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

Tag: productivity (Page 1 of 2)

In Which I Figure a Few Things Out

I’m on a never-ending quest to make my life easier, as are we all, I’m sure. Which is why when I have some “A-ha!” moments I feel like I should share them, just in case there’s someone reading this who struggles in the same area(s) I do and who might benefit from my discoveries.

(The rest of y’all probably figured this stuff out a long time ago and are shaking your heads wondering why I’m so slow on the uptake.)

Anyway. These probably could have waited for my next “What I Learned” post but that won’t happen until winter and I want to get these things down while they’re fresh. And mind you, there’s nothing particularly mind-blowing or groundbreaking happening here… but still, it might help someone. So here we go.

1. Smaller, more frequent meals are better for me. Probably.

Writing that recent post on PCOS motivated me to bring myself up to speed on the latest research and re-examine my eating habits in light of the most up-to-date information, and I realized that the way I’ve been eating hasn’t been good at regulating my insulin. I mostly follow the Zone diet, and a properly zoned meal should keep me satiated for five to six hours, but this hasn’t been happening. Instead I’ve been getting hungry after about three hours, and since I can’t stand to be hungry AT ALL, I go ahead and eat a snack, thinking that I need to elevate my blood sugar. I did not realize that probably the reason I’m hungry is because my insulin is too low, which means I’ve not been managing my insulin resistance.

One reason for this is probably that I eat too much bread. I thought I was doing pretty good about eating bread and grains in moderation, but then Aldi stopped carrying their gluten-free bread. Which meant I had to stop buying gluten-free bread, because all the other brands cost more than I’m willing to pay. And not having it made me realize exactly how much I’d been depending on it to make up a meal.

At any rate, I read on a number of nutritionist websites that women with Type 1 PCOS (which includes insulin resistance) sometimes do better eating smaller, more frequent meals throughout the day. So I’m giving that a try. Specifically, I’m eating a meal consisting of two Zone blocks (that means roughly 14 grams of protein, 18 of carbs and 6 to 8 of healthy fat) every three hours, until my last meal of the evening, which is the normal three blocks. I’m just starting this today, so whether this is actually the right thing for me is yet to be determined. But so far I’ve been more satisfied, more energetic and more clear-headed. Also, while planning out a couple of days’ worth of meals (I don’t think I’ll need to meal plan once I get used to eating this way, but right now not knowing what I’ll be eating for all those scheduled meals makes me too anxious not to plan ahead), I realized that this is going to make it a lot easier to avoid bread and grains*, since I won’t need to eat as many carbs at each meal. So this might just solve two problems at once. Win!

*By grains I mainly mean wheat and anything with gluten. I do okay with oats, corn, rice, etc. as long as I have them in moderation.

2. It’s better to focus on one big task per day.

I thought I was doing pretty well with a daily rhythm that allowed a little room to do a little bit each day on several projects. It made me feel like at least each thing on my project plate was getting attention and making a little bit of progress every day. Sounds good, right?

But this week, since I’m still fighting off this cold or whatever it is, I cut myself some slack and only scheduled one big project task per day. This week that means blogging on Monday and Tuesday, pitching articles and freelance work on Wednesday and Thursday, with Friday set aside for working on my novel. And you know, I think this is actually a lot more effective. I’m only a few days in but I’m making major progress and actually finishing things ahead of schedule, leaving me more time for things like researching what I should be doing for my health and loving on my home and family. I think I’m going to keep this up for a while and see how it goes.

One tweak I’m going to make is to try and front load each weak with the projects that energize me and give me life, and save the more draining stuff for the back half of the week. I used to think it was best to get the draining stuff out of the way first, but then I’d be too drained for anything else. So for me this means book writing on Monday, blogging on Tuesday and Wednesday, and article pitching/writing on Thursday and Friday. Which brings me to…

3. I can schedule time for freelance writing and pitching every week.

Y’all, this has been a revelation. I am SO, SO grateful for my freelance writing work, but one of my biggest frustrations is that it’s sporadic and unpredictable, which makes it difficult to plan. Currently I write regularly for three corporate blogs through two different agencies. One of these agencies just posts assignments in batches once or twice a month, and there’s no regularity for when this happens. The other one will have a monthly idea pitching window for each client–again without much regularity–and whether or not you’re assigned work depends on whether any of your ideas are accepted.

Since I’m someone who thrives on steady rhythms and a certain degree of predictability and regularity in my schedule, this unpredictability has been driving me crazy. There are few things that drive me up the wall more than having to drop everything and change my plans at the last minute.

