Set Goals With Purpose This Year!

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I totally get it, I prefer podcasts too! Just click play + I am happy to read this post to you! 

It’s a hot time of year to begin discussing your goals. With the start of the new year comes the endless list of resolutions that people make (and often never achieve). However, I believe that we should review and reflect on our goals and intentions all year long.

I’d bet you have a list of at least 5 things you want to achieve in the new year. But, without laying the proper framework for those goals, it’s very possible that you won’t achieve a single one.

Unfortunately, you can’t just say you want something out loud, and expect things to begin magically happening. You actually need to put in the effort, thoroughly dissect your goals and put detailed steps in place, then you’ll start experiencing results.

Did you know that between 80 and 90 percent of people who set goals on New Year’s don’t achieve them?

I am frequently asked how I achieve so much with 4 children and a full mom life, and part of it is that I’m a go-getter, but even more than that it’s because of the way I set my goals.

Mama, if you’re ready to make this year THE MOST incredible year yet, follow the next 5 steps to a tee and you’ll begin to see some major changes in your life.

5 Steps to Goal Setting Success

1. Decide where you want to go.

In this step, you want to take some time and think about what’s really speaking to you. Is someone doing something that seems really amazing, and that you might want to try?

Nail down the goal, make it specific, something you should be able to say in a few words, or one pointed sentence.

Then, once you’ve nailed your goal down, make sure that it aligns with your core values and purpose. You want to feel peace around the goal, especially after praying over it. Your goals aren’t evil or bad, it’s just that you have a lot going on. If the goal doesn’t offer you peace, it will only lead to more stress down the line. Drop that goal for now, and reassess at another time.

However, there is never going to be a perfect time to do something. Never. It doesn’t exist.

That doesn’t mean you HAVE to work towards every goal, but just be sure you’re choosing your goals carefully.

2. Write your goals down.

You are 42% more likely to do something simply because you wrote it down.

There are plenty of things that can increase your odds, just having a drive, really wanting something, having a lifestyle that sets you up for success, all of these are great - but writing something down is so powerful.

Write your goals down!

I actually show you how to break this whole process down; how I goal set, how I write everything down and use bullet points to break things down into a simplified, readable, trackable way, in my Unburdened course.

3. Create action steps that will take you to your goal.

These steps should be very small, especially if your goal is huge.

If your goal is really life-changing, you might even have 30 or more action steps that you’ll need to take before reaching your goals. Just try to keep all of your action steps very small, simple and pointed.

4. Write down each action step.

I like to use the bullet point system (the whole system is in my Unburdened course).

To start the ultimate goal is the header bullet point, and then I get super specific and do little sub-bullet points for each action step. This leaves my goal looking very neat and is visually satisfying.

This whole process can also be completed using paper. You don’t have to use the computer!

5. Reverse engineer all of your goals.

Reverse engineering starts at the finished goal. It starts at the end point, and it works backwards all the way to where you are standing in your life right now, on this day.

You should create a step-by-step guide that will get you out of the place you’re at, right now, and will walk you through how you will reach whatever your big goal is.

It’s very hard to fail when you successfully reverse engineer your goals.

After you’ve gone through the previous 5 steps, it’s time to become a person of action. Be a woman of intent by taking action, following through on the action, checking in with yourself or an accountability partner, and never quitting until you’ve achieved your goal.

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Stop putting off setting your goals, go and take the action NOW! I want you to achieve all that you dream of, that’s why I shared this with you. It works!

10 Ways to Simplify Your Groceries & Meal Planning

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I have kind of a funny history with meal planning and cooking. The thing is, I always hated it. When Brian worked his dawn-to-midnight job, I was super overwhelmed. I would get to dinner time and be...done, to say the very least. Dinner often meant cereal or protein plates or snacking around because Brian was the only one who really cared, and he was very rarely home for dinner.

Fast forward to last year when we lived in Arkansas and I started my business. Brian’s job was less hours and he was usually home for dinner, which meant more cooking for me. However, I really needed time to work as I grew my business. Things very quickly moved forward and it became a full-time thing.

In order for me to focus on what was most important in that season of our family’s life, we decided that Brian would take over dinner time and all things grocery. He’s basically a chef and enjoys cooking, so it made the most sense for us.

We lived that way for about a year, and now here we are, back in our home state of California with a thriving business that I am no longer running myself (I have five amazing team members I delegate tasks to) and I have taken back the part of my role that entails meal planning and preparing.

I actually started to miss it! Preparing food for my family is important to me and something that makes me feel good, even if it wasn’t elaborate. Plus, I never want to stay stagnant in any area of my life. If I suck at cooking then I want to get better, so I am.

Now that we have the business to run together (Brian does all media work, so he’s actually busier than I am most days), plus four kids, a house, and extracurricular activities to juggle, it’s more important than ever that I keep this area of my life streamlined.

Brian has taken up Crossfit recently and is even training for a competition, so he needs A LOT of food prepped and ready to grab and go. He also needs big meals to provide the protein, energy, and stamina his body needs to perform during his workouts.

I can’t have gluten, have to be careful with dairy, and generally have to eat extremely clean because of my gut and skin issues.

All of this is enough to be super intimidating for someone who took a year off and is already not a natural at this area of homemaking, but I’ve figured out a pretty solid routine (thank the good Lord), and since I get asked about this a lot, I’m sharing my tips with you today!

10 Ways to Simplify Your Groceries + Meal Planning

1. Choose a few pre-planned meals, just get staple ingredients for the others.

I think a lot of us feel the need to know exactly what we’ll be serving for dinner every day of the week. If that works for you, stick with it! But for me, I’m a little too sporadic for that, and whenever I plan my week that way we end up not cooking one or two of the planned dinners and groceries get wasted.

So now, I only choose about three exact dinners, and then get basic ingredients like chicken breast, bacon, sweet potato and other veggies to make a spur-of-the-moment, simple meal the other nights.

I might also make those other nights a repeat meal that we have all the time, like tacos.

2. Get all your planning done in one day each week.

Every Sunday night, I pour myself a glass of wine and sit down with a notebook, my cookbooks, and a pen. I choose my meals, make a shopping list, and map out exactly what I’ll be buying for breakfasts, lunches, dinners, and snacks.

I make sure I’m planning all the way through the following Monday (the day I shop) which leads me to….

3. Choose another day for all shopping.

On Mondays, I do my grocery shopping. What isn’t being delivered by Amazon Fresh (more on that below) is purchased and ready for the week.

4. Prep immediately after shopping whenever possible.

Instead of bringing in groceries and putting them straight in the fridge, I’ve started washing and slicing and prepping everything as soon as I’m home from my errands.

I got this handy trick from my new favorite book by Brooke Sailer, (I’m Failing At) This Thing Called Home.

5. Food prep, don’t meal prep.

Meal prepping may totally work for you, but it doesn’t for us! We’ve found that food prepping is much more doable. Food prepping looks like sauteed potatoes, sliced fruit, cooked and shredded chicken, baked sweet potato fries, all stored in the fridge, ready to use. It’s pieces of meals that you can grab, reheat, and eat based on what sounds good and how much time you have.

6. Base it on your schedule.

If you know Wednesday nights are super crazy for your family, have that be a Crockpot or take-out night every week.

7. Keep a running list of everything you’re out of.

This one is obvious and overstated, but worth saying one more time! My list is on my fridge and in my phone. I check both on Sunday nights when making my shopping lists.

8. Amazon Subscribe + Save and Amazon Fresh.

Amazon is KILLING IT. They just bought Whole Foods, so more organic goodness is surely coming our way, and they now offer subscriptions for your most-used food and household items. Some things on my Subscribe + Save account include; toilet paper, paper towels, baby wipes, snack bars, shampoo, soap, laundry detergent, and cleaning sprays.

With Amazon Fresh, you can do your grocery shopping from your couch (if it’s offered in your city) and get organic fruits, veggies, and pretty much anything. Amazing!

9. Don’t overthink it. Know what works!

Don’t over complicate meal planning because it’s daunting or you dislike it. Streamline, simplify, cut out the things that aren’t working and stick to what is.

10. Stop being afraid of repeating meals.

No shame in repeats, yo. I know a friend who rotates ten meals, exactly that way, all the time. It’s been that way for years and her family has no complaints. It’s easier for her, too! Win win. If that works for you, embrace it and count yourself as one of the lucky ones!

Other Things That Work For Our Family

- Prepped food becomes lunch plates we can fix up in less than ten minutes.

- Breakfasts are the same meals rotated.

  1. Coffee and a bar (cereal for kids)

  2. Smoothies

  3. “Big healthy plates” (this is what we call eggs topped with avocado, uncured bacon, grilled tomatoes with salt and pepper, and sweet potato hash).

  4. Pancakes + bacon (GF, of course!)

- Bars instead of lunch for the really busy, on-the-go kind of days (our favorites are Lara and RX).

- Prepped foods that work on-the-go.

  • Fresh sliced fruits
  • Grilled chicken (cold in a Ziplock)
  • Snackable veggies

- We always have a couple easy/frozen meals on hand for “emergencies”. Like when the babysitter shows up on time and you were so excited for date night that you forgot you have kids….

  • Mac + Cheese
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Frozen pizzas

- I (try to) always have kid & adult snacks as well as water bottles in my bag or in the car.

Phew! That pretty much sums up what I’ve been doing to keep meal preparation as simple as possible with four kids and a Crossfit hubby. I hope it inspires and helps you!

What do you do to simplify meals in your house? Let me know in the comments!

How to Do A Digital Declutter

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When we think of decluttering we often picture our clothes, our kid’s toys, or other stuff in our home. But how often do you take the time to look at all of your digital clutter? 

I think that a lot of the time digital clutter gets forgotten because it isn’t physically in front of your face. It doesn’t often bother you until you open your computer, or start looking for a file only to stop halfway through because you’re so frustrated with being unable to find anything you’ve saved on your computer’s hard drive.

It’s about time that we stop ignoring the digital clutter and instead use the digital world in a way that can not only keep our online world in sync and organized, but also help us declutter our homes.

Are you familiar with cloud storage?

I’m sure that the majority of you are. It is a magical way that you can begin digitizing your family’s life, plus when you have everything stored virtually it becomes really really easy to share files and pictures with just a few clicks.

However, just like the junk drawer in your kitchen, without a system in place it can easily become a complete disaster. Systems aren’t just for physical things, mama!

Create a System for How You Will Organize Your Files

There’s no right or wrong, here. Just create a way to organize your files that makes sense to you. Maybe you organize by purpose, so: work, family, recreation, etc. Or, you could even organize based on events, vacation, parties, family, etc. Or, get really basic and just organize by month and year. Honestly the sky’s the limit, as long as you choose ONE consistent way that suits you best.

One thing to note, please don’t overcomplicate things! Just don’t do it to yourself!

For example, choosing to save everything by day or week will likely lead to burnout. You’ll get so sick of having to go in and label and file everything by the appropriate date.

By grouping the types of folders needed together, you’ll make it easier to keep up with. And, the biggest part of living in a minimalist way is to be able to enjoy life more, not create more burdens.

An example would be to start with the year, and then branch off from there. So...

2017 > September > Family > Photos
2017 > September > Family > Documents
2017 > September > Vacation > Photos
2017 > September > Vacation > Documents

Of course you can always come back and change anything, but if you use a method you really love from the beginning, it will help you stick to the method for the long-haul, and help remove the headache of needing to start from scratch down the road.

Resist Saving Every File

Just like it is unnecessary to save every piece of mail that you receive, it is unnecessary to save every digital file.

Take the time to go through what you already have saved, maybe take 30 minutes a day. Move everything that are MUST KEEPS into the appropriate folders so that you can easily find pictures, documents, etc in the future, whenever you might need them.

I’m sure it goes without saying, but it isn’t worth saving every blurry image, or a video that is inaudible, but at the same time don’t blindly start deleting files. Doing that could lead to accidentally losing something important or sentimental.

Then, once you’ve completed your file purge, be sure to periodically check-in to be sure you aren’t allowing clutter to build-up again. Make time to go in weekly, to quickly move things into their corresponding folder. If you keep up with this process, it shouldn’t take much time at all!

Awesome! Hopefully you’re starting to feel like your digital life can be easily brought under control. Remember, nothing needs to happen immediately, take it step by step.

Your Beloved Photos

These days it is SO easy to take and keep pictures. You no longer need to buy rolls of film, nor do you need to get them developed. Now, it’s as simple as plugging your SD card into your computer, or going to the camera roll on your phone.

However, with the ease of taking photos, comes the overwhelming urge to keep every single one. But, mama, that just isn’t necessary!

The days fly by, and your children grow up fast, but you really don’t need 8 pictures of the same scene at your daughter’s birthday party.

Instead, here’s my advice, if you have an excessive amount of photos on your phone or on your SD card, go through some each day.

If you have many different shots from about the same moment, choose ONE to keep, make it your favorite one, or the one that makes you laugh, or it can even be the one where you feel the prettiest, but make it JUST ONE.

Once you’ve pared down all of the ones on your phone and on any other storage device you have, you need to upload these to your cloud storage, using the method you chose above.

Stick to the system you created. It will make the images easier to find later on, plus you’ll keep everything clutter free!

