Action Plan Refresh

The school year is starting! This time of year is also when you may have made plans for how things will run on the new schedule. You may have goals for a new school year. Although we have touched on action plans already this year, today I’d like to spend a few minutes more on the steps involved — hopefully making it even easier to do.

Now, first of all, a good action plan is based on a clear goal. You will be set up for success when you start by knowing exactly what you plan to achieve and have a deadline. If you don’t know specifically where you are going, it will be hard to get there. So if you need to clarify how you are stating your goal, now is the time to do it.

Once your goal is defined, you can spend a few minutes brainstorming.

  • What steps will help you get to your goal? What actions will help? What supplies are needed? What has to be done to start? What will it take to finish? Do you need any resources to support your effort (i.e., books, training, input from experts)? Write down any and all ideas you have. Try to think through all the aspects and requirements during this time, and get it all down on paper (or screen).
  • Next, take a minute to look at all you have noted. Evaluate which ideas will work the best and do the most. Pick out the cream of the crop until you have enough chosen to accomplish your goal but not more than you need to do. Your action plan should have what you need but not have distractions or wasted effort.
  • With this list, you can break the work into manageable pieces (or bites of the elephant) and set your timeline. A timeline can be either dedicating a set amount of time per week, with at least one waypoint to check progress; or it will be lining up steps one, two, three, etc. Sometimes it will be a combination of both.For instance, you may dedicate time each week to completing a Bible study book (and check halfway through to make sure you are halfway through the work). Or if you are making a quilt, your action plan will be a series of steps (choose pattern, buy fabric, cut, piece, etc.) in addition to time dedicated. Your timeline will depend on your goal.

The only step left is to schedule your timeline. Block out slots for the weekly time you plan to spend on your goal. Set a target date on your calendar for each step in your project. The schedule for your action plan may need to move as other things come up, but you have something to aim at and milestones to keep you on track.

If you would like an infographic summarizing these action plan steps, see below.

Action Plan sm

My hope is that this helps your success! Working through the steps to create an action plan will make it smoother and quicker each time. Breaking down what is needed makes the project more manageable. If you run into any snags or have any questions, please contact me and I am happy to help. Onward and upward!

Back to the Basics

So my plate has gotten a little full lately. You may know the feeling. The school year is starting back up. “Just one little thing” adds up. Legitimate priorities need to be handled. Projects are pending.

So what do we do? Panic? Shut down? Keep going until we collapse? No. No. No. It’s time to go back to basics.

  1. Take a deep breath. Panic never makes anything better.
  2. Speak truth to yourself. Now is not the time to forget what is true. We have been called by God to this day. He provides what we need to live as we are called to live today — bringing glory to God in all that we do. He is with His people as we live the life He has given us (Heb. 13:5-6).
  3. Get a handle on your responsibilities. Now look at what you have to do. Knowing ‘what’ is half the battle. An important part of that “knowing” is having it recorded. Trying to remember all the little things are driving you crazy. Pull out your to-do list and capture what is buzzing around in your head.
  4. Now map out a plan. Look at the priorities and put them in order. Look at your available time and block out sections to tackle what you need. Knowing ‘when’ to do  ‘what’ is another huge part of the battle.
  5. Do it. This is the final key. Work the plan. Follow the steps you have laid out. Get it done.

We can do this, in the grace God provides. Stay calm and confident and get it done.

Good Ideas: Paprika App

If you like to pick up recipes from friends or browse Pinterest for delicious new ideas, this is an option for you! The Paprika app is a great way to store various recipes you find online, as well as a helpful tool for using them in your kitchen and routine. If you would like to try it, please note that there is a cost (currently $4.99).

IMG_7095You can store all the recipes you find in one place. All those recipes you find on Pinterest or links emailed from friends — in one place. Each recipe can be categorized and rated as you like. It is not as convenient for the family recipe book or the notecards passed down from your grandmother, but you can also type those into the app database to use.

You can scale recipes. Once you have the recipe in the app, you can choose to make it for the servings listed or cut it in half or increase up to 100-fold. All this is without doing math, just changing the setting.

