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Gifts You Use {How to be Productive}

Today is another Gifts YOU Use day, and I am swapping blogs with Raquel from Organized Island! She will give you some inspirational gifts on productivity while I gift forward my techy tips on her blog. I hope you take the time to visit both blogs today and show some comment love! Welcome Raquel!
I am so excited to be here today! I recently got the chance to meet Ferly in person and it was so fun to talk about our reasons for blogging and our desire to help others through our blogs. I am so grateful for her having me here at Gifts We Use.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the things on your task list? Have you ever been on your computer only to notice that a couple of hours later that you are not able to cross a thing off of your list? We all have. Distractions and a desire to put off what we need to do often get in the way of us actually doing and causes stress.

We all procrastinate at times, I know I am guilty of it. There are a few things that you can do to help be more productive and I will share with you what has helped me when I have a lot going on at once.
  • Consolidate Your To Do Lists - If you have some items on a written list and some on your phone and more on a post it, you need to get a handle on all you have to do. Seeing the big picture will help you focus and gain control over your tasks. If an action item is going to take longer than 30 minutes, note the estimated completion time next to the activity. Now if something is not going to take but a few minutes, this would not be necessary. In fact, if it just takes a few minutes, you may just want to take care of it now and not have to list it.
  • Prioritize your list. This can be hard because we tend to waiver when we have things that seem so large. Break large projects into smaller segments. Start with the end result, then determine the steps/tasks needed to get there. Having trouble prioritizing? Think in terms of your goals and what must be done first. If it must be done today, it is a high priority. If it can wait a few days or even weeks, it is a lower priority.
  • Scale back your list. Look really hard at your list. Do you need to write that proposal yourself or can you delegate it? Do you really need to bake the homemade cupcakes with hand decorative toppings to the bake sale, or will a batch of brownies do? Do you have to go to that ____ (fill in the blank), or can you skip it this time? Take items off of your list that are not absolutely necessary to your (or your family's) health or well-being.
  • Schedule your to do items. Plan on only doing a handful of things each day. Do not start out trying to tackle a dozen things on your list at once or you will get discouraged. We all like to think we can multitask, but the truth is, unless some tasks do not require your immediate attention, it does not usually work. Schedule the activities that will take some time in your calendar. Be sure to allow time in between activities, because unexpected things happen and tasks can take longer.
  • Pace Yourself. Be sure to schedule a break or a fun activity. Reward yourself for checking off items on your To Do list. Life is more than just getting tasks done, it is about enjoying family and friends and taking care of yourself.
  • Start already. Finally, when you have a task you have been putting off, resign yourself to work on it for 10 minutes. Getting started is the hardest part. After you start it, it gets easier to make headway.
Thank you for allowing me to visit. I hope you will stop by my blog Organized Island. I am a former productivity manager and I blog about streamlined recipes, simple crafts, planning, organizing and time saving tips.
After graduating from CSUF with a Finance degree, Raquel spent several years as a productivity and operations manager.  She is a mother of two grown children and lives in Orange County, California.  She writes about streamlining activities, simple crafts, easy recipes, planning tips and organization methods at Organized Island.     


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The New Home Tour is Coming!

Hello friends! It has been far too long since my last post and I have missed you all. I wanted to drop by today to let you know that I am still here and I have lots of great things in the works. The biggest of which is a new home tour page. It won't be like other home tours, it will be my real not-ready-for-the-home-and-garden-magazine home. That means that as unfinished as it is, I will show you our humble abode and update the home tour page as needed.

I do have but one little teaser for you, and some of you may have already seen it on my updated about page. It's the exterior of our apartment home. Enjoy this taste of our home and be ready to see what I've managed to do with what we have.
I hesitated to do a home tour until the house was "ready", but with our budget the way it is, and for the sake of being real with you, I decided to show it in all it's simple glory. By doing that, I hope to be relatable to you and also walk you through our journey to making this new house a home. Regardless of budget, we have a roof over our heads and that is a gift in and of itself.


My Organized Bible & a Giveaway!

No job is tougher or more rewarding than that of a parent. Rookie and veteran moms alike often question whether they are raising their kids properly. Although every family is different, there is one source that has remained true and relevant even for today's moral dilemmas. The Bible. I use the Bible to get my priorities straight, gain an eternal perspective, and fill my mind and soul on a regular basis. My bible time fills me up so I can pour myself into my family. Because the Bible is a big part of my life, it is also a big part of my parenting. I'm going to share a wonderful resource that I use to organize my bible for parenting, and gift you with a chance to get one of your own!
Child Training Bible
What it is
The Child Training Bible is an excellent way to organize your bible for easy biblical reference of key areas parents battle daily. There is even one section dedicated to teaching about Jesus through the gospel. In the heat of the moment, we cannot often recall scripture that is applicable to teach our children. As parents, our first instinct is to squash the bad behavior immediately and leave it at that. It happens to me all the time!