Love Your Children’s Artwork Without It Taking Up Space

Let’s face it, our kids will be creating and bringing home artwork for many many years to come. And, we love it all! We love the little reindeer heads made out of baby feet, and the quickly colored pages that were created during library story hour, but our homes just do not allow us to keep everything.

Here are two things that I recommend you try doing.

1. Use a Folder.

Have a folder where you keep all of your children’s artwork (one for each child), but every piece of art into that folder. Then, at the end of each month, go through it with your child.

Have them choose their favorite piece that they want to keep, and then you get to choose 1 piece that you want to keep.

2. Store Digitally

Once you’ve gone through each piece once, go through them a second time choosing some of the best, or some of your favorite ones and start storing them using an app like ARTKIVE or canvsly.

This way you are able to store their work forever, without it taking up a substantial amount of space in your kitchen.

3. Ditch the rest (and the guilt).

I know, I know. It seems impossible to get rid of anything that your children create. You worry you’ll miss that one single item, but it is completely unnecessary to keep every single piece.

By completing the previous two steps, you’re allowing yourself to remove the guilt from getting rid of the papers with just a few scribbles, or stickers on it.

Replace DVDs with a Way to Watch Videos Online

Now, I want to talk about a potential eyesore in your home-- The spot where all of your DVDs are housed. Kids love movies and cartoons, and even if they don’t watch a ton, allowing them to watch it on occasion is necessary, things need to get done around the house, and let’s be honest, sometimes mama just needs a break.

The great thing is that there’s no longer a need to keep every single DVD. With services like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu you can find many of the popular cartoons and older movies there, without needing to house the physical disc in your home.

You might then be asking, what about all of the new movies that I’ve purchased, but aren’t available anywhere else?

Well, there are a couple of different things you can do, many new videos come with codes that can then be used to download digital copies on apps like VUDU. And, if you no longer have those codes, or it’s an old movie that didn’t come with one (and it isn’t available on Netflix), you can always buy a digital copy. Spending the extra money may not be your favorite thing to do, but if it helps to remove the dreaded clutter and it is one of your children’s favorite movies, it might be worth the splurge.

You could also allow your children to choose 2 or 3 movies each. Find or purchase those movies digitally, and then donate the rest.

It can be tough to get rid of beloved DVDs, or gorgeous pieces of your children’s artwork, but if they are taking up space that is leading to a clutter problem, which in turn causes you stress, it’s time to buckle down and go through everything. With the advancement in tech these days, it makes it pretty easy to keep the items that mean the most to you, nearby.

How do you digitally declutter? Leave a comment and let me know!

How I Simplified Clean Eating & Healed My Gut

My entire life, I’ve had a very sensitive stomach. That’s all I thought it was. I got sick to my stomach a lot, and I have loads of embarrassing memories having to do with my stomach issues. As silly as it might sound, I just learned to deal with it rather than dissecting it and getting to the root. That’s what kids do, usually.

As I grew up, got married, and had kids, my health was not a priority. I ate fast food on a regular basis and we were on a very tight budget, so eating the cleanest of food didn’t feel like a possibility even if I’d cared. Honestly, I used junk food to cope with a lot. I was an emotional eater for sure.

I started getting these intense headaches several times a week, sometimes every day for a period of time.

My spine would start to ache every late afternoon, and I couldn’t even keep my eyes open (Not exaggerating here. It was terrible.) once 2pm rolled around.

My periods were absolutely unbearable. I would cramp so bad I passed out more than once. I would vomit from the pain and cancel 2-3 days of plans because the bleeding was so heavy I couldn't leave the house.

My skin was breaking out with these huge, cystic pimples that hurt so bad and would linger for weeks and weeks.

Weird things started happening to my body and it all got worse when I ate.

It got to a point where anxiety formed around eating. I was afraid to eat unless I knew I wouldn’t need to feel good the next day. I realize how sad that sounds, but that’s where my head was at with four kids and a lot else going on. And then the anxiety started to spread like this terrifying cancer in my life. I was anxious about leaving the house because I might get sick. I was anxious about money. I was anxious about everything all the time. And in this weird way in my head, it was all based on food.

I was afraid of my own body. I spent every day trying to keep it quiet so I could live my life, but nothing worked. I would eat healthy and feel better for a bit and then something would set it off and I’d get super sick and anxiety would flood in again. I felt like I couldn’t pin down what exactly was bothering me.

I knew I didn’t handle heavy dairy well at all (like ice cream and lattes) but other than that I felt at a loss. I had cut out greasy foods and bread and all kinds of different things but would only be okay for a little while before terrible stomach issues would flare up again.

One day last year, I had had enough and went to see a naturopath who specializes in gut health. I sat in her office a sobbing mess. She listened to me and was very gentle as she explained that this is not how I was meant to live. It reminded me of how I am always seeking to live abundantly, not just get by, and I realized I'd been just getting by because of my stomach. I was ready to get to the bottom of this.

She had me lay on my back and felt around my intestines. There were a couple of very sharp pains as she did this, telling her what parts of my body were reacting to my diet and giving her clues about why.

She ran a few other tests and gave me the following diagnosis:

  • Adrenal fatigue. My body was exhausted. I knew anxiety had a lot to do with that. Anyone who has struggled with it knows how tiring it can be. The naturopath explained that when your adrenals are fatigued, your body is focused on keeping your energy up, so everything else. Including digesting food properly, goes on the back burner and the bare minimum gets done.

  • Dehydration. I wasn’t drinking enough water, and it was contributing to my upset stomach too. I felt like I was drinking plenty of water, but with my life, the day often got away from me and I was only drinking a bottle or two each day.

  • Gluten intolerance. A few months later, I would visit a doctor who officially diagnosed me with Celiacs, but I found out from the naturopath early on that my body does not tolerate gluten at all. This is what made me get really intentional about cutting it from my diet.

When we talked, we uncovered that these three things coupled with the fact that I just wasn’t taking proper care of myself and eating “junk food” often was making me sick. My body wasn’t doing well and I had to make a change.

Getting information like this is really overwhelming, especially when you’re a busy mom and business owner who’s (at this time) living in a camper and traveling full-time. I felt like it would be impossible for me to make the changes I needed to make when eating out was a very regular part of our lives in that season because of traveling. I was determined to get serious and find a way to simplify clean eating. I truly believed it was blown way out of proportion and people were overcomplicating it. After all, this is the way God designed us to eat… it could be simple, right?

Well, not at first.

Eating clean is fine, but eating clean in this modern society full of fake additives and gluten in literally everything felt nearly impossible the first few months.

Over time, I found ways to take my motto, “simplify” and apply it to eating well and healing my sick gut. I ended up losing 40 pounds (so far) and I can’t put into words how I feel now versus before. I went from an XL to a Medium, I have way more confidence, and I’m a much happier person.

My periods got so much lighter that a few months ago, I started without even realizing it was that time of the month. Normally, my cramps would be so bad for a few days before starting that it would completely interrupt my life.

My skin cleared up- finally! This probably made me happier than any of the other good things that happened. My skin was a huge burden for me for years and years and years.

Here’s what I learned, and I hope it helps someone reading this who’s struggling in this area!

1. Clean eating boils down to choices.

Making one good choice at a time will move you forward one small step at a time, and it all adds up.

So when I’m invited to a party, my best choice would be to prepare ahead of time by:
a) politely asking if there will be anything served that fits my diet
b) eating a meal before I arrive
c) bringing a healthy snack in my purse just in case

I have several options and any one of them is better than showing up unprepared and panicking when everything being served will make me sick and letting it ruin my experience at an event I was looking forward to.

There have been times I’ve found myself in a situation- starving and unprepared- in a place with junk food only. I just make the best choice I can in each situation. This one is not ideal, and I needed to prepare better, but in that moment I’ll probably find a piece of something offered (like the fruit served on the side of the sandwiches) to hold me over until I can leave.

2. Preparation is key, and just because my life is very full doesn’t mean I have an excuse to fail.

Preparing ahead of time for things is not my strong suite. I’m a pretty spontaneous person, and committing to things ahead of time kinda freaks me out.

When it comes to clean eating, though, preparation is everything. You will not successfully eat a clean diet without preparing food ahead of time. Period.

Telling myself this and owning up to my new reality, as much as it cramped my spontaneous style was key for me. It’s a reality-based pep talk I had to give myself several times in the beginning stages of “going clean”. And once I started preparing better, eating well was so much easier.

3. Food prepping works better for me than meal prepping.

I first heard about food prepping during a coaching call with Amanda Wilson. She told me about it after I complained for several whiny minutes about how much I hate preparing meals and then they don’t sound good when the time comes to heat them up and serve them. #spontaneousgirlproblems

Basically, food prepping is slicing, preparing, and storing basic foods you can use as ingredients or just snack around on. For example, potatoes, cucumber, zucchini, strawberries, things like that.

I started cooking whole chickens, shredding it, and storing it in the fridge. I cooked red potatoes, seasoned with butter and garlic and stored them for later. I wash and sliced berries when I came home from the store rather than just putting the whole box in the fridge.

This had me prepped with lots of food and snack options so that I was putting meals together with already-made ingredients instead of a) cooking from scratch with zero prepared or b) having to eat a meal I prepared for tonight that didn’t even sound good.

P.S. Amanda is a wellness guru and she shares the most practical, amazing clean eating tips on her Instagram (and her InstaStory). Give her a follow and be inspired!

4. Food should get higher financial priority.

Eating clean is more expensive than not eating clean. Everyone knows that. We can complain about it all we want, use it as an excuse to make not-so-great choices, but the fact is we live in a time where convenience food is cheaper and food that God put on this earth to sustain us costs an arm and a leg.

I say we all stop complaining, realize that it is what it is, and do what we can in our specific circumstances. If that means you can buy every single thing the cleanest you can get it, great! If that means you pick and choose which fruits and veggies you buy organic and which ones you can skip because they matter less, okay then, do that.

There are so many resources of eating clean on a budget- look at Pinterest! There’s really no excuse. Maybe you cut back on meats, maybe you shop the sales, maybe you cut back on other expenses in your budget, but don’t let money rule your stomach if you need to eat clean.

I get asked a lot what our budget is for food and groceries, and the truth is we really don’t have one. Eating clean is a high priority for our family not only because of my story, but because my husband has his own story and a very unhealthy family history. This takes priority and we have decided to do everything we can to make eating clean enjoyable, delicious, and as simple as possible.

5. I cannot do what God has called me to do if I don’t feel good, and that’s more than reason enough to be disciplined.

I’ve learned that my stomach problems (and the anxiety they led to) were directly impacting my purpose. I was shying away from opportunities with my kids, in business, as well as socially because of anxiety and worry and stomach aches.

God showed me that I am unable to live my life, be a woman of influence (a duty He gave me that I do not take lightly), raise my kids to the best of my ability, and fulfill His calling on my life if I don’t feel good.

If I am riddled with anxiety and pain I am nearly worthless. I shut down and just need to sleep while I wait for the pains to pass. That is not living an abundant life and that is certainly not how I’m called to live.

There is no food on this planet that’s worth sacrificing that for. That is what I remind myself of when everyone is eating cake. There’s no use for a pity party.

This is the way I was made, and I’ve learned to be truly grateful for it. It made me lose weight and feel better, it made me a more disciplined person, and it forces me to take great care of my temple.

My hope for you who are reading this is that you feel capable and inspired. Clean eating doesn’t have to be this over complicated, mapped out thing that takes over your entire life. Simplify where you can, make healthy choices as you go about your day, and keep learning. As you learn and know more, do better. You CAN do this, and it’s so worth it. I promise!

Want more ideas to help you simplify healthy eating? I've got 10 ideas to help you get started!

How to Simplify Your Morning Beauty Routine

 

When I was a stay-at-home homeschooling mom, there was so much to do and no time boundaries if I didn’t make them myself. This meant that a lot of the time, I rolled with the day as it took its own turns. And that meant that a lot of the time, I did so braless. That was a really awkward way to say that I didn’t get dressed every day…

Getting dressed was reserved for the mornings I had Bible study or was meeting someone at the park. Most days I’d wake up and get into my routine, then it was time for breakfast and another cup of coffee and before I knew it, I was eating “lunch” at 3pm with a top knot (not at all like the super cute Pinterest-y ones) and the tank top I slept in the night before. #momlife

Don’t get me wrong… not getting dressed is such a luxury and something I look forward to every now and then! But when it becomes a habit, it starts to feel yucky pretty quick, and can even lead to a little bit of a depression-like lull. For me, at least.

We all get in ruts in different areas of life- it’s normal. But when you can get intentional about something you used to just deal with, that’s when purpose is born. Things get lighter, easier to manage, and you feel better inside.

When I started my business and had to get dressed for interviews and live streams almost daily, I started to feel really good. I looked forward to getting dressed and choosing what to wear. I felt like the CEO of my life, and at the same time I started looking forward to lazy days when I knew I wouldn’t have to get dressed- all the simple things in life got sweeter and I just felt happier. It was something I wished I’d known when I was solely a mom.

I started managing my time better. I started going to the gym a couple times a week. I started getting my kids fully dressed every morning after breakfast. I was able to grab my keys and run an errand with the kids if I needed to without “getting ready” for thirty minutes first. Such a simple change was making me feel so good, and it had made a hard transition (from SAHM to WAHM) so much simpler.