Y’all. I don’t know why this never occurred to me before, but I finally figured out that I can schedule time for pitching and writing articles into every week–AND that I don’t have to wait for a pitch window or writing assignment from my current clients. I can pitch and submit articles to prospective clients, too. This really should be obvious, because this is how most freelance writers make their living, and I’m kind of an idiot.  But now that I’ve remembered this very basic thing about being a freelancer, not only will my schedule be more predictable and sane, but maybe I’ll also make some more of the monies. One can hope.

If you’re wondering how this last thing might apply to your life, since it’s pretty specific to mine, here’s the main point: if there’s an unpredictable thing in your schedule that’s driving you crazy, then schedule time for that thing every week, or every day if that’s what it takes. Maybe when that thing isn’t actually in play, you can spend that time doing something adjacent to that thing to help you be ready when the thing crops up. Or just consider that time free time to use however you want when you’re not having to actively do the thing. Either way, when it comes time to do the actual thing, then it won’t be a big deal because you won’t have to drop everything and adjust your plans around it. There will already be room for it in your week.

So I hope that helps.

Is there anything you’ve recently figured out that’s made life a little easier or more sane? In the spirit of sharing and helping, tell us about it in the comments!

Managing Your Capacity to Steward Your Time


“Walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time.” — Colossians 4:5

This week my month-long series on managing our capacity continues. Last week we looked at what capacity is, and the importance of knowing (and being realistic about) your own capacity — i.e., the size of your plate.

This week we’re getting into the nitty gritty of actually figuring out how to manage your capacity, or maybe more accurately, how to manage your time within the limits of your capacity.

Our key verse from Colossians suggests that being good stewards of our time is part of walking in wisdom toward outsiders. In other words, managing our days well serves as a good witness to unbelievers. Of course we don’t want to present a fake, smiley brand of Christianity where we force cheerfulness and go around pretending that everything’s always great. That sort of thing doesn’t serve anybody.

Remember that I’m preaching to myself here, y’all.

We don’t have to have it all together or even appear to have it all together all the time. But as believers empowered and equipped by the Holy Spirit, our lives should look like that actually makes a difference, even if it’s just in our attitudes.

And that’s what this concept of managing our capacity for usefulness vs. managing our time is all about: giving ourselves a whole lot of grace as we acknowledge and even embrace our limitations and proceed to do the very best we can with what we’re given, relying on God to strengthen and sustain us and help us do what needs to be done.

Before we get into the steps of how I manage my capacity, I want to make clear that this is just that: how I manage my capacity. There is no one-size-fits-all approach. Some of this might work for you. Some of it might need a little tweaking in order to work. Some of it might not work for you at all. This stuff took me a lot of trial and error to figure out and I’m still working on it, tweaking it as necessary.

I should also point out that my husband and I are both work-at-home freelancers with no kids, and I realize that makes some of this easier for us than it might be for you. Just know that as you’re envying my ability to move slowly through my day and have plenty of margin that there’s not a lot I wouldn’t give to be chasing around after kids all day.

Okay. Now I’ve broken this down into steps, but these aren’t really steps that need to be followed in any particular order, one after another.

Step One: Decide What Matters


I talked about this in a previous post (which links to a Lazy Genius post expanding on the topic that you should definitely read). But before you can begin effectively managing your days, you have to have your priorities nailed down; otherwise you end up wasting your capacity and time on things that don’t matter.

The thing to remember here is that your priorities are YOUR priorities. It’s not about what’s important to your mom or your mother-in-law or people on Pinterest or Instagram or the mean boss in your head. This isn’t about “should” or “ought to.” Just go ahead and eliminate those phrases from your vocabulary.

This isn’t purely about being productive and useful every waking hour of the day. This is about designing your days so that you flourish, and feel good about life, and don’t get burned out or depressed because you’re overwhelmed and stuck in hustle mode.

So if it’s important to you to have time at some point each day to read a book or scroll Pinterest or color in your coloring Bible or work out or go outside or bake cookies or watch a show or whatever helps to recharge you and make you feel like a person and not a machine, that’s fine. It’s important and it matters, and it’s fine to make it a priority.

Step Two: Eliminate What Doesn’t Matter (or Pare it Way Down)


I’ve been reading up a lot lately on minimalism and simple living. There’s another concept along the same lines called essentialism, which is about figuring out what really matters in your life, and eliminating the things that stand in the way of that. Where minimalism seems to be more focused on only having what you need to live and be content, I feel like essentialism offers more margin for you to decide what you need in order for your soul to thrive–things that might have no place in a truly minimalist home or lifestyle.

