How Do You Handle The Busy Flurry? – Todd Stocker.com

Busy-retail-ChristmasHow do you handle the busy flurry?

There’s a flurry a’comin and I’m not talking snow.  It’s called the Christmas/Holiday season.  The starting line is usually Thanksgiving with a finish the first of the year.  It seems this is the time when expectations trump priorities and chaos takes the controls. 

Some of the flurry is fun.  For me, Black Friday is fun.  Not that I drop a boat load of cash on the deeply discounted items.  But my joy is going to a mall and watching others surge with the crowds like dull-eyed fish washing up and down with the tides. 

I also like the busyness of it all.  I gives me focus.  It forces my lazy hand.  It beckons me to be prepared and allows me the opportunity to be better than last flurry-season.

How do you handle the busy flurry?  

  • I’d suggest having a game plan as you enter into this next season.   Part of that plan might be to first, get your priorities straight.  Priorities help you say no more often than yes.  They keep you sane and focused and help you make decisions based on goals. 
  • Another part of that plan is to ask what you really want out of the season.  Is ‘crazy exhaustion’ what you desire or a ‘fulfilled joy’ as you celebrate faith, family and friends?
  • A third way to handle the busy flurry is to set your day at the beginning of your day.  The first hour of your day often determines your attitude, mindset and emotion as you get out there and battle one more time.  It is often called “The Rudder of The Day” and sets you on your course.

Above all, know that you are a human being, not a human doing.  Your value is not reflective in the expense of your store-bought presents or the busyness surrounding their procurement.  Your worth is found in who you are as a masterful creation of the heavenly Artist, himself.  You are valuable because he is valuable and is the reason for the celebrations in the first place. 

“For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus”  Ephesians 2:10

Peace!

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You Need Breathing Room

BreathingRoom

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Picture this.  Your iPhone alarm rings on your nightstand.  It’s 7am.  The problem is that your High School aged daughter needs to be at school for an early rehearsal at 7:15.  Good thing its only a 5 minute drive but she’s still sound asleep.  Your spouse is already out of bed and gone, having left early and into his day.  Your other two kids are also asleep but your faithful dog is not.  He found the chicken bones that you discarded in the garbage after dinner last night and is munching on them all over the kitchen floor.

You jump out of bed, fly down the hall and wake up your daughter; she’s now in a GREAT mood.  You throw on your robe rush to the kitchen, impale your foot with a bone sliver and your dog barks at you for ruining his eating experience.  It’s now 7:02.

Toast in. Milk poured.  Keurig on.

From down the hall you hear yelling.  One of your younger two has woken up and slipped into the only bathroom on the second level causing your older daughter to be locked out from her makeup, hair straightener and fingernail polish.  The yelling continues and you rush and join in, addressing your younger one to “get out of there now cause sissy is late!”  He flings open the door and stomps out.  You notice he is frowning and crying but you also notice the finger polish remover has been dumped over onto the counter by his tirade and is dripping down on the wood base.  It’s 7:07.

The dog has just thrown up and your now awake youngest has found it.  “Painting!” she proclaims as you see her making a smiley face with it on the floor and the dog begins to … well you know.  It’s 7:10.

You run to the car, leaving your son to watch the baby while you speed your daughter to school.  You fly into the parking lot, she jumps out of the mini-van like a hurricane, leaving the door open and disappears into the already bustling school building.  Now you have to jump out of your vehicle in your slippers and robe to run around and close the van door.  As you do, the line of cars behind you start to honk.  It’s 7:18.  She’s late.  Your late.

Welcome to your life.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have some Breathing Room?  That’s the series our church is doing based on a great series by North Point Community Church.  The whole premise is that God has intended for us not to live at our limits all the time.  Not to push the ceiling of our abilities but to intentionally create space in our time, our finances and our schedules.  I love that in 2 Samuel 22:20, God led David out into open spaces and refreshed him there.

You and I need space in our lives.  Ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I constantly late for my daily appointments and duties?
  • Is there always more month at the end of the money?
  • Do I feel distracted because of all the things I feel I have to do at work, home or school?

If you consistently answer yes to these, you may need to start saying no and trust that God will take care of the rest.

“But me he caught—reached all the way from sky to sea; he pulled me out
Of that ocean of hate, that enemy chaos, the void in which I was drowning.
They hit me when I was down, but God stuck by me.
He stood me up on a wide-open field; I stood there saved—surprised to be loved!”  2 Samuel 22:17-20

Peace!

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Taking On Too Much

bicycle_loaded_carrying_too_much_wtI did it again.  I fell into my bad habit.  You’ll most likely laugh at my bad habit but to me, I ask myself each time, “Why do I keep doing this?”

Here it is.  As I’m walking out the door, I normally have my briefcase, a travel mug of Jo and my phone.  Usually, that’s about all I can handle but my bad habit is to try and add more and more to my already full arms as I leave.  This time, I was gripping my mug and balancing Tupperware containers of salad on the bottom, Broccoli in the middle and a smaller portion of rice.  With each step, the rice container bobbled back and forth until it finally fell, spilling all over the dirty garage floor.  I didn’t have an extra arm to steady it.  I didn’t have an extra hand to catch it.  And I lost my lunch to the concrete below.

Isn’t that the same thing I do during my day?  I have my basic events and time blocks but I try and cram as much in as I can leaving somethings unfinished and others that simply fail – all because of my habit of over-carrying.

You and I do this in relationships – wanting more and more from someone.  We do when we eat – stuffing ourselves full when contentment should do.  We even do this in our concern for others – giving and pouring our lives out and becoming exhausted because there was no “self-care.”

