If you haven’t noticed…I’ve been somewhat absent in my writing through 2017. Honestly…with my full-time 4-day-on/4-day-off schedule this year has been a little journey for me…I have been finding it difficult to figure out a routine for myself. My days on & off shift by a day every week so it can sometimes be difficult to get into a regular schedule- especially on my days off. So…the past few months, I’ve been taking some time to myself to focus on my job, my home-life, & establish some semblance of regularity for myself.
On my days off, I was finding it difficult to be productive. Even though I’ve cut down on the number of tv shows I watch I was still finding it too easy to be distracted by my shows or streaming channels. One week I finally got tired of it. I cut the tv off & began to try to focus on things that would help me become more productive…so…here are a few of the things I’ve been doing/listening to/reading to help me become more productive & grow in my walk with the Lord so far in 2017.
- Creating a To-Do List: First thing in the morning, I sit down & create a to-do list. The first items on the list are my set-routine items like drinking coffee (sounds crazy to put on a to-do list…but it’s a nice boost to my mood to both drink & cross off my list!), doing my Bible study, doing the dishes, etc. After my set-routine items for that day I write the other things I need to do for that day. Sometimes I don’t get it all done…so those become the 1st things I add the next day after my routine items. Eventually they all get done. Throughout the day I constantly refer back to my list. I do have to be willing to be flexible- sometimes the items get re-arranged based on importance or what I can actually fit in to my remaining time…but at least having the list gets the things on paper instead of floating around in my head where they’re more likely to be forgotten.
- Listening to Podcasts & Upbeat Pandora Stations: I have found that listening to a few encouraging & intellectual podcasts has helped me be more productive. Or…if I’m not in the mood to be processing ideas while I’m trying to work, I’ll listen to uplifting or upbeat Pandora stations I have set up on my phone. Here are some of the specific things I’ve been using & listening to…
- CastBox app: This app is available for Android phones. It is basically like using the Podcast app on iPhones, but it gives access to all sorts of popular podcasts for free! Here’s there online version if you’re looking for more info.
- The Dave Ramsey Show podcast: There are so many episodes already available & they add new episodes all the time. This is a really great resource if you’re thinking about and/or trying to get out of debt. He gives a TON of great financial advice plus it’s always SO encouraging to hear when people do their debt-free screams. It’s a reminder that if they could do it…you can to!
- VOM Radio podcast: This is a radio program done by the organization Voice of the Martyrs every Friday. Let me tell you- God has burdened my heart for Christians around the world because of this organization & podcast. The stories you will hear on these episodes will burden, challenge, inspire, convict, change, & grow your heart for the Lord. Voice of the Martyrs is an organization that works with persecuted Christians, missionaries, & their families around the world. They work to share the Gospel in hostile & restricted nations…their testimonies & their faith are incredible. God has used this as a way to burden my heart for prayer for these people- both Christians & non-Christians to come to Christ all around the world. Praise the Lord for these people!!!
- Read Scripture Podcast Series: This is a podcast that goes along with the Read Scripture app (which you’ll learn more about later) which is a partnership between Crazy Love Ministries (headed by Francis Chan) & The Bible Project. There are some earlier episodes of sermons done by Francis Chan, but the newer episodes go along with the weekly readings in the app. It covers what was in the reading, but delves deep into the lessons we can learn from the Lord & His Word. It’s a GREAT & encouraging podcast!
- Pandora Radio Stations: It really depends on the mood I’m in and/or what task I’m doing that determines what I’m listening to. If I’m doing a task like reading where I need to focus, I’ll listen to my Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart Radio station. This station provides music without lyrics- the songs are relaxing & don’t distract me with lyrics that I’d otherwise start singing. If I want to be encouraged in the Lord I’m probably listening to my Shane & Shane Radio station. Shane & Shane is one of my favorite groups- I love their style & how they incorporate scripture into their music. Of course, with Pandora, it adds similar styles of music- which has introduced me to some new favorite artists & songs. If I need to be pumped, I’m probably listening to my I See Fire Radio station. For me…this has stuff from people like Ed Shearin & other Celtic/Folksy type songs. I love it! What am I listening to this instant? Shane & Shane radio which has the song “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons & Daughters. Good stuff, ya’ll!
- I’ve been reading all sorts of things- but again, I’ve found the more I read the less I desire to watch TV. Reading is just so much more engaging & it lasts longer. I’ve been reading a few apps to help me in my walk with Christ, but I’ve also been [slowly] working on some great books…yes…that’s “books,” plural, because if you’re an ADD reader like myself you’re reading multiple bookS at the same time.
- Read Scripture App: This is such a GREAT app! I still use YouVersion, but I’ve found this one to be a lot more engaging. Not only can you set it so you can read the Bible in a year, it gives you daily things to read, but there are often videos that go along with what you’re reading. There are animations & images that [for me…like a little kid] helps keep me engaged & helps me have a better understanding of what I’m reading now & how it will connect to what I’ll be reading down the line! You’ll read a few chapters starting at the beginning, with a daily reading in Psalms or Proverbs. It’s great!
- P4H31: This is the Pray for Your Husband: 31 Days app. It’s a great free app with scripture, a theme, devo, & simple prayer for your sweet hubby every day. It’s a great way to lift your husband up even if he doesn’t know it & it’s a great reminder to do it every day. Honestly, I don’t do it every day, but it’s been the start for me to praying for him more often than I have in the past. Plus, it gives me more of a heart for the Lord & for my husband everyday. I’m so thankful for that! Also, there are other apps just like it about praying for your wife or your children, too!
- Memverse: This is such a great website to use to begin memorizing more scripture. You can set daily practices based on the amount of time you have available. They have all sorts of way to practice & different versions of scripture, too. It’s totally free & totally worth it!
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte: Unfortunately, I am both a busy & very slow reader…so I’ve been working on this book for the past month & a half. It is a fantastically beautiful story, though! The style is very similar to that of Jane Austen…if you’re a big Austen fan. This is the first Bronte-sister book I’ve read, but I absolutely love it so far. It’s a beautiful story of a young woman who overcomes a lot of hardships to learn how to be herself & learn to love, forgive, & live. I love the Christian principles intertwined into the novel…and it’s very quickly becoming one of my most favorite books!
- Firestarter by Stephen King: Again, my busy schedule, slow & ADD reading habits have led to me reading this book over the past few months…and yes…it is the TOTAL opposite of Jane Eyre…I know…but sometimes you just gotta add a little sci-fi/thriller in your life to keep things on edge. 🙂 This is a great book. Also, the first Stephen King novel I’ve ever read. I really enjoy his writing style…not so fond of the bad language sprinkled throughout, but I guess it’s not a surprise. That aside, the writing & suspenseful story line is fantastic. I can’t wait to see how it ends!
I hope some of these ideas/resources will be beneficial for your life like they have been for me. Thanks for your patience with me as I’ve been out for a while & have been slowly working my way back to writing. I can’t wait to share with you more of what God has been putting on my heart!