10.  Turn off the notifications on your cell phone. Only check email and messages during designated times. Don’t look at your phone more than oimagence per hour.

Every time it beeps, blurts, or dings your brain gets distracted from its current task, even if just for a millisecond. Turn them off until your work is done. Put the phone somewhere where you won’t be tempted to constantly glance at it.

9. Do the hard things first. Whatever it is that’s hard, distasteful, or annoying, do it first, do it quickly and get it out of the way. Your other tasks will seem easier and you won’t do them slowly to put off doing the yucky thing.

8. Have a short play session with your kids, then give them something fun to do on their own (.like playdough! ). They’ll be more content after having played with you for a bit, and you’ll have more chance to get something done with less interruptions. We use playdough, coloring, snacks, and reserved happy meal toys for just such occasions.

7. Take a nap if you need one. It’s hard to be productive when you’re exhausted, so squeeze in a power nap even if you have a lot to get done. It may seem counterproductive to waste time sleeping, but if you’re really dragging, it will help.

6. Make a plan. Take a few minutes to logically plan out everything you have to accomplish, putting it in some kind of logical sequence. It’s a lot more effective than just running around like crazy. IMG_1089

5. Be strategic – what needs done during nap time, and what can you do when the kids are awake? I can fold towels amidst games of duck duck goose, but I can’t focus enough to pay the bills when there’s a lot of commotion.

4. Fuel yourself. Drink water and eat foods that are going to give you solid, sustained energy, like protein rather than sugary carbs.

3. Don’t multi-task. We love trying to do 6 things at once, but our brains focus better and work more quickly when we focus on one thing at a time.

2. Get kids involved! Even young children can spread peanut butter on bread (with a child safe knife, of course), carry toilet paper, put dirty clothes in a hamper, etc. They love being helpers, and its great for them to learn the satisfaction of a job well done. You’ll be amazed at what they can really accomplish – you’ll all be proud of their new skills!

  1. Turn off facebook! ‘Nuff said.

IMG_7754Jesus is her Savior, she said. Her Lord, she said. And heaven was her eternal home. She had no doubt. She told me these things resolutely, she went to Christian school, after all, and she knew the truth for her whole life. But she didn’t pray, not all that much, not all that often, only when it was really really important, because God had much more important people to listen to, like the president, the Pope, Mother Teresa, perhaps. She just didn’t want to get in the way, she didn’t want to take up God’s time from people who were doing real work for the world that needed it so badly. It was ok that way, she’d make it through without wasting God’s time. She didn’t want to burden Him with her petty stuff.

And then life happened. And life choices were made. And there were bumps in her road, but she still believed, she said, and she’d make it through, she just knew. But she didn’t make it through and her life on earth was over and done way too fast and then she went to her eternal home long before I was ready for her to exit this one. But her words will never leave me and I wish that I had time to tell her one more time how she was never in God’s way. She knows now what I wish she could have known on this earth, that God designed her and me and you to be in His presence, to be together, to heap our burning desires, our deepest needs, our trivial thoughts, our fleeting ideas and longings and everything else, all on Him. She doesn’t have to think she’s a burden anymore; her identity is solved her problems completely resolved and she is wholly His and she is wholly loved.illusion

Perhaps our life choices would be so much more clear, our paths, our destiny, perhaps God’s perfect will would be more easily known if we knew the truth about who we really are, how we are never in the way, we can never burden God with any care or thought or pain or idea. Perhaps the bumps in the road would seem smaller, and wouldn’t slow us down quite so very much, if we realized our identity is not in who we are or what we do or where we go or who we hang with or just how we look. Perhaps if we could see ourselves that way that our Jesus sees us, we would be different people after all. Perhaps we would look different or talk different or speak different to ourselves and to those who dare to come near.  Perhaps it would be easier to find our true selves when our trueness is God’s truth about us, perhaps we could love ourselves, really truly love myself, as God loves me.

Then it would matter so much less what that Facebook says and I wouldn’t need to search for significance as I scroll through social media and what that Twitter tweets me would tell me so much less about my worth and perhaps it wouldn’t mean so much or hurt so hard when the job doesn’t last or the pants suddenly seem too small and the number on the scale is too big, or when the children talk back or the bills pile up and we can’t ever seem to dig our way out. Perhaps we could do so much more than just get through this thing called life and we could run our race with joy and that penetrating, paralyzing fear wouldn’t make us so afraid if we found our completeness in the One who took on our identity and made it His very own, who gave up both heaven and earth to draw us close.

