Shining the light of God's word into our confused world.

Tag: planning

Slowing Down and Other Changes

First of all, Happy July Fourth! Here in the U.S., that means it’s Independence Day, the day we celebrate becoming one nation under God by grilling hot dogs and blowing things up. If that’s you today, may your hot dogs be tasty and your fireworks awesome (and safe). Hooray for freedom!

Image result for america freedom gif

In the spirit of exercising my freedom, I’m going to be slowing things down here for the rest of the summer. I know, I know… I just got back into a posting groove after moving forced a long hiatus this spring. But I have another book due in August and I’m ridiculously behind on it, and so for the next couple of months I’m going to need to simplify my life as much as possible and devote as much of my writing energies as possible to getting the book done.

Also, it’s summer, and the truth is that I’d rather be spending my downtime enjoying the outdoors and my family than sitting here blogging at y’all, as much as I love you. *kissyface*

But that doesn’t mean I’m going away for the summer, because I do love y’all and I can’t stay away completely. This isn’t a hiatus–it’s just me giving myself permission to not worry about sticking to a regular posting schedule and to only post when I have something worth saying or sharing. And I’ll be filling in some of the gaps with some golden oldies from the archives.

In the meantime, if you’re hungry for content and you have a taste for the weird and sometimes creepy, you might check out my author blog. I’ll be slowing things down over there, too, but I’ve added a lot of fun content in the run up to last week’s launch of my newest novel, so that might keep you occupied for a while.

And in the spirit of full disclosure, I’m going to be making another minor change going forward–so minor you might not even notice it if I didn’t point it out. I’m going to start adding affiliate links where appropriate. Don’t worry, I’m not going to turn this into an affiliate marketing blog. Just, whenever I want to recommend a book or a tool or something, as I sometimes do, if there happens to be an affiliate program for it, I’m going to go ahead and sign up for it and use the link. Or at the very least I’ll use the Amazon affiliate link.

And there’s one more thing, y’all. I have a goal, and I just thought I’d go ahead and put it out there so the prayer warriors among you can give me some prayer support. My goal is to get to a place professionally where my time is my own to decide how to use–where I’m not dependent on content agencies and subject to their editorial schedules and whims, but I can set my own schedules for both my writing and my clients’, and be able to keep consistent rhythms that allow me the time and energy to focus on my passion projects–like providing encouragement for soul-weary women and practical tips for doing life in a way that honors God.

I’ve been thinking that getting into ghostwriting books might be one path to that goal (I’ve ghostwritten plenty of blog posts and articles, but never anything book-sized). This is something I’ve been researching and praying about, and asking God to show me the steps I need to take in order to move in that direction, without falling into old habits and running ahead of Him and trying to force it to happen under my own power. So if y’all could maybe send up a quick prayer or two for me along those lines, I’d sure appreciate it. And if you know someone who might be in a position to hire a ghostwriter, maybe mention my name?

In the meantime, I’m going to keep my head down as much as possible and focus on doing the work that’s already before me, like writing the book I’m actually contracted write, hallelujah amen.

What about you, sister-friend? Are you slowing down for the summer, or has this summer got you doing the holy hustle? Do you have any goals or dreams that I can be praying for? Share your thoughts in the comments!

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PS: Find more encouragement for your soul at these linkups:

Holley Gerth’s Coffee For Your Heart

Missional Women’s Faith Filled Fridays

#DreamTogether at God-Sized Dreams

PPS: Looking for some a-MAZ-ing tools and resources to help you be more productive, write better and/or generally do life while keeping your sanity? I’ve got the goods — sign up to receive Daydreamer Dispatches, a once- or twice-a-month newsletter from yours truly, and you’ll automatically receive a super-sekrit link to My Absolute Must-Have, Can’t Live Without Tools and Resources list! Click here to get your link!

JeanA Jesus girl through and through, Jean Marie Bauhaus is on a journey of healing and rediscovering who God purposefully created her to be and figuring out how to do life within that context. She’s the wife of Matt and mom to a crew of four-legged dependents, all of whom make their home in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Jean counts coffee, dark chocolate and a yarn addiction among her vices. She’s the author of Restless Spirits, a family-friendly paranormal romance/mystery now available from Vinspire Publishing. You can learn more about her novels and short fiction at jeanmariebauhaus.com.

