One Habit a Month: Spend Time Outside Daily

As you know, each month this year I’m focusing on one new habit that I want to become part of the fabric of my life. I’d love to have you join me! May is here and it’s time to tackle a new habit.

After tackling a difficult habit the past two months (limiting techy distractions), May’s habit will be fun: spend at least 15 minutes outside with the children each day.

In the early spring when the weather is mild, the birds are singing and the flowers bloom, spending time outside is easy. The warm spring air invites you outdoors with open arms.

As we head into May and the temperature keeps rising, it gets harder. Yesterday was swimming weather and today doesn’t look much cooler. Getting three little ones ready to play in the heat takes longer. The shade disappears sooner in the morning and I need to be more careful to protect sensitive skin from too much sun.

But it’s worth it. Not only are the munchkins much happier when they have time to play in the fresh air and run around in the sun, Mama is much happier too.

15 minutes isn’t very long, but it’s so manageable I’m confident we can make it into a habit. Plus, 15 minutes usually turns into an hour once we actually step outside!

What about you? Are you working on any new habits? Do you want to join me?


April’s Habit: How Did You Do?

Instead of Grand Resolutions for 2012, this year I’ve been working on implementing new habits that will help me become a more disciplined woman. For the past two months, I’ve been working on establishing and following technological guidelines.

The more I’ve sought to wisely use my time online, the more I’ve realized that time management is not something I’m going to master once and never struggle with again.

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I was specifically working on three aspects of online time management this month

  • Rework blogging “time budget” since my morning has changed. (Read more about time budgets in Tell Your Time.)

Our morning rhythm has changed, again. Not only are we exercising and eating a sit-down breakfast (which takes more time to make and clean-up!) but little Meg switched to just an afternoon nap.

These changes have been good for the family. Life with little ones is constantly changing. They grow, their needs change and the routine needs to adapt. Again. 

  • Set aside 20 minutes in the late morning while the kids play to do all the “quick” things like answer emails, pay bills, check Facebook, etc.
This makes such a big difference….on the days I can find the time! 
  • Avoid emails/Facebook during the first 30 minutes of “writing” time.

It’s so easy to get distracted rather than focusing on what I should be doing. Choosing to say “no” to the distractions makes the time online so much more productive. If I’m able to follow #2, it makes this last one much easier!

It’s easy to get discouraged. If this was the only habit I worked on for the entire year I doubt I’d have it completely conquered.

However,  it is been encouraging to no longer feel “addicted” to the web.

Yes, the routine keeps changing. Some days I still spend too much time online.

This is an area I will have to keep on working on. An area that needs to continually come under Christ’s dominion.

How about you? Did you do better with your habit this month? 

Linked up at Motivation Monday, Better Mom, Raising Arrows and Handful of Heart

One Habit a Month: [Continue to] Establish Technological Guidelines

Following technological guidelines was the habit I sought to cultivate in March. As I shared yesterday, I’ve still got a lot of work to do.

Blogging takes time.

When I first started to blog, I thought writing a post and hitting “publish” was about all there was to it. (Experienced bloggers, feel free to laugh with me!)  It didn’t take long to realize just how untrue that is.

Some days I’ll sit down to write and realize that there is a WordPress error that needs to be addressed immediately, a backup that wasn’t complete, a dozen encouraging comments I want to answer and two urgent emails. By the time I’m done, nap time is over and I have yet to type a title for a post.

I also started exercising more regularly in March and making a bigger breakfast, which changed my morning routine.

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In April, I’m going to keep on working on technological boundaries for myself. Much as I love blogging and the online community, my family and my home are my first callings. :)

“Efficiency is doing things right; effectiveness is doing the right things,” said Peter Drucker.

These are a few ways I am going to try to make sure I’m doing “the right things” in my online time this month.

  • Rework blogging “time budget” since my morning has changed. (Read more about time budgets in Tell Your Time.)
  • Set aside 20 minutes in the late morning while the kids play to do all the “quick” things like answer emails, pay bills, check Facebook, etc
  • Avoid emails/Facebook during the first 30 minutes of “writing” time.

