Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

Simplifying with Seasonal Planning

seasonal planning

Planning out goals for the New Year can be both exciting and overwhelming. There are SO many opportunities, the world is our oyster. So we often start strong, ambitious; thinking this is the year we’re going to do all of the things.

But then reality sets in and we realize maybe we can’t do everything, but if we can’t do everything can we do some of the things? Anything? Or do we get stuck in the overwhelm?

How to utilize seasonal planning

I’d like to suggest a better way of planning out our goals. It’s what I call quarterly or “seasonal” planning. One of the greatest changes in my life has come from shifting my perspective from chasing “balance” in my life to embracing seasons.

I’ve learned that I don’t really believe in “balance” when it comes to time management. I think it’s a good thing in theory but balance implies some kind of equal distribution of time, energy and resources. And in reality, that’s just not possible. We don’t divide our 24 hours into equal parts where all of our roles get the exact amount of our time, energy, and attention. That would be balance.

Really our lives are made up of rhythms and consist of seasons.

By seasons I mean seasons of life sure, but also annual seasons; winter, spring, summer fall.

Every season brings with it opportunities and limitations and when we work within a seasonal framework we are better able to maximize our time.

I would guess that your calendar also moves with the seasons whether you are intentional about planning projects and goals around them or not.

If I break my calendar into four quarters, that gives me four unique opportunities to work on goals and projects. When I plug in opportunities and limitations based on seasons I have a better idea of how to maximize my year.

Let me give you a few personal examples based on some of my own seasonal opportunities and limitations.\

Spring:

Opportunity– our school year is wrapping up so I have more time to focus on work projects.

Limitation– my youngest plays baseball so on Monday and Friday afternoons I have to plan on getting him to practice, but I also have a window of time to run errands or read a book while waiting for him. I know this commitment will be over before the summer begins so I can plan accordingly.

Summer:

Opportunity– kids are out of school and we usually plan a vacation during this time. There is ample opportunity for play and rest. It’s also a great time to tackle larger home projects.

Limitation– because the kids are home I have to get creative about keeping them entertained while I work so I often use this time to plan and grow by taking a class or attending a conference rather than take on new work projects.

These are just some very simple examples but you can see how taking into account our family’s seasonal responsibilities can affect how much I decide to add to my schedule.

Perhaps you have your own seasonal opportunities and limitations. They may include:
• work deadlines
• family celebrations, holidays, birthdays
• health limitations (think seasonal allergies)
• seasonal church or ministry responsibilities
• conferences or classes
• vacations
• back to school and end of school year events and responsibilities

seasonal planning

One Small Win: Spring is just around the corner and it might be a great time to consider your own rhythms and seasons and the role they might play in how you plan out the rest of your year.

DOWNLOAD: Click here to download a quarterly planner.


seasonal planningZohary Ross is a life coach, speaker and author of the Aligned Parenting Workbook. Zohary is passionate about encouraging and equipping women to have clearly defined “most importants” and live out their values and priorities. Connect with Zohary at http://zoharyross.com/.

Are You Overwhelmed by an Unfinished Project?

Are You Overwhelmed by an Unfinished Project?

When my son, Jonathon, was seven, he was totally into Monopoly.

I went on eBay and found a Monopoly clock, Monopoly mug, and then struck the Monopoly motherlode: Monopoly fabric!

Started

I bought enough to make a quilt, pillows, and curtains.

I signed up for a quilt-making class, where I cut a lot of the fabric into a lot of strips. I even sewed some of the strips into T shapes.

Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I ran out of steam.

Stopped

I quickly became overwhelmed by all the attention to detail that making a “T Quilt” requires.

I didn’t want details; I wanted a quilt!

So, I set the project aside. Then bagged it up. Eventually, stored it in the garage.

For. Ten. Years.

Stored

A decade later, when I pulled out the box that held the bag holding all the Monopoly fabric, my heart took a fantastical leap.

“I can finish this now … or this summer … or next year!” I started thinking.

But thanks to Clutter Free, I knew that my habit of storing stuff was not good stewardship.

Letting of an unfinished project

So I took photos of the Monopoly fabric and posted them on Facebook with the note, “Free to good home.”

Sherry, an acquaintance, responded immediately. An avid quilter, she offered to take, and promised to use, all my quilting fabric and supplies.

Then–-as is so typical for my Expressive personality–-I forgot all about the fabric. Out of sight, out of mind. I’m an idea gal, a starter, so I moved on to new projects.

Two years later, Sherry blessed me with photos of the quilt that I started and she so lovingly finished:

unfinished project

It looks better than I ever imagined!

She gave the quilt to a family member who was thrilled to receive it and adores using it.

What started-stopped-and-stored project can you give away today?

One Small Win: You don’t have to hang on to the quilt…or the guilt. You don’t need to finish what you started. You can let someone else take it from here.

unfinished project


personal manifesto

Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person? Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.