Weekend Recap, Tea & Creativity, and Goals for February 16-21

Today is a snow day. Although work-at-home types like me don’t really get to take snow days, do we? If we did, instead of writing this in my office I’d be camped out on the couch with my crochet/knitting bag marathoning Gilmore Girls on Netflix… which is pretty much how I spent yesterday, come to think of it.

What’s weird (well, not “weird” so much as “typical for whacked-out Oklahoma weather patterns”) is that just two days ago it got up to 70 degrees and my husband and I spent the better part of Valentine’s day enjoying our backyard. We finally fired up our new fire pit (acquired a couple of weeks ago; before we could use it we had to obtain sand to line the bottom, a useful bit of info that they don’t bother to print on the box to save you a return trip to Home Depot) and enjoyed the sun for a good long while before heading inside for homemade pizza and a movie (we had talked about possibly checking out a new (to us) Thai place, but we were both so tired we decided to take a rain-check on that).

And then less than 48 hours later… Bam! Winter, biznatch!

It actually arrived shortly before we turned in last night, and I kept getting woken up throughout the night by the sound of ice and sleet hitting the windows (and, at one point, thunder). So I’m really having to push hard today to get past the urge to wrap myself up like a burrito and do what’s necessary to lay the foundation for a productive week.

Which brings me to this week’s goals:

Writing/Publishing

  • Write on the novel every day.

(I’m not attaching a daily quota. At this point, any words that get added are big progress.)

(I finally started reading this last night. Hopefully I can get through it all this week, but it’s pretty info-packed, so we’ll see).

Freelancing

  • Catch up on my editing queue so I don’t have to tell would-be clients that there’s a two-week waiting list.

Home/Health/Other

  • Complete various financial paperwork that needs to get done
  • Stick to my low GI/GF/DF diet all week long
  • Do our taxes
  • Keep up with Tea & Creativity

This last thing, Tea & Creativity, is something I started doing last week — taking a break in the afternoon to get off the computer, brew some tea, and spend the time it takes to drink my tea before it gets cold making art. So far, because I’ve always wanted to learn to draw, this has involved doodling (see below), but it’s by no means limited to that. I expect at some point there will be haiku or song lyrics or other types of verse, and possibly also dusting off the various musical instruments I never have time to practice anymore.

Coffee & creativity. #doodling while husband shops at Gardner’s.

A photo posted by Jean Bauhaus (@jmbauhaus) on Feb 13, 2015 at 9:16am PST

Although the point of this is just to have fun and relax and not worry about who will see it, I’m posting the results of my sessions on Instagram, and you’re welcome to join me there. If you do, let me know — we’ll start a hashtag.

Note that I left off exercise and cleaning goals. Trying to keep it simple this week. The house is just too cold to get motivated for either, plus the editing and taxes are going to keep me so busy that trying to fit in workouts and housework will just add unnecessary stress. I expect that once this cold spell is over, though, the weather will stabilize enough for me to start a regular walking routine, and hopefully also get motivated to do some spring cleaning.

Check back on Friday to see how it all goes this week. In the meantime, do you have any goals to tackle this week, big or small? Any words of encouragement to help me meet mine? I’d LOVE to hear from you in the comments!

Weekly Plan Follow-up: February 9-13, 2015

bullet-journalI’m still liking my bullet journal. I wasn’t able to experiment with it this week like I wanted to, but in its basic form, it got the job done.

I didn’t meet all my goals this week, but it seems I never really do. Let’s look at how I did.

Writing/Publishing

  • Write at least 250 words per day on Ghost

HA HA! No. I think I managed a little over 300 words on Monday and over 400 on Tuesday, and nothing after that.

Nope, but I did finally finish Stephen King’s Dark Tower series last night. So I guess I’ll read LGD before I start in on another novel.

Freelancing

I got the big things that were making me twitchy crossed off my list, and I can take the whole weekend off with a clear conscious, so mission accomplished. Hallelujah.

