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Tips for Home Productivity

So, yes… everyone has been posting to their social media a little extra these days. Some people share news and updates while others share what they’re doing at home. Those who like productivity have also been sharing their ideas for how to stay productive at home which can be super helpful! Since I’ve had a full day at home once a week throughout most of my undergraduate degree, I’ve tested out a few of my favourite tips. It’s also been super beneficial to see all the new ones coming out. I thought I’d share some of my personal favourites in case you’re also needing extra doses of motivation and are looking for every bit of help while staying at home!

1. Set Weekly Goals

As a student you always have assignments, quizzes and exams to study for so weekly goals are easy to set. But even when I’m not doing my schoolwork, it’s nice to have something to work towards at the end of the week and to know that there’s a goal at the end.

2. Plan Your Week at the Start

Plan out your entire week… or at least take a look ahead! This one I’ve done ever since I started university. Usually on Sunday night I’ll take a look and make sure I realize what needs to be completed this week (and sometimes what I need to get a head start on for the following week). This goes hand in hand with setting weekly goals.

3. Set Daily Goals

Yes, even if you have goals for the week, you’ll probably end up trying to cram them all in at the end of the week (if you’re anything like me). And sometimes things need to be done midweek. As you look at your week, set some major daily goals.

4. Plan Out Your Day the Night Before

No, I don’t always do this one. I’d like to think I’m not THAT much of a planner… When the rest of my family is home alongside of me, I have to allow for more flexibility to be able to join their activities. Allow yourself some grace! But I have found this tip to be extremely helpful when I have a busy day and lots of things that must be finished before the end of that day. If I’ve set myself a deadline then I know I have no time to dilly dally in between or procrastinate on that assignment.

5. Start the Day with Jesus

Best tip I’ve EVER integrated into my schedule. First, understand I have NEVER been perfect at keeping my daily “quiet times” and I know that God is not looking for me to sit there reading my Bible just to check it off the list. While I have never done this near as well as I would like to, spending time with Jesus before I do anything else helps me approach the day with peace and confidence because I have had a chance to realign my thoughts on Him. Yes, there are many times I’m distracted by what I need to do next, but I thank God that He is gracious to still meet with me in those moments.

6. Stay Off Social Media Until 11 AM

The time is somewhat arbitrary but it’s usually when I’ve lost my initial wind of productivity and give myself a break. Often I try to apply this to staying off my phone for the entire morning but… I usually fail at that one. Convincing myself to at least stay off social media until later in the day is much more doable and makes all the difference!

I also manage multiple social media accounts, so staying off and planning those tasks for later helps me not get distracted and waste my time scrolling!

7. Be Realistic

Sometimes I set lofty goals. Then I get disappointed because I didn’t complete them. I have found it much more helpful to be realistic as I set my goals, knowing my limits and planning accordingly. If I happen to complete more and get ahead, then it feels even better!

8. Be Gracious

You may have noticed that a lot of these have to do with scheduling and planning. Ask any of my friends or family and you’ll know I’m a hardcore planner. But something I’ve come to realize is that spontaneous and unplanned moments can make the best memories. Be gracious with yourself when you don’t stick to the plan. Leave some wiggle room in your schedule for flexibility and interruptions.

There you have it. Some of my favourite things to do when I need to get stuff done. If you’re looking for more ideas here are two extra articles I’ve found insightful!

  1. My friend Victoria has been doing the home productivity thing since forever: https://victoriawiebe.com/home/5-tips-for-working-from-home
  2. The Gospel Coalition has 9 more tips too! https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/work-efficiently-home/

Also if you want some FREE printables to help you plan, you can find them under shop > downloads!

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The Power of a Prayer Meeting

I’ll be honest, prayer meetings were the last thing I would schedule time for in my semesters. As a student leader for my campus ministry, life just seemed so full. Whether I was involved in other club activities and events or not, the prayer meeting always seems to be the last meeting I prioritized. If I had extra time, I’d consider going, and if I could be studying, it was the first thing I dropped from the possibilities. I don’t think I’m alone in this. But recently since pulling back from other scheduled events, I have made the time to attend prayer meetings and found it SO worthwhile. Here’s why I think these meetings have become a highlight of my week and are important to make time for!

 

1. Join Other Christians in Seeking God Together

There’s something powerful when 2 or 3 come together in His name. You can seek God individually (and ain’t that important) but it’s special when you join other Christians in seeking God together.

 

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” – Matthew 18:20

 

As students, our heart for our campus should be to see revival and the lost get saved. Praying for your campus with other Christians who want to see their classmates be saved is powerful! There’s unity and joy that comes from it. I have personally been so encouraged every time I see Christians come together at my school for worship or prayer because I can see how many people are also following Jesus in a secular environment.

 

2. Cast Your Anxieties on God

God cares for us and wants to bear our burdens. We weren’t meant to bear them on our own. When things or troubles are on our hearts, the best place to take them is to God. Sure, sometimes it isn’t best to bring it up in front of other people but sometimes they can come alongside us with these things. Whether or not our worries are spoken, coming to pray with others is a good reminder to also bring our anxieties to God because He cares for us.

 

“… casting all your anxieties on Him, because He cares for you.” – 1 Peter 5:7

 

3. Take a Moment to Remind Yourself of God’s Goodness

In the midst of bringing miseries and troubles to God, prayer is a perfect opportunity to remind ourselves and be thankful for God’s goodness. What a privilege it is to be able to come to God with free access. Prayer is a direct line to talk to God which is only because of what He has done for us. He has given us salvation.

 

And when we bring our requests to God, He has a plan no matter what happens or how long it takes. He hears us and answers us even if it wasn’t what we expected. We can learn to have this posture from Daniel’s friends Shadrach, Meshach, and Abendago who were about to be thrown into the fiery furnace for the sake of their faith.

 

“If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” – Daniel 3:17-18

 

This verse is often paraphrased as “but if not, He is still good.” There is so much to be learned from these guys that trusted God knew best. They knew God was capable to deliver them but trusted that even if God chose not to deliver them, God had a better plan.

 

For me, every time we pray for revival and for healing, I know God is capable. But when I don’t see my friends have an immediate change of heart, I know I don’t need to be discouraged. Or if I face troubles for the sake of Christ, I know He has purpose in it. God knows best and He still hears us. He has a bigger heart for my friends and my campus than I ever could. God is still so good no matter what.

 

4. Practice Humility and Dependence on God

I’d say this point has been the biggest lesson in my life lately. Humility means acknowledging that God is my Creator and I am dependent on Him. Coming to Him in prayer means I’m admitting that I need Him. Prayer doesn’t always need to change others, but it changes me and realigns my focus onto God.

 

“If my people who are called by my name humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and heal their land.” – 2 Chronicles 7:14

 

I’m all for the fellowship and taking on leadership to plan events for fellow students. God truly taught me valuable lessons through that season of my life. But I’ve come to realize that we also so easily forget to depend on Him instead of ourselves and this is one way I’ve found helpful to practice that.

 

I realize not everyone will be in the same boat. Maybe you don’t attend school and have the opportunity of praying with other Christians at school. Or maybe you just don’t know about any prayer meetings happening at your Church. So, how do you keep yourself from depending on your own strength?

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Bonus Post: Photographs & Life

For the month of February (and the last couple weeks again), I didn’t make many blog posts. Life has been busy and I hit a wall of writer’s block. But to keep you in the loop, here’s a bonus post of photographs I’ve been taking for my class. This is partially what’s been keeping me busy so I thought I’d share them. Marvel at God’s creation with me!

 

I love how photography gives me an opportunity to look at the small things in creation and even in big things, I pay more attention to what’s around me! It’s a way to appreciate what’s around me.

 

This one is my absolute favourite! It’s made it on my Instagram already, but this plant is the coolest. I don’t know what it’s even called, but it’s fascinating.

 

Raindrops are one of my favourite things to photograph, too. I just love the way they fall off plants and reflect the light.

 

So here’s another one… told you I like raindrops.

 

 

Gotta love some colour too! How amazing is it that one leaf could have so much colour in it? There’s no doubt that a Creator is behind it all.

 

In Vancouver, we had snow for a week or two, and now the sun has come out and people started wearing flip flops. This is the Vancouver life for you. Loved capturing some pictures in the snow while it was here! (Thankful for the sun, though).

 

This was just a sneak peek into my last couple months (only one of my classes, too). There’s so much I’ve been learning in the meantime, and I can’t wait to share some of it with you. Stay tuned!

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An Average Day at University

Before I started university, I had no idea what an average day would look like… that scared me. I like the known, not the unknown. School had looked the same for so many years and I knew it would change.

 

In light of reflecting on what it was like to submit those college and university applications around this time several years ago, I’ll share what an average day looks like for me. Most days are similar in that I attend class, meet up with friends, and bump into people. All days have some variation so this is just an example of one day.

 

My day starts with a 1.25 hour commute on the bus and skytrain. Most of the time I don’t do much because I’m still waking up or too tired to read, but it’s also been a good opportunity to read my Bible app or read an easy textbook. Around once a week I see someone that I know on the bus!

 

I usually get to class around 25 minutes early; I don’t like to be rushed. This is a good time to catch up with the people I’ve met in class and get to know them better. Or, to review (okay, maybe it’s last minute cramming) for a quiz.

 

As an “arts/social science” student, most of my classes are 3 hour lectures. This is why it’s good to make a friend in class. Those 3 hours can get looooooong.

 

Occasionally I leave right after class but usually I meet up with some of my best friends after class. This is a highlight for me every time. Even if we just study together, it’s nice to see someone you know. After class can also be a good time to study with your class friends.

 

Sometimes there’s more class… another long 3 hours. And on the way to that class, I’ve probably run into 5 people I know walking through the hallway.

 

Then a couple times a week I get to see my friends in the Christian club. We get to study God’s Word together and build community. When I attend the leadership meetings, it also involves brainstorming fun ways to get students connected!

 

After a long day, I make the 1.25 hour commute back home, sometimes with a friend, sometimes by myself. And when I get home, I’ll start some homework or studying. But I also get to interact with my family and tell them all the people I got to see.

 

So to grade 12 me, don’t worry. University is unknown and scary. But you have your friends and God to walk you through it and you’ll do whatever you can to find community. The unknown will be greater than you ever could have dreamed. Just remember to…

 

“Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.”

-Proverbs 16:3

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Finding Rest

The last goal I had for 2018 was rest. I really enjoy sleep… really. But I also like being productive and it’s hard to combine the two! It’s hard when I am naturally a night owl, but I adore the feels of an early, peaceful morning. There’s a difficulty in finding the balance of staying up or waking early, working hard or taking a break, being active or sitting down, etc.  So far I have not fulfilled this one, and by no means did I expect to perfect it right away. So here’s to continuing to pursue this goal of getting good rest!

 

There are a few things that caused me to think about rest more than just thinking about when I would get to sleep next (that happens often too). I won’t bore you with the details, but here’s the conclusions I made based off of my curiosity.

 

1. Sleep Consistently

Not only to get sleep on a regular basis (yes, every night) but to keep it as consistent as possible each night. Learning this definitely helped explain why I feel tired a lot of times (can’t any student agree with that?)

 

I also read this article which changed the way I view rest and sleep. Thinking of sleep as a way to humble myself before God and leave my life in His hands to rest is actually significant. You can check out the article titled “How to Love God by Getting More Sleep” if you want more details (love this website!)

 

2. Spend Time in God’s Word

Yet again, this comes up. Whenever I’m tired, reading my Bible gives me the spiritual rest I need. It rejuvenates me!

 

3. Give Myself “Me” Time

I try to have enough time off once a week for hobbies or other fun things by myself. I see a lot of people throughout the week so I find it restful to focus on a single activity and reflect on my week.

 

This week for Sunday School (as we read through Exodus), I came across this verse which encouraged me at just the right time for this post. It’s God talking to Moses.

 

“My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”

-Exodus 33:14

 

And that’s the conclusion of my in-depth goals for 2018. Thanks for reading through my random thoughts and rants on what I want to do better for this year. 🙂