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Entries in Organization (14)

Tuesday
Sep242019

Upgrade Your Homemaking with the 7Ps

Morgan Farr is a multi-talentd woman with great influence both biblically and practically. In this Homemaking UPGRADE, she applies a military concept to home skills for greater success.

“Prior Proper Planning Prevents Painfully Poor Performance,” Morgan says. This is a saying that is often posted in military circles, often referred to as the 7Ps.”

I (Dawn) think that’s a mouthful and hard to say, but it certainly drives home an important point! 

Morgan continues . . .  

I have used my own version of the 7Ps to successfully run a military garage gym ministry, and I want to share my 7Ps of Homemaking. 

I have found that almost all of my stress in homemaking has been related to not having enough time or energy for a task. With my 7Ps for homemaking I am better able to manage my time and energy.

These are the Ps that I follow: 

  • Planning and Preparation
  • Pace and Play
  • Pen, Pew and Prayer

1. Plan and Prepare

The first thing that I would recommend to anyone looking to upgrade their homemaking would be planning and preparation. These are crucial aspects of running a home well.

From planning the meals, doctors appointments, and vacations, to planning guest visits… homemakers plan a lot.

“Let everything be done decently and in order” (1 Corinthians 14:40).

Find a way that works for you and use it to help you plan and prepare well. 

While I am aware that there are a million calendar apps out there, I am still a paper planner kind of gal. I have a large wall calendar and a small spiral bound planner that stand between me and disordered chaos.

I use a different color coded pen for each member of the family. That way I know at a glance who has something major each day. This helps me to plan out my week and see any major issues ahead of time.

My husband and I make certain that we are available on Sunday evenings for a planning meeting for the week. We discuss upcoming events, things that need to be added to the grocery list, and anything else that needs to be prepared in order to keep the family running smoothly. 

2. Pace and Play

Once you have a plan and you have prepared to follow through on it, the next thing you should do is decide on your pace and play rhythm.

"By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done" (Genesis 2:2-3).

The Creator of the entire universe rested on the seventh day.

Be realistic about how much work you can bear at this point and create opportunities to recharge. 

There are many ways to get ahead in this area and upgrade your homemaking. I have alarms set on my phone for 1:30 pm every single day. This helps me to pause whatever project that I am working on, and take a break.

This break could mean:

  • I read a book,
  • I walk on the treadmill,
  • I sit and drink a cup of coffee, etc.

It depends on the day and the projects I am working on. If you are someone who loves the outdoors, maybe that means stepping outside to enjoy God’s creation for 15 minutes on your lunch break.

The important part here is to realize that while hard work is good, it is equally important to set a healthy pace with opportunities to play the way that works best for you. 

3. Pen, Pew, and Prayer

My final—and probably most important—recommendation is to make sure you spend time with a pen, in a pew and in prayer.

“And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone" (1 Thessalonians 5:14).

I think everyone should keep a journal, no matter the season of life. This can help you avoid sin patterns, love the people around you, and understand yourself better. Even if all you can do is write in a one word entry, that can help you later to see where your heart and mind is headed over time. 

I would also strongly encourage you to get in the pew at church.

By that I mean:

  • Be a part of the fellowship and accountability.
  • Find a mentor and a mentee in your community.
  • Be a part of the body of Christ in both a physical way and in your prayers.

Sharing our burdens with other believers is one of the greatest mercies of the Christian faith. We have to be vulnerable enough to open up our hearts and share the burdens that we carry, especially as homemakers where much of the battle is unseen among mops, children, and groceries. 

God has given us the incredible ability to be keepers of our homes. It is our responsibility to ensure that we do the absolute best job of it that we can.

Taking the time to ensure that we follow the 7Ps helps us to honor God with our homemaking. 

Which of these 7Ps do you need to devote more energy to?

Morgan Farr is a Texas-loving, succulent-cultivating, book nerd. Stationed in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, this Army wife is working to better love her husband, develop her three small children, and learn more about homeschool. Morgan is a homemaker dedicating her time to ministering to other Army wives through Bible studies, one-on-one mentoring, and physical training. She writes about her transition out of feminism and into biblical womanhood at The Forgiven Former Feminist

Graphic adapted, courtesy of RawPixel at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jan152019

Happy Productive New Year

Pam Farrel is one of the most "get it done" women I know. In this New Year UPGRADE, she desires to help us be "get it done" women too!