If you relate to this post but feel like getting ready in the morning takes a ton of time and effort you don’t have, you might just need to simplify the process. I know I had to! Here are my tips to simplifying your morning beauty routine…

1. Have a hair routine.

I know that I can go five days without washing my hair. It doesn’t get greasy very fast, It holds curls really well, and it handles dry shampoo beautifully, so I have a five day hair routine (skipping washes is healthier for your hair anyway).

Know how often your hair needs to be washed and come up with a weekly routine of your own! It takes the brain work out of it and allows you to plan around events easier. Here’s my weekly hair routine:

Day 1: My hair is freshly washed and air dried from the night before. My hair’s weird on the first day and I’m not a huge fan, so I’ll only style it if I’m going somewhere. Otherwise, it’s a great day for a side braid or a hat until more of the natural oils have built up.

Day 2: My hair styles much better now, so I’ll use my 1.5” barrel curling iron on it and style it like normal. This takes me 10 minutes. I have two favorite hair tutorials on curling hair. Here’s one from The Small Things Blog and here’s another great one from Mac House Blog.

Day 3: This is my favorite hair day! My hair looks great and is super easy to style on this day. My loose curls have softened but are still sticking around, so I add a few touch-up curls to the face-framing pieces and use a little dry shampoo at my roots if needed.

Day 4: My hair needs another mist of dry shampoo (or the first mist if it didn’t need it yesterday), so I give it that and then usually pull it half back, adding a couple of curls to the bottom half to refresh my look.

Day 5: Hat day! Then wash and air dry at night.

2. Streamline your daily makeup look.

If you don’t wear makeup every day, great! But if you’re like me, you do. I have pretty severe scarring from a rough battle with teenage (and adult) cystic acne. I feel my best when I have my makeup on, and I like to feel good as often as I can. However, I certainly don’t want to spend thirty minutes every morning on my face, so I simplify my daily routine.

Allie’s Simplified Daily Makeup Routine:

  • Moisturizer/sunscreen

  • A lighter, day foundation or tinted moisturizer

  • Under eye concealer

  • Powder

  • Bronzer to contour

  • Eyebrow pencil

  • Mascara

 

Allie’s Full Makeup Routine:

  • Moisturizer/sunscreen

  • Foundation (heavier than my daily one, so no need for primer first), concealer. Full coverage.

  • Under eye concealer

  • Under eye brightener

  • Powder

  • Bronzer to contour

  • Blush

  • Highlighter

  • Eye shadow

  • Eyebrow pencil & stay serum

  • Eyeliner

  • Mascara (extra coats, depending)

  • Lip color

  • Makeup setting spray

See the difference? How can you do the same? Find small ways to simplify and cut out the unnecessary. Want some amazing makeup tips from a pro? Follow my friend Jaime’s blog here. So much of what I learned about makeup is from some tips she shared with me- she rocks!

3. Banish decision fatigue by limiting your wardrobe.

Whether you realize it or not, you’re making small decisions all day long, and that gets tiring. It’s most likely the reason you go from “good morning!” at 8am to “blech” around 5pm. The day’s taken its toll on you and you’ve made a thousand decisions about if your three-year-old can or can’t have a snack, if you should go to the gym or watch The Office, and if you should make Mac and Cheese or pork chops for dinner. This is decision fatigue.

I like to limit decision making, especially first thing in the morning. One way I do that is by limiting my wardrobe as much as I can. I’m not a fan of the capsule wardrobe idea (I love to shop now and then, and my job requires lots of different options for photo and video shoots), but if you think it will work for you, here’s what you need to know to get started.

It might help you to lay your outfit out the night before (kinda like you did in grade school… or was that just me?) and just wake up knowing what you’re wearing and put it on. Even if it’s a cute pair of sweats or yoga leggings and a tee shirt- get dressed. Put a sports bra on. Do something. You’ll feel so much better!

4. Develop weekly rhythms for the time consuming things.

If you’ve been around here for any length of time you know I am all about rhythms! They can help here too. Create rhythms for things like shaving your legs (and um, whatever else you shave), whitening your teeth, oil pulling, facials, masks, etc. I try to have one day each week that I spend a little extra time taking care of myself with these areas, but I’m not always successful. However, having rhythms like this helps my body feel “maintained” so that all I’m doing in the mornings is getting ready for the day at hand, not also shaving my legs and plucking my eyebrows. Ain’t no mama got time for that.

Do you have a simple morning routine? Share your tips in the comments!

Why I'm Hard to Get A Hold Of & You Should Be Too

I’m kinda hard to get a hold of. Today, people seem to feel entitled to getting a hold of anyone and everyone they know (or follow online) at any time they please. To me, that's some serious boundary issues, yo.

People often talk to me about how hard it is to reach me in a way that feels a lot like they’re trying to make it a bad thing, sometimes even a sad thing. They’ll say things like “Oh girl you need some help with those emails!” or “I can’t imagine being as busy as you are- you are so hard to get a hold of!”

Well, guess what. I have help with emails. I have an auto-responder that lets people know I’m probably not going to get their email, but I think they’re beautiful and awesome for being a part of my tribe and I want to be authentic in the way I live.

I also have a virtual assistant (hi, Kena!) whose sole job is to handle my inbox for me. She handles the customer service aspect of the emails and places anything that needs my direct attention in a folder that I check once a week for about thirty minutes. If I don’t get to them all, they wait till next time. If I never respond it’s because it wasn’t a priority for me at the time. If something is urgent, Kena contacts me on Voxer to let me know. 

I’m learning that people are deeply offended by other people’s boundaries, and that they’d rather think you are so incredibly overwhelmed, stretched soooo thin that you can’t even check your emails, versus accepting that what’s super important to them isn’t as important to you (i.e: whatever they emailed you about).

I’m not that busy. I do homeschool my four children, run an online business from home with my husband, and travel full-time in our camper. But that doesn’t mean I’m busy- it just means I have a very full life.

In this full life, I choose to be very careful with what takes up my time. It’s why I’m a ruthless editor of what comes into my home, of what gets a place on my calendar, and of what I commit to.

I teach other women how to be intentional with their space and their time, and I’ve received major public press for it, yet nearly every week, someone in my life seems shocked and appalled that I actually practice what I preach. Or rather, that they didn’t fall on my list of “worthwhile” tasks.

What’s funny to me is that if I responded to every single email, text, missed call, or social media comment, I would be such a hypocrite. People would be infuriated to learn how I really spend my time. But, here I am walking the talk by choosing one social media platform to be very active on, limiting my text time, and soaking up my family instead of emails, and I still get annoyed comments when someone finally finds me (via a live stream or in person, usually).

I’ve had people post to my public Facebook page (which is run by my lovely social media manager. Delegate, delegate, delegate) in a rage, trying to embarrass me or finally get a hold of me. I’ve had people post in my super amazing Facebook group telling me how hard it is to reach me and saying that it’s bad customer service (note: they’re usually not actually a customer, and my customers know that I have Kena hired solely to serve them and I always respond when they need me).

Here’s the thing - whether you’re an online influencer or a mom of a newborn who hasn’t worn a bra in three weeks (been. there.) you are not obligated to everyone all of the time.

You can respond to that text in an hour, or in three days, or never. *gasp!* Yup, never.

Last week was my writing week (I batch all my writing so it gets done within a few days and gets filtered out over the next month), and I’m always less available by phone during that week of the month. By Friday I had 19 unread text messages highlighted in red on my iPhone messaging app. That doesn’t have anything to do with popularity, it has to do with BOUNDARIES.

I responded to my husband, my mom, and my two closest friends of course. But I chose not to respond to a lot of other people who were reaching out for reasons less important than my writing and my family.

Listen, the fact that someone has your phone number doesn’t give them any right to reach you at any time and expect a response.

You can’t please everybody and you can never be perfect in anybody’s book, so it’s best to just do what works for you, what makes you authentic and happy and purposeful, and let the rest go.

Because you know what? You can’t be everything to everyone all the time. You have to choose. And I would rather be hard to get a hold of by the people who don't share my living space than by the people who do.

1. Stop checking your phone all the time.

Seriously, knock it off. You're training people how they can treat you and how accessible you are to them. Pick a place in your house (or at your office if you work) and keep your phone there. Set certain times for checking it and stick to them. For more tips on how to break the habit, read this

2. Stop responding to every single thing that comes in.

Just because it's time for you to check your phone does not mean you respond to everything you see on the screen. I have a few times a day for checking my phone, and usually I'll only respond to the key people in my life or anything that's pressing (i.e: a time-sensitive email that my assistant is telling me to look at). 

3. Be mindfully present.

If you're taking a walk with your kids, then walk with your kids. If you're at a stoplight, be at the stoplight. Don't also be texting or checking email. When we multitask like this, we're just robbing ourselves of the day and half-assing a couple of things instead of whole-heartedly being available for one thing that matters.

We're also letting someone else steal away our current moments by sharing the time with them as we respond to whatever they sent us. 

Are you hard to get a hold of or do you struggle with the desire to be everywhere all at once? Share your heart in the comments and let's start an encouraging conversation. 

10 Ways to Declutter Your Calendar & Get Intentional With Your Time

We live in an age where busyness is worn like a badge of honor. I’ve been in conversations with other women who are literally comparing how busy they are with an urgency so great they can barely let the other person finish a sentence before jumping in to one-up them.

“Oh tell me about it! Every Wednesday night I’m shuffling my daughter to piano lessons, my son to baseball practice, and my other son to karate!” 

It’s not that I’m a saint here or anything. I’ve felt the need to appear busy to avoid feeling somehow less-than. I felt it especially when I was transitioning from being a stay-at-home mom to a work-at-home mom and starting my company.

I found myself bragging about all the meetings I was being asked to be in and all the tasks on my to do list. It felt like I was making up for being useless for seven years of at-home motherhood, even though I pride myself on believing that that role is the most important role in the universe. When everyone else is doing something I think it’s only natural to feel like you’re somehow inept if you’re not also doing that thing. 

The thing is, when you allow yourself to get so busy, your life begins to happen to you and you’re not really living it anymore. When you fill your calendar, you spend all the in-between time getting ready for the next scheduled event.

You no longer have time to take a walk, read that book you bought on Amazon two months ago, have coffee with a friend (and have more to talk about than how terribly busy you both are), or listen to your daughter talk about the girl who hasn’t been so nice to her at school.

We are becoming less available to ourselves and less available to the people around us. We are missing the point and it’s really hurting our world. If you don’t have time to take care of yourself and do things that bring you joy, you’re going to end up overworked, unhappy, and quite possibly depressed. Trust me, I’ve been there. 

We need to stop being victims of what everyone else is doing, stop filling our calendar so dang high, and start asking ourselves if our schedules reflect the life we want to have lived when we’re eighty.

What would happen if you started telling your time where to go and removing the things on your calendar that don’t line up with your end goal? This doesn’t mean you have to become a Type A personality who lives by the schedule (that freaks me out and I could never not be spontaneous) but the fact is that if you want to live an intentional life, you have to plan to be intentional. Spontaneity has little to do with it. 

As someone whose life is generally insane (I have four kids under eight, I homeschool and run my own business from home- not bragging, it’s that busy all on its own), I’ve had to really get serious about how I’m spending my days and what goes on my calendar.

There are a few things I’ve learned about decluttering my calendar, clearing the chaos in my schedule, and being truly intentional about how I’m spending my time. 

>> Note: I’ve always wanted to write a “10 things” blog post but I never end up with ten things (I think everyone else is forcing it because they always end up with the perfect ten). But this time it happened. And I have to say I did a happy dance when I ended up with TEN perfect things, because I'm a huge dork. Anyway….

10 Ways to Declutter Your Calendar & Get Intentional With Your Time

  1. Question all reoccurring events and commitments.

    Just because you’ve always done something or you’ve been a part of it for x amount of time doesn’t mean it’s right for you in this season.

    Have you always been a table leader at your Bible study but when you think about the coming season you cringe? Back out. They’ll be fine, I promise. I give you permission to think of yourself here and remove yourself from any commitments that used too fit you but don’t anymore.

    One personal example I can give you is from our move to the midwest a couple years ago. We left our home state of California (we’re back now) and moved to the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. I was scared and desperate for friends, so I started a MeetUp group. After a few months I wasn’t scared anymore and God had called me to start my business, which meant less free time. 

    The MeetUp group became a burden for me, so I handed the role of “leader” over to one of the other girls and left. I had carried so much weight and worrying around for nothing- they were fine without me, and my season of life had shifted and it just wasn’t a good fit for me anymore. And that’s okay. Look at your calendar and ask yourself what isn’t working for me anymore?

  2. What is working for you?

    As you’re dissecting your schedule, take a look at the things that are working really well for you right now. Is there a new yoga class you've been going to that contributed to the pounds you ditched recently? Great! Keep that. Is there a weekly coffee date with a friend that helps you breathe and gain a fresh perspective? Awesome. Keep that too. Make sure you don’t remove the things that are making you better in an attempt to simplify.
     
  3. Talk to your family about how they feel.

    Nobody will be as honest as your family (or just your husband if your kids are super small) right? So why not see how they’re feeling about your level of busyness? You may not realize it, but something that you’re taking your kid to out of the goodness of your heart might not actually float his boat anymore, and you’d both be a lot happier if you just moved on.

    You’ll never know how they feel about your life unless you ask. Besides, don’t we want to live lives that make our families feel good? Feel closer together? Start the conversation. 
     
