Work Smarter, Not Harder

In the past, I have attempted to control everything in my life. I have thought I knew everything and what I didn’t know, I would learn on my own.

Then I met someone truly wise about a year ago. He and his wife were trying to declutter their home of some things their two boys had outgrown. There were many toys and clothes that were still in very good shape and would do very well in our foster care ministry, so we asked to have them. He not only agreed, but also helped bring the items to our home in his truck. As he was helping us unload the vehicles of all the items, he said something that changed my thinking tremendously.

“Work smarter, not harder.”

These words stamped themselves into my mind and I still remember them, ponder them and implement them into my day to day life. I have used these words to help me think of smarter ways to keep my home clean, my life organized, in keeping my marriage prioritized and parenting focused.

So how can we work smarter and not harder?

1. Find a mentor. Find someone to do life with that has more experience than you do. We are not meant to do life alone. God has given us community, called the Church, to do life together with. “Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help. But someone who falls alone is in real trouble” (Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 NLT). Find someone who will mentor you and show you the ropes. Someone who will lift you up when you fall or need assistance. It is smarter to learn life lessons from an experienced person than to learn everything the hard way.
2. Be proactive. If you want to get ahead in life and not always be stuck running around in circles, be proactive. Plan your day, week, month, and year. Have an idea of where you are headed in life. For example, organizing, cleaning, and decluttering your home regularly is being proactive. It is hard to keep up with every day life as it is, let alone trying to do it all without a plan.
3. Read the Bible. This is the smartest thing you can do each day! God’s Word is full of knowledge, power, and authority. If we are investing in our relationship with God through reading His Word, we are seeking mentorship, guidance, and wisdom from the all-knowing King! It’s so hard to navigate through life. God’s Word lightens a path for you so you know where you should be going.

I could write extensively on each of these points, and there are many more ways we can work smarter, not harder in our lives. The three here that I mention are really life-changing though and I hope they encourage you as they do me!

6 Tasks To Do Even When You Are Sick

It is that time of the year when we get sick and lay in bed complaining about how we feel and give excuses as to why we can’t do our daily goals.
But goals are important. When we make them, we should take them very seriously. If we do not take them seriously, we will end up like everyone else and not accomplish our biggest dreams in life. Every individual day is a step we take toward our larger goals. Remember, we can attain amazing and ambitious goals if we break them into small steps.
If we choose to drag our feet and not take those smaller steps each day toward our goals, we will lose momentum, be more stressed when (or if) we choose to get back on track, and ultimately we risk the chance of giving up entirely.
Giving up is not an option so I don’t want to risk everything by getting off track.
Now, there is a need to rest. Our bodies need time of rest to adequately heal and be well again, but choose to do that after you accomplish these 6 important tasks:

1. Wake up at 5am
I know this is difficult, but it’s too easy to slip on this one. Rising early has been one of the most difficult habits I have had to start in my life. I do not even want to risk the chance of destroying the progress I have made with this habit. When you choose to make this non-negotiable, you will be forced to make yourself go to bed early… perhaps even earlier depending on how sick you have been feeling. I know for me, I feel the sickest right in the morning. My throat aches, my eyes hurt. I know that I need to get adequate rest in order to ignore the voice telling me to just sleep in.

2. Make the bed
Making the bed is on this list because it is an easy task to do when you wake up, it will help you to not climb right back in, and a nice looking bed will energize you and make the room look and feel less chaotic.

3. Exercise
I usually wake up and get on the treadmill for 20 minutes each morning. Since getting sick, some mornings I have felt completely exhausted just getting out of bed and refused to go on the treadmill. I didn’t give up on exercising though. I chose to spend that 20 minutes doing yoga instead. Yoga gently stretches the body, clears the mind, and helps in focusing throughout the day. I refuse to skip exercising in the mornings. The benefits of getting up and moving are just too awesome for me to not do it. I don’t want to risk giving up those benefits just because I am sick. In fact, exercise will help the body fight against the cold or flu you are experiencing.