Cleaning the Kitchen: Practical Ways to Cut Complaining & Get it Done

Cleaning the Kitchen: Practical Ways to Cut Complaining & Get it Done

“I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?”

For years, I heard these words of protest from my kids when it was their turn to clean up the kitchen.

Sometimes, I responded with a snarky comeback about all my years of selfless diaper-changing. Other times, I cleaned up the kitchen myself.

Honestly, whenever I took care of the kitchen on my own, I caught myself thinking the exact same thing:

I didn’t make this mess. So why do I have to clean it up?

The problem with cleaning the kitchen

Our protests reveal our belief that whoever makes the kitchen mess should be the one to clean it up.

As with so many time-honored cliches, this seems so logical.

Like, “You break it; you fix it.”

And, “You make your bed; you lie in it.”

“You mess it, you clean it.”

It just felt right.

But it caused all sorts of overwhelmingly negative feelings, such as annoyance, frustration, irritation, and resentment. (Just for starters.)

A different way of thinking

A few years ago, I realized there are valid exceptions to the “you mess it, you clean it” rule.

1. Sometimes, the person who makes the kitchen mess has done so to bless the family, or perhaps a houseful of guests, with a delicious meal. Since they’ve done all the work of fixing the food, it’s only fair for others to pitch in and help with the clean-up.

2. Other times, the kitchen stays messy while a cleaning-related process is happening, such as running the dishwasher or waiting for pots and pans in the drainer to air dry.

3. Often, it’s impossible to figure out “who made this mess.” When we try, we end up in petty arguments:

– “No, that’s not my knife. I put my knife in the dishwasher already!”
– “Those aren’t my crumbs. I know how to use a sponge!”
– “The stain in the sink is green. I never fix green food.”

Our solution to cut the complaining

Instead of wasting our time and energy fretting about “who made this mess?” we started asking ourselves one simple question when entering the kitchen:

“How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”

Together, we came up with a list of kitchen stages and necessary actions:

Stage:                                                                              Action:
The sink is full of dishes.                                                  Put them in the dishwasher.
The dishwasher is full.                                                     Run it.
The dishwasher is clean.                                                 Empty it.
The dishes in the drainer are dry.                                  Put them away.
The counters are crumby.                                               Wipe them down.

This one simple change in focus produced surprising results.

1. We’ve quit worrying about “Who made the mess?” and accepted the fact kitchens get messy.
2. We’ve all taken ownership of the kitchen. And its messes and clean-up.
3. We’ve become more considerate. We realize when we each do our small part, the “next stage” requires far less work.

Making it work for you

Your kitchen stages may well be different than ours. And if you have younger children, you’ll want to break the various stages and actions into micro-steps. Perhaps even make a stages flow chart and wipe-off checklist to put on the fridge.

Consider printing and posting 1 Corinthians 12:14-27 as a reminder that while we are unique individuals, God calls us to work together as one.

One Small Win: However you choose to do it, intentionally change the protest “I didn’t make this mess!” to the question “How can I move the kitchen to its next stage?”

You’ll say, “Good-bye” to overwhelming negativity.

And “Hello” to cooperation in the kitchen.


personal manifestoCheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”

Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and Overwhelmed.

Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (24), also opposite personalities.

Are you a Highly Sensitive Person?  Take the self-quiz and discover the surprising strengths of a tender heart.

 

Hope for Tupperware Organization and Your Sanity

Hope for Tupperware Organization and Your Sanity

by Kelsee Keitel

Would you join me in a moment of silence for all the Tupperware containers lost due to my neglect? First stranded in my vehicle for weeks, then tossed to their dumpster deaths?

I can’t tell you the number of Tupperware containers I’ve thrown away without even attempting to open last month’s leftover salad. (At least I think that was salad; you never can tell after 30 days.)

Sometimes I think my Camry is more like a scrapbook than a car.

If given the chance to ride shot-gun amongst my leftover lunches, you may notice the floorboards are littered with last week’s junk mail, sermon flyers from at least four Sundays back, and straw paper memories of the last several early morning fast food breakfast meals I’ve consumed (Chicken-Minis anyone?).

Make your way to the backseats, and you’ll find a baker’s dozen of half-consumed water bottles, about a week’s worth of wardrobe, and enough old receipts to save a rain forest.

I don’t even have children. I can only guess what goodies they would add to my collection!

I remember being 16 and thinking I’d never trash my beloved ride to freedom.

But here I am.

Life, it turns out, is messy.

And you might be in the lane next to me, surrounded by your own junky memorabilia.

I actually don’t mind cleaning my vehicle all that much. But getting myself to actually do it? That is the problem.

I’ve got every excuse for procrastinating this job. My biggest being that the temperature outside is too uncomfortable. (I live in Indiana … so the hot is hot and the cold is COLD!) My next excuse, I honestly forget until the next morning when candy wrappers spill out when opening my door.