Home/Health/Other

  • Stretch/work out at least 3 times this week (one down, two to go)
  • Vacuum the house
  • Wipe down sinks and maintenance clean 15 minutes/day

Ha ha ha ha!

  • Look into whether we can afford to get me health insurance before the deadline
  • Complete various financial paperwork that needs to get done

Nope.

  • Finish my crochet bunting (pieces are blocked — just need to assemble)
  • Stick to my low GI/GF/DF diet all week long
  • Vote in Tuesday’s local election

In my defense, I didn’t sleep that great this week, either. Also, Matt found reasons to go run errands every morning this week, save Monday, and all that going has left me worn out. Morning errands also make it really difficult for me to get focused and find my groove the rest of the day, too. If I had my way, we’d go do that stuff in the afternoons/early evenings after all the work is done, but he likes to get to places as soon as they open and beat the morning rush. And to be fair, traffic in the afternoons/evenings is a biznatch (don’t tell Tucco we said that) (oh yeah we also found time to watch Better Call Saul and so far it’s great).

How did your week go?

Goals for February 9-14, and my introduction to the bullet journal

So as I mentioned on Friday, no sooner did I share my weekly planning method here last week than I up and decided to try something new, and that new something is keeping a bullet journal. If you don’t know what that is, here’s a quick intro video, or you can skip it and read my explanation below:

If you didn’t watch the video, basically a bullet journal is a handy, all-in-one way to keep your calendar and To Do lists, along with pretty much anything else you want to keep track of, all in one place, for those of us who do this better with pen and paper than with gadgets and apps.

It’s kind of an evolved version of what I was already doing. The genius thing about it — at least, for me, the thing that totally makes it work — is the index page. Not just its existence, but the way it’s set up so that you don’t have to have all of your various projects and topics on consecutive pages, and yet it’s still organized and easy to find what you need.

I also like that it’s highly adaptable. There’s no limit to what you can include. So far, mine includes my daily tasks and deadlines along with Bible memory verses, grocery lists and daily pill reminders, and a section dedicated to tasks relating to growing my author mailing list. The daily lists include bullets that are basically mini diary entries mixed in among my To Dos.

My daily bullet journal for the first week

My daily bullet journal for the first week

The other thing that makes this workable for me is how easy it is to migrate tasks and keep track of them once they’re migrated. This is a must because of my tendency to over-schedule myself and overestimate how much I can get done in a day. Of course I could already do this with my old planning method, but not without cluttering up the page, plus my old way made this stuff difficult to track.

This blog post has a lot of great ideas for customizing your bullet journal. She also has printable calendar grid pages you can paste in if the list format doesn’t do it for you.

The only drawback is that it doesn’t really include a way to record and track weekly goals. I’m still pondering how to incorporate that, or whether I really need to. So far, just going over the big monthly task list and incorporating items from that into my daily lists seems to be working. It might even be working better for me, but the jury’s still out on that. At any rate, maybe these weekly blog posts will serve in that regard.

Speaking of which, on to this week’s goals!

For the purposes of these posts, I’ll keep the three main categories that I introduced last week.

Writing/Publishing

  • Write at least 250 words per day on Ghost (it’s not much, but I’m anticipating another busy week, and this should be doable. It’s definitely better than not writing at all).
  • Let my mailing list know about my free book.
  • Write and schedule 3 blog posts (this one counts!)
  • Start reading Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran.

Freelancing

I’m still behind here, even though I ended up working Saturday to help catch up (at least that was a formatting gig, which wasn’t too mentally taxing, and I was able to listen to a podcast while I got it done). My goal for this week is mainly to meet my deadlines and close out my active projects to make room for new ones, and to get it all done by Friday so I won’t get myself stuck back in the dreaded cycle of having to work weekends because I’m exhausted and useless during the week.

Home/Health/Other

  • Stretch/work out at least 3 times this week (one down, two to go)
  • Vacuum the house (done!)
  • Wipe down sinks and maintenance clean 15 minutes/day
  • Look into whether we can afford to get me health insurance before the deadline
  • Complete various financial paperwork that needs to get done
  • Finish my crochet bunting (pieces are blocked — just need to assemble)
  • Stick to my low GI/GF/DF diet all week long
  • Vote in Tuesday’s local election

So those are my goals for the week. What about you? Do you have any pressing goals to share? Are you trying anything new, or maybe quitting something old? How are those New Year’s Resolutions coming now that we’re almost midway through February, anyway? I’d LOVE to hear about it in the comments!

