organizing My Mind:

1. Get at least 7 hours of sleep per night. I have noticed that when I allow my self to get this amount of rest, I have a better ability to be mentally focused.

2. Make sure to schedule at least an hour a day for exercise. Honestly, the past few months have not been the greatest for me in terms of exercise. As a result, I have felt the effects of it. My body has been achy and I have gained a few pounds back. My goal is to walk on the treadmill and use the elliptical machine so that I don’t put too much pressure on my joints.

3. Make sure to set a list of To Dos and actually do them. This is usually where I have the most difficulty. There are so many things to accomplish in a day, however if I don’t focus on what needs to get done, somehow the time slips by. If I have my goals laid out clearly in my mind, I am more likely to accomplish them. Plus, there is a feeling of accomplishment when I am able to physically see tasks crossed off of my list. For some reason, it gives me more motivation…I guess I am a visual learner!

4. Reduce the amount of negativity around me by not watching so much of the news. Granted, I need to know about some of the things that are going on in the world around me, but I need to shut off the TV when they start talking about the most recent tragedy that just occurred. I have even noticed that there are certain TV shows that I am drawn to that focus on criminal activity…and yes they are interesting, but the images really do penetrate my mind and can lead to a depressed perspective on life if I allow them to.

I hope that I can be productive and successful in these endeavors!

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