Ambition, Time and Frugality

I had started a completely different post to share with y’all today.  But I’ve scrapped it because this has been relevant for me this month, and possibly, just maybe someone else can relate and be encouraged.

One of my character strengths/flaws is being ambitious.

It’s a strength because it gives me great drive to pursue goals. And I am always and forever working on goals – I don’t think there will ever come a time for me to just sit and chill longterm.  This ambitiousness propels me forward to pursue things that don’t come easy and gives me motivation to work hard.

It’s a flaw because well, for all the things listed above.  I’m very goal oriented, not people oriented and I can get so involved in meeting self imposed deadlines, and working goals that I can lose track of time and forget that relationships are the core of human interaction.  It can be very hard for me to pull away from a task when I’m in and working hard, but some days I have to set a timer and stick to it – it’s the only way for me to limit myself.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately, and found myself once again today immersed in a whole pile of to-do’s.  You see I’ve been a bit frustrated lately about being “behind” on my 90 day goals.  I’m behind for a very logical reason, but I’m frustrated with myself because I feel I could and should be doing more.  Does this make sense to anyone?  I had to sit down and evaluate where my time was going.  See I have a part time job that usually holds itself to 10 hours or less.  This month every week has been above 25 hours.  That in itself should make me feel better, but still…

Most of my days are 17 hours,  some are slightly less, and some are more.  I make myself take the first two hours of my day and create space in my schedule.  The space gives me the opportunity to drink my coffee, wake up and watch the sunrise, pray for my friends and family and spend time reading my Bible.  I’ve taken on an ambitious reading plan – 10 chapters a day – which has helped me to finish the following books of the Bible already this year –

Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, I Thessalonians, II Thessalonians, I Timothy, II Timothy, Titus, Philemon, Hebrews, James, Joshua – almost finished with Matthew, Genesis, I Corinthians, I Peter, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Judges, Isaiah, Acts.   In this time I also read and review books which have included 3 Bible Studies this month, getting ready to begin another one.

From there, my days involve a variety of tasks – just like many of you.  Cooking, cleaning, homeschooling, helping my children run a business – sometimes this includes advertising, social media, copywriting, etc., running to the doctor, dentist, well checks, etc. etc. etc. etc. I am taking classes on marketing, building my brand, SEO adwords, websites, landing pages, and online courses.  I am working to create a new landing page and starting my online course website including curriculum handouts and important info.  I have 12 writing projects that I want to flesh out this year, and get contracts for – a girl can hope. And I’m working on speaking/conference materials. I teach piano lessons, and run kids to sports activities and events and babysitting. I create daily coloring pages for free, and keep the books of multiple businesses and our personal finances.  I haven’t listed church work yet, but I think you get the picture already – right?  And at the end of the day I’m tired, and don’t feel as if I’m getting much done.

Anyone tracking here?  So I have also been thinking about something else.  I am by nature very frugal.  Or stingy…or whatever other word you like.  I sympathize with Paul and his writings when he said he knew how “to be abased and how to abound.”  I’ve been there – when we haven’t had two nickels to rub together, and when we have been comfortable.  Doesn’t matter, I tend to be very conservative with my spending…but here’s the kicker – not so much with my TIME!

Bear with me, I’m just coming to grips with the reality that just because I can do something, it doesn’t mean I should.  I mean if I need to create nice pictures, memes and posts, I will spend the time and energy to do it and figure it out.  The problem here is the time factor.  Someone else could for just a few dollars create something just as nice and wonderful, and I could spend my time doing the things I’m made for.

Maybe you’re not worried about making memes and posts.  What about the convenience of grocery shopping services.  How much time could you save, if you just went and picked up your food, instead of spending the time looking for the groceries.  Would it be worth $5?

What about discount clothes? I spent years ONLY buying things on sale because I couldn’t justify the added expense of buying something I really loved when it wasn’t on sale.  My husband reminded me that buying things that don’t look or fit right just because they are on sale, they are actually a waste of money instead of a savings.

Don’t get me wrong.  I prefer a sale, and I have loved my couponing days.  There’s a huge thrill to getting those things that I do love, for a great discount. If at all possible I do try to get things for a discount or with a coupon code.  I always try.

But with regards to time, my husband has been trying to communicate this to me for years.  I guess I’m just a slow learner. I always thought he was against doing crafts and projects because he thought it was silly, but the reality was that he was against the time factor.  His view that if it’s not a strength, and we are just trying to do it to save money, we are just spending time instead.

Sometimes outsourcing the tasks you do, makes more sense. Perhaps not in a financial way, but a way that matters more – time is a commodity we all only have so much of.  We have to use it wisely and spend it doing the things we were put on earth to do.  Just because I can do it, doesn’t mean I should…I’m learning.  I’m not there yet, but I’m learning.

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Organizing your Schedule

I know.  You read that blog title and thought..how in the world is this going to encourage me today?  I know.

I get it..and it was a strange direction for me to take, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that it seemed to actually make sense.  Bear with me for a minute, because I do believe I can pull this into an encouraging post!

I have worked for years to develop a practical workable schedule that makes sense and helps me to get the most out of day.  On any given day, I am combining multiple work loads.  For instance, I homeschool a 7th and 10th grader, I currently write for 3 blogs, am editing my first novel, am finalizing proposals for 2 nonfiction books, writing devotionals for a work for hire project, growing my social media platforms with intentional posts, teaching piano lessons, shipping coffee orders, and writing book reviews.  I’m busy.

Sometimes the actual typing out of that list, makes me itchy and feeling stressed.  I juggle many hats and I do enjoy it, but I needed a systematic process to be sure I’m getting things done.

I enjoyed the following read today – take a moment to read it if you will!  Just click here

I also checked this article out – you can read it here

So what do you think?

I’ve always been a Stephen Covey – 15 minute segments for the day girl.  But I have found that my creative pursuits – Music, Writing, blogging etc. require a broader brush and limited distractions, i.e. Facebook, email, etc.

Perhaps there’s a hybrid?  I believe this is what works best for me – housework, email, bills, homeschool, business needs all work within a 15 minute framework.  I accomplish a whole lot more around the house, if I’ll schedule it in 15 minute blocks.  I can grade homeschool papers, tests and projects more quickly if I know it doesn’t have to drag out all day – 15 minutes is an easy mental task.  But the creative work – writing, editing, all of these need a chunk of time.  I need to think and not shift my mind off course checking emails, twitter and Facebook updates.  Also texting and phone calls can veer my brain out of “creative” mode.

So how in the world does this fall under an “encouragement” umbrella?  Here’s how..when we fail to plan, we plan to fail.  No not my original words, but such truth friends.  We all have good intentions, and have dreams inside.  Can I encourage you to plan it into your schedule?  What are your dreams, desires and goals?  what could you do with 2 hours at night after work, or when the kids are in bed to accomplish your dreams?

What could you do if you organized housework into a few 15 minute blocks per day? would that not reduce your stress?  Personally, any amount of stress reduction I can add into my day, adds quality to my life and encouragement that I need.

What works for you?  I’d love to have some feedback and I do hope that this does encourage you.

Here’s my favorite verse that encourages my productivity

Ecc 9:10 Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest.

 

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