4. Read
Reading is powerful. I only make myself read 30 minutes a day for now (although I go much longer than that sometimes). This is because I am going from not reading on a regular basis to doing it every day. I needed a time limit that wouldn’t overwhelm me while I made this a habit. I have been enjoying curling up with a good book now when I am sick because while it doesn’t take very much out of me physically, it is great at stimulating my mind. And since it is only my body that has taken ill, my mind is happy to be challenged and entertained.

5. Choose to eat healthy foods
It is tempting when we do not feel well to pick out lousy foods and emotionally eat. Instead, take the time to choose the foods you put into your body wisely. Healthy foods will not only lessen the time it takes for your body to get well, but also give you energy. If one of your goals is to take care of your health (which I hope is one) then do this in order to maintain your goals. If you choose to fall apart, or make excuses, when you get sick, then the likelihood of you having the discipline to get back on track when you are well again is not great. The food you crave emotionally when you are ill is not worth the risk of destroying the healthy habits you have been instilling in your life.

6. Journal
Journaling is important for so many reasons and those reasons do not go away just because you aren’t at 100%. In fact, journaling your symptoms each day and how you are feeling will help tremendously if you end up needing to see a doctor. Write down a few things/people you are thankful for so you can maintain a healthy perspective. Make sure you add in a few accomplishments that you had during that day. You could write down that you got up at 5am even though you wanted to roll over and sleep longer. You could write down that you did yoga for 20 minutes and were glad you didn’t skip working out. It is up to you what you write down in your journal, but be sure to do it.

If there are other small steps that you need to take in order to accomplish your larger goals by the end of the year, then make sure you add them to your unique list of things you need to accomplish even when you are sick. Do not allow a cold or the flu to destroy your progress. Continue accomplishing your goals and then rest. You will never regret moving forward, but you will regret risking your biggest dreams in life over a cold.

5am Morning Routine

I enjoy my morning time more than any other time of the day.  With children, there are so many needs that as a mother, I feel responsible to take care of.  I used to absolutely despise the mornings.  I would wake up usually to the sound of clanging bowls and spoons while the children were busy getting their breakfast ready and starting their day.  This clanging would bring my sleepy head off my pillow and my frumpy and grumpy self out into the kitchen to see what all the racket was about.  I was totally unprepared for the day and only cared about getting my morning coffee down so I could focus on the upcoming responsibilites that the day had in store for me.

Lately, all that has changed.  I started this year with a new goal.  I decided that I was sick and tired of waking up to my children and being grumpy towards them while they were heading out the door to school or getting ready for their homeschool day (we have a little bit of both going on in our home).  I decided it was time to do something crazy and start waking up at 5am.

My  new morning routine has been challenging starting off, but I am already seeing the benefits of becoming part of the 5am club.  Here is my current morning routine:

Wake up. I wake up at 5am and get straight out of the blankets and get my feet on the ground.

Exercise. Right after waking, I slip into my workout pants and go downstairs to my treadmill. I turn it on and walk/jog for 20 minutes.  I listen to sermons, teaching, and youtube videos during this time.  It helps me to get my body moving and my mind started up.  At the end of this, it is around 5:20 and I am pumped and ready to get some stuff accomplished.

Bible Study. I have had Biblestudy as part of my morning routine for a while now, but never have I felt more focused and ready to learn as I do when I have just finished my morning workout.  It seems like the scriptures come alive and I am able to better understand what I am reading because my mind is focused. I usually get this done by 6am.

Personal Time. This is an important time that I love having in the mornings.  I get to spend an hour getting my to do list ready and become aware of the appointments and things that are on the calendar for the day.  When I have a plan for the day, it just goes so much smoother.  This ends when the children come in for breakfast around 7am.


This morning routine has been giving me 2 hours of focusing on my physical, spiritual, and mental health.  It has helped me to be more productive during the day and fouced.  By getting up before every one else, I not only get to spend quiet time alone, but I am able to get my waking done so i can better serve the needs of my family.