surviving to thriving: who stole my time?

surviving to thriving

I debated about whether or not I would post on weekends throughout this series, for the first few days, it just didn’t work to post on the weekends. It would have put two extremely important posts on a Saturday and Sunday, and let’s face it, we’d all rather relax. Today, we’re back to the series and talking about time. 

Do you ever feel like you were busy all day long, but you don’t really have anything to show at the end of the day? That is the scenario that kept replaying over and over, each night when I fell into bed, much later than acceptable. Exhausted from the day, but still no closer to tackling the laundry, still not caught up on housework, or projects.

And not because I spent the day doing things that full filled some other aspect of my life, like meaningful playtime with my children or quality time with friends. I would literally feel as if I had run from the time my eyes opened, until the time I crawled into bed. Yet, still behind, still guilty about what I was missing, still moving things from today’s to-do list over to tomorrow.

I kept thinking, I do things all day long, I never sit down. Where in the world is my time going? So I divided my day into 15-minute increments. Literally, I set a timer for 15-minutes and I wrote down what I did during that time, over 72 increments. I didn’t plan my day in 15-minute increments, I needed this to be as real and authentic as possible. I just started one random Tuesday morning, and put it all on paper.

It didn’t take me long to realize that while I am busy, by every sense of the word. My busy-ness wasn’t leading to productivity. I was half-way completing a million and one tasks, most of them meaningless in the grand scheme of my life. Once, I really took a look at what was happening during my day, I was able to pinpoint several bad habits that I needed to break.  We’ll talk more about my day tomorrow.

Right now, I have a printable version of the 15-Minute exercise, so print it today and fill it in throughout the day. Even if you can’t keep up with it all day (the more, the better), at least try for some part of the day so tomorrow makes more sense.

Here are a few things I want you to remember:

No guilt: Throughout this entire process, I never allowed myself to feel guilty about what I was finding out about myself. Instead, I thought about the changes this was going to bring to my life. I remember writing in one of my 15-minute spaces, scrolling through Instagram, and wanting to just throw it away. But, it took me writing those things on paper, evaluating things, digging deeper, to make real progress.

No getting stuck: No regretting the things you are doing, no trying to avoid things you would normally do to make the day look a little better. We’re better off writing things down, and making forward progress from that moment forward. If we don’t face these things, we’ll continue to be stuck in the cycle.

Face the music: Throw the excuses out the window. I know we live different lives, and our days look different. I know what works for me, might not work for someone else. It’s simple to make excuses, it’s our natural reaction to things we don’t want to face, but change requires us to face these things head on. Unfiltered. Raw.

Let’s move forward!

You can download the link below and we’ll chat more about the importance of this little exercise tomorrow.

Give it a shot here: 15minuteday

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 11.37.45 PM




surviving to thriving: holding pattern

surviving to thriving

For too long, I’ve been stuck in this sort of holding pattern. With family and work, jobs and children, dinner and housekeeping, friendships and faith, I feel like I can’t ever quite get where I desire to be in those areas.

Do I come close? Certainly.

Am I really good at a few of those things at some point? Absolutely!

I have a real tendency to get fixated on something and give that one thing my all, for a little while. Until I see that it means I’m letting something else fall behind, so I hurry over to that area of my life, get it all together, only to find I’ve let the ball drop somewhere else.

I’d mention these things to friends or family, and I would always get the standard, give yourself grace. Here’s where you shouldn’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in the beauty of grace, and I think there are times in life when I need it for myself and I need to extend it to other people. I love how Paul teaches about grace in Romans, the gift of grace is such a precious piece of my faith. From his words, it’s clear that my acceptance in Christ does not excuse careless living.

And give yourself grace is always followed by something in my life that might be holding me back. You just had a baby. It’s a busy time at work. You have two children. You’re pregnant. You have a lot on your plate right now. Not to discredit those things or any other thing you might have going on in your life right now, but isn’t there always going to be something? A new job or a move, a new baby or huge milestone in your childs life, work obligations and a home to manage.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized, there will forever be something that I could use as an excuse to continue to stay in this holding pattern. It was the thought of another year, or month, or week, or day passing while I was tirelessly trying to keep my head above water, that made me finally seek a change.

Not for anyone else, but for myself.

