My Google Calendar Method

During the Make Over Your Mornings ecourse, Crystal shared about writing a To Do List vs. Brain Dumping. Both super valuable, but the latter is what I had been calling writing a To Do list. I would end up with a million things written down all over the place and then I would get completely overwhelmed with all there was to do.

Now I have a new perspective. I can brain dump, but that stuff needs to stay dumped. There needs to be less brain energy spent going back over and over and over to that list to decide what to do and not do. Instead, I need to write a doable To Do list for the day, and use brain dumping as a method to get rid of excess, not burden myself with it.

I have used Google Calendar in the past, and now I have new motivation. When Crystal shared that she uses Google Calendar there were several people curious about how to utilize it. Since I know I do way more than a lot of people would, hopefully you can find something useful in my method.

Another Daily View

First: I create all the daily events and have them repeat daily.

  • Morning Routine (Repeats Every Day Except Sunday for 90 Minutes, I have even written down the whole routine in the Details section to check if I need to review or remember)
  • Nursing my Baby (While I am doing on demand it is helpful to recognize the approximate times she eats because those are times I can’t really be doing something else, so as I plan things I am able to recognize that I might get interrupted or need to feed her first or after)
  • Eating Meals (I will absolutely forget to eat if I don’t have someone or thing to remind me)
  • Checking Email (Ditto to Eating)
  • And for This Season, Skyping my Boys

Repeating Daily

The reason I put things on that I do daily is because it is so easy to fill a day with other things to do and at the end of the day think I failed when in fact I just didn’t account for the time that I need to take care of these daily routines.

Second: I Look at the Weekly Events That Repeat & Make Adjustments

  • Add Church & Have it Repeat Weekly (I made sure to put the start and end time from when I need to leave to when I usually get home after hanging out, etc.)
    • After adding church I realized my Morning Routine would be shifted, but I don’t want to wake up way earlier with a baby still nursing and up throughout the night
    • I split my morning routine by taking out Coffee & Bible Reading. I get both at church, but I also added Bible Reading in the evenings previously so Sunday I decided to have a longer Evening Quiet Time.
    • I am sharing a little of my thought process here, but you will have to see what are other variables in your week that disrupt or interrupt daily routines and how you are going to make your life a Thriving Life.
  • Add Friends
    • I have several friends that I see weekly, so I added those weekly engagements and adjusted the meals and Evening Quiet Times that were at the same time.
    • For me my Fellowship time does not replace Quiet Time in the evening and I still need to eat
  • Add Bible Study
    • I have a monthly Bible Study and a Weekly Bible Study available to me, and with the baby I don’t always attend, but if it isn’t on the calendar I can’t even begin to remember or prioritize that

Scheduled Tasks

Third: Add My Goals

At the beginning of the year I prayed through a lot of goals. I won’t talk all over again how this all came together, but one of the things I did was break the goals up from Year to Month to Week to Day as appropriate.

For Monthly Goals I decided what needed to happen each week to achieve those goals, so on Google Calendar I used the All Day & Repeat buttons to have these repeat for that week of the month. As I get to that week I create a new event on the day I decide will work best to accomplish that piece of the task.

  • Encouraging Louis’ Talent in Photography
    • Week 1: Find a List, Challenge, Technique, etc. for Louis to Try
      • When I get to the first week of a month this will be already on the Google Calendar for the whole week, so I can choose a day.
      • I do not change the repeating event. Instead I add a new event to the calendar on the day I am going to sit on Pinterest and choose something to give to Louis
    • Week 2: Ask Louis About Photography
      • This can happen any time, but I know that this is a way to show Louis love so I want to make a special point of doing this. However, I might not even put this on the calendar as a new event.
    • Week 3: Make a Date to Look Through Pictures
      • This is one that will take two events
        • Day 1-Make a date with Louis
        • Day 2-The Date
    • Week 4: Upload New Pictures to Computer & Blog
      • Create an event to upload
      • Create an event to select some for my Blog Folder on my computer
      • If there are blog posts ready in need of a picture, Create an event to find specific pictures for the blog

This is an example of how I go through my Monthly Goals, and I am not going to go through each event I have on my calendar.

Task List

Fourth: The Task List

This is a really fun part of Google Calendar where I put goals and new habits I am building. This part has due dates and you get to check things off and they will get crossed off the list! Fantastic feeling!

As I am working back up to my Quiet Time being all I love it to be, I am not trying to do everything at once. One thing I am working back up to is my actual Study. In the earlier days of my pregnancy I was reading a chapter a day of 1 Samuel, but I have been posting them once a week, so I was able to have a surplus of chapters posting ahead of me. In August that surplus will end, so I am starting to work toward my every day reading. On the Task List I put one chapter for next week, then two chapters the following week. If it turns out my adding a chapter a week doesn’t work I will change the deadlines, but I am looking to go back to reading a chapter a day every weekday.

Year Long Goals I originally split into Monthly steps, so I have added those with deadlines to my task list as well.

Hopefully this is helpful, and if you have any questions or want to share how you organize your days please comment.