"Achievement, attainment and accomplishment feel GREAT!" Pam says. "Completion brings a certain satisfaction and fulfillment, especially if our goals and tasks positively impact our life."

I (Dawn) have personally seen how many accomplishments Pam has made over the years. She must have some secret, I thought. Turns out, she does! And she's sharing it here.

Pam continues . . .

Our productivity has even more value when it means that other people are blessed and built up too. When our accomplishments encourage and equip others, the joy is multiplied!

People sometimes ask me, “How did you write and publish 46+ books, speak almost every week, run a ministry, keep a vibrant marriage, raise three great kids, build a wonderful friendship circle and keep your home in order?

Honestly, I was inspired long ago by the Proverbs 31 woman.

While I recognize this description of a godly woman was penned as a tribute and likely covered the accomplishments of her lifetime, while studying the passage, one VITAL trait consistently popped off the page:

The Proverbs 31 woman didn’t just hope, dream, wish or plan—the girl took ACTION!

Let’s look at this famous passage. (I have emphasized the action verbs):

An excellent wife who can find?

    She is far more precious than jewels.

11 The heart of her husband trusts in her,

    and he will have no lack of gain.

12 She does him good, and not harm,

    all the days of her life.

13 She seeks wool and flax,

    and works with willing hands.

14 She is like the ships of the merchant;

    she brings her food from afar.

15 She rises while it is yet night

    and provides food for her household

    and portions for her maidens.

16 She considers a field and buys it;

    with the fruit of her hands she plants a vineyard.

17 She dresses herself with strength

    and makes her arms strong.

18 She perceives that her merchandise is profitable.

    Her lamp does not go out at night.

19 She puts her hands to the distaff,

    and her hands hold the spindle.

20 She opens her hand to the poor

    and reaches out her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of snow for her household,

    for all her household are clothed in scarlet.

22 She makes bed coverings for herself;

    her clothing is fine linen and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates

    when he sits among the elders of the land.

24 She makes linen garments and sells them;

    she delivers sashes to the merchant.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing,

    and she laughs at the time to come.

26 She opens her mouth with wisdom,

    and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.

27 She looks well to the ways of her household

    and does not eat the bread of idleness.

THE RESULT

And what is the positive outcome of her proactive action plan?

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed;

    her husband also, and he praises her:

29 “Many women have done excellently,

    but you surpass them all.”

30 Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain,

    but a woman who fears the Lord is to be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands,

    and let her works praise her in the gates.

In summary . . .

  • Her kids rave about their awesome mom;
  • her husband proclaims her strength, value, talent, and character;
  • she is held up as a role model of virtue and godliness, a woman to be praised by people; and
  • best yet, her OWN WORKS—those accomplished tasks and the character developed in the pursuit—provide an extra dose of praise!

Inspired by her diligent action, I thought,

“How can I replicate this hard-working woman’s 'get it done' style?”

In Get It Done, Girl! Maximizing Your Moments Action Planner, I share a simple acrostic that helps me plan and then take A.C.T.I.O.N.

A—Ask God.

Invite the Creator to give you a heavenly perspective. 

I begin each day asking Him to order the steps of my day. By taking the time to pray, it has helped me recall a person, an opportunity, a need, or inspired a creative thought for a book, a blog or a business.

C—Clear the “Must Do’s.”

I keep the Due Date next to each task in my action planner and also, as a reminder, on my phone’s calendar.  

I ask, “Which of the many things I have written has the worst consequence for inaction?” I mark these MUST DOs with a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 in order of priority.

T—Tackle Tough Tasks.

Mark Twain once said that if the first thing you do each morning is to eat a live frog, that that is probably the worst thing that is going to happen to you all day.

Your “frog” is the most vital task each day.

I try to handle the hardest things early in the day—then I greatly reward myself!

I—Invest in the Future.

At this point, I get to select the tasks and actions to make progress on. 