Either way, the point is that it’s helpful to figure out what’s using up your time and capacity and getting in the way of what matters. If you’re spending an hour dusting and organizing your house every day then you probably need to get rid of some stuff (or maybe even get a smaller house). If it’s important to you to make time to read books but it doesn’t happen because you can’t tear yourself away from scrolling Facebook and getting stressed out over political memes then maybe you should delete your Facebook app. If you’re doing laundry all the time then maybe your family has too many clothes, or needs to learn how to wear stuff more than once before watching as long as it’s not smelly or stained. If you really want to write a book (or blog) but just can’t find the time then maybe stop watching TV during the week and save your can’t-miss shows for weekend binging (this is how I make time to write).

Step Three: Decide What’s Needed Today


Step One is about deciding what your priorities are in general. This is about deciding what actually needs to get done today. I do this by praying before I open up my bullet journal and asking God to show me what’s on His agenda for me for today. I ask Him to show me where I’m being too Martha by piling too much stuff on my plate that’s not actually needed, and instead to help me be more Mary and focus on what really matters.

The thing about Martha, bless her heart, is that she wanted to be impressive. I’m sure a lot of it was about wanting to impress the Lord while she was hosting Him in her living room, but she probably tended to try to be impressive in her hostess and homemaking duties in general.

But we don’t need to impress anybody, and most certainly not the Lord, who just wants our faithful obedience. So a good question to ask as you make your To Do list is, “Does this really need to get done, or am I just doing it to be impressive?”

Step Four: Establish Rhythms Instead of Schedules


I don’t know about you, friend, but for me figuring this out was a big deal. Things just really clicked into place for me once I stopped assigning set times to my tasks and started figuring out where they fit into the rhythms of my day instead.

For example, I have ADD, but there are certain times of day when I’m naturally more able to focus on tasks that require a lot of concentration. For me it’s the late morning, after I’ve had all my coffee and am fully awake, and about two to four in the afternoon. So this is when I do all my writing. I work on my novels and blog posts in the late morning hours leading up to lunch, and in the afternoon I work on freelance assignments. During the times when I’m less focused I do tasks that require less mental energy, like housework or exercise or marketing my books and blogs on social media.

I also try to punctuate my days with breaks to just sit quietly and stare out the window. Sometimes I pray, sometimes I just practice being still in God’s presence, and sometimes I just let my mind wander and dream. To a lot of people this looks like wasting time, but I’ve learned that this time is necessary to help me recharge and re-focus, and it also helps me be more creative.

Of course, there will still be appointments and things that have set times that you can’t get away from. I just do my best to work my rhythms around them. It’s not always easy. A 2:00 doctor’s appointment, for instance, means that I’m not getting any freelance writing done that day — or if I have to because there’s a deadline, then I skip novel writing and do my freelancing in the late morning instead. The thing about rhythms is that they’re flexible and fluid in a way that schedules are not.

Step Five: Nurture Your Capacity


This post is already really long so I’ll try to keep this part short. The main thing is that, as I said in last week’s post, capacity has a way of expanding and shrinking. You can expand your capacity by doing things like eating healthy, getting regular exercise and getting plenty of sleep. You can also expand it, or help keep it expanded, by leaving enough margin on your plate for self-care. By that I mean doing things that fill you up and give you energy instead of depleting you.

My staring-out-the-window breaks are part of this for me. So is starting my day out with time in prayer and in the Word. So is taking ten minutes to go outside with my husband and dog to just stand in the sunshine soaking up vitamin D while we shoot the breeze, or squeezing in a few minutes of knitting, or taking five to color or doodle in my journaling Bible. So figure out what does that for you and then allow yourself the space to do it throughout the day without any guilt. It might not feel useful or productive but it’s absolutely necessary.

Bonus Step: Start a Bullet Journal


You don’t have to keep a bullet journal, and it might not be a good fit for you. But a bullet journal is flexible and adaptable and works with rhythms in a way that a planner with its neatly laid out time grids just can’t.

My favorite part about the bullet journal is how easy it is to “migrate” a task to the next day if it doesn’t get done. You still get to put a mark by that task–an arrow instead of a check mark–to indicate that it got moved, rather than just having this unmarked task staring at you accusing you of failure. It’s such a simple little mind trick that for me is huge. It’s not, “I’m a failure because I didn’t manage to fit this task in today.” Instead it’s, “I didn’t get to this today but that’s okay because it really can wait till tomorrow and it’s not a big deal.”

So there you have it — everything I’ve figured out so far about managing my capacity to be productive in order to make the most of my time. And good grief, this thing is long. I’m so sorry, but I hope that at least some of you find it helpful.

If you do, or if you have any insights of your own to add, let me know in the comments!