IMG_7751Perhaps if we didn’t strive quite so hard at knowing or doing or being or finding peace or making our way but just rested our very selves, our very identity, in the love that comes from Jesus, perhaps if we were known as one who is loved by God, if we just knew ourselves as one that is wholly loved by Jesus, we would wholly love ourselves and we would wholly love others and isn’t that a whole lot better of a life when what makes you tick isn’t you finding your way but you, finding yourself completely loved by Him?

“Mommy, are we rich?”IMG_0762“Yes, honey, we are.”

“But we’re not REALLY rich, are we? I mean, not REALLY ACTUALLY rich?”

“Actually, we are rich honey, really actually rich.”

The children looked at me, bewildered. The pile of bills that I stuffed in a drawer, the dated paneling on the walls, the broken lawnmower, the nearly dead laptop, and the ugly mauve carpeting on the living room floor disagree wholeheartedly as they beg for my attention and dollars, taunting me, how can we be rich?  How can we be rich when we don’t take annual vacays to Disney or drive new cars or remodel our house or have our yard professionally landscaped or pay for karate or tuba lessons or mani/pedis or shop at the mall? How can we be rich when our budget is small and we have to be creative and inventive and not waste food and not waste clothes and not waste anything at all? How can we be rich?

What a brilliant moment of teaching gratitude, an opportunity to instill thankfulness, to help our small ones understand the gifts that God has given us, to count the blessings we overlook and take for granted each and every day and realize how very, very rich we are. In my county alone, there are over 46,000 who don’t always have enough healthy, nutritious food to eat. 46,000 who sometimes go to bed hungry,  who don’t have all the groceries they need to feed their families and fill their bellies so they can learn and grow and be healthy and strong. My family has a lot of little tummies to fill, but I don’t have to send them to bed hungry. We are rich.

And my church, it collects underwear for the children in the school district because too many little children just don’t have enough, or any, IMG_0754to wear to keep them clean and safe and comfortable at school. And my children have more clothes than can fit in their dresser drawers and stuff in their laundry bins and my laundry is always overflowing and I can’t seem to get it put away because yes, honey, we are rich and we have more than enough.

And my husband and I discuss the bedroom situation, because how can a house with 5 bedrooms not have enough rooms for everyone to sleep and have space and room for all their clothes and their things and a special space for them just to be themselves? And how can such a big family live in a house that is smaller than the average house in the state where we live?  And most of the world lives in just one room, or maybe two, and how can we complain when our bedrooms might be bigger than so many people’s entire house and not because they want a tiny house because all they have and all they afford and all they can muster is just a tiny little house that is as big as just one room? Because, yes, honey, we are rich and this house is big enough.

And maybe we have stacks of bills that need our checkbook’s attention and maybe our budget is tight and that’s not very fun at all and maybe we don’t have every toy or pair of jeans or the newest gadget or the prettiest color carpet but we have a house and a yard and more than enough toys and food that fills our bellies and clothes to keep us clean and comfortable and space for everything and everyone and chickens, and a cat, and we are blessed and yes, we are very, very rich.   And we have enough and more than enough, and often more than we really really want so let’s just pause and say thank you, God, that You have given us so much and made us so very very rich.

And better than clothes and food and toys and space and chickens we are blessed in love and we are blessed in laughter and we are blessed with education and we are blessed with choices and we are blessed with clean air and we are blessed with peace in the hard times and hope in the dark times and lots of children and giggles and joy and best of all we are blessed with Jesus and there is none richer than the one who knows Him as Lord and Savior.

So, honey, we are rich in so very many ways and let’s learn together how we can be thankful for just how rich we are.

 

100_8863When it’s Monday, and the alarm clock is yelling to get you out of your bed and the coffee maker is clogged up yet again and you can’t remember if the kids did their homework or if the field trip is today or last week.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and all you want to do is sleep, glorious sleep, because it’s your only refuge from the hardness of the weekend but you have to get up because there are tiny hungry tummies and carpools to drive and noses to wipe and work to get done and gardens to plant and music to rehearse and lessons to plan.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday, and you never did get caught up on those bills that need paid and the laundry that’s mounded up in the laundry room and the hallway and the sun’s not even risen but you’re up and you’re taming tantrums and kissing away booboos and you just don’t want to think.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and you’re still tired from the weekend and you’re exhausted and it hurts to move and the morning feels raw and you have regrets for the things you did and regrets for the things you didn’t do and you think you really just messed up.

