Organization – FREEDOM Tools part 5 – FAH episode 18

Organize

How do you respond to the word organization?

  • Does it make you cringe? Do you feel guilty because you’re hopelessly disorganized and wish you could be more organized?
  • Does it make you smile, with a happy sigh that all’s right with the world?
  • Do you think a certain amount of clutter is a sign of a happy home?
  • Do you resist the whole idea of organization—maybe because it reminds you of a neat-freak friend who labels everything in her household, uses color-coordinated storage containers, and alphabetizes her spices?

Whatever your reaction, this episode is for you.

Organization is the sixth tool in my FREEDOM toolbox—7 tools for making the most of our time so we can live balanced, peaceful lives. Here’s a quick review of the tools:

Organization is essentially self-discipline applied in an orderly way to free you to focus on what’s most important to you. Organizing your time, tasks, thoughts, and things helps you overcome and prevent obstacles to focusing on your priorities.

How organized you are has a powerful effect on the atmosphere in your home. Disorganization creates chaos, while organization promotes peace. Which do you prefer?

If one aspect of your life is unorganized, it spills over into every other aspect of your life. For example, if you can’t find your car keys, you’ll get flustered and be late for your appointment. If you’re sleep-deprived or running late, you’ll be much likelier to forget things and drop things, which will make you even later.

Organization even affects your relationships. If you’re running late and feeling frazzled, you may become irritated and impatient with your family.

It’s important to remember that there’s no one right way to organize. What helps you function effectively may be completely different from what helps your best friend or your mother-in-law function effectively. Isn’t that a relief?

Ironically, it’s possible to over-organize—to spend so much time on organization that it keeps you from focusing on your priorities instead of facilitating them.

Take some time to reflect on your life to identify areas that hinder you, and commit to becoming more organized if it would help your life run more smoothly.

If you struggle with managing your time and organizing your life to focus on your priorities, you’ll find many more strategies in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, available at online retailers and through my website at www.FlourishAtHome.com.

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Self-Discipline – FREEDOM Tools part 4 – FAH episode 17

Self-Discipline

Discipline—self-discipline, that is—is the fifth tool in my FREEDOM toolbox—7 tools for making the most of our time so we can live balanced, peaceful lives. Here’s a quick overview of the tools:

Self-discipline is a major factor in how you exercise stewardship over the gifts and responsibilities God has given you—including how you manage your time. It’s the tool you use to implement the priorities that you’ve decided to focus on and to eliminate the time-consuming clutter that gets in the way of your goals.

In episode 11 of the “Flourish At Home” show, we talked about setting goals for focusing on your priorities in three major areas: (1) personal, (2) family, and (3) business. Those three categories are also helpful for considering the areas where you need to exercise self-discipline.

Personal

Self-discipline helps you avoid the false guilt that moms often suffer when you take care of yourself wisely and avoid the true guilt that comes with self-indulgence and laziness.

To be able to handle all of your responsibilities, it’s essential to make time for personal rest, renewal, and recreation. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, exercising, eating right, and drinking plenty of water.

Another personal area that requires self-discipline is managing your attitudes and emotions. Work hard to overcome fear, perfectionism, discontentment, self-righteousness, and negativity. If this is a tough challenge for you, episode 9 goes into greater detail on how to honor God with your thoughts, attitudes, and emotions as well as your actions.

Family

Freedom and flexibility are wonderful benefits of homeschooling, but you have to be careful not to abuse that freedom. Whatever your state’s regulations on homeschooling, you are accountable to God for how you train and educate your children.

It’s also important to train your children to become increasingly self-disciplined as they grow older. Learning good habits such as diligence, obedience, responsibility, and promptness will help them throughout their lives.

Business

Self-discipline is essential for entrepreneurs. After all, freedom to do things your own way, on your own schedule, is a major benefit of having your own business. Without the built-in accountability of reporting to an employer, you must be diligent to work hard and honor your commitments to your customers and clients.

If you want struggle with managing your time and disciplining yourself to focus on yoru priorities, you’ll find many more helpful strategies, along with encouragement and inspiration, in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms. It’s available on my blog at www.FlourishAtHome.com.