And be sure to come back next week, when I’ll illustrate how all of the above works in my own life with a Day in the Life post. Unless you hate those, in which case now you’ll know to skip it. 😉


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

3-D Lessons for Life

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


Know Your Capacity


I’m going to try something a little different this month. Throughout February I’m going to do a multi-part series on managing your capacity. Capaci-what, you ask? We’ll get to what it is in a minute.

First, I just want to say that while I may at times write like I know what I’m talking about and I’m handing down sage advice and wisdom, the truth is that I’m preaching to myself here. Every now and then I figure something out, but then I turn around and forget it, or forget to apply it to how I do life. So my hope is that by sharing this stuff with you, dear reader, I’ll do a better job of remembering it for myself. But don’t for a minute be under the illusion that I’ve got it all together, because HA HA! Nope.

Anyway. So what do I mean by capacity?

What is Capacity?

For a long time — way, way too long — I thought being more productive and effectively adulting was all about learning how to manage my time. I tried out so many different time management systems — none of which actually worked — and constantly beat myself up for not being able to manage my time better so that I could get more done in a day. I really believed that if I could just be more organized about how I spent my time, that I could cram my plate full day after day after day and be some kind of superhero at getting stuff done.

It’s only been in the last year or so — this has been a gradual realization; I can’t cite a specific “A-ha!” moment — that I realized that I can be the best person ever at scheduling my time but that won’t make me able to be more productive. Because time isn’t the problem. The problem is that the time in which I have to get things done each day is not a uniform number of hours and minutes that I can neatly block out on a grid. Rather, the time I actually have each day is subject to things like my energy levels and my ability to think clearly and focus.

These things make up your capacity for productivity. And these things are not fixed. They fluctuate from day to day, even throughout the day, and they don’t always line up with each other. Sometimes I have more energy than I do focus. Sometimes — more rarely — I have more focus than I do physical energy. And your capacity can increase or decrease based on a number of factors, including how much stress you’re under, how much sleep you get, how you eat, etc.

This might not be anything new for you. But for me it was a revelation that completely changed how I do life from day to day.

Know Your Plate

We’ll get to the how next week.  But first, it’s important to know — to really be honest with yourself about — your capacity.

I recently read this Proverbs 31 devotional that touched on this concept and compared capacity to a set of plates. You’re probably familiar with the idea of a “full plate” to refer to a full (or, more likely, overloaded) schedule. But typically when someone says their plate is full, we imagine a standard dinner plate. However, as this post pointed out, not everyone is blessed with a dinner-plate-sized capacity for productivity. Some people only have a salad plate. Some people only have a saucer or a dessert plate. And some fortunate souls are blessed with a big ol’ turkey platter.

And the thing is, the size of your plate can change. If I’m not taking good care of myself by eating healthy and avoiding gluten and dairy, I get foggy and lethargic and my capacity shrinks to salad-plate size. But if I consistently practice good self-care I tend to have more of a  dinner plate. However, I still have the occasional bad day where my plate shrinks, and when that happens I’ve learned that I just need to cut myself some slack. Instead of trying to force a dinner-plate-sized load to fit on my salad plate, usually I just do what’s absolutely needed that day and give myself some rest so that hopefully my plate size will expand back to normal.

So know the size of your plate, and don’t compare it to other people’s plates. If they have a bigger plate it will just tempt you to feel bad about the small size of your plate. And if it turns out your plate is bigger than theirs? Then remember to give them grace. Don’t be one of those people who looks at someone struggling to manage an overloaded salad plate and think that they should be able to do as much as you do in a day.

Next week we’ll talk more about managing capacity instead of managing time. But for now I want to hear your thoughts. Is this a new concept for you? What size is your typical plate, and how often does that fluctuate? Share your thoughts in the comments!


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



In which I darn near break a finger and then overschedule myself for the next four days.

Last week I only managed to accomplish about half of my weekly list, but considering that the week began with a broken toilet seat, ended with a funeral, and had a tornado in the middle, I’m fairly impressed with myself for getting that much done.

Seriously, y’all, what a week. I really needed the whole weekend to recover from it, but we had all that tornado debris to deal with, plus the lawn was overdue to be mowed. I had wanted to get that all done on Saturday, but it rained that morning so we decided to give it another day for everything to dry, so at least I got to spend some time vegging on Saturday, and also to finally touch up my henna job.

