Time Management

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

-Mark Twain

Have you ever wished for a few more hours in the day? Why is it that some people seem to get everything done effortlessly and others feel that time constantly eludes them? The secret to managing your time well isn’t working more hours. It is about prioritizing the important things and learning to use the time you have more efficiently and effectively. The secret is working smarter, not harder.

Some of us, by nature, organize and get tasks out of the way before we relax, while others of us play first and work later. It is important to first recognize which type you are and whether your style is allowing you to have the life you really want. Maybe you are super-organized at work, but burned out because you don’t know how to make time for yourself. Maybe you are naturally a less organized person who knows how to relax, but you are dissatisfied because you aren’t fulfilling your goals and dreams.

Rather than labeling yourself or beating yourself up, realize that time management is an area of your life that you can strengthen. Like a new muscle, it takes practice and repetition to make it stronger. To help you get started, here are some steps to streamline your days at work and at home. Try the first one or two that jump out at you:

 

  • Allocate time for planning and organizing.
  • Create to-do lists that are realistic, not intimidating. Use only one to-do list.
  • Under-schedule your time: Leave time for the unexpected and for interruptions. When you estimate how long something will take, add on a third of that time.
  • Schedule your time in a way that reduces interruptions that lower your productivity.
  • Practice the art of intelligent neglect: Eliminate trivial tasks.
  • Prioritize what is most important and do that first.
  • Consider your biological prime time: At what time of day do you work best? Plan to do your most important work at that time.
  • If you say yes to everything that comes your way, learn to say no.
  • Ask for help and delegate.
  • In the evening make your to-do list for the next day, so it will be out of your brain and on a piece of paper. Leave work with a clear head and a clean desk.
  • Acknowledge yourself daily for all that you have accomplished.

 

Also take a look at the two biggest hindrances to using time effectively: procrastinating and lacking purpose. We usually procrastinate when a task seems too daunting, too large or too complex, or when we feel we won’t be able to handle it. When you get that “deer in the headlights” feeling, try “chunking”: break the large task into smaller, manageable action steps and start with the first one. We also often drag our heels or use our time inefficiently because we are bored, unengaged and uninspired. The most effective people will tell you that they love what they do and are aligned with a greater purpose. When it comes to managing your time, you may need to ask the larger questions, “Am I doing what I love to do? Am I doing something meaningful to me?”

 

As you strengthen your new time management muscle, keep your focus on getting organized so that you can live the life you came here for. Instead of being a chore, good time management can be your ticket to more fun, greater satisfaction and a vibrant, exciting life.

~Coach Shannon

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Clogged Drains

This post is an entry in my journal from a year ago 1-14-13. I have never shared from my journal publicly, but perhaps you can relate?

”  Clogged Drains – it may be a funny title, but it is very fitting! Yesterday was a very low, sad day. I felt the plumber would never come. I was told 8am-10am, but still not here. Everyone else was out going to church, eating lunch with friends and family while I was home with a clogged drain – not only physically in my house, but also in my body, mind and spirit.
For the past month and half, I have been without an appetite- for physical food or spiritual food. As I struggled through each day – working to make ends meet, nibbling on food just to gain strength so I wouldn’t fall over from low blood sugar – I would wonder if this would ever end? Why such dryness? Why such nothingness? Why LORD? How long?? Most of the time I would hear nothing. No reply. Once in a while I would imagine I heard “Wait”. And I would mumble… complain… and sigh. Many dear friends became prayer warriors as they too wondered what God’s plan was for all this desert land.
Then sickness took over the body. Fever shook my thin frame and the muscles quivered time and again in a weak involuntary attempt to warm a dying fire. “♫ Fan the flame…that burns in you… Hear God’s call…Let HIS Light through ♪!” (song by Buddy Davis) Each day I would get up, go to work, come home and fall into bed, weak and exhausted. Lord, how long? Your Word just seems so dry. I can read it but nothing sticks. So You will have to speak through another way.” I would listen to songs, but be sad because I didn’t even have enough strength to sing along. I wanted to count my blessings, but it seemed so pointless.
I had thought about Job. He had many questions for God – just like I did – and do. He had friends who tried to help sort out his life’s problems.
So as I waited on the plumber, I listened to a sermon online and anxiously looked outside. Made a few phone calls and got the reply “He is busy at another job. He hasn’t forgotten about you.” So I finally ate lunch, bleakly staring at my plate. SIGH. Can’t run water (the basement is already flooded), can’t flush the toilet, can’t go outside (it’s pouring down rain), can’t let the cat go downstairs (he stares in disbelief at his food dish and litter box half submerged in nasty sewer water! Then looks at me like “MOM! DO SOMETHING!”) I want to cry. I don’t even have tall enough boots to go get it so he can empty his bladder!
The clock hands turn around another hour. And another. I listen to school lessons as I watch the window. Another phone call. And another. “He’s on his way. He’ll be there in 30 minutes”. 90 minutes later- a knock at the door!! He stands there and his statement sounds more like a question – “RotoRooter?” YES! YES! Please pull around to the back door!! Relief floods over me and I want to sing… SING?! Instead I lay down newspaper and try to be as helpful as possible to get the drain unclogged. Open doors. “Right this way.” “Anything I can get for you?” My cat has taken refuge under my bed comfortor… (good lesson for me – I should’ve been resting under my Comfortor!) :)
As the hose uncoils from the “rooter” machine and the plumber handles it with such ease, I too begin to feel a “loosening” inside my heart. I feel happiness seaping in. Pretty soon I hear the machine turn off and the most amazing music starts playing – water gurgling happily down the opened drain pipe!
“What was it?” I asked. “Tree roots” his reply, as he showed me the fist full to throw in the trash. Hmmm, tree roots – is that what was clogging my heart too? Roots of self pity, anger, bitterness, pride, unkindness, unforgiveness?!
When I surveyed the scene, I knew I needed some bleach water to wash the floor and walls in some areas. So when the papers were signed and he drove away, he cheerfully said “Have a wonderful evening!” I replied with emphasis- “You too!”
While cleaning and scrubbing the floors and walls made my weakened body tired and my back pretty sore, it also invigorated me to clean and mop the floor upstairs too. My upstairs (brain) felt like it was being decluttered too from the filth and grime that had collected.
When all filth and grime had been removed – I felt a freedom I hadn’t felt in a long time. I actually felt like preparing for work the next day! My cat was quite pleased with his new clean surroundings, but still a little unsure of the “blowing beast with the coiled snake” in HIS territory! (dehumidifier and drain hose). :)
So today I ♬ woke up this morning feeling fine -♩ I woke up with joy in my soul, ♪ ’cause I know my LORD had control ♫! Satan has been DEFEATED! I have fought the fight with GOD on my side- fighting harder! JESUS IS LORD!! ”