  4. Remove those pesky little reminders you never actually do.

    You know those little notes we add to our calendars in a fit of organization? Things like, “do your deep breathing exercises!” that we add to every day because we read an article about it? And then they go off when we’re pooping or driving or stuffing our faces with cookies and make us feel like crap. Yeah… delete those. 
     
  5. Schedule one nothing day per week.

    I know this is a lot to ask, but seriously, if you don’t do anything else in this article, do this one. Having one nothing day each week is a huge huge huge game-changer. I would go so far as to say that doing this in my life made as big an impact on me as getting rid of all my clutter and deciding to wake up early. You can choose any day you want, but you’ve got to pick one.

    My nothing day changes throughout the week, but if you’re new to this I highly suggest choosing the same day each week until it’s a habit for you. Here's a "nothing day" in action example for you doubters...

    Two days ago I sat down to write this post and absolutely nothing would come out of me. I messed around on social media, rebranded my book page, and texted three long lost friends to see how they were doing. Yeah... that's not what I was supposed to be doing with that time. 

    Then yesterday was my nothing day. My family and I walked the beach for two hours, had lunch at a cafe (where Hudson pointed to a marine and yelled “THAT GUY DOESN’T LOOK LIKE A HERO IF YOU ASK ME!" Always respectful and polite, never embarrassing…), we took a family nap, then ended the day perusing the nighttime farmers market in downtown. It was an AMAZING day!

    Today, I woke up early, got dressed, grabbed my laptop, and headed to a cafe to write. I turned my WIFI and my phone off, and this is the third article I’ve written in the last hour alone.

    We need more nothing days! Nothing days allow our energy to restore so we can be better, more productive humans tomorrow. 
     
  6. Pencil in some self-care. And don’t you dare reschedule.

    What needs to happen for you to feel like you’re living well? Do you love taking walks by yourself? Do you love going to the gym without your kids? Do you love sitting in a coffee shop with a great book? Does getting a manicure make you feel like a brand new person? Do you love socializing?

    Rather than trying to remember to fit those things in between baseball practice and piano lessons (it will never happen), start scheduling those things into your calendar. If you don’t make it happen, it’s not going to, and you’re going to be less happy. You deserve better, and your family deserves to have a happy mama in the house!

    Don’t take “you” time lightly by bumping yourself every time another obligation/opportunity comes up for that time slot. Treat it like an important meeting! Show up for it and don’t reschedule on yourself. 
     
  7. Create scheduled self-care time for each of the main areas in your life.

    I like to have self-care times for my physical self, my spiritual self, and my emotional self. Physical is something that gets you moving and has you regularly taking care of your body. So maybe it’s a weekly class at the gym, or a Saturday morning run. Maybe it’s more often than once a week. As long as it works for you and makes you feel capable and healthy and alive, not burdened, it’ll work.

    Spiritual for me means my daily quiet time. I usually get on this first thing in the morning, but sometimes it ends up being midday. I read my Bible, pray, speak life over myself, my family, my business, and my day by doing my affirmations. My relationship with God is very important to me (mostly because every time I’m not focused on it I really botch everything), so this is one area that I schedule in daily, not weekly.

    I also have one day a week when I go for a drive and pray out loud over whatever is currently causing me stress or making me feel lost (this week it was a family relationship problem) just to keep me close to Him and make sure I’m not just going through the motions of my daily routine. That weekly time away and alone solely for the sake of talking with my Creator keeps me sane and at peace and focused on His will for my life.

    Emotional self-care for me means doing what restores my energy. As an introvert, that means being by myself. I usually couple my weekly prayer drive with my alone time by pray-driving myself to Target or the beach or the park, where I pop my headphones in and listen to a podcast while I walk around and just enjoy being alone. If you’re an extrovert, your emotional self-care will probably look a lot different than mine. The point is to do what makes you feel re-energized so you can give your best to the people who need you. 
     
  8. Have set times for important things that fall under one category.

    Being a guest on podcasts and doing press interviews is a regular part of what I do. It can very easily become really crazy and sporadic. At one point I was shoving my family out the door and jumping on Skype for an interview every day for weeks!

    When there is something you do on a regular basis but isn’t scheduled, it’s time for you to tell your time where to go. I started using Calendly to create a space for interviewers to schedule time with me, and I chose what the time slots are. Now, I have two days a week for just a couple of hours each day when I am available for interviews. If more opportunities come in than I have time for that week, they just get bumped to the next week’s interview time slot.

    I encourage you to try this if it applies to your life! Where can you apply batching? Look at your to do list and group all the similar tasks together into one time slot. If it can’t all be done in one slot, that’s okay- maybe it can wait till next week. 
     
  9. Schedule to be alone with each of your kids.

    This is one area where, I’ll be honest, I struggle. I am pretty much constantly with my kids since they’re homeschooled, and I have my work day down to just a couple hours in the early morning so it’s very rare that I am away from them. Setting aside intentional time to hone in on just one of them always feels unnecessary until I’m doing it. And then, every time, I see all the reasons why I need to be doing this on a regular basis.

    I try to pick a kid and spend one-on-one time with them every week, which adds up to each of my kids getting time alone with me every month. My good friends over at On Purpose Marriage (hi, Cody and Stef!) are awesome at this. I see them doing it all the time, and the joy on their kids’ faces is obvious.

    There have been so many beautiful conversations, revealed secrets, and sweet moments to come out of my alone time with each of my kids. If you start doing this, I guarantee your kids will feel closer to you and you will have their hearts. So worth it. 
     
  10. Does your calendar reflect how you want to live your life?

    In the end, this is what we’re really working towards- a calendar that reflects the life we want to have lived when all is said and done. Look at your calendar and ask yourself this question. Suddenly, football practice and baking cookies for the bake sale doesn’t feel so important anymore. Perspective. 

Tired of being a slave to your clutter?

What takes up your space takes up your time.

Take yours back and get focused on what matters most!

How to Say No

When you live or work outside of your heart, there will always be a breakup, a breakdown, or both.
— Courtney Carver

Saying no can be really hard, especially if you’re not naturally an assertive person. It can bring on anxiety and it can feel like it’s not worth it, but if we do not learn how to say no, we are only hurting ourselves, wasting precious time that could be spent on what really matters.

We don’t get very much time, and we need a lot of it. We need time to do our usual things and time to take care of ourselves. We need time to just have nothing to do and time to enjoy life. Things like reading books, having family movie nights, taking a walk, escaping to the beach for the day - they just rarely happen because there’s “not enough time”.

The truth is we aren’t always spending our time in the wisest way, and usually it’s because of our inability to or fear of saying no. If we don’t have time to do enjoyable, healthy things, we won’t have the energy to take care of anyone else.

When all of your time is spent making ends meet, crossing tasks off your to do list, catching up, running errands, staying afloat you’re going to run out of time and energy and joy. Fast.

If you want more time (or to know what real free time feels like), time to read a book, take a break from your inbox for a few days, time for coffee with a friend, time to enjoy your family, or time to soak up a good night’s sleep, you’re going to have to say no, and you’re going to have to say no a lot. I get it, you’re a nice person and you want to help others.

But think about all the yes’s you’ve given out.

Yes I’ll take that call.

Yes I’ll bake cookies for the bake sale.

Yes I’ll sign up to be team mom.

Yes I can meet you for coffee.

Yes you can pick my brain.

Yes you can call me in five minutes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

Yes.

And what does your family get? Whatever’s left. And what do you get? Absolutely nothing. It’s no way to go, mama.

We’ve all said yes to too much before. Usually it’s because of FOMO or obligation/guilt, but either way this isn’t working out. We have to learn to say no.

Me saying no. Not really I'm actually talking to no one. 

Me saying no. Not really I'm actually talking to no one. 

If protecting your time is hard for you, I've gotchyo back. Here are some practical ways to start saying no like the boss you are...

1. Check yo’self.

Ask yourself a few questions before responding to someone asking if you’re able to do something. Why would you say yes to this? Is it adding to your life in a positive way? Will this help you live on purpose?

2. Be nice and let gratitude lead your words.

Saying no does not mean being a jerk face. Let the person know that you are very grateful they thought of you, but you won’t be moving forward. You can even express how exciting something sounds with a “Oh my gosh WOW! Such an amazing opportunity!” and then “but no.” Seriously, I sound sarcastic but it works and it eases the blow.

3. Don’t say “I don’t have time for that right now.”

Yeah you do. We all have the same amount of time and we are in charge of what we spend it on. Don’t patronize the person asking you for some of yours, just be honest. Something like “I’m not giving my time to things like that right now” or “I have other things I need to focus on” will earn you their respect and make a lot more sense than what everyone else says to remove the blame for the “no” they’re dishing out.

4. It’s okay to be brief.

Don’t let an awkward silence make you feel the need to fill it. “No” is explanation enough. You don’t owe anyone anything more than that, but you can certainly follow up with “it’s not a good time for me but thanks for thinking of me!” in order to be polite yet concise.

5. Apply essentialism.

Greg McKeown, author of the book Essentialism says, “if you don’t prioritize your life someone else will.” He’s right. You’re in charge, so take it! Does this thing fit in with where you’re wanting to go in your life?

Are you a champ at saying no or do you really struggle with it? Share your experience in the comments and let's talk it out!

How I Use Trello to Organize My Entire Life

This blog post is more of a description of how Trello helps me manage my life. If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)

What My Life Looks Like

For those of you who might be kinda new here, I have four kids. They are 8, 6, 4, and 2 years old. My husband Brian and I homeschool the first three (Emmett just colors and pretends to be a part of it), and I own my own business based on this website. I’m CEO and president of creative content and Brian is CFO and vice president of media. I also co-own The Purposeful Home Podcast.

Brian and I recently ditched the whole 9-5 job, house in the suburbs thing and are currently traveling full-time in our renovated camper. This means our family of six lives in a space smaller than the average kitchen, and that space is not only our home, but our school and our office.

Yeah. We have a lot going on.

I get asked a lot of questions about my personal life, and the one that is probably more common than any of them is, “How do you do it?!” It’s usually coupled with a face of shock mixed with a little stress.

Honestly, I don't do everything all the time. Something is always thriving and something is always needing a little more of my focus - that's just life. 

But in short, here’s how I do all that I have going on:

  1. Jesus

  2. Coffee

  3. Trello

And I’d have to give a shoutout to my noise-canceling headphones. They my boo.

This post is all about number three - Trello. Because the truth is, I absolutely could not run my business, my homeschool, or my life in the smooth way that I do without it.

And you should know before we even get started - this is NOT a sponsored post. Trello has no idea who I am as far as I know, and they have no idea I’m writing this. I don’t do sponsorships, I only share what I truly love with you guys. That’s how this blogger rolls.

The Big Picture

So listen. I believe that I am called to a purpose. Part of that purpose is to raise my babies to be world-changers. The other part of that purpose is to spread the message of abundant life and simpler living to my fellow women - that’s my job, and I love it. The thing is, I can’t do either of those things well if I don’t have some kind of plan in front of me. It has to be visible, I need to be able to pull it up and see it on a regular basis.

Usually, I’m a pen and paper kinda girl, but there is so much that needs to be written down and so many changes I need to make all the time, that it just has to be digital. Otherwise I’d end up with pencil eraser remnants coating my floor and my planner would look disgusting. We can’t have that.

Organizing and scheduling everything out goes against my DNA. Although I feel the need to know what’s coming next in life, I like to be spontaneous and untied day-to-day - free to pack up the kids and head to Disneyland at a moment’s notice, but the life God has led me into requires some structure in order to live well, and so, I Trello. And yes, I am officially making that a verb.

I Trello because with four kids and a husband who is always home with me (and schooling with me, and working with me, and cooking with me…) I am always being talked to, interrupted, and distracted. Literally nothing would get done if I didn’t have Trello to reference.

My Typical Day

So to give you an idea of what I do day-to-day and what I’m working with (so you can see and compare and figure out how you want to use Trello in your own life), let me tell you what a typical day looks like for me. Keep in mind there aren’t really a lot of days in a row that look the same for me. “Typical” is very fluid here.

I usually wake up between 4:30 and 5:30 in the morning. 4:30 if we have plans in the afternoon and I have a lot of work to do, 5:30 on most normal days. I believe that if something is important and needs to be done during the day, then it needs to be done first, otherwise life happens and kids happen and it usually ends up not happening, and I don’t like who I am under that kind of stress. And so, I wake early. I usually have my quiet prayer time, exercise, and accomplish my most important work tasks, like writing. It’s quiet, it’s still dark, and I can give the most crucial tasks of the day my full attention (thank you, coffee).

If you want more helpful information on how I wake up early and get stuff done, click here.

The kids know that breakfast is around 7:30 and they aren’t allowed to get out of bed and go crazy until then (except for using the potty of course). At that time we all make breakfast and start our day. Brian usually works after breakfast (he mostly does editing and video work, so he can do it right in the midst of our chaos - lucky) while I start on the homeschooling, and after lunch (11:30-ish) we switch. I accomplish a little more work and he takes over the schooling. The rest of the day is up for grabs. Naptime is involved and sometimes errands or something fun, usually outdoors. The kids go to bed at 7:30 most nights and Brian and I follow around 10.

The problem before Trello was that I would always drop the ball on exactly what work needed to be done during my work times during the day. With my life, I couldn’t remember that I was supposed to schedule the social media content for the next day and plan the photo shoot for next week’s blog post. I would forget where we were at in our homeschool and wasn’t keeping track of the kids’ progress. I was totally scattered.