God is faithful.

IMG_2922When it’s Monday and the lawnmower is broken and the laptop is barely working and the toilet won’t flush and there are bugs where there aren’t supposed to be bugs and you’re pretty much in the worst mood ever.

God is faithful.

When it’s Monday and your week is already falling apart and your life is already falling apart and nothing was supposed to happen this way.

God is faithful.

And when it’s Monday and the sun is shining and the birds are singing and you love your work and your children are happy and everything is right in the world.

God is faithful.

When the kids are singing “King of kings and Lord  of lords” at the top of their lungs all the way to school just because.

God is faithful.

And when the kids are fighting because they were singing “Kind of kings and Lord of lords” at the top of their lungs all the way school and it got to be too loud for their own little ears.

God is faithful.

When your son holds up the entire car line of children trying to get in to school because he just wants you to meet his little friend and they come to the car and run off into school holding hands.

God is faithful.

And when news from work and news from school and news from your friends is nothing but bad news.

God is faithful.

And when you just want life to go back to the way it was and you know that it just can’t ever go back.

God is faithful.

IMG_0906 - CopyAnd when it’s good and it’s bad and it’s both all at the same time and you cannot take it all in so you just don’t even try.

God is faithful.

And when it’s Monday or it’s Tuesday or it’s Friday or it’s Saturday God is faithful.

And when things are going right and things are going wrong and things are completely out of our control all we can do is trust in the one who has always been who always will be faithful.

And when you need to remember that He has pulled you through before and He will overcome again take a big breath and let it out and turn it over to Him.

God is faithful.

Fresh fruit for juggling a busy scheduleI love food. I really really love food. I love eating as much as I need breathing. Ok, maybe I love food even more than breathing. And my food passion turns to serious food desperation on those crazy days that I don’t really have time to cook (that’s pretty much everyday). It’s all about the food.  And I love snacking just as much as I love eating but if I am going to stick to my 80% Paelo lifestyle, I need to make good choices even on crazy days. So I’m working on a list of ‘standard snack fare’ that I keep in my kitchen at all times. It’s gotta be healthy and Paleo friendly because otherwise, I’ll be chowing down on my kiddos’ pretzels and goldfish crackers and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and pretty much everything else that they leave behind. I’d much rather feed their leftovers to the chickens and eat something healthier! And it’s got to be a robust kind of a snack or I’ll eat way too many. After all, I like food. I love food. I NEED food. But I don’t need it making me sluggish or hanging around on my thighs…. So here are my favorite go to snacks and mini meals to keep me fueled up and feeling full when life is out of control. And let’s face it, when is life ever not out of control?

1. Banana with a couple tablespoons of almond butter and a few crumbles of homemade Paleo chocolate.

2. A couple of cuties. Call them Cuties, or Halos, or whatever – but a couple of fresh mandarin oranges are a great way to satisfy the sweet tooth, get your vitamin C, and have a nice healthy snack in its own convenient packaging.

3. Faux apple pie. This is delicious when you’re craving something warm and sweet! Cut up an apple any old way you like – I prefer bite size pieces, but slices are good too. Dump them in a bowl with a little bit of coconut oil and a sprinkle of cinnamon (I love cinnamon). Microwave for about a minute, then drizzle with honey (Raw Manuka honey is awesome). It’s like apple pie without the carbs. The coconut oil gives satiety so it’s a great bedtime snack to replace your sugary, sweet dessert.

image4. Eggs. For years, eggs were the ‘bad guys’ of cholesterol, but new studies are showing otherwise. Eggs are a powerhouse of nutrition and protein, easy to cook, and versatile. Keep some hard boiled eggs in the fridge for when you need a quick protein fix.

5.  Smoothies. Smoothies are filling and delicious, but just watch because the calorie count adds up fast. Frozen bananas, a few ice cubes, almond butter, maybe a little protein powder or a scoop of cocoa powder and a little honey. Toss it in your blender and your good to go.