My Goals For This Week

This Week’s Goals:

Family

  1. Organize Kids’ Clothes:
    1. Take Out Clothes That Are Too Small
    2. Pack Up & Label Clothes That Are Too Small
  2. Pack Up & Label Pregnancy Clothes
  3. Write Love Notes to Louis & Kyrie
  4. Exchanges and Returns on baby clothes she has already outgrown

Education

  1. Create an Arabic Study System
  2. Add the Motor Themes to the Homeschooling Curriculum
  3. Begin Reading TCK

Ministry

  1. Continue Bible Reading Plan
  2. Write Lisses to Lebanon Blog Update
    1. Funding Update
    2. Timeline Update
  3. Start Reading Serving as Senders
  4. Organize the Space to Write Thank You Cards

Personal

  1. Celebrate the first 2 Weeks of my Made Over Morning Routine: Use my Coldstone Gift Card
  2. Begin Studying the Bible again by reading 1 chapter this week of 1 Samuel
  3. Choose a Book For Fun & Start Reading

I realize I might be jumping in to far too much, but what I have been learning these past few weeks as I have begun my Morning Routine again is how useful scheduling out my days can be. Thank you, again Crystal @Money Saving Mom. So, I have begun using Google Calendar in a way that I might share as soon as I figure out how to explain it. The main point is to put it down on paper and leave it there. So, before I send these goals out now I have them written down on my calendar in a reasonable way. More on that later, but for now…

Accountability through Blog, we have Re-Begun!

As always, feel free to join the accountability of goal setting by writing your own goals in the comments.

This Season

Ecclesiastes 3.1-8

This season has felt so long and hard, and yet it has also felt like a Season: temporary, cyclical, and worn. I just read Ecclesiastes again recently. The main theme is that there is a season to everything, and because of this there is nothing new under the sun. It may seem like we are striving in vain, and in fact, we are. God did not create us to strive for wealth, power, opportunity, freedom, etc. He created us to worship Him with all our hearts, souls, and minds. So as we toil and work, we should do so to His glory and in joyfulness.

This does not mean that we won’t have seasons of grief, I am currently in one. It does mean that even in this season I want to look for the purpose God has me here today, rather than with my husband and two-year-old. I have been keeping track of at least one reason each day that God has me here. This has been a new exercise in gratefulness because it is making me focus on God, which I knew was a main lesson I needed.

I needed to learn that my family is not the most important thing.

I realized that my desperation and grasping, that feeling of drowning and paralysis, when my boys left was the effect of idolatry. I had made them so important in my life that they had been raised higher than God. I have talked about idolatry many times before because this is something I try to stay aware of at all times. But for some reason it crept back in as seasons changed. As we moved, it was just easier to hang out with them to absorb the shock of moving around so much. When I am pregnant I have a lot of trouble reading, and this also gave me reason to find ways to just hang out as a family doing things rather than alone with God. The seasons shifting, and the joy that I had going into the seasons, allowed me to grow lazy and forget to plant a new harvest because the last one was so good.

Here is the trick: Seasons

    Seasons are often talked about in Christianity, but I have never before related to it. Now I see that some of the reason we fall back into old sins is that a new season comes and we are unprepared. When I was pregnant in Lebanon I had my Quiet Time figured out for that season. However, that season is past, and even when I go back it will look slightly different because of the new baby. However, seasons are cyclical, so a similar season will come when we return and I will be able to put together a similar routine. It is like adding a plot of land to the farm, I have more land and a new routine will make it possible to water, seed, and harvest all my land. When the baby was born I already knew that my Quiet Time would be disrupted for awhile. My Bible reading moved to solely the reading I was doing with Davy each night. And because of this I was able to take a season to increase the amount of Bible he and I were reading together. We were up to five chapters a night when they headed back to Lebanon. Then it was a new season altogether. I had no Bible reading time scheduled in. It took a few weeks, but now I have a new routine to wake up and get to the Bible. I already know the seasons are going to change again very soon, but now I am going to be prepared. Instead of being hit with each season unaware I was able to prepare for a period of time which would have less Quiet Time by reading and studying and writing so much while pregnant. Now I can see the change coming and can work that same preparation in other areas. I have no idea why this has only just occurred to me, but it is aiding my life goals.

Growing Up

    There are so many things God has shown me in this time, and so many of them are not new lessons. I think that Ecclesiastes can seem so discouraging to people when it says, “There is nothing new under the sun.” People want new, but in reality our lives are so short much that is old will seem new to us. Ex Machina is a movie that came out recently. To many people it was unique, new, and that was exciting. I enjoyed it, too, but I have read everything Isaac Asimov has ever written, so I was not able to say any of it was new. The ideas were strung together in a different way and with different people, but the story was not brand new. Nothing is. I have learned that this is not discouraging, it is a huge help in simplifying.

Knowing that a season will not last helps me to remain guided by God. When I think I can control the things around me, not recognizing their short life, I set myself up for failure. I am finishing an ecourse called Make Over Your Mornings, which has really been all about seasons for me, and as I have determined new evening and morning routines, it has been essential to see what is happening in this current season instead of trying to figure out how this will apply to the future. Where am I at right now? This allows honesty with myself, which helps me stay accountable, and to grow. It is also an exercise in trusting God because I know my season is changing. But even if I wasn’t going to be moving in the next few months, I need to always remember the season I am in will not last. Whether it is a season of poverty or abundance, loneliness or crowded, and I need to continue to rely on God, to thank Him and to seek the reason I am here today.