Enter Trello

Trello is my secret weapon for life management. I can’t say enough about it!

I use Trello to organize my personal life, plan out my blog content, work tasks, homeschooling, everything. I have a board titled My Week in which I store all my tasks.

It doesn’t matter if it’s for the podcast, the blog, homeschooling, working out, or running errands - if it has to be done by me, it’s scheduled into my week in Trello. I check this board every single day, multiple times (Trello is a web-based program as well as a smartphone app for on-the-go use). If something is an actual event (like a meeting, speaking engagement, flight, coffee date, etc) it goes on my calendar (I use Google), but Trello holds my heart when it comes to task management.

I also have a board called My Month where I store my themes for each week of the month. I am all about batching my work in order to be more productive (to learn more about this concept, read this) and theming my weeks my task really helps me do that.

The first week of the month is for media work (this is mostly Brian, but I help with the creative aspect of it and am always the one IN the photos and videos), the second week is when I hit reset and just take a break and get some fresh ideas, the third week is for planning new content and getting all my new ideas out on paper (or Trello), and the fourth week is always for taking action and actually writing my content for the entire next month.

I have labels in place so I know which business each task is for (pink means it’s for the podcast), so I don’t have to write that out each time. Trello thought of everything!

I also have a board for running The Purposeful Home Podcast. Kelsey and I collaborate on this throughout the week and then meet up online three times a month to record episodes and have a monthly business meeting.

One of the boards that really help a lot is my homeschool board. Our school is called The Arrow Academy, so that’s what my board is titled :)

I use the labels in this board to distinguish between each student so I’m not writing their names on every single card.

I created a video to really show you how I use Trello and how to set it up, because photos don’t really do the job and I want you to be able to take this action in your own life. 


 

If you want a more in depth training on actually setting up and using Trello for yourself, I've included the link to the video training I put together (it's free) and it's at the end of this post :)


How Trello Works

Trello is made up of boards, lists and cards. So my Editorial Calendar board is its own separate page on Trello. When I have it open, none of the other boards are open. Same goes for all other boards.

This is a board. It consists of lists and cards.

This is a board. It consists of lists and cards.

Each board is made up of lists, and each list has cards underneath it - how many lists and cards there are in each board depends on how many you create.

The arrows all point to the lists within this board.

The arrows all point to the lists within this board.

The arrows each point to a different card on this list. This view shows the FRONT of the cards.

The arrows each point to a different card on this list. This view shows the FRONT of the cards.

Every card has a front and a back. The front is what you see when you’re looking at your board as a whole, and the back is what you see when you click on a card.

This is the BACK of one of the cards. I have written out a description of the task that was on the front side, and have also created a checklist of things that need to be done in order for that task to be accomplished.

This is the BACK of one of the cards. I have written out a description of the task that was on the front side, and have also created a checklist of things that need to be done in order for that task to be accomplished.

The back of the card is where all of Trello’s best features live. On the back of each card you can assign it a color label, create a checklist for accomplishing this particular task, set a due date for it, add a photo or file, tag another person in it, and other stuff like syncing with DropBox and Google Drive.

Let’s pretend we’re creating a new board with lists and cards right now. Say I’m taking on a big project - renovating a vintage camper - and I want to organize the tasks of that project with Trello. I’d start a new board titled Camper Renovation, then I’d start a few lists.

Let’s say list #1 is all about repairs. List #2 is all about interior remodeling. List #3 is all about decorating. And list #4 is where I’ll keep my timeline for the entirety of this project.

Underneath each list I will create cards. Cards are meant to be more specific for single tasks. So for example, I wouldn’t write “remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling” on the front of a card.

Instead, I’d make a card that says Water Damage Repairs and then on the back of the card, write out remove mold, replace panels, & paint ceiling because those are the details of accomplishing that task.

I could also just give each one of those three tasks its own card and then have the task breakdown for each one on the back of each card.

Trello can be overwhelming because it’s all what you make it and how you set it up. There aren’t a lot of boundaries or pre-set ways to use it. Don’t let that intimidate you because it’s an awesome perk and one of the reasons Trello is so awesome!

** Trello also has a mobile app that lets you set up notifications so you can be reminded of all you have going on while you're not on the computer. Two thumbs way up. 

WANT A LITTLE EXTRA MOTIVATION?

HERE ARE SOME EPISODES OF THE PURPOSE SHOW THAT ARE RELATED TO THIS TOPIC!

 
 

The Secret for Moms Who Want to Get More Done

Every decision we make throughout the day takes energy from us. A normal person has tons of tiny and usual decisions to make in a day, but a mom has tens of thousands of all kinds of decisions to make in her day. Not only do we face decisions in our own selves (Should I eat yogurt or oatmeal for breakfast? Should I respond to emails now or get my workout done first?), but we face decisions being put in front of us by our tiny humans - all. day. long.

Mom, can I have this?

Mom, can you turn on Bubble Guppies?

Mom, can I play outside?

Mom, can I get a snack?

And every one of those questions makes your wheels turn, trying to recall when was the last time he ate, how much TV she’s already watched today, if the weather is good enough for playing outside without a sweater, and on and on and on and it’s really no wonder we start the day out like Mary Poppins and end it like Cruella.

Enter: The Solution

While facing “decision fatigue” is normal and inevitable, there is something you can do to simplify your life and alleviate this sneaky form of weariness by a lot: rhythms.

Rhythms are things you do habitually, as part of your normal day to keep things running smoothly, except you don’t have to make decisions about them- they’re like automatic part of your daily checklist, even the time of day they’re accomplished is rhythmic!

I’ve found in my own life that rhythms are key to escaping survival mode in motherhood - they keep you from bottlenecking in your life, from barely scraping by, from totally losing it at the end of every day.

My Rhythms

Here are some rhythms I’ve implemented in my life that help automate some of the key aspects of my role in my family -

Waking up early and knocking out my most pressing tasks

Rinsing dishes, wiping the counters and giving the floors a quick sweep after each meal

Going to the gym or practicing yoga in the yard every morning after breakfast

Setting snack times with alarms on my phone so the kids aren’t constantly asking me

Having these things sort of on auto-pilot spares me lots of decision-making and ensures that the most important things happen each day. By waking up early and conquering my most important tasks for the day, even if the day goes completely south, it’s okay because the toppest priorities were done at 5:00 this morning.

By rinsing dishes, wiping the counters and sweeping up every time we finish eating, I’m using about 3-5 minutes of my time, but it’s sparing me a meltdown later when the kitchen is a friggin’ disaster and I’m exhausted from a long day.

By doing some kind of exercise every morning after breakfast, everyone in my family knows that’s a daily routine for me, the space is there for me to make that happen, and I can stay healthy and feel good at the start of the day. This keeps me sane!

By setting snack times at two specific times during the day, I’m removing the need for my kids to constantly be asking me for a snack. Kids like to snack when they’re bored (don’t we all?) and it can easily agitate me to the point of yelling, which I don’t want to do. I can solve this problem and save myself a lot of agitation by just setting the precedent with snacks in our house. I recently added the part about having a certain sound that goes off in my phone so everyone knows when it’s snack time and they’re not asking me if my phone has gone off yet the entire day.

For most of our daily frustrations, there’s a rhythm we can create that will help our day run a little more smoothly, and all that adds up to a more joyful life - I think that’s a pretty good deal.


Ready to put rhythms into action in your own life? Click to download my FREE rhythms workbook.


Do Rhythms Make A Dull Life?

Now, recently we were talking about rhythms in my Facebook group and someone said, “Doesn’t having everything in rhythms create a super boring life? I think I’d die of boredom if everything was rhythmic.” This questions caught my attention because I thought the same thing up until a few months ago, and it’s the reason I avoided living this way for so long. I wish I could go back and grab my own face and yell “You’re missing out on so much by trying not to miss out!”

First of all, not “everything” is rhythmic in my home. That WOULD be boring. And incredibly weird and unrealistic. Just a few key parts of my day are set in rhythms to help me do a good job in my role as wife, mom, and CEO of my company.

There are a lot of things on my plate, and I have seen firsthand that I cannot do a good job and stay kind to my family if I don’t have a few rhythms set in place.

I had this one day where I was doing an interview for a Canadian radio show and the entire time, I was whisper-shouting at one of my kids because he kept asking for a snack while I was on air.

This might not seem like a big deal, but when a typical day in your life includes being “on air”, you’ve got to figure it out and get some basic things on auto-pilot because you can’t do it all. It has worked so well for me and I know it still would if I didn’t work from home, so I’m sharing it with you all in the hope that it will clear some of the chaos for you as well.

Secondly, rhythms actually free me up to be more spontaneous and live my life. I’m not Type A by any means, even though a lot of people look at my life and think I am, so I have to work very hard to adopt a few Type A traits in order to run my home and my life even somewhat well. What I found when I got “boring” and adopted rhythms was that they actually allowed me to randomly take the kids out for a hike after lunch if I wanted to, or stay in and watch Disney movies all day because it’s raining, or go out for lunch and linger in the aisles of Target while the kids munch on popcorn. Rhythms allow me a lot more freedom because, again, the big things are already done - they were done on auto-pilot, so I’m free to actually live my life!

If you’re struggling to get even the most basic tasks in your life done every day, and you feel like you should have it more together by now, listen mama… I so get it. Grab a handful (or three) of grace and start over today, right where you’re at.

Implementing Rhythms in Your Life

Let’s brainstorm some areas in your life where rhythms would really help you out.

Think about what you do on a typical day, in a typical week. Do you work outside the home? Inside the home? Are you a stay-at-home mom? Do you homeschool? Write out your typical day’s schedule (if there is one) and look at where you have gaps of time to get things done.

For example, if you’re a stay-at-home mom whose kids are homeschooled, but go to a class outside your home every Wednesday morning, Wednesdays are probably a lot more stressful in your home. Rhythms can help with that.

If you’re a work-outside-of-the-home mom with a kid who plays baseball every Monday and Thursday evening, rhythms can help you get things done in the mornings and get out the door with everyone fed for baseball two nights a week.

Think about what kind of rhythms would help you out. What never seems to get done that really needs to? Do you always scramble to figure out dinner on the nights when you have Bible study? Maybe part of that morning’s rhythm should be to put a meal in the Crock Pot.

See where I’m going here? You can totally do this, and I bet it will really help you out!

If you need a little help, download my Developing Rhythms packet. It will help you get started and apply this post to your own life.

Most people already have at least one or two rhythms developed. What are yours? What are the rhythms you want to add in to help you further? Share in the comments!

A Guide to Your Best Mornings + Most Productive Days

A few years ago, I was a night owl who stayed up well past midnight most nights. I woke up to my kids asking for breakfast every morning at whatever time they opened their eyes and decided my day would start.

I believed that being a night owl was in my DNA - just the way that I was - and had no idea that this was actually a very limiting belief that was keeping me from being a better wife and mom. Over time I got tired of feeling busy but not productive, and decided that something had to change, so I started waking up early.

Hear me, mama. If you want to change your entire life with one simple change, start waking up early.

Waking up early has been the single most transforming thing I have ever done for my life, right next to ditching my clutter.

I believe that in order to be productive and fulfilled in whatever your role is, you need to wake up early. I think there are seasons of life where it just isn’t gonna happen (a baby who isn’t sleeping well yet, pregnancy) but for most people in most seasons, I think becoming an early riser is the key to successfully rocking life.  

I've heard people say they are actually more productive late at night when everyone’s in bed, and that may be true, but I found that there was a chance my nighttime productivity session wouldn’t come - life happens, the day can make you tired, things come up.

You might not get the chance for some quiet, focused time in your Bible at 2PM or 10PM, but you will at 5AM. I reached a point in my life where I was not living on purpose and I was struggling. I needed to take my days my the horns and pursue discipline, and that meant waking up early.

If you want to read more about how to start waking up earlier, how to handle kids who wake up when they hear you, and all the hurdles you face when trying to start your day early, I wrote a post on it that you can read here.

In this post, we’re focusing on what to do once you’re up.

I love what Laura Vanderkam says in her eBook What the Most Successful People Do Before Breakfast, “Seizing your mornings is the equivalent of that sound financial advice to pay yourself before you pay your bills. If you wait until the end of the month to save what you have left, there will be nothing left over.

Likewise, if you wait until the end of the day to do meaningful but not urgent things like exercise, pray, read, ponder how to advance your career or truly give your family your best, it probably won’t happen. If it has to happen, it has to happen first.”

It is so much easier to become distracted in the middle or at the end of the day, especially when you’re a busy mama. Having kids means stuff comes up on a daily hourly basis. You cannot count on later for doing things that matter.

There is so much on our to do lists as moms that it can be stressful trying to decide how to spend our early morning time. It’s easy to give in to the pull to catch up on a looming task like laundry, but really, the mornings need to be for the things you can’t do well with kids awake and life happening.

In the early morning hours, it feels like life is paused. It’s quieter, solitude is so much easier to find, and you can think clearly (post-coffee, of course). Think about what you can do in these early hours that is really hard to get done during the rush of the day - quiet time, prayer, reading, exercise, stretching, breathing - do those things.