6. Fresh juice. If you have a juicer, you can throw in 3 apples and 2 cucumbers for a great juice to take on the run. They are super nutritious, helps remove any water retention, and will give you energy. Need juicer? Try this one. It’s easy to use and I love mine. Bonus – the chickens love the leftover juice pulp! If you don’t have chickens just use it to create your own compost pile and the waste becomes fertilizer to grow more veggies!

It’s so easy to reach for carbs – crackers, croissants, or pop tarts, make such easy and neat packages, but the sluggishness that comes on after makes the convenience of carbs so not worth it. Instead, keep an extra supply of fresh fruits and veggies on hand: bananas, berries, apples, carrots, celery…. Fresh seasonal produce is almost always cheaper pound for pound than processed foods and gives you much more energy, satiety, and vitamins.

What are you favorite healthy snacks and meals for when you’re super busy?

 

There is a dream I have, of gently easing into my day, with a cup of coffee and a magazine and maybe some dippy eggs, and I am still resting in my bed, all snug and cozy, with cat at my feet, while the sun comes up, and I feel awake, rested, and at peace. And I have a few minutes alone with my Bible before the busy of the day begins, and I can think, and pray, and clear my head and just breathe. Oh to just breathe. Breathe in the scent of lavender, or peppermint, or the fresh morning air while I am at rest and at peace and the scent of coffee brings comfort and love.

Reality is so much harder. It is dark, and I am tossing about because I’m too hot or too cold, or maybe it’s my allergies and I think I can’t breathe, or maybe it’s the cat breathing in my air and asking for her breakfast. And finally, finally, I doze off again.

And suddenly there is squealing and shouting and pounding on the floor above and small children bounding in my IMG_0630door and jumping on my head and begging to be fed and I realize there is no gentle easing into my day, there is a harsh knocking awake and my body takes a small beating from excited children who cannot contain their energy because it’s a new day and who could possibly ever want to sleep another minute when there is a world to explore, a language to learn, and new discoveries like worms and dirt and tasty foods and math equations and a pizza party in the classroom and can’t we have apples for breakfast or bagels or eggs or just anything? And the bounding babies make me smile and laugh and cringe and dive under my pillow for just one more moment of sleep.

And finally the coffee maker turns on and there is the smell of dirty diapers, not the smell of lavender and lace and the harsh reality that the day has started long before I was ever even ready. And I drag my weary body up and out and sizzle up some breakfast for tiny little tummies who have much exploring to do.

And getting going is not so hard because there is no leftover work from yesterday. The dishes were done, and the backpacks were packed and the lunches were ready and in their little bags and 6 little sets of pants and shirts are all laid out in a row so there is no scrambling for baby socks or stain-free shirts and hole-less pants. Homework’s been checked and rechecked and signed and even water bottles are waiting in the fridge, ready for little fingers to grab and take along. And it may not be quiet, and it might not smell sweet, but I can sip a few sips of coffee as the baby sips her bottle and I can savor my eggs as the kids savor theirs and we can talk and tell jokes and jump together into this new day.

And the single secret to saner mornings isn’t to do lists or well-behaved babes or skipping breakfast or doing imagesomething that is very hard at all. The secret is simply finishing yesterday before it’s a new day, and putting away, and planning ahead, and whenever you can, to work until the work is done so that rest is more restful and the day starts shiny and new, without dragging along the baggage of the past to weigh down the newness and dull out the shiny and ruin a day before it begins. And it might not be the daydream beginning that is soft and sweet and smelling so good, but it is the closest and best that I can come to making the dreams I dream be my life. And someday the bounding bouncing babies will be seeking coffee of their own, and cringing under their pillows in their own cozy warm beds and I’ll remember the times they bounced me awake and all I wanted was peace and dreams and lavender and a saner morning. And the mornings are hard but they are good because they are full of laughter and sillies and bounding babes and I’ll just do my best to cuddle and sip as they drag me along and it’s ok because yesterday is already wrapped up tight and cleaned away and I can face this new day because joy is in it, and love is in it, and babies are in it, and God is in it first.

Devotional time. Epic fail #532.