How it works
Using the Child Training Bible, I can put my son in timeout {or whatever you call it in your home} while we're both still heated; then while he's taking a break, I can go to my bible, look up the area that needs to be addressed, and prepare for a teachable moment with my son. The Child Training Bible takes me straight to that area and points me to several passages that I can use to calmly talk and pray about with my son.

What you need
The Child Training Bible chart set comes with:
1 Child Training Bible Key
3 Scripture Tabbing Charts
Set of instructions
Open access to a video tutorial

Additional supplies needed:
9"x 6" Bible of your choice {I chose this one}
Post-it Flags Value Pack
Sharpie Accent Highlighter Set
9"x 6" piece of scrap paper
Pencil
Paper towel/napkin

Putting it together
After receiving your CTB chart set and buying the additional supplies needed, read provided instructions carefully.

Lay out all supplies at arms reach and set aside time to concentrate on this task. I recommend at least two hours of uninterrupted time to complete.

Adhere CTB Key to the first page of your bible.

Using the tabbing charts, start with Anger and begin to look up, highlight and tab each verse listed. This is the bulk of the work.

Once all highlighting is completed, use a binder clip to keep tab charts, heart questions and sample prayers corralled at the back of your Bible.

Gaze and clap for your newly {and beautifully} organized Bible ready for the next teachable moment!

Introduce your family to the new bible and what it will be used for, then keep it in a central area of the house.
 


My Tips and Tricks
Tips for gathering supplies:
Choosing a Bible - I chose the NIV Textbook Bible for Students, but would also recommend this NIrV Beginner's Bible for younger readers.
Shopping for a Bible - Bring a 9"x 6" piece of scrap paper to ensure that the Bible you purchase in the store is the proper size for the CTB charts.

Tricks for putting it together:
Use a pencil to check off each verse on the tabber chart after highlighting it in your Bible to keep your place.
Pat each highlight dry with a paper towel to avoid getting light headed trying to blow each highlight dry. I learned this lesson quickly, you're welcome.
Highlights will overlap real quick, so use your pencil to write the applicable area in the margin of the corresponding verse. This will make it even quicker to find the verse you're looking for later on.
For younger readers {and myself}, I pencil in synonyms for some of the harder to understand words, so I'm not caught fumbling through the words of the Bible.

Getting Techy with it!
Having your bible at home is great, but what if a moment presents itself while you're out and about? In comes my techy tip! I highlighted the same verses using the same colors in the NIrV version of my Bible app on my iPhone! You can also take a photo of each of the tabber charts, heart questions, and sample prayers so you have them handy. I love a good techy gift, don't you?

What I love about it
It's organized! My obvious favorite thing about using the CTB is how organized this system is! It is clear that they put much thought into putting it all together. Another "why didn't I think of that" kind of product!

It's colorful! I love the use of colors in the whole system. The matching color tabs based on the key areas help to distinguish one thing from another and really brightens up the inside and outside of the Bible.

It's efficient! Using 3 sides of the Bible to place tabs is just brilliant!

It's thoughtful! I love that not only do you get scripture references, but you also get the tools to talk through moments with your child! Using heart questions to get to the root of issues and sample prayers, it walks you through teachable moments from top to bottom! Each time you go through it, you'll get more confident to discuss issues on your own and tailor it to your own child.

I learn at the same time! As often happens in parenting, I learned just as much putting it together as I'm sure my son will learn as teaching moments arise. Many verses were familiar to me, but others were a great reminder of key areas of life that I may struggle with myself!

A Gift Giveaway for You!

Now that you know how I organize my Bible, the creator of the Child Training Bible system {Mindy}, has graciously partnered with me to host a gift giveaway for you! This gift giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canda. The winner will be announced next week on my Facebook and Twitter pages. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Gift it Forward
The Child Training Bible is a great resource for any Bible reading parent and makes a fantastic gift! Share it with your Bible study or mom group, and make a night of it by completing your CTB projects together! Gift others with a great way to organize their Bible for parenting!
Disclosure: The Child Training Bible System is a product I purchased on my own and offered to review. All opinions herein are my own. I did not receive any compensation for writing this post. This post contains affiliate links. Mindy of Child Training Bible has sponsored the giveaway open to residents of the US and Canada.

30 Days of Thankful

Fall is here and it's time to get into a thankful state of mind! I will be joining Kacey from Well Rounded Home and breaking in my Instagram app with 30 Days of Thankful!

I'd love for you to join in on this thankful movement with us and post a photo of one thing you are thankful for everyday in the month of November. All you have to do is add the hashtag #thankful to the caption of your photo. If you need some inspiration, Kacey has also provided photo prompts to keep you feeling thankful for all the big and small things in life.

Follow me on Instagram! I'd love to see what everyone is thankful for. 
Here's what I've got so far...
Lastly, in the spirit of being thankful, I will be flaunting my instagram feed on my sidebar for you to enjoy.

These days, we could all use an extra dose the gratitude. I hope you use this opportunity to spread thankfulness among your friends and family!

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