Quiet Time

What fills your soul and makes you feel like you can handle the day ahead and live it well? Is it reading Scripture? Sitting still while you listen to music? Taking in a good book? Meditation? Find a way to have some guided peaceful time in your morning. For me, I read my Bible as well as a short devotional (Streams in the Desert is my all-time favorite).

Positivity

It’s really important to give yourself a strong, positive start to the day because it’s so easy for things to take a negative turn. When we put ourselves in the right mindset before the day even gets going, we up our odds of success and take control of where our minds will go as the day’s events unfold.

I like to take a walk (my husband is at home in case our kids were to need anything) and read my morning affirmations out loud. These affirmations have a powerful effect on me and get my mind right every time, no matter what’s going on. I also give my day to the Lord in prayer on my morning walk.

Click here to get a list of my morning affirmations for motherhood and success.

Movement

If exercise isn’t a part of your week, it should be. There are innumerable studies that show what an incredible, positive effect movement has on your body and your mind. You can’t take care of yourself without some kind of exercise.

Take a walk, follow along with a yoga YouTuber, train for a 5k, get a kickboxing DVD - whatever floats your boat. Along with my morning walk (which is super mellow and not really intended to be exercise), I have a gym membership which I use a few times a week. I’m also a fan of yoga and am currently on track to become a licensed instructor because I love it so much. Find what moves you, inside and out, and make it a part of your morning rhythm.

Work

What practical things really need to get done? What are your most pressing tasks for the day ahead? Get them done before breakfast.

For me, as a writer with four small kids at home all day with me, it is incredibly difficult for me to create a quiet space for writing. I am constantly interrupted, frustrated, and trying to write in the middle of the day is pretty much pointless, even with Brian home to help me. I need to get my most pressing writing done early in the morning. I write about 1,000-2,000 words in the morning a few days a week. This keeps me on top of my task list with running the blog, and doesn’t take me too long.

If you don’t run a blog or a business, your work could be a load of laundry or meal planning. Whatever makes you feel pressured when you think about not getting it done during the day, do it early in the morning. Get it out of the way so that if life happens and things come up, it’s okay because your highest priority tasks are taken care of. You’ll be a much happier, calmer mom - trust me!

You can choose two or three or all of these types of things to add to your early morning rhythm. What you’ll be able to do depends on how early you wake up and what your circumstances are. The key is to be flexible and disciplined at the same time, and prioritize your morning time. It matters.

Do you have an early morning rhythm? Share your ideas for productivity in the mornings in the comments!

 


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If you’re constantly feeling like you have to choose between tasks and priorities, I’ve got something for you. I developed this workbook to help you set up solid and effective routines so that you can start telling your time where to go before the minutes happen.

Overcoming Your Biggest Hurdles with Mindset Shifts

We are our own worst enemy so much of the time. We get in our own way, we hold ourselves back from overcoming a hurdle, accomplishing something amazing, becoming someone new. We get in the way of the Holy Spirit, allowing our inner voice to drown His out. We create an unhappy reality for ourselves without even realizing it, and then complain about it.

This is called having a fixed mindset or a limiting belief about yourself or your circumstances.

Let’s look at some examples of how this could be lived out.

Let’s say you’ve always been significantly overweight. You think about what it would be like to be fit, imagine how your body would feel, daydream about what it would be like to wear a certain outfit you admire, but you can’t actually envision that fit, strong person being you. It just seems totally impossible that you would ever really lose that weight and have that body - that’s a fixed mindset.

Here’s another example:

You’ve always had a lot of clutter. It wouldn’t be a birthday party in your house if you didn’t spend the entire day beforehand screaming at your family to help and shoving crap into the bedroom closets. This is just the way it’s always been and you can’t really imagine how your life would look if you had absolutely no clutter. You can see how it would free up your time, but you can’t actually envision that being your life. Fixed mindset. Limiting belief.

Let's look at one more example, this time I'll pull from my own life. I’ve actually related to both the examples listed above, and overcome them, but I want to dive deeper with you. Getting personal here!

I didn’t finish college. My parents never really expressed a deep disappointment in me for that or anything, but I felt like it was there, probably because I put it on myself (I’m the oldest and being the oldest means you’re super hard on yourself).

I got married young and my husband Brian (who also did not go to college) and I came back from our honeymoon to hardship - he had been laid off and the economy was crashing - it hit us right from the start. We struggled financially from the moment we said “I do” and it didn’t let up.

Brian had a solid job that provided for us and allowed me to stay home with our babies (this was a nonnegotiable for us) but it required working lots of overtime hours or we wouldn’t make it. He was gone six days a week and we barely scraped by. We had our four babies and struggled to make ends meet all the time.

There were very dark, scary nights when we didn’t know how we’d make it through, and I had grown used to this being our life. Money was something I just never thought we’d have - it wasn’t in the cards for us. I believe I spent a lot of years punishing myself for not finishing college, because I was raised to believe that college was a huge privilege that I had and you can’t make a good living without going to college, and I clung to this limiting belief.

Long story short, God brought our family into a situation that led to the idea of me starting a business out of this blog. I’ve always had an entrepreneur mind (I was raised by two successful business owners) and it felt like something I was meant to do, but my money mindset was very limited and held me from success for months.

I wanted to help more overwhelmed moms experience the freedom I had through a life of less clutter and overwhelm, and I knew I could do that through my business, but my limiting beliefs held me back from changing lives and changing our finances. 

When I finally realized this, I remember feeling like a rock had hit me in the head - my whole world was shaken up and I didn’t want to live under the weight of my fixed mindset for even one more minute. I went outside and prayed, and started speaking truth over myself and my business. I did this every day (and still do) and after a week, my business exploded and everything I had been working so hard for that wasn’t happening finally came through.

I can be successful because I am called by God, qualified, and smart. College doesn’t fit in with who I am and what my calling is. That truth trumped my limiting beliefs and I have never looked back.

I want you to overcome your biggest hurdles by changing the way you think, too. It’s such a powerful ability we all have! Our thoughts hold incredible power.


Need a little help getting started with affirmations in your own life?

I've put together a list of morning affirmations for your motherhood, and a second list for your life and success - the exact affirmations I use every day. Get all of them delivered to your inbox right now!


You can apply this to any area of your life and find your own personal limiting mindsets lurking. Let’s talk about what you can do about it.

Stop counting your failure as the end of the road. Learn from it, and try again.

Remember that one time and that two-hundredth time you tried to lose weight, stop yelling, start a business, improve your marriage, wake up early, whatever it is for you, and you failed? Nobody cares but you. Let it go, detach yourself from it - that failure is not your identity. Move on and try again.

Move from a fixed mindset to a growth mindset

You’re stuck, and it’s totally possible for you to pull out of it. Change your way of thinking by counteracting your limiting beliefs with the truth. For me, that’s Scripture and who my Savior says I am - able through Him, a new creation with a fresh start right in front of me, called according to His purpose - those truths counteract my negativity and my fixed mindset. I’m a big believer in writing things down. Studies show that we are 42% more likely to accomplish goals when we write them down, so I think it’s pretty important to write down what it is we’re wanting to change in ourselves too.

Write out your limiting beliefs, then write out the truths and positive affirmations that counteract those beliefs. Get into the habit of saying those positive words out loud to yourself every day. Watch your world transform.

Conquer

Help yourself overcome by putting your truths and the goal you want to make your reality right in front of your face all the time. Create a list or picture of vision board of where you want to go, place it somewhere you’ll see it all throughout the day, like your fridge or car steering wheel. Focus on it, let it permeate your brain all day long.

Make sure your affirmations make you feel something. When you’re reading them out loud, you should feel yourself being filled with hope - it should feel like someone is breathing life into you. When I read mine, I can feel something inside of me shifting, responding to the words I’m saying. Make them bold, not timid.

For example, when we were at our brokest point, I stood in my driveway and said, “I am extremely wealthy. I am also generous and changing the world with my money.”

Do you have any idea how ridiculous it felt to stand outside and say that sentence out loud when I wasn’t even sure how we were going to afford groceries the next day? But suddenly, nearly overnight, this was our reality, and now we are truly seeing our money do good things and change the world through giving - it’s incredible to see this practice take effect in your life. You can do this same thing with anything you’re struggling to overcome.


Get a PDF of the exact same morning affirmations I use every morning for my motherhood, my money, and my personal success right now to help you get started!


Have you ever tried speaking affirmations or Scripture over yourself? Share your experience in the comments section!

 

Becoming a Woman of Intent this Year

Life is happening right now. If it’s happening TO you, you’re probably floundering instead of being in flexible control. That’s a bad place to stay, friend. 

Flexible control means you have solid, healthy rhythms set up in your home and your life that allow you to get done what you need to get done without feeling stretched super thin all the time, and when life happens and chaos ensues, it’s okay because you’ve got your rhythms and you know where you’re going.

You have intent and purpose underfoot, and you can ride the waves of life with peace and confidence.

Becoming a woman of intent means balancing grace and persistence, flexibility and planning. It means living on purpose each and every day while taking time to soak up our families and our little moments. A woman with intent has a vision for her life, her family, and her legacy.

She knows that the end goal is, she feels it in her soul, and she’s taking small daily action steps to get herself there. A woman of intent doesn’t let life happen to her, she purposefully determines her next step and adapts as necessary.

Let’s talk about how we can become women of intent in this new year because it’s so much more substantial than resolving to lose ten pounds, and because resolutions don’t work. What we need are intentional, bite-sized action steps that lead us to meeting a meaningful goal.

1. Get uncluttered

Did you really think I’d start anywhere else? ;)

Clutter and stress are besties, and they have no place living in our homes - where we dwell and cook and sleep and love on our babies and cultivate relationships.

When you have a cluttered home, you have a cluttered life, and a cluttered life can’t be a truly purposeful one because clutter gets in the way of intent.

When I first started getting uncluttered, I had no idea that my marriage would improve, that my depression would clear up and leave for good, or that I would be a generally lighter, happier person. I was just looking to simplify and maybe get out of survival mode!

Choosing to move out of a cluttered life and into a purposeful space that you love is so incredibly powerful and the perfect first step to a more intentional life.

Let’s talk about clearing the clutter in a few main areas to get you started.

The Laundry

I know we all joke about Laundry Mountain and washing endless piles of clothes as being a hilarious part of the #MomLife rant, but what if I looked you in the eye and told you it doesn’t have to be this way? Would you even believe me?

Laundry is such a huge time-sucker and it’s so completely unnecessary for you to spend so many hours on it - it kills me that so many beautiful mamas are wasting their weekends catching up on this instead of sitting at the park with their sweet babies!

Simplify the wardrobes in your home by getting real with yourself. What are you really wearing every week? What are you really dressing your kids in on a regular basis? Forget what you wear simply because it’s there and be really honest with yourself about what’s needed and loved. Ditch the rest.

We hold onto so much excess “just in case” and it’s just making more work for us. Let it go, girl! It’s not worth it!

The Dishes

Another huge time-sucker - the dishes. Open your cupboards right now and look at how many dish sets you have in there. Now how many people do you have eating in your house on a normal night? Why do we keep so many dishes in our cupboards?

Have you ever wondered how you have such a massive pile of dishes to wash at the end of the day when you only cooked one meal?

Here’s the thing...when someone in your house needs a dish, they will always reach for a clean one in the cupboard, no matter how many dishes are sitting in the sink ready to be rinsed and reused. Why? Because human beings always opt for the path of least resistance.

So here's what you can do - choose just one set of dishes (enough for everyone in your house to have one, plus two extra) and store the rest somewhere else. Maybe boxed up in the garage, in a less high-traffic kitchen cupboard, whatever you like.

Get a dish drying rack and set it next to the sink. After dishes are used, they get washed off and set in the drying rack so they’re ready to be used for the next meal or snack. This way, you’re not washing a ton of extra dishes...only what was needed.

Click here to download my free guide to decluttering your laundry and dishes! 

Seek to clear the clutter and simplify everywhere in your house. Ditch the junk drawer for good, simplify your wardrobe, question everything you feel obligated to add to your calendar...get intentional about what is taking up your space and your time. It matters!

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2. Create intentional focus on what matters

At this point, we all know that technology is a distracting, time-hoarding waste as well as an incredibly useful, connective tool we can no longer live without. It’s a life-changing asset and a weapon to destroy meaningful living at the same time, and we need to be intentional about putting it in its place in our lives.

How often have you found yourself reading something on your phone while your toddler repeats “Mom?” a hundred times and you weren’t even really able to hear her? I’ve been there and I get back there on a regular basis, so no guilt trips here!

The thing is, we can’t be the ones who just roll with it and let the age of technology take over our motherhoods - we have to try harder, fight back, and tell technology where it belongs in our lives - below our families. We do this by living it out.

Change your notification settings. Why do you need your phone to make a noise every time you get a text message? Why does everyone in your phonebook need to reach you at the drop of a hat? Change it so that only your husband’s texts trigger an alert noise.

Dedicate a place for your phone and leave it there whenever you’re home. Maybe it will be the entryway table, the bathroom, or your bedside table. Wherever it is, make it a non-pivotal location in your house and keep your phone there. Make a rule that you’ll only check your phone when you’re standing at that spot. When you change your notification settings like I advised above, you can leave the sound on loud so you’ll always hear if someone truly important is trying to reach you.

3. Develop rhythms

Rhythms keep you from bottlenecking in your life. If you can get into a balanced flow of the must-do's each day, you will always hit the pillow feeling accomplished, even when you didn't get everything on your list done. It's hard to get in survival mode when you live this way.

