Inspiration Kindled

Reading, Writing, Living. Inspire each day!

inspiring this week: slow down – a few simple resources to improve your life!

I’ve always looked forward to Sundays.  I treasure them as the traditional “day of rest”.   After church, I either a) go out to eat with my family, or b) come home for a lazy lunch and a nice long nap.  What’s not to love?

Where do you fit in your time of rest?  Your daily/weekly nourishment?  I’ve been reminded lately in more ways than one how important it is to slow down.  We’re all in a hurry, but as Alabama sang in their classic song, “all I really gotta do is live and die.”  Sometimes I have to remind myself to do just that… and trust God with the rest.  Maybe you do too <3.

slow down

Inspiring this week:

  1. Tim Denning’s Slow Down: Life Is Not A Race – a read I especially recommend if you’re struggling with the above!
  2. This week I’ve been binge watching a YouTube channel I just discovered called Mind Over Munch.  Check it out if you’re interested in meal planning and/or real-world nutritional advice.
  3. 37 Simple Daily Behaviors That Will Immediately Free up Hours in Your Weekly Schedule from Thomas Oppong- You’re sure to find something here that can help you out!
  4. Life Lessons From 100-Year-Olds – Having watched this, I think the common denominator in these peoples’ lives is positivity.  They found good and happiness in everything they experienced, even things like war and the loss of children.
  5. Niklas Goeke’s The Perfect Schedule: A Simple Exercise In Life Design suggests a fun and enlightening exercise – what does your perfect day look like?

From Inspiration Kindled

Get your FREE daily checklist!  Read my article, the productivity tool that’s revamped my life, and sign up at the bottom to get your checklist delivered to your inbox!

Or check me out on Medium:

Quote of the Week

“Most of us have two lives: the life we live and the unlived life within us. Between the two stands resistance.” ~ Steven Pressfield

Wishing you an inspiring week!

the productivity tool that’s revamped my life: introducing the daily checklist!

Overwhelmed? Try the daily checklist!

Up until a month ago, I was overwhelmed and in a rut. I was trying to develop a new business and simultaneously take my blog to the next level. I had a toddler and a husband who was out-of-work and always home. On top of that, I’m constantly taking on new side-projects — switching our household to natural, homemade cleaners and beauty products, writing a novel, learning computer code and improving my Spanish, to name a few! Suffice to say, every day I had a massive to-do list.

No matter how many productivity tools I tried to employ, I inevitably found myself sitting at my computer with my daughter trying to crawl on my lap and thinking, what next? I was so overwhelmed, I couldn’t focus on what needed to be done. Little things and big things alike regularly slipped through the cracks.

As a student of productivity, I’ve read many, many theories and tried countless tools. Planner after planner, list after list, time-blocking and day-assigning and habit-tracking. Then one day, it occurred to me to try something new. I put my system into place fairly quickly and got started.

To my surpise, it actually worked.

Gone were my days of wondering what I should be working on, sleepless nights with my busy mind running through fifteen-or-so critical things that I’d missed out on that day. While I still felt overwhelmed at times, the system I’m about to introduce breaks things down into such manageable chunks that it’s easy to accomplish the majority of my responsibilities every day.

It All Starts With One Little Sheet

the daily checklist

This system is not re-inventing the wheel. It was inspired by techniques like habit-tracking and time blocking, plus Mommy Income’s 15-minute hustle. Instead of only tracking small behaviors, like exercising, the daily checklist system involves breaking down your entire day, including large tasks, into 15-to-20 minute chunks.

Let’s take a look at how this might work. Say, for instance, you want to clean your kitchen today. Cleaning the kitchen is among my least-favorite chores because it typically takes me over an hour and involves so many different tasks. How do I make this easier? Instead of writing “clean kitchen” on my to-do list for the day, I might write “wipe down appliances, cabinets, and countertops”, “clean out fridge”, “clean sink”, and “sweep and mop kitchen floor”.

Not only does this break a large, daunting chore into more manageable tasks, it’s also motivating and convenient. If I get around to cleaning the sink and wiping everything down but don’t have time to tackle the fridge or the floor, I can still check off the tasks that I have done and transfer the rest to the next day. Instead of failing to clean the entire kitchen — again — I’ve made notable progress.

Get Your Own Daily Checklist For FREE

 

This system has made a huge difference in my life and what I’m able to accomplish. It’s helped me to finally establish a daily writing habit and stay on top of my business. I hope it will do amazing things for you, too! To get your daily checklist for FREE, sign up below! I’ll deliver the checklist — in two versions, a categorized option and one big list, including tips on how to use it — straight to your inbox!

Once you get the hang of it, I’d love to hear back from you on how the checklist has made a difference in your life, or any suggestions for improvement you have to offer!

 

inspiring this week: personality, learning, vocation, purpose, & improving ideas

inspiring, trying to balance

Happy Mother’s Day!!!

This week has been a roller coaster ride.  If you’ve visited Inspiration Kindled at all, you might have seen my post on participating in the 1000 Day MFA.  In addition to that challenge, on Monday I spontaneously decided to join a Medium post-a-day challenge.  So far it’s been a really cool experience, but suffice to say it’s A LOT on top of blogging, reading/writing, running my FBA business, and being a mommy!

My family has also been struggling to get my husband situated with new work after he quit his residency in January.  Finances have been tight and tensions have been high.  I’ve felt at times like nothing I’m doing is making a difference to reach other people OR to help my family.

Despite this, I feel I’m ending the week on a high note thanks to my church’s Mother’s Day sermon this morning.  You can read my reflection on that here.  We all need a refresh once in a while, and I’m glad I have church and my family each weekend to give me just that.