What about you? Will you join in our “One Habit a Month Challenge”? If so, add a link below or share in the comments. 

Linked up at Titus 2sdaysTeach Me Tuesdays Thankful Homemaker, Encourage One Another & Women Living Well Wednesdays 

(Full disclosure: Links to products in this post are my referral links)


March’s Habit: How Did You Do?

Once again, this is late. I’d like to think that the fact I hardly checked my email let alone blogged this weekend meant I was strictly following technological guidelines. It really just means we had a fun and very busy weekend! 

 Rather than focus on grand resolutions in 2012, my goal has been to work on one habit each month that will help me better fulfill my calling as a woman, wife, mother and/or homemaker. March’s habit was challenging: establish technological guidelines (i.e. stop checking my phone/email constantly!) 

Many of you joined me on that challenge. How did you do?

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This was by far my most challenging habit to establish so far. I failed multiple times.

I  wish I could say I’d fully tamed the techy monster. I haven’t.

Though it wasn’t a stunning success, looking back on the month, I realized it wasn’t quite as much of a failure as I thought either.

  • Following Amy’s advice, I’ve unsubscribed from dozens of email updates, which dramatically cut down on distractions.
  • Even when I know there are emails waiting, I don’t “have” to check them immediately anymore.
  • I’ve been more careful to make phone calls at good times of the day.
  • If I have “just a minute,” I more often color with Will, do a load of laundry, show Rose how to write a new word, or look into baby Meg’s eyes, instead of using those moments to “quickly check _____ online.”

Technology is a wonderful tool, but can so easily become a major distraction. March’s habit helped highlight ways that I could use the internet more wisely, without letting it control too much of my time. Since I still have so much to work on, I’m going to keep working on this habit in April.

What about you? Did you work on a new habit in March? Did you do better at it than I did? :) 

Linked up at Motivation Monday, Better Mom, Raising Arrows and Handful of Heart

One Habit a Month: Technological Guidelines

I was so busy with the No More Student Loans Giveaways last week that I didn’t get my new habit for March posted. [There are over a dozen prizes from some of my very favorite authors and businesses. If you haven't yet, click here to enter the giveawaysEntry closes tonight!]

Rather than make resolutions for 2012, each month I am working to establish one new habit. I would love to have you join me!

In case it got buried in the midst of all the giveaways, here’s the update on February’s Habit (establish a lunch routine).


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“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit,” said Aristotle. Habits, both good and bad, help shape our character.

Lately, I’ve been slipping into a bad habit. It’s called checking my phone for emails/Facebook updates a dozen times a day (or more!)

I’ve excused myself saying, “Oh, it only takes a minute.”

Often though, that minute grows into five or ten minutes. Even when it really does only take a minute, checking email distracts my mind from the task at hand.

In Amy’s excellent book, Tell Your Time, (enter to win one of 3 copies!) she encourages us to step back and evaluate our longterm life goals. To evaluate the kind of person, wife, mother, homemaker, writer and/or      fill in the blank      we want to be.

Once we have a vision for our lifetime goals, we must arrange our days and Tell Our Time so we can fulfill those goals.

Needless to say, the kind of mother I want to be does not check her phone constantly while she’s coloring with her kids.  The kind of wife I want to be isn’t reading an email when her husband has time to talk. I want to use those “extra” moments to tie heart-strings with my family.

Thanks to Amy, I do have blocks of time set aside for blogging, Facebook and all the other online fun. My habit for March is to stick to my online time budget and not let technology distract me from whole-heartedly pursuing my calling as wife and mother.

If there are down times during the day and checking email will not distract me from other priorities, I am allowing myself two (and only two) unscheduled quick checks.

What about you? Are you working on any new habits this month? If so, I’d love it if you linked up or shared in the comments! 

Linked up at Motivation Monday, Better Mom, Raising Arrows and Handful of Heart