So yesterday we got out there and piled up most of the fallen limbs, and I got the front yard mowed. But first I made the colossally dumb decision to  try and move an entire downed tree out of the way all by myself, and ended up smashing my right middle finger between the tree and the metal flower bed border. It didn’t break, thankfully, but it scraped off the entire top layer of skin, left a deep cut on my knuckle, and now what skin is left on top of my finger is a lovely shade of dark purple. I also ended up with a nasty bruise on my knee from banging it into the sharp end of a broken limb, and every muscle in my body feels like I put it through a week of boot camp. Even so, they’re predicting more rain (and possibly storms) for later this week, so I’ve got to get back out there this afternoon and finish things up.

When I wasn’t busy abusing myself with storm debris, though, I managed to crochet this colorful pair of springtime wrist warmers and this bunting necklace:

This weekend's #crochet output.

A photo posted by Jean Bauhaus (@jmbauhaus) on Mar 30, 2015 at 9:12am PDT

The necklace looks white in the pic, but it’s actually off-white with gold thread running through it. Here’s the pin that inspired it, and also the pin for the wrist warmer pattern.

Moving on to this week’s bullet list: it’s a pretty long list, what with adding the unfinished half of last week’s list to everything I’d hoped to accomplish this week, so I’ll just give you the highlights. I’m still working on two client critiques, and I still need to launch my Publishing School blog, as well as write two more posts for this blog for the week. I also need to place an ad for Midnight Snacks and my mailing list in Dominion of the Damned because that’s going on sale next week. I’ve got several inquiries and quote requests on Fiverr that I need to respond to today, and after lunch I need to finish cleaning up and mow the back yard. And I still need to finish outlining Ghost of a Chance so I can get back to writing it.

I also want to get my spring cleaning done this week. And it’s going to (hopefully) be a short week, because I’m planning to give myself a four-day weekend for Easter and my birthday. The plan is to take off Good Friday and spend it and Saturday cleaning, so that I can kick off my 42nd year with a clean house. Sunday will hopefully be spent resting and eating Easter candy, and Monday will be spent celebrating the fact that I survived another year on this planet. I’m hoping this involves both lunch and shopping with my mom and a date night that includes sushi and sake.

Word of the Week: “Surrender” — I’m still working on not needing to be in complete control of my life, but letting go and trusting in God’s plan instead of trying to wrestle my life into submission to my own ideas of what it should look like. I’ve come a long way in this regard, but sometimes I still need a reminder to just relax and trust.

Verse of the Week: Acts 17:28 – “For in Him we live and move and have our being.” A reminder that the only identity that truly matters is my identity in Christ.

How about you, dear reader? What’s on your slate for this week, and was your weekend restful or eventful? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

This Week’s Plan plus Launching a New Freelance Endeavor

First things first: This week I’m (re)launching the new Daydreamer Publishing website, where I’m offering all of my editing, book formatting and other self-publishing services (all of the editing services links here now point there). I’m also planning to launch an instructional blog over there dedicated to writing and publishing topics.

“But Jeanie, what about that whole thing about you having multiple blog personality disorder and needing to simplify and streamline and have everything in one place?”

That’s actually a great question. I thought (and prayed) long and hard before putting this new website up, and I concluded that, if I want editing and helping and instructing indie authors to become my primary day job (at least until those darn book sales start paying all the bills), then I need to have a professional web space for that stuff, and a single page on this here blog wasn’t cutting it.

Also, the main purpose of this blog is to let readers get to know me as a human being and grow my community. If I turn this into a writing and publishing blog, then all who will show up here is other writers, and while I love my writer friends (and love it when y’all chime in), they’re not my target audience over here.

So anyway, putting that site together was pretty much how I spent my weekend.

Onward to this week’s bullet journal…

Word of the week: “Patience” – I keep feeling like I’m on the verge of some kind of breakthrough. I’m not sure what that is or what it will look like, but this is to remind myself not to try and force it, but to relax and trust that God is working stuff out behind the scenes, and it’ll happen on His timetable.

Verse of the week: James 1:4 (NKJV) – “But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”

Because, patience.

I finished the big book edit on Friday, so this week is mainly about catching up on all the stuff I neglected in order to meet that deadline. I also need to start exercising regularly (last week’s attempt was a bust). I had planned to walk at least a mile this morning, but instead I ended up having to get dressed and run to Super Target to buy a new toilet seat, because ours decided to break late last night for no apparent reason whatsoever. At least this time we sprang for a padded one. Oh the luxury!

We went all over the store so Matt could price a bunch of stuff while we were there, so that was some exercise, at least. Except we also picked up a box of Sarah Lee donuts that was on sale, and I caved in and ate one when we got home, in violation of my “no gluten on weekdays” rule. So basically both my fitness and diet goals for the week were a bust before I even made it to lunch. Eh, I can start over tomorrow, I guess.

