Time-saving tips for the Type A in you

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I am always looking for ways to maximize my time each day. Here are four suggestions that work for me—perhaps give one or more a whirl.

  • Prepare vitamins/supplements weekly. On Sunday evenings, I count out and organize my vitamins and supplements into the “grandma and grandpa” container with compartments (Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, etc.) I swore I’d never use but makes life a lot simpler. Then, each morning, I pop the pills from the appropriate day into a single pill bottle that easily fits into my purse.
  • Lay out clothes for the next day. Okay, this doesn’t always work if you don’t “feel” what you picked out. Have a backup plan.
  • Make meals ahead of time. On weekends, I fix 2-3 lunches/dinners that serve as leftovers. Repeat for breakfasts. Depending on your family size, adjust (and freeze) accordingly.
  • Deep clean cabinets and drawers (monthly). I love this idea because everything is uber painless to find when you prepare for the day.

What time savers do you regularly practice?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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When all the butterflies die: look forward to new growth

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While scrolling through Facebook recently, I stumbled upon this quote: “That feeling you get in your stomach when your heart’s broken. It’s like all the butterflies died.” I know a few things about broken hearts and dead butterflies. Hope deferred. Unmet expectations. Loss and emptiness. But during this new season, I am compelled, now more than ever, to make sense of my path. To reclaim that feeling of contentment I talk about in “Try it on for size…” To don happiness as a daily accessory. To welcome new growth. For far too long my attention has been fixated inward on my needs and wants and disappointments. And it’s time for me to look outward and focus on those around me.  To take a break from the distractions and agendas and whatever else thwarts, rather than advances, my purpose. Hopefully, in time, as I breathe and pray, I will discover what makes me tick and who I’m supposed to be.

How do you know you’re on the right path?

Are you doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do—or both?

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Recently I texted my big sister and dumped a “woe is me” montage on her. I suck as a writer. I don’t know what I’m supposed to do. I’m champing at the bit. Her response: Breathe and pray—the words a balm to my spirit. Oh dear heart, if you, too, are a person who strives, strives and strives some more, it’s okay (normal even) if you don’t know where you’re going. Just breathe and pray. And ask yourself if you’re doing what you’re supposed to do or what you want to do. Because, as my sister reminded me, these might not be one and the same. You have been created to do magnificent things. But what you think is your passion might only be the tip of the iceberg. Already eight days into NaNoWriMo and, truthfully, I need to regroup. To breathe, pray and search my soul. To discover what will truly make me happy and then do that.

Are you doing what truly makes you happy?

Photo source: http://www.framesandfreckles.com.

Your breaking point: recognize the signs

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This past year seems like it’s elapsed in a whirlwind, with my goal to pursue the power of P (peace, patience, purpose and a more passionate prayer life) being usurped by the practice of mindfulness. Which makes sense, because it’s a concept that involves each of these pursuits. This past weekend, the chance to practice mindfulness showed up in a big way: As is often the case, my plans on paper did not translate well into real time, and I quickly recognized the signs that signal my “breaking” point. Close to panic mode when the little piles and pressures in front of me become overwhelming, I turn inward and disengage. Oftentimes, this means a solitary trek into the mountains as a means of avoidance. This weekend, however, I opted to dodge all outside commitments to allow my soul to catch up to my body right where I was at. To let the day unfold with no agenda. And with no regrets.

What does your breaking point look like?

Image courtesy of Graphics Mouse at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Strong enough, smart enough and brave enough: all you have to do is ask

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Be strong enough to stand alone,
smart enough to 
know when you need help,
and brave enough to ask for it.
~ Ziad K. Abdelnour

I’m not sure if it’s a Type A thing, or just a fragment of my own personal makeup; however, I feel that the practice of enlisting the help of others is oftentimes viewed as a sign of vulnerability rather than a display of strength. The writing life is typically a solitary endeavor but, after juggling, rearranging and finagling my schedule (see “The price of sacrifice…”), I finally conceded I needed assistance to pursue my vocational goals. This meant approaching my little family and informing them when I would be unavailable, and then pinning my boss down to ask for additional flexibility in my “9-5” work schedule. All it took was a little smarts and a whole lot of bravery to walk away with blessings from all parties. And a renewed sense of my purpose.

What do you need to ask for help with?

Photo courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Back off baby: slow down!

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NaNoWriMo day two (see “Jump right in…”): 2,068 words down, 47,932 words to go. And I’ve already learned something about myself, and my writing. I realized that in the not-so-distance past when I’d sit down and compose, I’d navigate from A to Z in a straight shot to arrive at the “good parts” quicker. This hit home as I drove through my neighborhood recently and a vehicle raced up behind my car. Back off baby, I thought, right before the driver swerved around me, only to be forced to stop at a red light. It seems we’re always in a rush to get to the “good parts;” consequently, we oftentimes miss the magic that unfolds during the detours and roundabouts, the hills and the valleys—in life and on the page. As I plunge into this month of writing, I promise to allow myself to slow down, explore new territory (whether planning/plotting or pantsing) and simply tread water for a bit.

When do you need to back off?

Jump right in: approaching everyday life

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Yesterday I registered for NaNoWriMo. For readers unfamiliar with this acronym, National Novel Writing Month is an annual, internet-based creative writing project that takes place during the month of November, and where participants attempt to write a 50,000-word manuscript. Although I’m excited to share the group energy and online support, I’m even more eager to implement a concept that occurred to me as I tried to wrap up my book outline (yes, I’m a planner/plotter vs. pantser). I can either wait until it makes sense (how often does that happen?), or I can jump in and figure out the details later. And not just with regard to my novel, but also my crazy busy life. In my post, “The price of sacrifice…,” I mention re-examining my needs and wants and here’s what I’ve got: they will (likely) be forever imbalanced. This means that, at times, I’ll just take the plunge and figure it out as I go. Kind of like a pantser.

How do you approach everyday life?

Photo courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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