Weekly Plan Follow-up: February 2-6, 2015

I wish I could say that sharing my weekly plan was super motivational and helped me kick this week in the hinder; but alas, I really struggled to accomplish anything this week.

I blame the Super Bowl. Well, not the actual game, but the social event and the cleaning and preparations leading up to it, which kept me from really having any time to properly rest and recharge my batteries. When I don’t do this on the weekend, I end up running down midway through the week and becoming virtually useless. Such is what happened this week.

So how’d I do as far as meeting my goals? Not great. Let’s take a closer look:

Writing/Publishing/Author Platform

  • 2500 words on GHOST OF A CHANCE (500 words per day)

I managed to write about 1790 words total — 1112 on Tuesday and another 679 on Wednesday. Monday I used up all my words on prepping blog posts for the week, and by yesterday I was starting to fall behind on my freelancing projects and had to skip it. Same for today, although I’m hoping to fit in a brief writing session before I shut down this evening.

  • Write and schedule at least 3 blog posts (this one counts!)
  • Finish the “First 10K Readers” video series (more on this in a later post)
  • Implement mailing list advice from the training video

These are about the only goals I actually met this week.

I haven’t even managed to start this book yet.

 

Freelancing

  • 2 ghost blog posts and 4 Facebook page updates for steady client

I needed clarification on what the client wanted for these posts, and while I was waiting for them to get back to me my book editing and formatting queue filled up and I had to move on. So this still needs to get done.

  • 2 editing gigs via Fiverr

I delegated these to Matt.

  • 1 book formatting gig via Fiverr

This one turned out to be a lot more work than I’d anticipated. I’m hoping to get it done by tonight–if I don’t, I’ll have to work tomorrow, which I’m really trying to avoid so as not to perpetuate the whole busy weekend, useless work week cycle.

  • Add graphic design and author platform services to this here website

This is going to involve moving my portfolio over and writing a bunch of new copy, so it’s proving difficult to fit in.

  • Update Fiverr profile info to include Matt

Done!

 

Home/Health/Other

  • Stretch daily
  • 20 minutes of maintenance cleaning daily
  • Dust & vacuum the living room
  • Finish the finance book I’m reading
  • Block and finish my crochet bunting
  • Meal plan based on what’s on hand/make Sprouts/Aldi lists
  • Make a pot of goulash w/ thawed ground turkey before it goes bad

Ha ha ha! Nope. None of these. I think I stretched on Monday, or possibly Tuesday? But it didn’t happen again after that. I did manage pretty well to maintain the house, but not in any kind of organized fashion. I’ve barely had time to read and haven’t had the energy to touch my bunting, and our kitchen sink is currently having plumbing issues that makes cooking problematic, so we’re relegated to what we can either eat cold or pop in the microwave so as not to dirty too many dishes.

So… not the most productive week ever, or even in recent history. I think I may have overscheduled myself–I have a terrible tendency to overestimate how much I can do in a certain amount of time, and underestimate how long it will take me to finish things–which is something I need to keep working on, but I think the main problem, as stated at the top of the post, is that I just need to get some proper rest so I’ll be more focused.

My bullet journal, so far

My bullet journal, so far

One thing I did, though — I forgot to share the “if I have time” items I’d listed, one of of which was, “look into bullet journaling.” I managed to fit that in Monday evening, and by Tuesday morning, I’d thrown out the planning method I shared on Monday (or at least, set it aside for the time being) to try this method. So far I’m liking it, and I think it’s an improvement over the other method. I’ll go into more detail about it next Monday, but if you’d like a sneak preview of what I’m talking about, check out these links:

Bullet Journal

The Post To (Maybe?) End All Bullet Journal Posts

So did you take up my challenge? How did you do? Were you more or less productive than I managed to be this week? Tell us about it in the comments!

Introducing the Weekly Plan Challenge!

What my weekly plan looks like.  Don't mind the vampire slaying implement that's serving as a paperweight.