But there is hope!

I recently found a system that works for me. I still use the floorboards as my personal dumpster (we’re breaking one habit at a time here, okay?). I no longer have trouble making myself clean out my car.

Here’s my simple system:

When you leave for work in the morning, take two plastic grocery sacks to the vehicle with you.

Go about your day and make as many messes as you like.

When you get home at the end of the day, you’ll be prepared to clean out your vehicle (which happens to be the perfect temperature because you’ve been driving it!)

Fill one plastic sack with trash. Fill the other with items that need to go inside.

On your way inside throw the trash in the trashcan.

Bam! You’re done!

I like this system so much that I’ve started to leave a supply of sacks in my car to tidy up whenever I feel inspired.

One Small Win: If you tired of putting off the task of cleaning your car, gather up some grocery sacks right now and put them by your car keys. Next time you leave, equip yourself for the job with no excuses.

Just think of all the Tupperware we can save!


Tupperware organizationKelsee Keitel is a graduate student and blogger, living in Indianapolis, IN, with her newlywed husband. She is passionate about cultivating sisterhood through vulnerability and introducing young women to the freedom and abundance of life in following Christ. When Kelsee is not snuggled up with a book and sipping tea, she can be found experimenting in the kitchen or chatting with her mom.

You can read more about how Kelsee experiences divine moments in the midst of ordinary life over at kelseekeitel.com or on Instagram and Facebook.

I Don’t Have Thyme For This: Organizing the Kitchen Without Overwhelm

I Don’t Have Thyme For This: Organizing the Kitchen Without Overwhelm

It’s a new day, ripe with promise and potential … until I walk into the kitchen. Dishes in the sink, counters dotted with dirty dishes and crumbs, and a cluttered table converge to sing a taunting chorus, “You can’t even keep the kitchen clean, how can you accomplish anything today!”

The strains of their tune causes my motivation to plunge to the depths where my only response is to use the messy kitchen as my excuse for another unproductive day.

Organizing the kitchen without being overwhelmed

The overwhelm knocks me off of my game and renders my to-do list unattainable.

I can’t prep dinner until I unload and load the dishwasher, wipe the counters, and find the recipe. Do I even have thyme in the spice cupboard for the soup? I go to the narrow pull-out cupboard of spices and decide then and there that it is time to win a battle.

I remove unalphabetized spices from the cupboard, meanwhile telling the voices in my head to be quiet; I know I don’t have time for this! But I need a win! The thought strikes me that squelching the noisy refrain from the clutter does not require a weekend of organizing and cleaning. I can win this battle one decision at a time, in just 15 minute increments at a time.

And so I record a victory over the spice cupboard! Now I open the spice drawer and I smile. I smile that I can find what I want. I smile at the homemade spice labels that I commissioned my daughter to make. Such a simple accomplishment but it’s huge for my mindset!

organizing the kitchen

I just needed a win. The next day I silence the noise in the cupboard that houses the varying bottles of olive oil. Another win. I will continue to build on this and soon the kitchen will motivate me instead of overwhelm me.

As I bask in my two wins I realize that once the kitchen is a motivator instead of a killjoy I can apply this to other areas of my home and life. Some momentum in the kitchen will spill over to the rest of my responsibilities and perhaps soon I will feel able to tackle the things that I want to do instead of being overwhelmed by all the things I need to do.

One Small Win: For me, the way out from under overwhelmed is to claim one win and allow that to carry me forward. Who knew that one of the kindest things I’ve ever done for myself was to clean out the spice cupboard?


organizing the kitchenYou can read more from Bethany Howard at bethanyhoward.com. She writes about finding fuel for joy and growth in the details of the daily. Her greatest leadership exercise has been her roles as wife and mom to three. She is a graduate of Leverage: The Speaker Conference.

Episode #234 – Overwhelmed with Too Much Stuff

Episode #234 – Overwhelmed with Too Much Stuff

ListenNow

Clutter’s #1 priority is to keep us feeling overwhelmed.

Overwhelmed comes in many forms.  Kathi and Overwhelmed co-author, Cheri Gregory, discuss how easy it is to be overwhelmed with clutter.  They go through three of the top things clutter tells you!

  1. Clutter Keeps You In The Past – You hang on to things the crowd out the present.
  2. Clutter Keeps You Stuck in the Future – You buy things to be something.  Because someday you might need it you hang on to all the clutter. You can’t live in the present when you have so much stuff and you are stuck in the future.
  3. Clutter Decides You Have Not Earned A Future – Because you have failed with various endeavors in the past, you won’t be good at something in the future. So yu are stuck in your current situation.  Clutter says you don’t deserve to move forward.

Listen in and learn how decluttering will free you from the overwhelm.

Want more tips on being Clutter Free?

Check out Kathi’s blog posts and episodes of the Clutter Free Podcast by clicking here.