How do you manage the urge to take on too much.

  1. Learn to say no.  Children say no in defiance.  Adults should say no in balance.  If you are presented with another request, ask a few basic questions:
    Is this something that is required?  (e.g. By your boss or authority figure).
    Is this something I have enough time to accomplish?
    Is this something that can be delegated?
  2. Make two trips.  I am still learning to be ok with taking two trips.  Using the example above, I should have taken by normal items to my car first and then the extras.  It takes a little extra time upfront, but would’ve saved me more time later as I had to clean up the rice and prepare something else.
  3. Ask others to help.  My wife and daughter are masters at this.  They have no problem asking me to get something for them while they are busy with something else.

Question:  When have you taken on too much?

Peace!

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PRAYER: WHAT IF GOD SAID “YES?”

Yes, there I go again.  Rushing into a busy day, grabbing my keys, my wallet, my phone and my pride.  I’ve got many important things to do.  I’ve got a calendar full of meetings and a mind full of noise.  And yet I forget to fire up the most powerful app that far exceeds any developers ability – Prayer.

I think we got prayer wrong.  Not the importance of it, not the holiness of it, but the use of it.  We pray too shallow.  “Lord, help me get through this meeting.”  We pray too scheduled.  “Now I lay me down to sleep…”  We pray too small.  “Lord, I need help finding a parking space.”

What if God would physically stand in front of you and verbally say, “Ask me anything you’d like.  No limits.  Go ahead.  I dare you.”  What would you ask for?  A fixed relationship that, from an earthly perspective is completely broken?  A job promotion that you think is too far out of your grasp?  A dream house, car, vacation?

Now ask yourself – WHAT IF GOD SAID “YES?”  He could, you know.  He could say “Yes”.  He could blow away your dinky prayer.  He could far surpass what your tiny brain could wish for.  And if He gives you the small requests of your passing thoughts, wouldn’t that make you wonder if you should have asked bigger?

Question:  If God said YES to your dreams, what would that look like?  Write a comment below …

Peace!

USE SMALL, DAILY ACTION TO ACCOMPLISH MORE

I’m not sure if it’s my favorite app, but it is one that I use several times per day.  It’s called Wunderlist.  It’s free (of course) and it is a simple to-do list that syncs across all of my screens.  While it is a way for me to organize my day, I’ve found a greater benefit:  I accomplish more while working less.  Let me explain.

Before I started organizing my daily activities, I would gravitate toward accomplishing tasks that I liked to do – writing, researching, reading etc.  Some days this worked fine, ending my day with a small sense that I’ve finished what needed to be done.  Most days, the tyranny of the urgent decimated my hit-or-miss schedule and I’d end up stressed out and overworked.

Once I began thinking in “small-daily-action” terms and dedicated my tasks to Wunderlist, my productivity level skyrocketed as my stress level plummeted.

How do you use Wunderlist (or, another app – Evernote)?  Simply put everything on the list with a due date.  Write notes by each task if you need to but make sure that you create a global list for larger tasks and break them down into smaller chunks using due dates.  Then be diligent about completing the small, daily tasks by the end of the day.  Like me, when you reach the end of your day, you’ll find at least one or two tasks that weren’t all that important and thus, didn’t get accomplished.  Decide if you need to change their due date to tomorrow or take the due date out all together.  Take 5 min. at the beginning and end of your day to organize and you’re set to go!

As it says in Proverbs 6:6,

“Consider the ways of the ant and be wise.” 

Question:  How do you stay organized during your day?  Write a Reply below …

Peace!

Be QUIET!

There is a Starbucks coffee shop on the boardwalk in Kemah, TX.  If you’ve been there, you can picture it resting in the shadow of the mighty roller coaster.  When there, I loved being the first one to grab my early morning Joe and take a slow – very slow – walk around the pier and pathways that encompassed the amusement rides.  Sometimes, I’d meet my friend Sam Brown but mostly I would notice the rides.  That early, they were quiet.  No roar of the steel tracked kiddie cars.  No hum of the carousel.  No churning of the “Vominator” as I call it.  Simply the few workers who were testing, cleaning and inspecting every hinge that would keep the riders safe.

Solitude is not a luxury but a necessity.  God set up the cosmos for the ebb and flow of activity and quiet.  Yet, we fight against the value of being still.  We wield the sword of our schedules against the rejuvenating, calming and refreshing time of inspecting and fine-tuning our lives.

Why is that?

This morning, as is my custom, I woke up before my household, keuriged my coffee and spent time in prayer, calm and thought.  I am ready for the riders of my day.  I am set for the bustle of the crowds of my schedule.  And all it takes is a few extra moments in the quiet of His presence.

Peace,

My new website:

Owl

“I’m an owl!” she said as my wife scooped and dumped the pre-wrapped candy into her plastic dollar store jack-o-lantern.  She was the cutest one that came to our door last Halloween.  No witches nose, no ghost sheet, no ten inch plastic knife.  Just simple fabric feathers cut out in multiply shapes and colors and lovingly stitched onto a felt jacket.

Why do we make life so gory and complex?  Why do our minds wander to things of the dark and justify it and cute.  Why is it that our thought patterns weave together evil and negativity as a first response to the beauty that is in this world?  Sin … sure.  But our culture thrives on making life complex.  We live for the thrill of the “next thing” which results in a life more chaotic that what God intended.

Today, I will strive to be still.  I will spread wide my appointments and walk slower.  “Who” knows .. Maybe, today, I’ll just be an owl.

Peace,