In all fairness, I vacuumed the house before I ate the donut, so you can’t say I didn’t earn it.

Anyway, here’s what my bullet list for the week looks like:

  • 2 client critiques
  • Fiverr edit (a quick ESL polishing job on a short piece)
  • Go over Matt’s edits on another book edit and deliver that to the client
  • Sit my butt down and outline Ghost of a Chance
  • Invoice another client for a post-Easter-weekend ghost blog post
  • 30 min. walk at least three times this week
  • At least two posts for this blog
  • Launch my Publishing School blog
  • Start a Daydreamer Publishing mailing list and create a free gift for signing up
  • Trim my hair and henna my roots
  • A couple of other time-intensive tasks that are too personal to mention here

So that’s going to be a pretty full week. I guess I’d better get started.

What’s going on with you guys this week?

This week’s follow-up post – how I did the first week of March how’d I do? Eh, it could’ve been worse.

Tuesday was awesomely productive. I had a long To Do list, and I did every dang bit of it. It’s also the only day this week I managed to get any writing done on the novel, but I did over 1,100 words, which is about as much as I’ve been managing each week, so that’s fine. Anyway, here’s the breakdown:

Big rocks:

  • Daily devotions
  • 30 minutes a day writing GHOST

Nope. See above.

  • Vaccuum the house
  • Do laundry*

*I did some laundry — two loads on Awesomely Productive Tuesday — but then winter returned with a vengeance, and since the washer and dryer are out in the garage where it’s freezing, I decided to save the rest for warmer weather. I should get the remaining loads done over the weekend.

  • Finish the Fiverr critique
  • Edit 1/4th of one of my clients’ book projects*

*I’m four pages behind where I’d hoped to end up today, but I have a good excuse for that. See below.

  • Stretch and move daily

Ha ha! No.

And these were the pebbles:

  • 2 or 3 blog posts
  • Re-enroll Dominion of the Damned and Midnight Snacks in KDP select
  • 15 minutes a day reading Story by Robert McKee
  • Tea & Creativity sessions

All of the time that would’ve gone to this ended up getting spent watching Chess the Musical in Concert on YouTube. I regret nothing.

At any rate, clearly I’m having an easier time fitting in the pebbles than I am certain “big rocks.” So I’m going to have to re-evaluate how I’m managing my time.

This weekend, in addition to doing laundry, we also still have to do our Aldi shopping. We normally go on Thursday mornings, but this week we were snowed in. We tried to get it done this morning, but when we got in the car we were greeted with a dead battery. My nephew was kind enough to drive all the way into town to see if there were any other problems and give Matt a lift to Autozone to get a replacement (thankfully, it was still under warranty, so they replaced it for free). Meanwhile, I spent the morning doing emergency-company cleaning, and then I babysat my great niece and nephew while the menfolk worked on the car. And that is my excuse for being behind schedule on my client edits.

I’m also hoping to find some time (and mental energy) this weekend to do some Deep Thinking about my novel. I feel like I’m close to a breakthrough in figuring out what it’s really all about, and I need to do a proper outline and sort out the character arcs, but it’s been difficult to find time where I can just sit and think about it like I need to.

How did your week go, dear reader? Any big plans (or things you hope to accomplish) over the weekend? I’d love to hear about it — even if those plans involve your DVR or Netflix.


Writing and Other Goals for March 2 – 7, 2015

Bullet journal

Trying to start March off right.

I’m adding a few new elements to my bullet journal this week. One of those elements is a weekly To Do list, because the monthly list alone isn’t cutting it. The weekly list is going in the far-left column of my weekly 2-page spread, the rest of which will be taken up by daily lists.

I’m trying to keep this week’s list simple. I have a lot of editing to get through, and that’s going to have to be my main focus. But I also can’t neglect my writing, and I really need to vacuum and do some laundry this week. So these are the big rocks that will take up most of my time jar:

  • Daily devotions
  • 30 minutes a day writing GHOST
  • Vaccuum the house
  • Do laundry
  • Finish the Fiverr critique
  • Edit 1/4th of one of my clients’ book projects
  • Stretch and move daily

And these are the pebbles:

  • 2 or 3 blog posts
  • Re-enroll Dominion of the Damned and Midnight Snacks in KDP select
  • 15 minutes a day reading Story by Robert McKee
  • Tea & Creativity sessions

I also added a Word of the Week and a Verse of the Week at the top of the spread. The WotW is a reminder of what I want to stay focused on throughout the week–sort of a weekly theme to guide everything.

