Five Tips To Overcome Procrastination

Stressed out? Procrastination could be the cause. Check out these 5 tips to overcome procrastination! #stress #simplify #simpleliving

I recently shared in this post how procrastination almost cost the life of one of our chickens.  Even though procrastinating doesn’t always result in such obvious problems, it always costs us something.  Many times it is unnecessary stress, wasted mental energy, or strained relationships.  We’ve all spent days with that feeling of dread looming over our heads or snapped at our kids because we were in a time-crunch to do something we should have completed weeks ago.  That’s why it’s essential that we overcome procrastination.

Stressed out? Procrastination could be the cause. Check out these 5 tips to overcome procrastination! #stress #simplify #simpleliving

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I get it.  We’re all busy.  We always have more stuff to do than time to do it.  But, if we would just take the extra time to do that stuff, it would relieve a lot of the stress in our lives.  

Here are my favorite tips for overcoming procrastination:  

  1. Consider the cost.  What problems could be caused by putting this off?  What can be gained by doing it immediately?
  2. Avoid committing to stuff that you know you will dread.  Yes, we all have to do some things that we don’t like, but how many times do you commit yourself to something simply because you are afraid to say no?  Consider how much time and energy a project will take before you give it your “yes.”  Jon Acuff says it like this:  “The word yes is very expensive.  You only have a few opportunities to spend it every day.  Don’t waste it on situations that deserve to hear the word no.”
  3. Practice “doing it now.”  We are constantly teaching our kids (and ourselves) to not walk past something that needs to be done.  No, that piece of trash left on the ground will not end in tragedy.  However, by picking it up immediately, you are developing the good habit of not putting stuff off until later.
  4. Be honest with yourself about how long something will take.  So many times, I put something off for WEEKS–only to find out that once I got started, it only took me 10 minutes.  I could have saved myself a lot of stress and mental energy if I had just done it!
  5. Just get started!  Getting started is usually the hardest step.  

I hope these tips help you overcome procrastination and get stuff done!  Do you struggle with procrastination?  What are your favorite ways to overcome procrastination?

Are you striving to teach your kids these life lessons early?  Read about another life lesson your kid needs to learn:

Sometimes in order to build confidence, we have to let kids struggle with the hard things in life. #parenting #dohardthings

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Procrastination. What Does It Really Cost Us?

We all procrastinate from time to time. Find out how we learned how much procrastination can cost. #homesteading #overcomeprocrastination #simpleliving

I think we all struggle with procrastination from time to time, but some people seem to be extra prone to it. I am one of those people. I think for me it’s actually a symptom of perfectionism. I will spend days, or even weeks, delaying the start of a project while I attempt to think of the perfect, most efficient way to accomplish the task. Basically, I have your classic case of “analysis paralysis”–over-thinking a situation so that a decision or action is never taken. However, we recently got a picture of what procrastination can cost.

Do you feel like you're always running out of time?  Procrastination may be the culprit.  Find out here what procrastination is really costing you.

We were cleaning out and re-arranging the chicken coop before winter hit, and I decided to remove one of the hanging waterers.  I took the waterer down from it’s strap and headed to the barn.  As I left, I made a mental note that I should come back and remove the strap.  But, life happened, something else caught my attention, and I put it off until another day.  

The next day Towhead came back from gathering the eggs and told me that “Snowy Owl” (one of our Americauna hens) was hanging up-side down in the coop!  She had apparently tried to roost on the loop at the end of the strap, but her body had slipped through.  She got caught under her wings, and, as she struggled to get free, she ended up tangled and up-side down.  

We quickly removed her, but she was extremely weak.  The poor girl could have been there, struggling, for several hours.  The only thing we knew to do was isolate her, get her started on some electrolytes, and pray for the best.  Within a few days, she was scratching and pecking around!  But, the tips of her wings still drug the ground.  Since she was otherwise normal, and chickens are social animals, we returned her to the flock.  She continued living her normal chicken life, and, after a month, her wings returned to normal.  In fact, this spring she surprised us with a brood of chicks!