If you can relate to this struggle of feeling hopeless, depressed and forgotten, I encourage you to send me an email or message. I truly understand the struggle and now have hope and joy by using the tools my friends taught me. You are a VICTOR not a victim and you are conqueror through our LORD and SAVIOUR!  Each time the enemy reminds you of your past; remind him of his future!! He is such a looooser!! :)

Blessings on your day, week, month and year!

~Coach Shannon

Homemade Ketchup

1 (6-ounce) can tomato paste
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup white vinegar
1/4 cup water
1 TBSP sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp onion powder
1/8 tsp garlic powder

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan. Mix together with a wire whisk until smooth. Bring to a boil; reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes, stirring often. Remove pan from heat and cover until cool. It will thicken as it cools.
Put into your ketchup bottle and refrigerate.

Note: This is an easy way to make ketchup without needing to chop and puree the tomatoes! :)

Beautiful Body Types

Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you’ve got.   -Janis Joplin

Almost all of us have a distorted image of our body, often due to the importance our culture places on outward appearance and the onslaught of media images of airbrushed models and celebrities. On a daily basis, we talk to ourselves in ways we would never speak to another. Imagine speaking to a child the way you speak to yourself about your body. It would devastate and squelch a child. It affects you similarly, causing stress and emotional pain in your body, which can make improving your health or losing weight even more difficult.

Think of all the intelligence, creativity and time you spend on improving, altering and judging your appearance. Who would you be and what could you accomplish if your valuable resources weren’t used this way? Constant emphasis on the external makes us discount the great presence and intelligence that is housed by the body. It makes us forget the intelligent design of our internal rhythms and fail to acknowledge the beautiful bodies we have.

The body you have right now is incredible! It never misses a heartbeat, it maintains homeostasis and it miraculously digests whatever you put in it. It is your instrument for expressing your creativity, intelligence and love. By focusing on the 1% you don’t like or wish were different, you may be ignoring the remaining 99% about your body that is beautiful, unique and delightful.

What would your life be like if you were simply at peace with the body you have? You may wish to make your body healthier and stronger, but could you do that out of love and respect for your body instead of the opposite? Could you begin to treat yourself with kindness, to limit the negative self-talk and to reconnect with your inner wisdom? Take a minute to imagine what that would feel like. It would mean celebrating your body rather than punishing it. It would mean nourishing your body rather than depriving it. It would mean a chance to watch your body flourish when treated with care and respect.

Like a fellow coach says- “If you don’t take care of your body, where will you live?” ~Coach Lucy

Jesus said in Mark 12:31, the second greatest commandment is to “love your neighbor as yourself”. My question is, How much do we really love ourselves? If we don’t love ourselves, our looks,  or our body as God designed it, then how can we possibly love our neighbor in a Christ-like manner? Just something to think about. :)

~Coach Shannon

Deconstructing Cravings

The body is an amazing source of intelligence. It is always there for you, pumping blood, never skipping a heartbeat, digesting whatever food you put in it and maintaining homeostasis. Is this reliable, intelligent bio-computer making a mistake by craving ice cream or a hamburger or chocolate? Are cravings due to lack of will-power or discipline? I’d like to suggest that cravings are not a problem. They are critical pieces of information that tell you what your body needs.

The important thing is to understand why you crave what you crave. Perhaps your diet is too restrictive or devoid of essential nutrients. Perhaps you are living a lifestyle that is too boring or stressful. Your body tries to correct the imbalance by sending you a message: a craving. A craving for something sweet could mean you need more protein, more exercise, more water or more love in your life. The key to stopping the sugar craving is to understand and deliver what your body really needs. Learn to love on yourself in healthy ways that do not make you feel guilty later.

No book or theory can tell you what to eat. Only awareness of your body and its needs can tell you. Of all the relationships in our lives, the one with our body is the most essential. It takes communication, love and time to cultivate a relationship with your body. As you learn to decipher and respond to your body’s cravings, you will create a deep and lasting level of health and balance.

The next time you have a craving, treat it as a loving message from your body instead of a weakness. Try these tips to respond to your body:

• Have a glass of water and wait 10 minutes.
• Eat a healthier version of what you crave. For example, if you crave sweets, try eating more fruit and sweet or root vegetables.
• What is out of balance in your life? Is there something you need to express, or is something being repressed? What happened in your life just before you had this craving?
• When you eat the food you are craving, enjoy it, taste it, savor it; notice its effect. Then you will become more aware and free to decide if you really want it next time.

-Coach Shannon

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