Foiled again. I have such plans to be such a super Christian. To read my Bible through and through every three months. To pray – really pray – fervently pray – on my knees, all alone, with Scripture, and a list, and incense, and intercession, and kick the devil and his sickness and his sin to the curb kind of pray. But I am busy and I am tired and I am weary from the stresses of this world and I have too much work and too few hours in these really long days and I just don’t know how I can be a super Christian without super praying and super Bible reading when somehow I just can’t seem to get off by myself, to be alone, so I can listen to God and learn to know and love His voice. I can’t seem to bring myself to open my Bible and read. Anything. Any of it. Any where. And I really can’t seem to bring myself to pray when I am this broken and tired and all I want to do is close my eyes and not pray but sleep instead and then I am overcome by the deepest of guilt because I know that I should be so excited about God that I just don’t need sleep because I am so filled up with Him and His Word. And so my super plans are a super fail and I am pretty sure that God hasn’t really called me to be a super Christian anyway. And I still feel the guilt and I still feel a little less lovable because I am not who or what or why or where I want to be.IMG_4025

I’m pretty sure that God has called me to Himself. And I’m pretty sure that God wants my heart more than anything else. And I am really sure that becoming some pious super-Christian won’t make God love me any more or less, any deeper or wider, any closer or farther. And I am really sure that God is not surprised that I am busy and tired and weary and struggling to pray and read my Bible because He knows this earthly life from the inside and the out. First He made it, in love and in care and in fastidious design, and then He stepped right out of heaven and He lived it so He would know how much it hurts to be busy and how much more we need Him when we’re busy and how hard it is to pray when we are tired and how much more we need to pray when we are tired. And the best part about it is that He gets it- He really really gets it – not like the oncologist understands other people’s cancer but like the patient who is on the other side of chemotherapy with scares and the scars to prove it. He has lived it, the tired and the busy and the weary and the aching longing need to find rest in His heavenly Father.

And there is no simple answer to the tired and the busy and their is no quick fix for the weary and the stress and there is no magic formula to eradicate that guilt. There is only moving forward. There is only a tiny step, or sideways hop, and an itty bitty crawl or scoot or limp or leap – however you can move forward to reach for God, however fast, or slow, or how great the effort to move so small, we make the move towards Him and He will bridge the gap, He already has bridged the gap and He will always bridge the gap because He has promised us that it is so. He has promised us that He will reward those who have faith to who seek Him in earnest. It doesn’t matter the distance, or the weakness, or the gap; it only matters the ‘earnest’ and the faith.

IMG_0696It doesn’t matter the alone-ness of your seeking.

It doesn’t matter the quantity of your seeking.

It doesn’t matter the eloquence or the alertness or the knowledgeable-ness, or the Super Christian-ness of your seeking.

Only the faith and the seeking is of consequence; the rest will be bridged by the one who has lived it and come out the other side, the distance covered by the one with the scars of sacrifice, the guilt absolved by the author, perfecter, rewarder of our faith.  Don’t give up when you are tired and weary and stressed and run down and scared and alone or wishing you were alone and don’t give up when this is epic fail #5 million 32 because the gap has been bridged and you need only do the seeking. So say the sleepy jumbled up prayers with a desperate heart and a faith that knows that God hears and understands and answers every prayer no matter how messy, no matter how sleepy. Read the jotted down Bible verse on the crumpled up sticky note until it sticks in your head and sticks in your soul and sticks for sure in your every action no matter how short that verse or long. That word, or phrase, or verse, or chapter scribbled on the sticky or tweeted or sung – those are God’s Words and there is no limit to their power or their breadth or their scope so long as they stick, so long as you are seeking.

And that thing you need most to find the God who gave all is not the perfect devotional time or the right amount ofimagereading or the effectiveness of your praying or the incense or mood or the anything else at all; that thing you need most to connect with the Creator who has already bridged the gap is that heart that you have, all broken and bruised and torn and tired and earnestly seeking and that faith that you can muster, no matter how small, to believe that He is bridging the gap. And you don’t have to believe me, the failed super Christian who is tired and weary and can’t get it right so long as you believe the one who already lived the life that is busy and tired and broken and bruised and who reaches for us from the other side, the new life, the guiltless life, the resurrected, perfected, and everlasting life. You cannot fail when He rewards you with Himself.

Believe. Seek. Earnestly.