For bigger projects,

  • I break them down into more bite-sized portions,
  • assign due dates,
  • then select time blocks to work on these items.

I track my projects and try to make forward movement.

O—Organize Space and Personal Life.

Being organized can lower your daily stress and raise your productivity.

You can either:

  • pay a maid,
  • delegate chores to your children—which helps them grow up to be responsible adults,
  • or handle your tasks yourself.

The key to our happy, long-lasting marriage is this:

The one who has the RESPONSIBILITY has the AUTHORITY to handle that task, their way, their time, with their creative ingenuity.

And the spouse’s role is to THANK and APPLAUD their mate for handling the job.

N—Nurture Those I Love.

Just because you are a “Get It Done, Girl” kind of woman doesn’t mean you are all work and no play! 

The most productive people I know have a healthy work/play balance. Their motivation for the work is to provide, protect and bring a peaceful environment to their life and family.

A happy family is a more productive family.

And while we are talking about nurturing, treat yourself as kindly as your Heavenly Father would treat you.

How can you press in and take not procrastinate? What in this blog will help you take A.C.T.I.O.N. so those in your life arise to bless you?

Pam Farrel is an international speaker, author of the Get It Done, Girl: Maximize Your Moments Action Plannerher 47th book. She and her husband, Bill, are Co-Directors of Love-Wise. To help with your productivity, in their book 10 Best Decisions a Parent Can Make there is a list of what chores and responsibilities children and teens can handle by their age and stage of life. In Men Are Like Waffles, Women Are Like Spaghetti, the Farrels share how they divide and delegate work, ministry, home and family responsibilities.

Tuesday
Nov272018

Get Organized with a Holiday Notebook

Marcia Ramsland, The Holiday Coach, has so many ideas for organizing our lives, homes, offices and more; and in this Organization UPGRADE, she helps us organize the holidays!

 “The Holidays are as much a matter of organization as a matter of heart," Marcia says.

"Organize your plans and tasks in a Holiday Notebook to let your heart shine through and be relaxed enough to celebrate the reason for the season."

 I (Dawn) love that... "let your heart shine through." We're to let our light shine for Christ—actually, a reflection of His light—so others will be drawn to the Lord.

But it's hard to "shine" when we're a mess mentally and emotionally with holiday chaos.

Marcia continues . . .

I used to start every holiday season from scratch . . . until I realized my scattered lists from last year weren’t organized enough to give me a springboard to build upon this year.

So I started My Holiday Notebook.

It worked so well even a major retailer had me be a Holiday Entertaining spokesperson and called this “My Holiday Hub.” It works!

Select a three-ring notebook, put in these five tabs, and write in it whenever you get a brilliant idea.

Everything will be in one place and take the mental stress out of the season once you see all your planning in one place.

The goal is to be calm enough to celebrate the season with joy—not stress. 

Remember the angel's words?

“Behold I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people” (Luke 2:10).

Tab #1 — THE HOLIDAY CALENDAR

Keep my 8-Week Holiday Season Calendar to improve on the dates you did things last year.

Refer back to what weeks you did holiday prep and events last year. (DOWNLOAD HERE.)

Tab #2 — GIFTS & CARDS

Keep your Master Gift List here so you can regularly jot down ideas and update purchases. Check off with a red pen if is wrapped and where it is stored. (DOWNLOAD HERE.)

Keep your Christmas card address list here, printed from your computer, or screenshot your email holiday list.

Tab #3 — DECORATIONS

Take pictures of decorations as you place them in your home. This will be a time-saving reference.

Neatly label the decoration boxes and donate what is not used by the first week of December so someone else can use it.

Tab #4 — RECIPES

Keep your favorite recipes and menus in this section. It will be easy to start baking your favorite Christmas cookies along with a grocery list for the season.

Include your holiday menus. Next year will be a breeze.

Tab #5 — EVENTS

  • THANKSGIVING This tab with photos, notes, and menus will make next year easier, especially what to do on the days before anything you host. Listing specific details helps you simplify.
  • CHRISTMASKeep your notes and photos here as a memory jogger for next year, such as the family opening presents, eating together, and a journal page of “The Best Things that Happened This Christmas.” You’ll love the annual summaries.

