A New Routine for Better Mornings

better morning

Source: Flick/Broo_am (Andy B)

Are mornings a struggle for you? They are for me. I’m a recovering night owl and I’ve worked hard over the last year or so to make my mornings better. I implemented something new this week that I think will be really good for me. It’s an evening routine that I adapted from the Stone Soup for Five blog. It is a nice way of wrapping up the day and setting myself up for a successful morning. I try to pack so much in my mornings that often times I get overwhelmed when I can’t get it all done. I’ve made a list that I have been doing for the last week and I will make adjustments to the routine as necessary. Most of the items are for me but the first item is for the whole family.

For step one, the family gets involved in a 10 minute clean up. We have been doing this for several of days and it has worked out so well. We are doing it right after dinner before anyone gets involved in anything else and before the teenager goes and hides in her room. I set the time for 10 minutes and we all go around the house picking up things we have left out throughout the day. If we get done before the time is up, each person can work on other chores like cleaning their rooms, sweeping, dishes, etc. I’ve been amazed at how much work gets done in those few minutes. The kids have complained a bit, but at the same time they get a lot done. It’s been a pretty satisfying new habit and my husband likes it since he gets tired of nagging the kids to pick up their belongings.

Below is the list of the other tasks I’m completing in the evening. When school starts, I will get the kids on a similar routine so they can have easier mornings as well.

Set out Bible study materials. It’s easy to get distracted early in the morning and this helps to ensure that I start with what’s most important before moving on to my business related tasks.

Wash face, brush teeth, floss. My husband has trouble sleeping and sometimes goes to bed before I do. If I don’t get in the bedroom early enough, I’m reluctant to wake him up to do these tasks. Doing it as part of an earlier routine ensures it gets done. 

Fill Keurig with water and fill reusable dispenser with ground coffee. This makes my first mission of the day simple. Just push start when I wake up.

Sweep if not done during 10 minute clean up. We have hardwood floors and a dog that sheds like crazy. Using the Swiffer a couple of times a day is a necessity. So far the kids have done this during the 10 minute clean up time because it’s easy.

Laundry – the main purpose of putting this on my list is to make sure clothes don’t sit in the washer and get stinky in this heat. 

Prep lunch for morning. This a key piece of not only making morning easier, but ensuring that I take healthy foods to work.

Personal development. I usually do this in the morning, but if I didn’t get it done in the morning then it will be part of my evening routine. Personal development can be reading a book, listening to a podcast, doing a business training, or anything that adds to my personal and professional growth.

Do you have an evening routine that works for you?





Empty Shelf Challenge: The Compound Effect

The Compound EffectThe Compound Effect is one of the best personal development books I’ve read. I originally chose the book as a business book but I quickly realized that the concepts in the book can apply to ANY area in my life that I want to improve. The subtitle is Jumpstart Your Income, Your Life, Your Success. I read the book quickly the first time because I couldn’t put it down. But it’s not the type of book that you should just read and move on to the next book. This book is filled with actionable steps that will change you if you take the steps. Each chapter gives you steps you can implement in your life to begin to make those small actions that add up to big results over time. There are free worksheets to go along with the book that you can download online. If you’re needing a kick start to achieving your goals, get this book!

Disclosure: I am an Amazon affiliate so if you purchase using the link below I make a small amount that helps me run this blog. Feel free to purchase the book through any avenue you choose. Just read it and put the steps into action. You won’t regret it. The compound effect is active in your life already. The question is will you use it to your advantage to achieve your goals and dreams?

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Adventures with World of Warcraft – Building Community

World of WarcraftI have many sides and one of them is being an avid fan of the game World of Warcraft. I have been playing since about 2007 when the Burning Crusade expansion came out. It was my first experience playing a game where you could interact with other players. World of Warcraft is a type of game called a MMORPG or a Massive Multiplayer Online Role Playing Game. This post is part of a series called 5 Random Things About Me.  I like to give my readers a glimpse into my life and I love to learn more about you as well. When I first started playing World of Warcraft (also known as WoW), I was terrified at the thought of interacting with other players online. I am an introvert and I had learned to play the game with the original version which was just a CD that you popped into your computer and played without interaction with others. This was way before social media was popular and connecting with others online was just a foreign idea to me. The first time someone “whispered” me (sent me a private chat message) I was shocked. But as I played more I learned the value in building relationships in an online community. Many of the friends that I made in-game are still friends all these years later.

Benefits of Video Games as Online Communities


Learning teamwork and collaboration

There are many quests and challenges that require you to work with others in order to pull them off. Joining a group called a guild can provide helpful benefits to you and working together with them can propel you farther than you can go on your own. There are in-game items, skills and benefits that you only get if you belong to a guild. As will all communities, sometimes you have to shop around to find the group that is right for you.