Moms live in chaos, so the more balanced, rhythmic strides we can take, the better we'll feel about our days and how intentional we've been.

Rhythms should be made for the things you really need to do each day or week. For example, waking up at a certain time instead of whenever your kids come get you in the morning, or sweeping underneath the dining table after every meal. They automate the musts and remove the stress of remembering every single thing every single day.

Look at how you spend a typical day and find places where rhythms would help.

4.  Have a vision.

Without a clear view of where you want to go, you will fail. I know that’s a hard truth but you need to hear it so you can take action. Ignorance in this is anything but bliss.

We are in charge of our actions, we are responsible for raising our babies, for cultivating love in our marriages, for watering the garden of our life. If we don’t get serious and create a clear, intentional vision for who we want to be and where we are going, we will die out and leave behind nothing of value.

Where there is no vision the people perish.
— Proverbs 29:18

How do you discover your vision? Ask yourself:

  • What do I want to have done, how do I want to have lived when I’m eighty?
  • What legacy do I want to leave behind for my children?
  • What is my purpose? What lights me up from within and makes me want to change the world?

    >> This can be a tough one for busy mamas who are focused on taking care of their littles. For me, that passion is reshaping motherhoods all over the world with my message of hope and light through minimalism and simplified living. You might need to take a little time, pray, think, walk it out… it will come to you if you look for it.

No one wants to purposely live a life that’s not as fulfilling and intentionally as it could have been, yet when we don’t get real, get serious and decide to be women of intent, that’s exactly what we’re doing.

If you’re ready to make this year your most intentional one yet and you want to dive deeper into each of these areas in your life - decluttering, developing focus and rhythms, and becoming a woman of intent - I want to personally invite you to join my Facebook Challenge, She is Intentional.

This challenge will be starting LIVE on December 26th in my Facebook group.

To be a part of it, request to join the group and watch for the daily Facebook live sessions.

Then download your free She is Intentional workbook. It’s for over 30 pages to help you put pen to paper and take real action in this challenge and apply it to YOUR life.

Are you ready?? Let’s do this, friend.

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How to Take Ownership of Your Day with Time-Blocking

You own time, time does not own you.

Think about that statement and let it seep into your brain as you think about what your day would look like if you lived that way. How would you carry yourself as a busy wife and mom?

How would you treat appointments, tasks, and chores? With that kind of ownership in your hands, you could probably be pretty confident in telling your minutes where to go and feel pretty great about all you accomplished each day.

That statement is pure truth. You DO own time, it has no power over you unless you let it. You have the same amount of hours in your day as Maya Angelou, Einstein, Oprah, all the great, accomplished people the world has observed as influential.

If you want to get more done, be productive, feel good about your day, and rock this motherhood thing, you’ve got to take ownership of your time.

Rockin’ this mom life gig is all about taking this ownership and balancing it with a heavy dose of flexibility. I need grace more than water, and I mess up on the regular, but for the most part, my days are owned, and I don't let the chaos win.

Let me show you how I do it, and then help you put this into practice for yourself.

What My Life Looks Like

I have four kids, ages two to seven. I’m married, I homeschool, and I own my own online business, which I run from my home office.

My husband Brian was able to quit the job that kept him away from us six excruciating days a week (massive prayer answered and a huge leap of faith for us) this past April, so he's at home with me.

We share the load of running the business and homeschooling the kids. This means sometimes the yellow time blocks set aside for work are used by him while I handle the homeschooling, but usually it's me writing or catching up on emails while he teaches the kids. 

This should give you a feel for our life and what it is we're dealing with. Your life will probably look pretty different from ours, and that's okay - you can still use this blog post and idea as a really sturdy guide for some structure in your day. Just tweak how it's filled in to fit your schedule and family. 

Our life is a lot, it’s not easy, and it takes a lot of patience, grace, and rhythm to keep things running smoothly. I’m not naturally a Type A person (kinda wish I was), but I have learned that I need to adopt some Type A habits in order to live intentionally, and that’s worth it to me.

Here’s what my typical day looks like (the details of the work and school tasks vary depending on which day of the week it is).

I typically take Thursdays off of both work and homeschooling, and our family will head out for an adventure day. Usually we do some sort of outdoor homeschool day trip, sometimes we just get lunch together, run some errands, and spend time at the park.

Either way, it’s a mid-week break with uninterrupted family time and I love it. I don’t do well with a traditional weekend of two days off in a row. I lose my step and my productivity tanks. Since I have the flexibility to do something different, I take advantage of that.

On Sundays, I don’t work at all, and I detox from social media too. It’s usually a very restful day for all of us.

Every day (even if it’s a day off), I wake up between 4:30 & 5:30. I found that there are certain things, like writing content for my website, that I really need to do in the quiet, which only happens when my kids are asleep. I’ve also found that if I have gotten the most pressing and important tasks for the day finished before my kids even wake up, I am able to be extremely flexible.

Mom life means unforeseen changes to the schedule pretty often - injured or sick kids, deciding to take off and do something fun midday, an errand that suddenly really needs to be done, etc. When the most crucial tasks on my day’s to do list are done at 4:30 in the morning, I can let go of the rest with a lot less stress if I need to roll with the waves and change my plans for the day.

You can read my suggestions on breaking night owl habits and waking up early here.

Enter: Time-Blocking

Now that you see the kind of things I need to accomplish throughout the week, let’s talk about time blocking.

Time blocking is exactly what it sounds like - blocking chunks of time out and dedicating each chunk to a certain genre of tasks. You’re basically telling your time where to go like you do in Dave Ramsey's budgeting philosophy.

Instead of telling every dollar how it will be used before you earn it, you’re telling every hour how it will be spent before it happens. This is taking ownership of your time, and in turn, taking ownership of your life. To me, this is a key part in living on purpose with intention and focus, which is really important to me.

Here’s what my time blocking looks like:


Want help applying time-blocking to your own life?


I typically spend two solid hours working early in the morning, and two or three hours mid-late morning.

I spend a few broken up hours homeschooling the kids in the afternoon and do things like going through our Bible curriculum while we eat breakfast to kill two birds with one stone whenever I can.

I’ve woven some self-care and intentional family time into each day as well. I end every early morning work session with a walk around my neighborhood while I speak affirmations over myself, my life, and my business and spend time in prayer.

My kids wake up around 7:15 and know they are to hang out in their bedroom until 8:00 when breakfast is served. I start my day with them feeling awake, caffeinated, productive, and happy. So much better than still in bed, groggy, pissed off, and late to the start of my own life each day!

I have prioritized meal time in our home by marking it in red on my time blocking chart. This way, even it’s an incredible busy day for me, we are pressing pause to sit down and share a lengthy meal together as a family.

You’ll notice that housework is the smallest block of the day, and blocking an hour out for it each evening is completely unnecessary, but that time is there in case for some reason we do need it.

Our home requires extremely minimal daily maintenance because of minimalism. I’ve simplified our belongings and our home down to the bare minimum, which allows me to not worry about housework much at all during the day. It’s awesome!

We pick up as we go a bit during the day, but the blue block of time on my chart is usually about 30 minutes of picking up right before dinner. Along with a load of laundry and caring for pets, that’s all we need to keep the house in good shape and feeling clean.

On Saturday mornings, we do deep cleaning as a family. If you’d like to implement minimalism in your house, click here.

How You Can Start Time-Blocking Your Own Life

The first thing you need to do is write out a list of all the things that HAVE to be done every week. What keeps your home running smoothly? What has to be done in order to keep your home and your life from falling apart?

Think about everything, including self-care. What needs to be done in order to keep YOU from falling apart? What do you need to do in order to be a fulfilled, peaceful mama? Include your marriage, your relationships with your kids, housework, business or work tasks if you have them, everything.

Next, you need to look at the amount of time you have in your day. What time would you LIKE to wake up? You can change this to be earlier if you end up needing the extra hours, but what is your ideal wake up time? Do you like to stay up later and sleep until about 7:30? Do you like to rise early? Write down your ideal time for starting your day.

Now write down anything you would like to accomplish before your kids come out for breakfast, if anything. Do you want to get the hardest/most important part of your day’s tasks out of the way right from the get-go? Do you simply want some quiet time alone? How long will these tasks take? Half an hour? Two hours?

Estimate and write the number down. Add thirty minutes to account for waking up, using the bathroom, and getting your head out of your sleepiest state. That’s how much earlier than your kids you need to wake up. If your kids wake up ridiculously early, you can set a new rule where they can come out for breakfast at a certain time that’s more realistic for you and allows you the time you need to start your day well in the mornings.

For example, my kids used to wake up at 5:00 in the morning, and it was ridiculous. I set a new rule which didn’t allow them to come out and have run of the house until 7:00. Now they sleep in until about 7:15 (their inner clocks naturally adjusted after a few weeks because they knew it’s no longer super fun to wake up early if you can’t do whatever you want), and their “come out and have breakfast” time is now 8:00.

This works great for our family, and you can adjust the times to what will work best for yours.

Next you need to look at your set schedule. This is the schedule that isn’t flexible in your life. For example, do your kids go to school? Their school hours are not flexible, and determine a large part of your day. Do you work outside the home? Your work schedule determines your day and is not flexible.

Do you have weekly commitments like homeschool co-ops, doctor appointments, or play dates? Write these things down and block out these times (school drop off and pick up times, work hours, commute times, etc.)

Okay, so now that you’ve done that, what’s left? That’s your place to fill in the things you wrote down in the first step - all the things you need to accomplish each day to keep your home and your life running smoothly. If you don’t have enough hours in your day, you have to create it by setting an earlier wake time, a later bedtime, or removing something from your day. Sometimes this means making hard decisions about your life because you realize you have way too much on your plate and literally cannot do it all well.

Don’t be discouraged or stressed out… this is something you needed to realize and can totally handle. Make decisions based on peace and confidence and in what feels right, not out of fear or worry.

The next step is to play around with the order and structure of your day. Look at what you’ve written down and think about living it out. Would you really like to respond to emails first thing in the morning? Or would you rather spend time doing that during the baby’s nap?

Think hard about the rhythm you want for your week and what will work best for your husband’s work schedule, your personality, and the ages of your kids. You might need to be a little more flexible for a season (ie: if you have a baby who isn’t sleeping through the night yet).

The final step is creating your personal time blocking chart. I prefer Google Sheets for this, but you can also use Excel or a similar program. You can also download my pre-made time blocking chart and fill it in for yourself by clicking here.


Want help applying time-blocking to your life?

Download the Time-Blocking Mom Workbook for just $9 now!

10 pages of help + a time chart for your week!


Life is hard, chaotic, and can make you feel out of control so easily. Sometimes that’s a good thing and it grows us, other times it’s debilitating and depressing, and keeps us from accomplishing our purpose. Take control of your time, tell it where to go, and free yourself up to enjoy spontaneous moments a lot more, be a more intentional mom, and end up with a life lived well.

 

How to Motivate Yourself to Wake Up Earlier

When you start waking up earlier, it really sucks. There, I said it.

I faced my dreaded early bird future a couple years ago, knowing it was the right way to go, but hating it and wishing desperately that I could hold onto my beloved night owl lifestyle.

The evenings were my prime time. Or so I thought. At the end of a long day, curling up on the couch with my laptop and a glass of wine made my heart happy. I would always tell myself I was going to be productive and knock out a blog post or two, but then get hazy and distracted and end up watching three hours of Netflix. I’d start to doze off and end up wandering to bed around midnight or later.

Sound familiar?

I reached a point where, like the lovely Kat Lee says so often, I was waking up TO my kids rather than FOR my kids. I woke up to them bickering, asking for breakfast, in a hazy fog from the late night before. Not my best self, I often started the day cranky, sometimes yelling - and the mom of the year award goes to…...anyone else.

I decided to suck it up and make some changes. I had already discovered the beauty of simplifying my home and how much freer I felt as a mom during my daily routine, so I wondered what I could change next.

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I woke up at 5:00 the next morning. I forced myself to just do it - stand up and make the  bed as quickly as possible, then run into the kitchen - no chance of climbing back under the cozy covers. I was half dead, but with some coffee and a few quiet moments, I got my laptop out and started writing.

I was pretty productive, but the kids heard me tapping the keyboard and kept wanting to come out. Then they’d be loud, then they’d ask me for breakfast despite the fact that it was still dark out and they probably shouldn’t even be awake yet. It was frustrating and discouraging, but I could see the light. I saw how the mornings could go and noticed that I was for sure more alert and ready to be productive early in the day, unlike nighttime when I’m really just DONE and want to veg out with my hubby and Netflix. Plus, I liked it, to my surprise. 

I decided to adjust and push through, tweaking things to eliminate the problems. A couple years later, I still wake up around 5AM. It’s not perfect, and some days I get up slightly later and some days even a little earlier, depending on lots of things, but I’ve figured out how to make this work! And when it does, waking up early is pretty amazing and highly beneficial to motherhood.

I want to say before I dive into the deets...there are seasons for this. There are seasons to not give a crap - like when you’re pregnant or sick or have a baby who still wakes up randomly. There are people who truly do better, more productive work in the evening. This post isn’t meant to sway you. If you stay up late and get sh*t done, go for it. It works for you, great.