 

IMG_0895 - CopyDon’t we seem to lose sight of what’s the most important when we’re too busy?  It’s just one day…. it’s just a few minutes… just, just a moment here or there… and in those few busy minutes we seem to lose track of precious years of the things that mean the most to us, the things that are the most critical to us, and the things that should be defining us. I don’t like myself when I am too busy; I don’t like what too busy and too tired and too stressed does to the person that is supposed to be me. Too busy means that I am not kind or creative or contemplative; I am not giving nor seeking to give. Too busy means I am too caught up in my own concerns to see how I can help someone else’s too busy, too. Too busy means that I am just getting by and not enjoying a single moment of the too busy so why bother with all of those things that make it what it is? What is the point of too busy if it isn’t positive and helpful and most importantly, focused on what is most important?

No matter how busy we are, there are things we cannot afford to skimp on; things we just must not let go of; things that need our attention and our affection and our absolute best self. No matter how busy we are we cannot afford to skimp on these 6 things. We cannot afford to lose sight of the most important; we cannot give up on, let go of, or let fall by the wayside the 6 things that we need the most when we are at our busiest.

Exercise. It helps keep you healthy. It creates mood boosting endorphins that counteract stress. It helps you stay younger, alert, and strong. It doesn’t have to be much, or fancy. Just a walk in the park or the yard or if necessary, at the mall.

Eating well. It keeps you healthier, it keeps bad food from weighing you down, making you sluggish, and tired, and sick, and miserable. It makes your body function the best that it can, and the busier we are the better we need our bodies to work.600817_4103356262744_1911529201_n

Sleep. I need my beauty sleep, and even more so, I need my attitude sleep. I need sleep to stay calm and I need sleep to stay strong and I need sleep to work harder, faster, and be more creative. I need sleep so my body can rest, recoup, and recover from stress and sickness. I need sleep to cope with the busy but somehow sleep is always the first to go when busy sets in.

Family. No one needs you more than your family, no one loves you more than your family, no one is probably more willing to let you get by than your family because no one is quite so forgiving as your family. No matter how busy busy gets, you can’t afford to skimp on cherubic faces and toothy grins and muddy hugs with holes in the knees. Nor can you skip on an aging parent’s wisdom or your crazy brother’s shot in the arm. They need you; they need you to need them; and need them, you do and if not today, you’ll need them tomorrow when the busy is hopefully gone.

God’s Word. More than bread. More than air. More than water. We need the Word of God to feed our souls so our souls can thrive under any pressure. We need God’s Word so we can draw close to God even when He seems far away because of the busy. We need God’s Word for its perspective, its strength, its soothing balm, its faith inducing, miracle inspiring, soul healing, life changing words that come straight from the heart and mouth of God and aimed directly at us.

IMG_0926Prayer. Prayer isn’t just a list of demands for a supernatural genie. Prayer is conversation with the Creator, the Maker, the Holy One, the Savior, our Friend. Prayer is when we unload our burdens, share our cares, solidify our hopes, discover our dreams, and become more like the Savior who gave up everything for us.

Six things. Just six. That you cannot forgo no matter how busy. 6 things that will control the busy. 6 things that will fulfill you like the busy never will. 6 things. I need these 6 things. I need these 6 things no matter how busy. I’m working on the six things and I’m working to get rid of the busy.  If you help me with the 6 things, I’ll help you with your 6 things.

Oh, yeah. We want to stop the busy. We all want to stop the busy. We have quite the love-hate relationship with the IMG_4025busy. But there’s so much to do to stop the busy, we just don’t know where to start. So here it is – the list – the starter list- of things that you and I need to quit doing so we can stop the busy. Are you ready to stop the busy? Then just stop:

10. Stuff hoarding. Oh, yeah, we need to cut the clutter. And if you have battery powered toys you know exactly how this happens. The most favorite Buzz Lightyear toy needs a new battery immediately before eternal, heart wrenching, small child despair sets in. Of course, since it’s a child’s toy, you have to use a screwdriver to open the battery compartment in order to change the batteries. No big deal, right? Well, the screw driver you keep handy in the house for just such a purpose is not where it’s supposed to be. So you start looking. You dig through the junk drawer, looking for that pesky screwdriver. You find some legos, those are easy to put away. You dig through rubber bands, and old stamps, and I don’t know what the heck that thing is to save my life, and some half-chewed book marks, a stick of gum, and a pile of other things that you’re not really sure what to do with. All you know is that there is no screwdriver to be found. So you pile the stuff back in so that you can spend 20 minutes digging through it the next time you need something, and head to the garage. Same scenario, this time, with bigger stuff. Finally, you find the aforementioned screwdriver in the bottom of a box of really old recycling and head back to the house to open up Buzz’s battery compartment. Oh, it needs C batteries. Where are those pesky C batteries? And the search begins again. What should have been a 5 minute chore took an hour because, well, there was just too much stuff in the way. Stuff wastes time. Cut the clutter. Have less stuff. Have more time. Be ruthless. It will stop the busy.