Setting goals and achieving them

The basics of this type of game is receiving quests and accomplishing them. As you complete the quests you progress in your level and get more rewards and more experience to increase your level. There are many ways you can utilize these features. You may just want to follow the quests as they come or you may seek out specific quest lines for the rewards they give. Just as in life the goals you set and where you spend you time drives the rewards you receive.

Learning Leadership

Over time I went from being afraid to chat with other players to leading my own guild. I started a guild called Homeless with the intention of attracting players that were tired of not measuring up to the requirements of other guilds. We were a band of misfits and it worked. Hundreds of people ended up joining and we became a nice little online family. To be honest, the people that I had connected with in the group are what made it the hardest to take some time off from game play. Leading the guild came with its own set of challenges.

Tension relief/Fun

Some days I play just for something to do mindlessly. Sometimes I need to be able to put my brain in neutral and decompress. I am fully aware that if I spend too much time in this state I will never meet my goals, but an occasional bit of down time can help reset the ole brain cells. One of the things I like doing during this time is “play the auction house.” I love  to learn the prices (in virtual money) that the in-game items can go for and then buy low and sell high. In the past I was pretty good at this and it was sort of a game within the game for me.


Some of the friends I have made in World of Warcraft I still consider friends years later. We have connected in other ways and we keep in touch outside of the game. This game was my first experience with making friends that I had never met before since the days of pen pals when I was a child. For me it paved the way to making new connections and now I am blessed to be a part of several powerful online communities such as Dreamers & Builders and 30 Days of Hustle. The game is fun and I think it always will be for me but the thing that keeps me coming back are the people I meet.

Empty Shelf Challenge – Everything but the Posts

Empty Shelf Challenge

The next book I read for my Empty Shelf Challenge was Everything but the Posts by Becca Ludlum. This book is a quick read and a great resource for bloggers. There is good stuff in here whether you are a new blogger or whether you have been doing this for a while. Becca includes blogging tips for everyone. Even though I read through the book in just a couple of evenings there is a wealth of information that I will be returning to again and again.

The book starts out with the basics on setting up your blog. Even if your blog is up and running there may be some gems in this section for you. The next section deals with building up your community. Over the last year I have learned just how important community can be in every area of your life. Building engagement with your readers is essential for the success of your blog. The last section is about monetizing your blog. Blogging for fun is great, but if you are doing it as part of building a business you will want to read this section.

You can get Becca’s book on Amazon by clicking the picture at the top of the post (I am an Amazon affiliate) or you can go directly to Amazon or Barnes and Noble. You can also learn more about Becca on her blog My Crazy Good Life.


Empty Shelf Challenge – Read More in 2014

Empty Shelf

Empty Shelf

I joined an interesting challenge for 2014.  The challenge was presented in a blog post by Jon Acuff and it involved emptying a shelf and spending 2014 filling it up with books you have read. Since I read in so many different ways: physical books, audio books, eBooks, books on Kindle or Nook, I thought emptying an actual shelf would not show off all the ways I consumed reading materials.  So I started a Pinterest board where I can post the books I’m reading.

Another of my goals is to write more in 2014 so I can combine these goals and write about the books I read and review them here.  Reading is one of my favorite pastimes.   I love to read books that spark my imagination, books that inspire, books that teach me something new, books that make me a better person, books that make me think. Right now I am reading Wheat Belly on my Nook, Celebration of Spiritual Disciplines in hardback and I am listening to A Storm of Swords (Game of Thrones Book 3) in audio format. As you can tell, my interests are varied.  I can’t wait to see how many books I can enjoy in the next 365 days!

If you are interested in joining me in the Empty Shelf challenge, please let me know in the comments below.  I would love to hear about what you are reading.  I would love to follow your Empty Shelf Pinterest board if you post the link in the comments.



500 Words Per Day for 30 Days

Writing 500 words per day

Writing 500 words per day

I joined a challenge for the month of January 2014 to write 500 words per day.  I want to be a better writer and the only way to be a better writer is to WRITE!  The challenge came from writer Jeff Goins.  You can read more here.

Getting better at writing means that I will be better at my job (I am a nurse educator) and it will make this blog more interesting to read.  Writing is therapeutic.  Some things I write may never be seen by anyone else.  Some days I will be writing to check things off my to do list (“write blog post”), other days I may be writing to get something off my chest.  The bottom line is that I will write.  I did my first writing yesterday, January 1 and it was easy to get out around 350 words.  Then I had to push myself to keep going.  I am going to have to be focused to meet this goal.  This morning, because the kids are out of school, I would have been able to “sleep in” a little longer, but I set my alarm early in order to meet my goals.  I was able to get some ramblings down on paper, write a new blog post, edit a blog post and organize my thoughts.  It feels great to have so much accomplished before anyone else in the house is out of bed.

Are you a writer?  Do you want to be a writer?  Then write! Even if you want to just journal for the next 30 days – join the challenge.  If you will be sharing your writing publicly, put the link in the comments so I can follow along.