This week’s word is “Health.” I have NOT been making good choices lately and I’m feeling the results of it. With so much on my plate, I’ve really got no choice but to take better care of myself, which includes eating right and getting exercise so I’ll have more energy and be able to think more clearly. This might mean I have to get my husband to hide all of the breakfast pastries we’ve been stocking up on lately because winter makes us lose all good sense when it comes to food. I might also have to hide all that instant Pho from myself, because while that stuff might be gluten-free, it’s definitely not low glycemic. At any rate, this is why “stretching and moving” is designated as a big rock this week.

The verse of the week is Ephesians 6:7 (NASB): “With good will render service as to the Lord, and not to men.” This is to remind me to be thankful for the work I have and to maintain a good attitude about it while doing the best job I possibly can for my clients. This is something I try to apply all the time, but when my plate begins to overflow and I start to get overwhelmed and stressed, it’s good to have a reminder.

So that’s the general shape of my week to come, God willing. What about you guys? Any big projects hanging over your head and making you twitchy? I’d love to hear about your goals and plans for this week, both big and small. Share them in the comments!

Weekly Goal Follow-up: Feb 23-27, 2015

Well, I got my wish to get out of the house this week. The sun came out on Tuesday and cabin fever got the better of both of us, so we went out on a lunch date to a Thai buffet we’d been wanting to check out (JK’s Thai Buffet in Broken Arrow; not a big selection, but what they had was definitely worth the trip), then stopped by Krispy Kreme to take advantage of their free donut giveaway (and, in what was probably an unwise move, picked out a dozen to munch on over the next few days). Then Wednesday, after our semi-weekly Sprouts run, we paid an impromptu visit to Oklahoma Joe’s to try out some of their bbq sandwiches for lunch. Afterwards, we swung by our favorite used book store, where I picked up a good grammar reference book along with a Jennifer Crusie paperback and a Steampunk novel.

By the time we got done with our weekly Aldi & Walmart run on Thursday, I was ready to not leave home again for at least a week. Which is a good thing considering we’re in the process of getting snowed in again as I type this.

In other news, I finally did our taxes this week, and I don’t want to talk about how that turned out. I’m just glad I can finally check off that square in my bullet journal. As for the rest of this week’s goals, here’s how those turned out:

  • Daily prayer time
  • Daily novel writing

I didn’t manage to write every day, but I added over 1,100 words, which is a big improvement over last week, and I outlined the next several scenes to keep things on track.

  • The critique and editing gigs that filled up my Fiverr queue over the weekend, plus a sample edit for a potential direct client.

I’m taking a break from the last of these as I write this. I’m hoping to get it done before I shut down this evening, but I may have to end up working tomorrow to clear it off my plate so I can start in on book editing projects next week.

  • Write & post two more blog posts
  • Finish reading Let’s Get Digital
  • Update the descriptions on various Fiverr gigs
  • Add some features & static content to this website

Nah. I barely managed time to blog, let alone add anything extra.

  • Make a pot of chicken soup from scratch

Hah, no. Partly because my husband keeps cooking hearty casseroles and partly because I’ve got all this instant pho stocked up from last week’s trip to the Asian market. Maybe I’ll finally make it tomorrow, though.

  • Get out of the house for something other than groceries

See above.

So it hasn’t been a terribly unproductive week, but it could’ve been better, particularly on the noveling front. At any rate, it was enough to tire my brain out, so I’m looking forward to a weekend of vegging out with another Gilmore Girls marathon.

How was your week? Any big weekend plans, or would that require shoveling snow?

Weekend recap & goals for the last week of February, 2015

bullet-journalWelp, I did not get my taxes done this weekend. I don’t have an excuse, really, other than that I just didn’t feel like it the least little bit. Saturday ended up being a lovely, spring-like day, so we lit the fire pit and spent most of the day hanging out in the backyard, recovering from one week of wintry weather and bracing for the one to come. Sure enough, on Sunday it snowed, and I couldn’t be bothered to do anything more rigorous than crocheting whilst huddled under a thick quilt on the sofa and watching Gilmore Girls all day.

I did manage to finish a set of boot cuffs I started last weekend, though. And then in an attempt to use up the yarn I also made a lacy hair kerchief. See?

Weekend #crochet output: boot cuffs & a lacy hair kerchief

A photo posted by Jean Bauhaus (@jmbauhaus) on Feb 23, 2015 at 12:54pm PST

All of which means that taxes are one of the big rocks that needs to be sure and get done this week. Possibly today, even, depending on how the rest of my To Do list goes.