There are also seasons where nighttime really does work better for one reason or another. I’ve switched back to being a night owl twice in the last two years, very temporarily. Once because I was creating my course. It was very stressful and I found that I didn’t sleep well until I had poured a heavy amount of work into it. The other time is right now, in the past week, for a similar reason. I’m working on writing my book proposal and several other large work projects, and when the stress level is this high, for some reason I change into this nighttime productivity machine and just need to pour into my work right before I call it a day. It’s weird, but it works better for me very rarely, so I roll with it.

For the most part though, I wake up early. It’s now a part of my usual routine and it’s increased my productivity, happiness, energy levels, and general fulfillment in my life by a lot.

If you’re the kind of mom that’s in the right season of life and has the desire to wake up early but kind of sucks at it, this post is for you.

There are a lot of different reasons being dedicated to waking early has you failing or deciding you no longer give a crap. Let's hash them out, shall we?

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1) When you wake early, your kids hear you no matter how quiet you are, and come out, ruining your plan for the morning.

Hear me, mama. YOU ARE THE PARENT! If you need to wake up early and be alone for a bit, set the rules and keep them.

When I saw this being an issue with my kids, I made a new house rule that is still in place to this day. The kids are not allowed to come out of their room (they have their own bathroom, otherwise that would be the only exception) until their alarm clock rings at 8 AM. This gives me three solid hours of writing without them coming out.

I set them up with what they need - this isn’t a torture chamber. They have a snack and water and are allowed to talk, read, and play until eight. My oldest gets the baby from his crib and helps busy him. Sometimes I have to run in and give him a fresh diaper, but the it’s right back into the room for some quiet play because that’s the house rule.

Kids, you can fuss all you want, but this is a boundary I have for myself, so that I can be a more productive, happy, loving mama.

They don’t even try to break this rule now because they know it’s set in stone.


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Need a little extra boost to help you transform your mornings?

GUESS WHAT!?

I’ve made you a list of morning affirmations to help you get started!


2) You like staying up late the night before way too much.

This is your call, girl. It’s just like I say when talking about my decluttering course…. Do you want to reap the benefits of an uncluttered home or not? If you want to stop cleaning up all the time and be ready for company constantly, you have to purge and do the work.

Same goes here.

If you want the energy and productivity and good feelings that come from waking early and taking on the day, you have to make the sacrifice of time. I think so often we want a magic wand in life. If somehow we could stop loving the quiet of the evening and still wake up early magically productive, that would be great! Yes, it would be great. But you’re on Earth in cold hard reality, and it’s your call how your life goes down. So pick one. That’s the hard truth we need to face if we’re ready to stop letting life happen to us and start telling it how to go.

Waking early has massive return on investment, but you can’t get the return without the investment, yo.

3) The evening is the only time you and your husband get to spend together.

That’s true for probably almost all of us. Have at it! Watch a movie, eat dinner together, snuggle up, get freaky… whatever your thang is, do it and enjoy the time together! Getting up early doesn’t have to mean doing nothing at night and going to bed when your kids do.

If you’re so tired that that’s when you want to go to bed, it’ll get better as your body and sleep schedule adjust, and you might want to look at why you’re not sleeping heavy enough to feel rested, not what time you’re going to bed.

Brian and I LOVE our evenings together! We watch TV, we talk and laugh, it’s the best time of the day! Then around 10:30 or so, we head to bed fulfilled from the day and feeling connected from spending time together, and I can wake up early again.

Try not to make this seem like such a negative thing. It’s really not! Brian and I also put our kids to bed pretty early. Bella goes to bed around 8:30, and the boys go to bed around 7:30. That helps them get good rest and it helps us have some time alone. Again, boundaries and rules, mama. You’re the parents!

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4) You can push through and wake up early, and you do feel more productive when you do it, but getting through the day without crashing is the problem.

Human adults need 6-8 hours of sleep a night. Are you getting that? If not, go to bed earlier or wake up later. Your call! If so, there’s another reason you are so fatigued, and you should look into it. You’re probably lacking a nutrient or something your body really needs. When I started taking B6/B12 shots, I was no longer dragging around 3:00 every day.

5) It’s dark and cold out, and so hard to actually get out of bed when it feels like I’ll freeze to death and be unable to get going.

There are going to be lots of hurdles to making this change (or any positive change), so it’s up to you to decide how bad you want the benefits.

Nothing good and different and better comes easy.

You can set yourself up for success, but you’ve also got to know it isn’t going to be perfect and easy all the time.

Keep a pair of super warm, cozy socks on your nightstand that you can quickly put on right when you wake up. Write a list of the benefits to waking up early and put it where you’ll see it when you open your eyes. Move your alarm clock so it’s not right by your bed and you have to get up to turn it off.

Set rules with yourself and be a disciplined person - that’s not something you either are or aren’t, it’s something you can choose and work hard to become.

Do you wake early or stay up late? What have you found works best for your productivity? Share your thoughts in the comments!

 

Want a little extra motivation?

HERE ARE SOME EPISODES of the purpose show that are RELATED TO THIS TOPIC!

 
 

Minimalism For Your Health, Calendar, + Relationships

I talk a lot about how minimalism is addictive because it’s so true! Every week I read posts in my Facebook group from women who are experiencing the crazy freedom simplifying brings and they can’t stop.

You gain this incredible momentum and it leaks into every area of your life. For me, it started with purging the kids’ toys, then I moved into the kitchen, then our clothes, then the closets and linens, then the drawers and cabinets, then my house was done and I found myself living more minimally with my calendar and schedule, and my relationships, and my eating habits. It’s crazy how this catches you and changed your entire life, all because you were tired of the clutter.

Often, I get this question from newbies who are trying to figure out if this lifestyle of less is right for them.

“How does minimalism apply to the rest of your life outside of your home?”

Ohhh mama. I can’t wait to tell you about this. Today’s Minimalism Basics post is all about how minimalism helps you in areas other than your household clutter. Let’s do it.

 

Your calendar

Applying minimalism to my calendar has probably been the biggest game changer outside of the kids’ toys and laundry. When you learn to think minimally about what’s taking up space in your house, it becomes habit. I started thinking minimally about what I was putting on my calendar soon after I’d purged my house. I’d get asked if I could make it to some event and go to put it on my iPhone calendar app and think “wait… do I want to go to this? Really?” It was liberating.

To implement minimalism to your calendar, ask yourself a few key questions.

  1. Why am I thinking of attending this? (is it out of obligation or guilt?)

  2. Is this a good use of my time with or away from my family?

  3. Does this event line up with my purpose in life?

By getting real with yourself before you say yes to something, you’re forcing yourself to evaluate whether or not this event is worth your limited time. How we spend our days ends up being how we spent our lives, so this stuff matters.

 

Your relationships

Think about the people in your life. Are any of them toxic to you? Why are you allowing them in? Because they’re related to you? Because you feel obligated to tolerate them?

There is a huge difference between being forced to have someone in your life (because of family ties, etc) and allowing them to take something from you. Put up boundaries where you need to. Is there someone who sucks the life out of you and harms you emotionally to the point where you feel anxious, upset, or super down after spending time with them? You need boundaries. I want you to understand that this is your one and only life! Be a kind person, but don’t be a doormat. Pick up this book and make reading it your priority, then get minimal about the toxic relationships in your life.

  • Do you need this relationship?
  • How can you put up boundaries around yourself with this person?
  • What is this relationship adding to or taking from your life?

Set up boundaries for a life you love living, and don’t let another person steal your joy.

No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.
— Eleanor Roosevelt

 

Your health and fitness

The weight loss industry generates $20 billion a year in the US, mostly from diet books. There are approximately 108 million dieters in the United States right now.

I believe losing weight and getting healthy have been way over-complicated. I know that if I want to be smaller, I need to cut out my Taco Bell runs during late night writing sessions. But honestly, I love me a chalupa.

Eat clean, get moving, be healthy. It’s as simple as that unless you have a serious health issue, which I guarantee 108 million people in my country alone, do not.

You can absolutely implement minimalism in your health and fitness routine. This is why I don’t share meal plans and cooking routines on my blog (it’s not just because I hate cooking). I don’t have any of that stuff. I just go to the store and buy healthy foods that fit a clean eating/Paleo lifestyle, and prepare it, then eat it with my family. I don’t spend an hour a week writing out what we will eat, we don’t get sick of the food we eat. We just make basic dinners and rotate them based on what sounds good that night. That’s it.

Clear the mental clutter of which foods should be eaten with which other types of foods and when is it the best time to workout and what kinds of arm workouts are best for this kind of arm fat. Just shush. Buy healthy food at the store, pair a little meat (if that’s your thang) with a ton of veggies and maybe a little healthy starch. Get moving at least once a day, try not to sit much, and drink water. There you have it.

Minimalism is so much more than an uncluttered house. It’s an intentional life without extra crap sucking up all your time, and that absolutely applies to other areas of your life. What starts with the physical clutter in your space leaks into the emotional, mental, and relational clutter that you didn't even realize was bearing down on you with such a heavy force. 

Take the philosophy of less and run with it! See where it takes you ;)

What areas of your life other than your home have you implemented minimalism? Share in the comments!


Wanna cut the chaos and do this thing for real? My course will walk you through every room, every area of your overwhelming house. Let me take the guess work out of decluttering for you and help you come out on the other side- a life of LESS so you can live MORE. 


 


 

How to apply a minimalist philosophy to the rest of your life - calendar, relationships, health and fitness. 

Stop Saying You Don't Have Time + Start Owning Your Life

“I don’t have time for that.”

This is more than a sentence we say pretty often, it’s a boundary we’re putting up.

Sometimes it’s a healthy boundary, sometimes it’s unhealthy, even harmful.

Sometimes we use this sentence to excuse ourselves from bettering our lives.

What We're Really Doing to Ourselves

We raise it up high for all to see “look at me! I know how to manage my time! I am just like so busy.”, but what we’re really holding up is an excuse not to embrace our fullest potential.

As a mom of four small kids, I’ve done this more times than I can recall. I’ve said no to things that would have changed my life, but I was afraid to go there. I’ve used my kids and my life as a reason not to partake in something life-changing.

A Bible study that I knew would shake things up, but I was in a season of bitterness, and I didn’t want to be shaken up yet. “I don’t have time for that.”

A program or book that was designed to help me escape the chronic chaos and overwhelm I was struggling with, but if I stopped struggling I’d have no excuse to remain in my depression and keep watching Netflix. “I don’t have time for that.”

Think about this for yourself.

Have you ever done this?

Maybe your marriage was on the rocks and a helpful website suggested creating a special night of alone time and discussion for you and your husband. You know exactly what that would mean- no more excuses, you’d have to deal with the mess you helped create and it might not be all his fault- so you block it. “I don’t have time for that right now. Things are too crazy this week.”

Maybe you’ve been complaining about your life- how busy you are, how much work is on your plate, how overwhelming it all is- and sort of using that to get recognized as a badass. So when someone suggests you train someone to assist you at work, or find a Mommy’s Day Out program to help you with the kids once a week, you brush it off with, “I don’t have time for that.” Because you know that by actually solving the problem, you no longer have a reason to complain, a reason to feel validated or seen as a martyr.

There are so many articles floating around in Internet Land about learning to say no, not feeling obligated to say yes to everything asked of us, but I see the flip side being a chronic problem. I struggled with it myself for years, and I recognize it in loved ones and new acquaintances and bloggers and strangers overheard in coffee houses all. the. time.

Maybe not everyone is saying “I don’t have time” for the same reason.

Maybe some of them truly don’t have the time for something that would benefit their lives.

Let’s look at that angle.

You have the time you choose to have. You have the time you make.

Time does not own us, we own time. We all have the same amount of hours in our day as Maya Angelou and Oprah and *insert some extremely successful person you admire*. I think we need to stop using a lack of time as an excuse and start using our control of time as a launch pad for all we want in life.

How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.
— Annie Dillard

We have to stop letting the daily grind, the chaos, the kids, the messes, the clutter, the stresses, the bills, the TV, the everything get in the way of us accomplishing the end-goals of our lives.

If how you spend every mundane day is going to add up to equal the sum of how you spent your life, what are you waiting for? How much longer are you going to use the “I don’t have time for that” excuse?

Get Real. 

Let’s understand the difference between chaos, the need to be flexible and straight up not wanting to do hard work and bring about change. Do you or do you not want to live with intention?

There will always be seasons during which we need nothing but grace for ourselves. Pregnancy, going through fostering or adopting a child, moving, going through a divorce or some other life change, but I think most of us need to get real with ourselves about this mystical lack of time.

Those who are happy, successful moms, entrepreneurs, ministry organizers, spouses, workers, etc are the ones who don’t let excuses keep them from embracing a better version of themselves.

Is there something out there you’ve been avoiding, that you know will help you and change your life, but you’ve been saying “I don’t have time” or “I don’t have the money for that”?

Reevaluate.

Tell your time and your resources where to go. If you need something, take it. Make it happen.

Don’t stay stuck where you’re at. There’s not a single admirable person in history who lived that way, and it’s not good enough for you.

You’re called to abundant life! Go take it.


The doors to my course, Purge Your Entire Home are now open, but only until next week. By design, this course will take you through every step of simplifying your home, de-cluttering what's taking up all your time, and get you to a place of freedom and spare time and intentionality in your life as a mom. If you're ready to dive in and make some changes happen, click here. Time is ticking!