We all procrastinate from time to time. Find out how we learned how much procrastination can cost. #homesteading #overcomeprocrastination #lessonsfromthefarm

This story had a happy ending, but it very easily could have ended tragically for Snowy Owl.  I wish it hadn’t happened, but we all make mistakes.  And, the best we can do after-the-fact is forgive ourselves and learn from the experience.  How many times do I walk by something that needs to be done?  How many times do I let distractions pull me away from a task that needs to be completed?  That day, my distraction almost cost us a chicken.  What if it had been one of my kids?

Do you struggle with procrastination?  One thing that has helped me overcome procrastination is to consider what it could cost.  Check out these other tips for overcoming procrastination!

Stressed out? Procrastination could be the cause. Check out these 5 tips to overcome procrastination! #stress #simplify #simpleliving

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We all need a mantra--a simple phrase that reminds us why we do what we do. It can get it through the tough times when we want to give up on our goals. Read what "Empty The Bucket" means for your goals. #goalsetting #dreams #chaseyourdreams

photo credit: Weinlese via photopin (license)

Mom Sets The Tone For The Whole Family

AHA mom

This post brought to you by American Heart Association. The content and opinions expressed below are that of Our Life Out Here.

We’ve all heard the phrases “If momma ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy,” and “Happy wife, happy life.” For me, they have always brought up images of a spoiled, bratty woman who demanded clothes, a nicer car, and countless other material possessions, then made everyone’s life miserable if she didn’t get them. Of course, I’m not THAT woman. But, I think the meaning of those phrases goes a lot deeper.

As a mom, I know that I set the tone for my families health! That's why it's important that I take care of myself. Read these tips for making healthy changes for you and your family. #familyiswhy #lifeiswhy #ad

Through the years, I have noticed that, as a mom, I have an incredible power to set the tone for our entire family. In the morning, I am the one they depend on to get their day started off on the right foot. I’m the one they look to for a solution when things don’t go as planned. I’m the one that plans, buys, and prepares the food that nourishes their bodies. I’m the one that creates the atmosphere they come home to. I’m the one they want by their side during those special moments in their lives. I’m the one that shows them how to use their free time, whether it’s hours in front of the television or getting outside and taking a walk. I’m the one they come to when they are hurting.

That’s why it’s essential that I take care of myself. Not only so that I will be there when my family needs me, but because the habits that I model for my family will determine the habits they develop for life. Since February is American Heart Month, I am taking some time out of my busy days to improve our health by:

  • Adding more fresh fruits and veggies to our plates
  • Finding healthy, tasty alternatives to high-sodium foods and sugary sweetened drinks
  • Making sure that we are all getting plenty of physical activity through both outdoor work and play
  • Being proactive about listening to our bodies by monitoring our blood pressure, level of fatigue, and stamina

As moms, it’s important that we all take the time to evaluate the habits we are modeling for our children. Will you join me?

As a mom, I know that I set the tone for my families health! That's why it's important that I take care of myself. Read these tips for making healthy changes for you and your family. #familyiswhy #lifeiswhy #ad

Here are a few tips to get you started:

  1. Consider planting a garden with your family. Growing your own food gives you control of what is in it, plus kids are more willing to eat something that they grew! It doesn’t have to be anything elaborate, even a small container garden can produce a surprising amount of food.
  2. Commit to trying a new, healthy recipe each week. If you don’t know where to start, The American Heart Association’s Pinterest Page is a wonderful resource.
  3. Set aside a time each day to be active as a family. On busy days, it can be as simple as a walk around the block or a game of catch in the back yard. For days that you have more time, explore your local parks, hiking trails, and bicycle paths. Not only will you become healthier, but the time together makes for great family bonding.

I know that sometimes change can be hard, but you are worth it. Your family is worth it. Life Is Why!

Everyone has a reason to live a healthier, longer life. What’s yours?

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I Don’t MAKE My Kids Share. Here’s Why.