Think of the possibilities for a calm season if you kept all your holiday ideas in one place, followed the Holiday Season Calendar Plan, and cleaned up your notes for next year!

You really could be organized and less stressed for the holidays!

Create a Holiday Notebook and start today.

Do you have a Holiday Notebook?

(If not, I highly recommend Marcia's resources. I think her Holiday Notebook would be a wonderful "heritage" item to pass down to family members someday too! - Dawn)

Marcia Ramsland is The “Organizing Pro,” a Coach and Online Trainer, and author of Simplify Your Holiday Season and Simplify December Devotions. For your free Holiday Calendar & Master Gift List visit organizingpro.com

Graphic adapted, courtesy of jill 111 at Pixabay.

Tuesday
Jul102018

Making Space

Kathy Carlton Willis is a highly-motivated woman with resilience and vision. She has come through many tough experiences and shares lessons from her heart. In this Priorities UPGRADE, she writes about making space for what matters.

“I learned how to make space for what’s important.” Kathy explained. “It’s not about stuff, but people.”

I (Dawn) thinks this is a lesson all of us need to learn, and Kathy shares the truth about "space" in the most personal and appealing way.

Kathy continues . . . 

One of my big life lessons is regarding how I fill my existence. My time. My relationships. My home.

Do I cram it full or allow space for margins?

My husband has always liked our home to be neat and orderly. More stuff equaled more stress, especially if it was out of place. I guess you could say he has a disorder with disorder.

On the other hand, I come from a hoarder background, and have to put the brakes on wanting more of everything. More seemed to equal happiness and prevent feeling deprived.

But I was wrong.

It took a series of situations to show me the peace of less.

We went from having a 4,000-square-foot home plus a two-story carriage house to finding happiness in just 550 square feet. Once we adjusted, God gave us our forever home—a spacious 2,300 square foot Mid-Century Modern home.

During the early part of the transition, we said goodbye to most of our belongings to pare down.

Do you know how odd it is to watch your possessions going out the door with someone else at your living estate sale

“I called to the LORD in distress; the LORD answered me and put me in a spacious place” (Psalm 118:5 Holman Christian Standard Bible.

Now we have room to fill back up, but we don’t have the desire to acquire.

Instead we want to fill our home with people.

That’s what it all comes down to. Whether it is our home or our lives, we make space for people, not stuff.

  • My mom moved in with us.
  • We started a small group who meets weekly in our home to do life together.
  • We carved out extra space in our schedules, not to do more, but to do life more—especially with others.
  • We set up our home to be a welcome haven for others.

This transition has also caused me to evaluate and eliminate unnecessary demands on my time and energy. It allowed me to regain focus on what really matters.

We don’t take our stuff to heaven with us when we die, but we do take the effects of how we spend our time with others.

People matter, not stuff.

How can you go through a similar reduction in order to fill up with what’s really important?

Ask yourself the following questions:

  1. What is my goal with minimizing stuff, reducing debt, or lightening the demands on my schedule?
  2. What do I want to make space for?
  3. What causes these things to keep piling on?
  4. Is there something I need to say “No” to, in order to simplify?
  5. Is there something I need to sell, in order to minimize?
  6. Is there a stress I need to let go of, in order to find greater peace?
  7. How will simplifying my life make space for what I want—and more importantly—what God wants?

One way I make space for what matters is to live healthfully.

This means a balance of wellness for heart, soul, mind, and strength. Eliminating what detracts from that goal.

A simple life is a satisfied life.

Mom had a funny experience of too much of a good thing recently at a cafeteria-style restaurant.

She requested carrot salad. The server scooped on a big heap of the salad, but then started pouring what she called “the marinade” over the carrot salad. It wasn’t a flavorful marinade or a dressing. Just a watery mess.

The server thought she was doing mom a favor by adding more and more. Instead, there was a spill on the way to the table, and things went downhill from there!

Just because something is good doesn’t mean more of it is better.

A perfect example of the cliché, LESS is MORE!

How will you make space in your own life for what really matters?