The truth is, this life is short and uncertain it passes so quickly. My biggest regret would be spending these days waiting on the next season, the season I would get it together, the season things would be easier. All the while, letting moments and relationships pass me by.

Here’s the thing about this series, when I planned it, I decided I wanted it to be more than just words. I believe we make authentic change by doing, not by reading or even knowing.  So instead of just telling you about what I did, I’m going to go through the process, and show you real-life examples of how we made big changes.

I started with facing my struggles head-on. Writing them on paper made me feel like I was really facing the things I tried to sweep under the rug for so long.

I also noticed many of these things could be solved if I would not only plan, but execute my plans. My follow-through was lacking and I was spending a great deal of precious time getting things together, that should have been together. Remember what I said about organized chaos? Well, this confirmed it. Sure we were getting there, sure the house was clean when anyone came over, but it was taking time away from other precious things. This also confirmed the clutter and lack of structure for our things only added to the struggle.

Surviving to Thriving: excuses completed

My common excuse was time, which leads us to tomorrows post, time.

Below you’ll find the link to the downloadable worksheet, you can print it out and write on it, or type in the text fields, whichever you prefer. surviving to thriving: page 1 excuses

Surviving to Thriving page 1 Excuses

(Click on the link, it will take you to another page where you click again on the same link to open, not sure why it takes you through the additional step.)




surviving to thriving

surviving to thriving


I’m writing for 31 days about my journey to get it together. Simply put, to stop surviving and start thriving.

Have you ever watched a duck glide seamlessly across the top of a lake? There appears to be little effort, they glide with ease and speed. But, if you were to take a look just below the surface, you would see just how much work they are doing to simply maneuver from point A to point B.

I often feel that way, like I have it all together on the surface, but inside I am a real mess. Spread so thin, that I’m not able to give anything of real substance to anyone in my life. Just enough to show up, be there, go through the motions, but not enough to invest, not enough to dig deeper.

Here’s the difference between myself and the ducks. They’re going somewhere. They know that little effort won’t get them anywhere, but big effort yields great reward. They point themselves in the direction they are headed and go. For too long, I’ve felt like I run in circles all day, only to end the day in the same exact place.

But, what if I changed all of that? What would that look like for my life? For my children? For my home? For my marriage? For my friendships?

What would it be like if I decided to stop simply surviving, and start thriving? That was the question I kept asking myself over and over.

I read book after book. Seriously, there is a stack a mile high. It’s easy to keep a steady stream of information flowing into our minds, but the problem with this fast paced world is, we don’t really think about or apply what we are learning. We just nod in agreement and move on to the next thing.

For me, I was always eager to create this life with a ton of structure, fingerprint-free windows, and plenty of margin for things I love, and I wanted to create it overnight. I would often get the itch to clean the entire house on Sunday evening, wash all of the clothes, pack all of the bags, plan all of the meals, but by the middle of the week, it was if I couldn’t keep it all in my grasp, and things would go right back to the way they started.

Or I’d finally have enough of that disorganized hall closet, pull everything out during naptime and place it all back inside with perfect order. Only to open the same door a week or month down the road and find it a wreck, once again.

It was my own version of organized chaos. It looked organized to everyone else, but it was all surface. If you dug a little deeper, opened that closet door, looked under the couch, peeked inside our morning routine, it would be pure chaos. Purchasing gifts on the way to a party, constantly late, it was like a constant cycle of frustration.

And the toughest part about just surviving, was the stark contrast it had to the way I pictured things in my head. I wanted so much more than this mess, so much more than half-way playing with my kids while I tried to fold a load of laundry.

I read this book  and it really put things into motion for me (more on that later), and I created a series of worksheets in an effort to put my thoughts on paper, to hold myself more accountable, to break down barriers.

I changed it all. From the way I plan, to the way I cook dinner. From my closet, to the cabinet under the kitchen sink. From the way I schedule my days, to the way I play with my children.

It’s still a work in progress, but it’s a forward progression as I figure out things that don’t work and establish order within our life.

Over the next 31 days, this series is going to dig deep, and I’m going to do something I don’t love, be vulnerable. Believe me, I wouldn’t put it all out there if I didn’t think it could work for someone else.

Grab a pencil, and come back tomorrow. We’re talking about everyones favorite thing… excuses.