Here's why I don't make my kids share and what I do instead. #parenting

Imagine one of your best friends comes over to share a late lunch. You greet her enthusiastically at the door and offer her a seat in the dining room as you scoop your chicken salad into a pretty bowl. You return, bowl in hand, and join her at the table you’ve adorned with a pretty tablecloth, tea cups, sweet tea, and cute little baguettes.  You can already feel yourself relaxing as you settle into kid-free, adult conversation.  

We don't make our kids share, but we still want to teach them generosity. Read how. #parenting #momhacks

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks, and you pour your heart out as she listens intently.  Yes, this is exactly what you’ve been needing.  You finish off your meal with coffee and homemade zucchini bread, then she slips away as you carry the plates to the kitchen.  You assume she went down the hall to the bathroom.  However, you’ve finished the dishes, put the leftovers away, and tidied the dining room, and she still hasn’t returned.  You wander down the hall to check on her.

What you find stops you in your tracks!  There, in the middle of your bedroom, stands your best friend, adorned in your brand new dress.  She’s accessorized her new outfit with your favorite red heels and small clutch from your closet.  As she gazes in the mirror, she twirls the pearls that your husband bought you for your tenth anniversary around her fingers.  As you approach, you wonder if that is the lipstick you got at the mall last weekend.  

You struggle with the words to express your feelings.  After all, she is your one of your best friends.  You’ve shared not only clothes, but your heart and soul with her.  In fact, you may have shared the things she was now wearing if she had only asked.  On the other hand, you remember how your husband emptied out his boat savings account to buy you those pearls.  There are some things that you just want to have all to yourself.  You remind yourself that people are more important than things.  But, right now you feel hurt, betrayed, and angry.  

She turns to you and announces that she’s going to take your car out for a spin.  She’s always wanted to drive it.  Suddenly, you’ve had more than you can take…

Obviously, if this situation really happened, we would know that your friend has some major boundary issues.  However, have you ever considered that we often put our kids in this situation.  We invite other kids into our homes and then direct them to our kid’s rooms to play.  Inevitably, our kid comes out crying because their latest LEGO creation has been destroyed or their guests won’t return their favorite doll.  

I used to pull my kid aside and remind them that they have to share.  However, forced sharing is not sharing at all!  I want to teach my kids generosity, not simply to comply to the demands of another.  It is important that we teach our kids boundaries.  In order to respect the boundaries of others, their boundaries must be respected also.  So, now we have a different approach.

Before friends come over, I remind my kids that other kids are coming over, and they will want to play with toys, too.  I help them put away anything that is special to them that they don’t want to share.  They know that if they take those items out while company is over, all bets are off.  I also make sure that there are plenty of shared toys to go around.  This is a little more challenging now that we live in a smaller house but was super easy when we had play room.  All special toys were locked in their rooms and all shared toys were in the play room.

This has saved so many tears at our house!  If something does get broken, it’s not a favorite toy.  And, I’ve been so impressed with how my kids have freely shared when they are allowed to take ownership of the situation beforehand.  I hope it can help you, too!

Do you make your kids share?  Or, do you have allow them to set aside special or new toys?

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Let Them Struggle

Struggling to achieve a goal or working toward a purpose builds important character traits. Sometimes it's important to let our kids struggle.

chicken feed haulersI watched from across the field as my 11-year-old tried to wrestle the 50 pound bag of chicken feed out of the wagon and into the chicken house.  The mom in me wanted to run over and help him.  After all, I hate to see him struggle and it would only take me a minute to lift the bag and dump it into our automatic feeder.  But, I knew that it would be best to give him a chance to figure it out–to do the hard thing.  

A little while later, he came to me and told me that he had figured out an easier way to fill the chicken feeder.  He sat the bag on the ground, opened it, then scooped out bucket loads of feed and dumped them into the feeder until the bag was light enough for him to handle.  Then, he simply poured the remaining feed into the feeder.  He has successfully repeated this process weekly for the last year.

This experience is one of many that has taught me to allow my kids to struggle.  Because, as he told me how he overcame that challenge, I saw a change in his countenance–a growing confidence in his abilities.  With each success, he holds his head a little higher and walks a little taller.  He trusts his problem solving skills more.  He grows in his knowledge of who he is and what he is capable of.

