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21 Days to a More Disciplined Life: How to Make Time for What’s Important

Tonight we close out the 21 Days to a More Disciplined Life series. It’s been an eventful experience, to say the least. I knew I need to intentionally focus on developing discipline in my own life, but I had no idea how eye-opening and convicting it was going to be for me to spend three weeks blogging about it.

We Always Find Time for What is Important to Us

You see, for years, I’ve come up with excuses for so many deep-rooted bad habits in life. I’ve excused almost always being late and behind as the result of being busy and having so much on my plate. In reality, while I do have a lot on my plate, my lack of being on time and getting things done early is because I habitually procrastinate and don’t prioritize things well.

I don’t plan ahead like I should. I wait until the last minute. I do things that don’t really matter to avoid doing what is most important.

You would think I would know better, since I’m a huge advocate of goal-setting and budgeting when it comes to finances. But after I posted about doing the hardest things first, I realized that this was my main problem. I’m constantly avoiding what I really should do in favor of other “busy” work.

For example, it only takes me 15 minutes per day to keep up with the laundry and yet I’m always behind on it. However, I seem to find time for reading or blogging and eating. And if I looked back on each day, I can guarantee you that there was at least one (or five!) pockets of 15-minutes that I frittered away on something that really didn’t matter. So, in reality, it’s not that I don’t have time to do the laundry, it’s that I’m not making it the priority it should be.

Here are three things that have been tremendously helpful as I’ve been seeking to break my habit of procrastination and have better priorities in my day-to-day life:

1. Do It Now

Instead of spending all day feeling discouraged that I’ve not gotten to the laundry yet, I’ve been trying to just set the timer and get it done now. The same goes for so many other things. Rather than thinking: “I should call so-and-so” or “I need to order such-and-such”, just do it then. Most of the time, it only takes a few minutes (or less!) and then the task is no longer nagging you, taking brain space and energy. Best of all, it’s done!

2. Prioritize My To-Do List

I’m a huge list-maker, but I’ve been prioritizing each item on my to-do list in the last week. And then I’ve been doing my best to strictly adhere to it. I’ve noticed that not only am I getting a lot more done, but I’m getting the most important stuff done first. This means, that if I don’t get to everything on my list (and I pretty much never do in any given day!), I’ve at least tackled the most pressing stuff from the get-go.

3. Plan to Arrive Early

Instead of waiting until the very last possible minute, I’ve been trying to start getting ready to go at least 1.5 hours to 2 hours in advance. I’ll go ahead and get the necessary items laid out by the door, make sure I have everything I need in my purse, and get myself and the children ready early. I’ve yet to arrive any place more than a minute or two early, but we’ve not been more than a few minutes late to any event in the last week, so we are definitely making some headway! (Hmm, maybe I need to start planning to leave 3 hours in advance?!)

Where Do We Go From Here?

Our 21-Day series is over, but hopefully your journey towards more self-discipline is just beginning. I encourage you to go back and re-read through the posts, tackle any of the projects you didn’t get to, and keep challenging yourself to slowly develop habits.

I’ll be writing more on habits in 2012 as I’m planning to choose 12 habits I want to develop, one per month, and blog about my progress each month. In the mean time, I’m planning to finish Getting Things Done and also read The Now Habit in December.

Thanks, again, for joining me in this! Your accountability and cheerleading made such a huge difference for me!

What have you learned from this series? How has it made a difference in your life? I’d love to hear!

photo credit

Ask the Readers: Buying fabric and sewing supplies online?

Today’s question is from Tamara:

I love to sew dresses and many different items, because I can make them the way I want them and it can be less expensive than buying it in the store. Lately, though, I’ve been noticing the prices of fabrics have gone up.

Without a coupon, after the cost of the fabric, pattern, thread and whatever other notions are needed, it can cost as much if not more to make things at home. Are any places online to find high-quality fabric and sewing supplies at a good price? -Tamara

I don’t sew, but I do know you can save a lot of money by recycling tablecloths, bedsheets, and curtains into fabric for sewing projects. We also had a great guest post awhile back on 5 Ways to Save Money on Sewing Supplies.

Do you purchase fabric online? If so, what sites have you found to have the best deals?

Do you have a question you’d like to ask Money Saving Mom® readers? Read the submission guidelines and submit it here.

48-Hour Giveaway: Quitter by Jon Acuff (10 Winners)

As I’ve mentioned here before, I’m a huge Jon Acuff fan. He’s hilariously funny, he’s an amazingly talented writer, and he has a way of communicating truths in a way I’ve seen few bloggers be able to do (see his post today, How to Be Humble, for example). Many of his posts have had a major impact on my life and have challenged me to step out do something different than the status quo.

I was privileged to spend the day with Jon, his wife, Jenny, and their daughters earlier this year when I attended Women of Faith in Indianapolis (yes, Jon was at Women of Faith. He and Todd Smith were a little outnumbered! :)). Let me tell you, these folks are the real deal.

You know what I appreciate most about Jon and Jenny? They are all about celebrating other people. They’ve had some amazing accomplishments in their lifetime so far (Jon speaks all over the world, he’s a Wall Street Journal best-selling author, has a huge blog following, oh and he works for this guy named Dave Ramsey, to mention just a few things), but they are so down-to-earth and genuinely excited about others’ successes.

I ordered Jon’s book, Quitter, the day it was first available to pre-order, that’s how excited I was about it. And it didn’t disappoint. In typical Jon Acuff style, Quitter is engaging, hard-hitting, inspiring, and hard to put down.

While I’m not looking to be quitting anything in my life right now (well, except my bad habits!), I gleaned so much from this book. In fact, as I was reading it, I realized so many areas in my business that need tweaking.

If you feel stuck in your job, if you are struggling to find employment, or you just want to some direction on how to meld your passions with your profession, I’d highly recommend Quitter. It will make you think, it will make you laugh, and it will provide some excellent suggestions to help you find your “sweet spot” of doing what you love and getting paid for it.

Would you like to win a free copy of Quitter? Just click on the graphic below and type in your name and email address. 10 winners will be chosen and posted on Monday. This giveaway ends Friday, December 2, at 11:59 pm, CST.

Enter the Giveaway