IMG_7094You can plan your menus. If you do your menu planning in the app, you can pull the recipe into your plan with one click. The plan includes up to three meals and snacks for each day, and you can view your plan by day, week or month.

You can track your grocery list. Once you have your meal plan set, you can add the ingredients you need to a grocery list. The items are pulled off your recipes, and you have the choice of de-selecting items you don’t need to get before adding everything to your grocery list in the app. Just like that.IMG_7093

You can track your pantry. For a little more effort, you can keep track of what you have on hand and won’t need to add to the grocery list. The app will keep those off the grocery list when you carry over the recipe ingredients for your meal plan. You’ll also know what you have to use without a trip to the grocery store.

It’s a beautiful tool, whether you just use the recipe storage or max out all the options. More information on it can be found here and here.

If you already use this app, how has it helped you and what tips do you have to add?

Where is Your True Worth Found?

When you look at your to-do list for the day, how do you feel? Are the tasks opportunities to serve or overwhelming objects of dread?

“So God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female he created them.” — Genesis 1:27

Please let this be a reminder to you: Your to-do list is not the way you earn value. God is infinitely worthy, and His image in you, His creation, gives you value in His sight. In addition, as a child of God, you are a glorious new creation in Christ (Ephesians 4:24). What a treasure!

This value is already set. Your search for significance has already been answered. Because of this, you have both the privilege and responsibility to show God’s worth and character in every part of life.

“See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.” — I John 3:1

Nancy DeMoss Wolgemuth put it this way:

Human dignity and value and worth is not based on what we can produce, or our achievements, or our IQ, or our abilities, or our earning power, or our physical abilities or disability, or how we measure up to others. Our dignity, worth, and value is based on the fact that we were created in the image of God. … You were created to reflect the image of God.

To devalue or harm human life is to devalue God. …We are the apple of His eye.

Since you do not need to prove your worth today, just enjoy the gracious gift of life, you can look at all your “things to do” as ways to love God, to show His value, not prove your worth. Shake off that oppressive weight and walk in what you have been made to be.

Each task on your to-do list is a chance to reflect your status as one called by God to show His love in many ways. Your responsibilities allow you to give glory to God as you diligently work. Your acts of service — no matter how small — are ways you love your neighbor and fulfill the second greatest commandment.

Walk confidently in this grace today, my friends.

Laundry Tips

We all have it — the never-ending cycle of laundry. It can be a real struggle to stay on top of it. Now, it really is just a job that never ends and simply needs to be done, but there are some things that may help you as you work.

For starters, it is a continuous process. It’s not a full-focus activity with modern washing machines and dryers, so it doesn’t need to dominate our time and attention for an entire day. It can fit into small pieces of time all week. Also, letting it pile up may be too overwhelming and hurt rather than help. Staying on top of it a little at a time can keep it manageable.

  • Constant sorting — Don’t let it pile up in the hamper. If you sort on a consistent daily basis or at least often, the chore won’t take long and loads are ready to go when the pile is big enough to throw in the washer. You won’t feel as if you are at the start of a long haul before you even can get a load in the washer.
  • You may want to do one load every day — Start in the morning. Circle back later on to transfer the load to the dryer. At some point in the afternoon, empty the dryer and fold the clothes. From then on, grab a stack to put away every time you walk by. Before you know it, it’s done. You are eating the elephant…
  • If you are picky enough to not be able to go to bed under a pile of clothes, you can drop the freshly-dried load on your bed. It will physically remind you to get them folded and put away before you go to bed, instead of being out of sight and out of mind.

Also, remember many hands make light work — teach your children when they are young to help with the process. They learn a valuable skill, and the load is light for everyone.

Finally, there might be the first world problem of too many clothes, perhaps? Occasionally there isn’t room in the dresser or closet to put all the clean clothes away. This is especially a problem when children are helping with laundry. They will have a much easier task with less to manage while they learn.

If you run into this overload, take it as a cue to look at the bottom layer of the drawer or the back of the closet rod to see what hasn’t been worn for a year or two. Maybe it’s time to donate a few things and make it easier to finish up the laundry and put clothes away.