IMG_06569. Washing stuff twice. This. This is the thing that kills me. You know, when the kids rifle through their drawers, only to wear something for 5 minutes and then throw it in the laundry. Perfectly clean practically unworn clothes tossed haphazardly into the dirty hamper. And then it’s heaped in with sweaty sweatshirts and smelly pants and that comforter that is, for some ridiculous and unknown reason, smeared with an entire jar full of peanut butter and jelly. And so we wash the same clothes again, And again. And again. I suppose less choices would lead to less dirty clothes…. whatever the solution, one must be found because we must stop the busy.

8. Wasting food. Toddlers are the ultimate food wasters. Take a bite, run away from the table. Take a bite, dump the food on the floor. Take a bite, pour water in it. Finally, take a bit off of the floor. Spit it out. Because food on the floor is yucky. Then there are the grownup variety of food wasters, too – how many science experiments are growing in your refrigerator at any given time? I’d say there are about 7 in mine. Why? Because the fridge is stuffed full to the brim and I can’t find what I want so I don’t serve the leftovers that I planned to have for dinner today. Instead, I cook something new, or worse, hit the drive through –  losing time and money and everything else that’s still in the fridge turns green and I’m afraid to look at it so I let it be. That was food?

7. Paying bills late. Because late fees cost us money! See number 6.

6. Wasting money. Because, like it or not, sometimes time is money. If you waste your money, you’ll need to make more money. The more time you have to spend on making more money, the busier you are. But I thought you really wanted to stop the busy?

5. Multi-tasking. When you try to do too many things at once, you don’t do them well. Slow down and just take oneIMG_5692 thing at a time. Because otherwise, I burn the toast, wrinkle the clothes, trip on the cat, spill the coffee, slip on the floor and bruise my pride and my backside, so of course then I forget the errand I was supposed to run, and somehow feel like I am soooo busy and not really getting anything done.

4. Dealing with stuff twice. As soon as you get the mail, throw the junk away. When you get a receipt, ditch or file it, don’t save it for later. Don’t go through the kids backpacks until your ready to do the backpacks. Otherwise, papers just float around the house, get lost, or chewed on by the dog. Or a small child. Wait until you’re ready to manage it all, start to finish. If you use something, put it away. If you spill, clean it up. If you start it, complete it. Then you can have it be finished and forget it, rather than meandering around with it in your brain where other, much more important stuff should be residing. Like stuff that will help you pay your bills on time so you can be less busy.

3. Complaining. Don’t complain! It will make difficult stuff even worse when you ruminate on it. Instead, face it head on, as cheerfully as possible. Wasting time being miserable is just wasting time.

2. Living on Facebook. Facebook is a great tool, but somehow this tool creeps in and starts to run our lives for us. Turn it off. Delete it from your phone. Log out. Do whatever you have to do to keep yourself from constantly checking it. Set aside a few minutes specifically for enjoying Facebook, but only if that’s true – if you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it. Facebook is known to cause depression, and if it’s hurting you in this way, or its sucking up too much of your precious time, just put it away.

1. Checking your phone. How many precious seconds do we waste checking our phones? Some studies say that the average American adult checks their smart phone over 200 times per day. If that only happens during the 16 hours you’re supposed to be awake, that’s about 12 or so times per hour. That’s once every 5 minutes. Your phone is a more frequent interruption than your kids! Turn off the notifications and limit the time you spend checking them. Chances are, you’re doing it out of habit and not because you really need or want to. You’ll feel less scattered and more able to concentrate and you’ll be far more productive by limiting yourself. Better productivity means you’re wasting less time and you’re accomplishing more – which adds up to less busy!IMG_0827 - Copy

Do you really want to stop the busy? Stop doing these things! And stop doing other things that cause us to be busy for no good reason. Just stop the busy.

Which one will you start stopping today?