Kathy Carlton Willis,  God's Grin Gal, writes and speaks with a balance of whimsy and wisdom. She graduated with honors from Bible College and has served for 30+ years in ministry. Kathy shines the light on what holds you back and inspires lightbulb moments. Over a thousand of her articles have been published, as well as her Bible study, Grin with Grace. Kathy and husband Russ share their mid-century modern home with Kathy’s mom.

Graphic adapted, courtesy of Brimstone Creative at Lightstock.

Tuesday
Apr102018

5 Steps to Organize Your Closet Like a Pro!

If I could give someone a crown for best-organized, it would be Marcia Ramsland. There are so many areas she helps people get organized, but in this Organization UPGRADE, she tackles one area where all of us can use some steps for improvement.

"Have you organized your closet recently?" Marcia says. "Spring and fall are ideal times to organize your clothes."

I (Dawn) was able to organize my closet a few years ago. What fun ... and what a relief. And I just re-organized it last week! I think we can all use a fresh tweak when it comes to closets.

Marcia continues . . .

My client Debbie recently did her first annual closet organizing and carried FIVE bags off to charity!

She said, “I didn’t realize how much had accumulated. Now I’m happier and getting dressed is so much easier.

"My teenage daughter is so impressed," she said, "and we’ll do her closet next!”

Every spring and fall, I find “donations”—which means with a twice annual clean out, you can, too!

Be generous and share. You’ll dress better and feel better with fewer well-chosen outfits.

What’s the Best Way to Organize a Closet? *

Here are the 5 steps I recommend to all my clients and course participants. It can be done in just one day or 10 minutes a day as you get dressed.

Step #1 – Get Ready to Organize

  • Make your bed so you have a flat surface to do any necessary sorting.
  • Designate a bag or box for “giveaway” clothes, plus two others for “fix” and “dry clean.”
  • Now get ready to organize your closet by hanging categories together—blouses, slacks, skirts, dresses, etc.

Step #2 – Sort Hanging Clothes

Sort one section a day or sort it all on a weekend. Start at one end of the closet rod and sort the hanging clothes.

Pull out each item and ask yourself these two questions:

1. Do I like this?
2. Do I wear it?

If the answer is no, place the item in your “giveaway” box.

If the answer is yes, then rehang the clothes by categories, such as long-sleeved tops, short-sleeved tops, slacks, and jackets. 

Step up your organization by arranging each section from dark colors to light colors, like a rainbow. Often you will find too many of the same color or style, so keep the best and let go of the rest.

Step #3 - Organize by Categories

Finish by using matching hangers about one inch apart.

  • Place the front of the clothing items toward you so you can easily see what it looks like.
  • Place your most used category of items closest to you.
  • Hang items from light to dark like the rainbow colors. That way you’ll see if you have too many white blouses or black tops—that’s what you donate.

Step #4 - Keep Your Best and Donate the Rest!

Note that I said, “Keep YOUR best and donate the rest.”

If you never wear the most expensive item in your closet, it’s not “YOUR” best. It’s pricy clutter that someone else could be wearing.

So give that away and think of how happy someone else will be to wear it!

It’s a "win-win" helping someone else and gaining space in your closet.

Step #5 – Deliver Your Donations within 24 Hours!

The most important step is to bag up and deliver to charity all the things you’ve weeded out!

This must happen the same day to leave the house. Otherwise, you’ll be tempted to put it down the hall or in the garage, and it will never leave you.

It must go to another very worthy person right away.

Keeping your closet organized reminds me of Matthew 25:23:

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!’

* BONUS: DOWNLOAD a Free Closet Inventory Worksheet to “Organize Your Closet in 10 Minutes a Day!” With this worksheet you’ll have a clear plan how to organize your closet by doing one small section a day!

Marcia Ramsland is well known as The Leading Online Organizing Coach, a Business Productivity Expert, and author of the Simplify Your Life: Get Organized and Stay that Way book series, which has sold over 100,000 copies. Marcia regularly teaches online courses, has over 8,000 email subscribers, and coaches individuals and organizations to be highly productive personally and professionally. She believes anyone can become more organized and productive - even YOU!

For courses and coaching, visit www.organizingpro.com.