Sometimes in order to build confidence, we have to let kids struggle with the hard things in life. #parenting #dohardthings  Now, I don’t purposefully assign my kids jobs just for the sake of making them struggle, but, I do give them tasks that are at the top of their abilities.  And, I always make sure that they understand how their work benefits our family, our homestead, others, and themselves.  Loading the washing machine gives our family clean clothes to wear.  Planting trees will give us shade and fruit in a few years.  Helping build a fence at church keeps younger kids safely away from the parking lot when they play outside.  Feeding and watering our chickens keeps them alive, healthy, and laying eggs (which I allow the kids to sell for spending money).  Because, work that has purpose is fulfilling.  Busywork is drudgery. 

tilling mason dadStruggling towards a goal gives us the opportunity to develop intellectually and to build important character traits such as independence, confidence, perseverance, and problem solving skills.  So, when we don’t rescue our kids at the slightest hint of difficulty, we give the the gift of character traits that will benefit them throughout their lives.  We teach them that failure isn’t final or even a bad thing, but simply an opportunity to try a different approach.  We help them see struggle not as weakness, but an opportunity for growth.  And, most of all, we help them take another step toward becoming a successful adult.

Here’s how I learned to let go of perfectionism and let my kids “help”.

kid chores

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Do Your Kids Need A Bucket List?

Find out how having a bucket list can help your kids achieve great things in adulthood! #bucketlist

One of the most sobering things about being a parent is the realization of how much our kids imitate us. We’ve all had that proud moment when we secretly witness our older child comfort a younger sibling in the same way they’ve seen us do it.  We’ve also hung our heads in shame as we saw a 35 pound version of ourselves yell at that same sibling for a perceived wrong.

I came to that realization again several months ago when I started my bucket list.  I walked into the living room to find my two oldest boys working diligently at something.  When I asked what they were doing, they informed me that they were writing their bucket lists.

bucket list

Because they had seen me prioritize making a bucket list and checking items off of it, my boys, who hate to write, deemed it important also.  But, the coolest thing about their bucket lists was seeing how they dream with reckless abandon.

Fire the cannon on a tank? Sure.
Buy a BMW? Why not.
Publish a book? No problem.
Skydive with a LEGO MINIFIGURE? I’ve got this.

The thing about kids is they usually don’t have the life experience to know that something is dangerous, extremely hard, or even impossible.  They don’t consider that their dream job doesn’t pay well (or at all), or the fact that their chances of making it as a rock star or into the NFL are slim to none.

As adults, we know this.  So, we pat them on the head, give them a “that’s nice, honey”, and exchange a knowing glance with any other adults within earshot.  We know that they’ll learn someday.  Someday they’ll have a house with a mortgage, student loans, babies screaming, and a leaky hot water tank.  Then, they’ll trade in that dream job for whatever pays the bills and spend all of that skydiving time and money on their kids’ little league games.

But, what if we expected more for our kids?  What if, instead of placating them, we helped them make a plan for achieving their goals?  Now, I’m not saying you can coach your 5’2″, 100 pound 18-year-old into the NFL.  But, there are things on their list that you CAN help them achieve.  Writing a book is a big undertaking, but it’s doable.  Give them the time and space to write, help them with brainstorming and editing, research self-publishing along with them, and use your contacts to find someone that has published a book and would be willing to encourage them along the way.

If you can help them achieve a big goal now, before life beats them up a little, they will learn that it’s okay to dream big because with perseverance, a little ingenuity, and a lot of hard work, they can accomplish great things.

And, don’t worry.  The NFL thing will work itself out.

goal setting for kids

photo credit: Imagining via photopin (license)

Do you or your kids have a bucket list?  If not, I recommend checking out the Live Your List show.  It’s family friendly, entertaining and inspirational.  Plus, it’ll get you started on your bucket list.  🙂

Need some motivation to check some items off of your list?  Check out this post!
photo credit: Weinlese via photopin (license)

photo credit: Weinlese via photopin (license)