What my weekly plan looks like. Don’t mind the vampire slaying implement that’s serving as a paperweight.

At the start of every week, I sit down, collect my thoughts, and write out a plan for the coming week. It’s not an especially detailed plan, and it’s guided by my recently-acquired philosophy of focusing on what’s truly needed and letting God take care of the rest–a philosophy which has helped to eliminate a lot of stress and overwhelm from my life, let me tell you.

At any rate, I was writing out this week’s plan in my work notebook, when I thought to myself, “Hey, Jeanie, I bet there are some OCD list-making geeks like you out there who might actually get something out of seeing this, and might even want to play along at home by posting and sharing their own weekly plan. What say we put this up on ye olde blog?”

To which I replied… okay, I didn’t actually reply, because I’m not really that cuckoo. Most of the voices in my head belong to fictional characters, and I am aware that they aren’t real, which makes me perfectly sane, regardless of the fact that I sometimes address myself by name. Right?

Yeah.

So anyway, I thought that was not the worst idea in the world, and so here begins a new weekly feature wherein I post my plans for the week up on Monday. Hopefully, besides appealing to the aforementioned OCD list-geeks in my audience, it will also help to keep me accountable and on track.

But before I get to the plan, here are the guidelines I follow. First, I don’t actually schedule anything at this point. It’s basically just a master list of things that I want/need to accomplish during the week. Second, I break the list down into three broad categories: Writing/Publishing, Freelancing, and Health/Home/Other. Your categories will probably look different, but you get the idea.

Third, I do my best to keep it realistic and write down specific, achievable goals. F’rinstance, I don’t write “Draft my novel” or “Clean my house.” Instead I put down, “Write 2,500 words on my WIP” and “Dust and vacuum the living room and wipe down the kitchen counters.” I find that smaller, specific goals or tasks are a lot more likely to actually get done and not create decision paralysis, which is something that’s a big deal for me.

I sort my list into three columns, with the above categories as headers. I try not to list more than 5 – 7 things in each category. Usually, if I go over five, those extra things don’t get done and carry over to the next week. Which is okay, but for the sake of feeling like I actually accomplished something, I generally try to stick to five goals each.

One more thing: underneath the list, on the bottom half of the page, I leave plenty of room for notes. Here is where I write down important reminders — not just appointments and significant dates and such, but also little reminders to myself about proper priorities and what’s truly important. I also list things that I’d like to do in my spare time, if I have any, but that aren’t necessarily needed that week.

Without further ado, here is my plan for the first week of February.

Writing/Publishing/Author Platform

  • 2500 words on GHOST OF A CHANCE (500 words per day)
  • Write and schedule at least 3 blog posts (this one counts!)
  • Finish the “First 10K Readers” video series (more on this in a later post)
  • Implement mailing list advice from the training video
  • Read three chapters of David Gaughran’s LET’S GET DIGITAL.

 

Freelancing

  • 2 ghost blog posts and 4 Facebook page updates for steady client
  • 2 editing gigs via Fiverr
  • 1 book formatting gig via Fiverr
  • Daily – read and respond to Fiverr messages and e-mail
  • Add graphic design and author platform services to this here website
  • Update Fiverr profile info to include Matt (he’s learning editing and is getting quite good — good enough to help out when I’m overbooked)

 

Home/Health/Other

  • Stretch daily
  • 20 minutes of maintenance cleaning daily
  • Dust & vacuum the living room
  • Finish the finance book I’m reading
  • Block and finish my crochet bunting
  • Meal plan based on what’s on hand/make Sprouts/Aldi lists
  • Make a pot of goulash w/ thawed ground turkey before it goes bad

That’s my plan. Throughout the week, I’ll refer to it as I make my daily To Do lists, which are basically shorter versions of the above, broken down into the same three categories. On Friday, I’ll post a follow-up to review how well I stuck to the plan and how much I actually accomplished.

Now it’s your turn! I challenge you to post your own plan for the week on your own blog, and then leave a link to it here in the comments. It doesn’t have to follow my template and it can be as detailed or as streamlined as you want it to be — I’d love to know how you go about organizing your week. Tell us what works for you!