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Eliminate – FREEDOM Tools part 3 – FAH episode 16

Eliminate FREEDOM Tools part 3

In the previous two episodes, we’ve been talking about my FREEDOM toolbox–7 tools that help us make the most of our time so we can live peaceful, balanced lives. These are the tools:

  • Focus
  • Reflect
  • Educate
  • Eliminate
  • Discipline
  • Organize
  • Multitask

Today we’ll look at the fourth tool: Eliminate.

Have you ever struggled with trying to do it all? The truth is NO ONE CAN DO IT ALL. We all have to be selective about how we use our time and energy.

If you want to focus on your goals and priorities, you have to eliminate things that don’t support them. This includes counterproductive mindsets, such as the way you think about time; bad attitudes like fear, perfectionism, and negativity; stuff—the physical clutter that slows us down; and activities.

In this episode, we’ll focus on eliminating activities. You can eliminate activities by never beginning them in the first place or by stopping them if you’re already involved. How? Just say no!

Saying no is HARD, isn’t it? You don’t want to let people down or disappoint them. But not everything that needs to be done is something that YOU need to do. Often you can delegate tasks—such as housework, laundry, or cooking—to your children. Or you can outsource responsibilities by paying other people to take care of them for you. This might include lawn care, housecleaning, piano lessons, math tutoring, errands, and so on.

Remember that opportunity does not equal obligation. If you say yes to every opportunity that comes your way, you’ll have to say no to the priorities and goals you have already chosen. If you’re always the person who takes care of everything for every organization you’re part of,  you may find that bowing out allows someone else to step up and use her gifts.

This episode of the “Flourish At Home” show includes practical tips and real-life examples of what I’ve learned about the importance of saying no to too many activities. And you’ll find many more strategies in my book, Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, available at online retailers and through my website at www.FlourishAtHome.com.

See you next time on the “Flourish At Home” show!

What Do I Do Next? Planning Tools, part 2 – FAH episode 13

What Do I Do Next part 2

In episode 12, we looked at the first 3 of 7 powerful planning tools to help you organize your busy life: Big Dream, Yearly Goals, and Monthly Calendar.

In this episode, we’ll look at how to use the last 4 tools:

  • Weekly Plan
  • Daily Tasks
  • Running To-Do List
  • Stop-Doing List

If 7 planning tools seem a bit overwhelming, feel free to fit them to tweak your own life. Just remember that no matter how many forms or lists you use, you still have to make decisions in each of these 7 categories.

One mom who implemented this system told me:

These tools have given me a whole new mindset and have helped me to live more proactively. Before, I had good intentions and good plans, but they would often be derailed by life. I feel more in control now, and I’m able to work out the nitty-gritty details much more easily. I’m no longer as apt to drop the ball of planning ahead and working my plan.

If you’d like to get my customizable planning forms free, visit my blog at www.FlourishAtHome.com for a free e-book, From Frazzled to Focused: 7 Planning Tools for Busy Moms. Or if you want my entire system—which goes far beyond these 7 tools, you’ll enjoy reading Flourish: Balance for Homeschool Moms, available through my website and other online vendors.

What Do I Do Next? Planning Tools, Part 1 – FAH episode 12

What Do I Do Next? Planning Tools Part 1

What Do I Do Next? Planning Tools (Part 1)

As you go about your busy day, do you have a hard time deciding what to do next? How do you focus on what’s most important, and how do you make tough choices when there are more tasks than hours in the day?

What Do I Do Next? Planning Tools (Part 1)

I’ve developed 7 powerful planning tools that will help you set long-term and short-term goals to evaluate, prioritize, and conquer your never-ending to-do list. In this episode of the “Flourish at Home” show, we’ll look at how to make the best use of the first 3 of these tools:

  • Big Dream
  • Yearly Goals
  • Monthly Calendar

In the next episode, we’ll look at the 4 remaining planning tools. As you work with these planning tools, remember that they are your servants, not your masters. They are intended to help you focus on what really matters most to you. This quote from H. G. Wells is a great reminder: “We must not allow the clock and the calendar to blind us to the fact that each moment of life is a miracle and mystery.”