Packing Light

    Because I have more of a priority on Reading than most things I want to take as many books as possible for Davy’s homeschooling next year. In the curriculum she has a book for each letter, number, and a book of the week, so basically two to three books of the week. This is exciting for Davy and was how we ended last year anyway because we ended up cutting several units at the end and still read all the books of the week.

    However, through the encouragement of friends and family I know that I need to take clothing that fits, makes me feel good, and not to rely on buying when I get to Lebanon. Well, guess what my clothes are not fitting me well and so I have delved back into my closet for some XLs and am in the process of deciding what to pack. I was very inspired by a blog that takes One Suitcase. Using 14 or so pieces, she makes a months worth of outfits! Therefore I thought I would catalogue my progress in case anyone out there is looking to change up their wardrobe without breaking the bank.

Step 1: Catalogue What You Have

I took out all of my shirts, tops, and scarves and photographed them. My photos don’t look pretty, and I took them as fast as I possibly could because this isn’t about what my photos of clothes look like it is about the end result of being able to dress for the day with as few items as possible in my suitcase to Lebanon.

Capri Length Leggings

Stretch Pants (+Another Black Pair I’m Currently Wearing)


Skirts (+A Maxi Skirt I Just Bought, Has Mostly Darks & Some Color & A Pattern)

Dresses

Dressier Shirts

Used to Dress Up, Make Modest

T-Shirts

I am not including the three pieces I left in Lebanon.

I did not take pictures of my shoes or other accessories, but you easily could.

 

Key Lessons:

Colors:

Darks: Greys, Blacks, Navy

Purple

Teal

A Few Brown

One Pink

One White

Style:

My shirts are basically two styles. My pants are all one style. My skirts and dresses have some variety.

 

Goals:

As you know a key to making this blog this year is Goal Setting and Following Through, so I need to set some goals.

  1. Choose 2 One Suitcase “Prompts” to follow through with
  2. Gain some more variety instead of buying the same pieces over and over

Ready…

We all know the next part, “Get Set… Go!” But I am not at that point yet. Go is not the goal, it’s living a less stress life, one focused on Joy and Glorifying God the Father. So, I have taken it slow since having our wonderful daughter. Now that she is two months old and Louis and Davy are back in Lebanon, I think it is time to begin work on a goal I made at the beginning of the year. I knew I would not be able to completely follow through with my Quiet Time plan immediately after she was born. Instead I have spent the time in my last trimester until the boys left only reading the Bible to Davy during his bedtime routine. This was wonderful time for me to share Scripture with him, and to let it soak into my heart in a new perspective as I read to my son.

    However, since they left I haven’t touched my Bible. There are excuses I can use, of course, and most people wouldn’t bat an eye at a mom with a two-month-old taking a break from reading the Bible. God asked me to read the Bible every day though, and I was reading the Bible every day when I had two kids around. With the smaller, quieter, less mobile child my only responsibility I know that I have no excuse before God to merely carry my Bible around without opening it each day. So, I am ready to work myself back into my Quiet Time routine. Here is how:

1. Read the Bible EVERY DAY. Even if I just get to Psalm 23, I know that the routine will aid me in establishing the habit. Once I pick it up and read it I know I will find the time to read more of the Bible.

2. Follow the Make Over Your Mornings Course by Crystal Paine.

3. Grace. I will not look back at a “better” time when I was doing everything right. I have never been perfect, and I need to look forward to what God has in store for me, asking for help when needed.

    When I made my goals for Bible Reading at the beginning of the year I wasn’t sure how I was going to be able to actually follow through, but I knew with certainty that God had asked me to set the bar that high. Therefore, I knew that He had a plan for getting me back to personal Bible reading after Kyrie’s birth. Of course, step one of my plan is the biggest/hardest.

    Step 2 is what encouraged me the most. I follow the Money Saving Mom blog, and today is the launch of her e-course Make Over Your Mornings. Head over and purchase the workbook and course uber-cheap because it is launch day (June 2, 2015). It was such Providence that as I was thinking and praying about how I need God to show me the way to reestablish my morning routines this shows up in my inbox. Thank God for Crystal. I know that many people will benefit from this, but I feel like she has been making this course just for me. In fact, the second paragraph in the workbook is me: “Maybe you’ve just passed through the newborn baby stage and are ready to think about setting an alarm clock again.”

So, I am ready, but I am not going to run crazy. I need to take into account that there is going to be more big changes in my future, and I need to stay reasonable. I just feel more homeless than ever right now being here while my boys are in our apartment in Lebanon, and I believe that remembering that my True Home is in Christ’s Home will ease my spirit.

    If you need a morning routine, this could be something we do together! I will be sharing what I learn and how I am improving on this blog, so feel free to share your own experiences in the comments. Prayer and encouragement are always accepted and needed.