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Month: October 2015

3 Steps to a Smooth(er) Morning with Kids

Mornings at our house used to be chaotic. Some mornings still are.

You too?

Then you are in the right place.

My husband and I both work full time. Luckily, I have a great husband who helps out with everything around the house. Even though we both get things ready in the morning, there was a time it was extremely chaotic. It was ok when we just had one child. Then we had a second child and the chaos magnified. I’m not sure how adding one little person to the mix could do that, but it did.

In the mornings we would:

-Unintentionally be short with each other.

-Lash out at our 4 year old for not “moving fast enough.”

-Rush out the door with not a minute to spare.

Every morning was a nightmare. I would feel stress for at least the next half hour after leaving the house, even though that part of the day was done. Needless to say, it was not a good way to start the day.

One morning on the way to work, I was thinking about this dilemma. What made the mornings chaotic and how could we solve the problem? In short, everything which had to get done!

Mornings used to be chaotic. Then we implemented these 3 steps. Click To Tweet

3 Steps to a Smoother Morning (2)

Photo Credit: cuppycake fiend via Compfight cc

I talked to my husband about this later in the night, after the kids were in bed and we could think. We came up with three ideas to make our mornings easier.  Here are 3 steps you can take for a smoother morning with kids:

1. Prep everything you can the night before.

Think about what does not have to be accomplished in the morning.

Did you write those things down?

Those are the items you can prep the night before. The main excuse I get for this step is “I’m too tired.” I understand that. The last thing I want to do after the kids go to bed is prep for the next day. I would rather plop down and watch tv, write, or go to bed.

However, by spending 15 minutes prepping for the next day, I save myself from having a huge headache in the morning

Items I prep the night before:

-The kid’s lunches

-Our lunches

-Set out clothes

-If it is Sunday, I pack bags for preschool and the sitters for the week

Although prepping is not my favorite thing to do, it sure helps in the morning.

2. Make sure you are completely ready before the kids get up.

I like sleep. A lot.

When I went back to work after having our second daughter, I realized simply being up before the kids were up was not going to cut it. I was going to have to be completely ready before their little eyes opened up.

For me, this meant showered, make up on, hair done, dressed, coffee drank, and my daily reading.

Does my morning always turn out like this? Nope. Some days the girls decide they are going to get up 5 minutes after I do…at 5:30 am. Thankfully this is not the norm.

When I am completely ready, I can then focus on their needs once they are awake.

3. Have set “jobs” each morning.

The prep you have done the night before makes finalizing lunches and other items much less complicated. However, there are still numerous things that have to be taken care of in the morning.

Breakfast has to be made and lunches need to be finalized. The preschooler needs to be poked and prodded to get dressed, eat breakfast, get her hair done and brush her teeth. The baby needs to eat breakfast and *most* of the time we get her dressed before taking her to the sitters.

There is still a lot that has to be done to get the kids, and us, out the door on time. We figured out early on there are certain parts of our morning routine that we like over others. And thankfully we each like doing what the other would rather not.

The hubs loves to make breakfast, which means he takes care of all of the food in the morning, including finishing up lunches. I usually handle corralling the kids and getting them to the breakfast table and then finish up getting the preschooler ready.

This doesn’t mean this is the way it always is, but it allows us to each have something to own in the morning. This also means we don’t get in each other’s way or assume the other person is going to take care of that one thing neither of us want to do.

In Conclusion…

Ensuring mornings are a little less chaotic and a little smooth(er) with kids can be achieved. It takes some planning in the beginning, but once you find your groove, the process of each morning is much smoother. Are mornings still chaotic for us sometimes? Yes. When they are more chaotic than normal, odds are we skipped one of these steps.

What can you do to make your mornings smooth(er) with kids?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on TwitterPinterest, and LinkedIn.

Your Past Does Not Define You, It Shapes You

Can ripping off a rear view mirror really make you never look back?

A news story came out a couple of days ago about Jimmy Butler, the Chicago Bulls basketball player. He said he literally pulled the rear view mirror off his car because he doesn’t want to look back. He stated, “It’s because I don’t ever want [the past] to define me.”

The concept is great in theory. Ripping your rear view mirror off of your car so you cannot look back does not work in reality. If anything, he just made himself a hazard to other drivers when he is on the road.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Every experience you have shapes you to be the person you are and the person you are becoming.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. Click To Tweet

Every person has a worldview. A loose definition of a worldview is your framework or ideas about the world. It is one’s background, beliefs, experiences, values, and inherited characteristics combined together that makes your worldview.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming. Are you who you want to be-

Your past, your worldview, shapes you.

Jimmy Butler may not want to look back or remember his past, but it is a part of who he is. And that is a good thing.