My inspiration picks for the week:

From Inspiration Kindled:

Check out what I’ve gained from tackling the 1000 Day MFA on the blog this week if you missed it!

I’ve also posted A LOT on Medium as part of the post-a-day challenge.

Quote of the week:

“One of the things I learned the hard way was that it doesn’t pay to get discouraged.  Keeping busy and making optimism a way of life can restore your faith in yourself.” ~ Lucille Ball

As ever, wishing you an inspiring week!

what I’ve gained from tackling the 1000 Day MFA

1000 Day MFA

I first read about Shaunta Grime’s 1000 Day MFA DIY challenge a few months back.  It’s not an actual program, and it certainly doesn’t boast a real degree.  But what it does offer is an experience that will make any reader/writer more prolific.

To undertake the 1000 Day MFA, you must:

  • Read one short story, one essay, and one poem every day
  • Watch three movies every week
  • Write one short story every week
  • Read one writing craft book every month
  • Read one novel every month
  • Write one novel every year
  • Repeat for 1000 days

There’s an official facebook group for those participating.  The cost is $10 a month, and although I haven’t joined myself, I’m sure it’s worth it if you can come up with the money.

I was intrigued and inspired by this challenge, so much so that I read Shaunta’s article no less than five times.  It was something I told myself I’d maybe do someday, but couldn’t handle at the moment.  When I kept going back to it, and back to it again, eventually I bit the bullet.

I’m now three-plus weeks into my MFA journey, which in the grand scheme of things isn’t very far.  Here are a few things I’ve learned.

Writing Every Day Is the Best Idea Ever

Every writer waxes poetic about the benefits of developing a daily writing habit.  It’s not like I thought they were wrong.  My problem was that as much as I wanted to be a writer, writing was often painful for me.  IF I managed to shut off my inner editor, as one is supposed to do, I couldn’t shake the thought that every word I typed out really sucked.  I hated my perceived lack of control over what I was producing.

Notice I wrote that daily writing was painful, because it’s not so bad anymore.  On the ever-famous scale of ten, my writing has gone from around a nine to about a four.  I’ll take it.

So not only am I actually producing a heck of a lot more, I’m doing so much more willingly.  I’m braver now.  I’m less afraid.  I have a voice.  I even bit the other bullet and joined the Medium Post-a-Day challenge.

I don’t know what else to say about this, so I’m going to leave you with…

sky is the limit

Short Stories Are Awesome

I’ve never been a short story person.  Writing-wise, I’ve never been a short kind of person at all.  If an essay had to be five pages long, I’d often wind up in the vicinity of eight.

Since starting the challenge, I’ve written four short stories.  Four.  The first of these was around 3500 words, but the others have averaged in the 700s.  You have no idea how freeing this is.

Like anything else, writing is motivated by accomplishment.  Writing a short story every week has given me a rapidly-growing portfolio of completed work in seemingly no time at all.  I’m not giving up on novels, but I’m certainly a short-story convert.

You can read one of my stories, The Violinist, on Medium.

Essays Can Be Awesome. Sometimes. Maybe.

Does anyone read essays for pleasure?  Somebody must, as I’ve seen anthologies of them at bookstores.

I’ve never been tempted to pick up one of those books and read it.  Not even once.

Maybe this is because my understanding of essays is somewhat limited.  After all, my American education on essays consisted of a) writing them on some (often boring) assigned topic or b) forcing myself to read them in order use them as a resource for said assignment.

Not a very encouraging standard, I’m afraid.

Since beginning this challenge, I’ve forced myself to read maybe ten essays.  Another ten were okay to read – they at least had an interesting premise.  And then there were a few I surprisingly enjoyed.

I’m convinced now that essays can be pleasurable, and I’m determined to educate myself on the different types of essays and which kinds and which authors I find appealing.  Who knows: maybe I’ll even write one someday!

In case you’re interested, the essays I enjoyed are:

(I feel it’s important to note the not insignificant possibility that I read essays every day and enjoy them and don’t know they’re essays.)

That’s all on this for now, friends, but if you’re interested in this challenge, please do read more about it.  I may or may not share personal progress updates in the future!

inspiring this week: vocation, procrastination, facebook, and the secrets of life

inspiring scene

This week is a big one, because I’m sending this post out as my first inspiring this week newsletter!  If you’re reading this in your email, God bless you!  If you’re reading this on my website, welcome!  If you like what you see, you can subscribe below.  I’ll probably be posting inspiring this week for the rest of the month, but from then on it will be strictly email-only.  Don’t miss out!

Inspiring this Week:

  1. Find Your Calling ~ The Penny Hoarder tipped me off to this great resource, which was designed to help young adults choose careers using both current job data and personality testing.  Of course, you don’t have to be in high school or college to take advantage!
  2. Why Do We Procrastinate? ~ Christine McAlister offers some unique insights into this universal human behavior.
  3. How To Customize Your Facebook News Feed to Maximize Your Productivity ~ How did I not know this stuff?
  4. Prioritizing these three things will improve your life – and maybe even save it Fantastic insights from the most recent international TED conference.  Don’t skip this one!
  5. The Secret To Life That I Learned At A Nursing Home ~ Simple but powerful advice from Benjamin Foley.

From Inspiration-Kindled:

In case you missed it, here’s what I posted this week.

Quote of the Week:

“Keep your face always toward the sunshine – and shadows will fall behind you.” ~ Walt Whitman

If you haven’t already subscribed, please do so below!  I’d love to have you as part of our Inspiration Kindled family <3

Wishing you an inspiring week!

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