This week’s goals are focused on putting the “big rocks” in the jar first — and learning to discern what is really a big rock and what is merely a pebble; sometimes it’s a lot harder to tell the difference than you’d think. For me, the big rocks are A) things that definitely must be done and can’t be put off till later, B) things that are necessary for my health/sanity/well-being that won’t get done at all if they don’t get done first thing, and C)client projects with an impending deadline. Everything else is pebbles, gravel or sand.

Other than the taxes (which for various reasons fit definition A), the other big rocks I’ve identified for this week are:

  • Daily prayer time
  • Daily novel writing (so far, so good — I got over my block enough this morning to get a decent start on the next scene of Ghost of a Chance)
  • The critique and editing gigs that filled up my Fiverr queue over the weekend, plus a sample edit for a potential direct client.

That’s enough to keep me pretty busy all week. As for pebbles — the stuff I would really like to get done if there’s time — they include:

  • Write & post two more blog posts
  • Finish reading Let’s Get Digital
  • Update the descriptions on various Fiverr gigs
  • Add some features & static content to this website
  • Make a pot of chicken soup from scratch
  • Get out of the house for something other than groceries

For that last one, we might go out for a lunch date and check out a new Pho place nearby. We’ve also talked about taking our work to a Panera or Starbucks for a few hours a week for a change of scenery. As much as I complained a couple of weeks ago about how tiring it is for us introverts to have to go someplace every day, I admit that even I start to get cabin fever if I stay cooped up for too long, and all this snow is making us both a little stir crazy.

Your turn! What are the big rocks that are going in your time jar this week? How do you distinguish between what is an actual big rock and what is just a pebble? Or do you think Stephen Covey needs to take his rocks and shove them someplace really dark and unpleasant? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments!

How to Write a Novel in 16 Easy Steps!

Image by mpclemens via Flickr Creative Commons

Step 1: Get a new story idea that you’re totally stoked to write.

Step 2: Spend hours outlining and plotting that puppy.

Step 3: Start writing!

Step 4: Write about three chapters, then decide your B plot should be your A plot and your A plot should be put aside for the next book in the series.

Step 5: Throw everything out, including the outline and start pantsing it from the beginning.

Step 6: Just as momentum starts to build, have life become unusually hectic and force you to stop writing for about a month.

Step 7: Get back on that horse. Make progress. Sluggish progress, but still, progress.

Step 8: Get to what you think is the halfway point and celebrate!

Step 9: Get a little bit past the halfway point and realize you have no idea what needs to happen next. Spend days opening the file, staring at it while munching Cheetos, then closing it without writing anything.

Step 10: Feel like an utter failure, fraud and phony who will never finish another book again. Eat more Cheetos.

Step 11: Debate whether to throw it all out and start over, or keep going, knowing that probably at least 50% of it will have to be completely rewritten.

Step 12: Decide to keep going, because a finished broken draft is better than an unfinished draft and you’ll never finish if you keep going back to square one.

Step 13: Push yourself over that wall, bit by bit, one word at a time.

Step 14: Get sudden inspiration as to how everything comes together and get totally stoked.

Step 15: Write like the wind!

Step 16: Reach the end. Collapse. Have some celebratory Cheetos. Try not to think about all the rewriting ahead.


Currently, I’m at steps 9, 10 and 11 as regards Ghost of a Chance. I haven’t written on it all week, save for 334 words on Monday that I’m pretty sure are going to get deleted. I think the problem is that I’m at a point where what I feel is best for the main character and the story is conflicting with my own personal morals and values.

That might sound odd, but for a writer who happens to be a Christ follower but who doesn’t market herself as a “Christian Author,” this tends to be a thing that happens. My characters want to have sex! But they’re not married! And my mom might read this! And people from church! And what will God think? Will I be glorifying sin? Am I gonna get in trouble? Arrgh!

I always end up going with what’s best for the story and truest to the character. After all, not all my characters share my beliefs and values, so it would be weird for them to behave as though they did. Still, as a rule of thumb I try to write things I won’t be too embarrassed for my mom to read, and sometimes that rule gives me anxiety.

Sometimes that rule has to go out the window. This may be one of those times.


What about my end-of-week update on how I did on my goals for the week? Here it is: outside of getting caught up on my freelance editing queue, I got frick-all done besides. Between the weather and hormones, and all of the gluten- and cheese-filled comfort foods those two things compelled me to munch on all week, my focus and energy levels were shot. This means I’m going to have to spend tomorrow doing our taxes, but really, I’m just happy to be caught up on the client stuff, and I’m really, really glad it’s Friday.

How did your week go, dear reader? Better than mine, I hope. And for the writers in my audience, what kind of conflicts tend to derail your writing, at least temporarily? I want to hear all about it in the comments!

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