Your past is a part of who you are. But it does not define who you are. If you had a rough past and you do as Jimmy Butler did, your past can shape you to become a better version of yourself. As Jimmy stated, he worked hard to get where he is here. His past shaped his actions which in turn has helped him get to the place he is in.

Your past shapes your behaviors and actions. If you don’t like who you were or who you are, then you can choose to rewrite your future. You can take steps and make goals to become the person you want to be.

Your past does not define you, it shapes you. It shapes the person you are becoming.

Are you becoming who you want to be?

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

Self Talk the Gospel: Healing in the Most Unexpected Place

I normally write on intentional living, personal development, and leadership.

Today, I want to share something that is important and vulnerable for me.

When I left my ministry position at a large church in town, I left quietly, because that is what I thought I was to do. Only a handful of people really knew why I was leaving. I had not done anything wrong. In fact, I had followed all protocols and procedures which were in place. I decided I had to leave if I wanted to still follow Jesus.

The reality is that the church is full of people. People who make mistakes and sin. And often times, those in positions of authority mistreat staff. I decided that I was no longer willing to be treated in such a way and was no longer willing to work in a hostile, unhealthy environment.

When I left, I was broken.

I was hurt.

I was upset.

Instead of turning my back on my relationship with God, I pressed forward. It wasn’t easy, it still isn’t easy, but it is so worth it.

I would be honored if you would read about my journey to forgiveness and healing at Self Talk the Gospel. And if it speaks to you, I would be honored if you would share the article. I wrote it not for myself, but to minister to others who have been in similar situations.

Healing in the Most Unexpected Place

Here’s to the Journey,

Stephanie_small (1)

 

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

You Can’t Do It All: Live a Prioritized, Purposeful Life

I am excited to be sharing over at She Is Fierce HQ!

We often think we have to find the perfect balance in life. The reality is, you do not need to do it all. Instead, you need to figure out what is important to you and then create a life around those priorities. In this post, I discuss why you can’t and shouldn’t do it all.

Head on over to check out You Can’t Do It All: Live a Purposeful, Prioritized Life.

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

 

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking: 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

Multi-tasking. The ultimate skill stated at every job interview. Up until recently, it was believed that multi-tasking increased productivity. Studies now show multitasking wastes a significant amount of time.

The definition of multi-tasking: performing two or more tasks simultaneously

The idea is great in theory, but not in practice.

A great example, one that affects my kids, is when I’m trying to do something on my phone the same time my 4 year old is asking me for something. Usually the end result is me saying “what did you just ask?”

Multitasking does not allow for you to focus all of your attention at the task, or person, at hand. This is especially true if you are trying to listen to someone and simultaneously trying to write. Your brain does not have the ability to do comprehend both at the same time. You go back and forth between the two tasks at hand.

Overwhelmed. Drained. Disoriented.

These are words that can describe how you feel after you finish “multi-tasking.”

The good news is, we have the ability to move between multiple tasks and then come back to the task we were already doing. That is indeed impressive. Where we get it wrong is when we go back and forth between tasks without accomplishing any one particular task. It takes longer to complete each task when you go between tasks. When you focus on one task and then move to the next, it does not take as much time.

To be more efficient with your time, prioritize your tasks at hand.

The Misconception of Multi-Tasking- 3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks

3 Steps to Prioritize Your Tasks and Time

  1. Make a list of what needs to be accomplished.

Having a list will help you to see the entire picture. I have a running tab of to-do’s at work. When I look at that list, I can determine what is most important and focus on that one task at hand.

I sit down every morning, whether at work or at home, and create my to-do list. This helps me focus on what must get done.

  1. Decide what needs to be done first

Look at your list. If it takes less than 2 minutes, do it right away.

Now that those items are off your list, you have a list before you that needs to be accomplished. Every item on your list has a level of importance. Re-order your list in regards to when it needs to be completed and order of importance.

  1. Get ‘er done

Go through your list one by one and

Get. It. Done.

Focus on one task at hand and accomplish it efficiently.

I’ve heard lately from many people that they dread making phone calls, for any reason. If that is you, put those calls first on your list so you can cross them off.

In Conclusion…

The idea and concept of multi-tasking is held on a pedestal as one of the best qualities to have, especially in an interview. When looking at how to manage your time, to be the most efficient, focusing on one task until it is complete is the most efficient.

Do you normally “multi-task”? If so, what does that normally look like for you? Share below!

Here’s to the Journey!

Stephanie_small (1)

P.S.- Continue the conversation on Facebook! I would love to hear how I can help you on your journey. To receive up to date content, sign up to receive my free 7 Steps to a Prioritized Life on the home page and posts will be delivered right to your inbox.  If Facebook isn’t your favorite social media site, you can connect with me on Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn.