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a prophetic challenge promoting productivity

I'm back.  Did you miss me?

Ten days ago I was sitting in an uncomfortable folding chair surrounded by lovely ladies I'm growing to love.  As I sat there giving myself a much needed pep talk about powering through for another hour of being in a bra, the prophet dropped a bombshell challenge that made the entire room murmur and gasp.  Ten days of no social media.  Ten days.  There were three other parts of his challenge, but this point had all kinds of gals squirming in their seats.  The youth challenge was for a week!
Apparently us women have more responsibilities we are shirking so an additional three days was necessary.  Don't be deceived here, I was never against this challenge.  In fact, I like a good challenge, and I was determined to pass with flying colors.  My main fear was that Dewy was leaving all week for another round of hiking with guns--aka hunting if you're new here--and I couldn't fathom how my evenings were going to be bearable if I was stuck in the silence and unable to scroll.  

The prophet encouraged us to write down and assess our thoughts and feelings as we participated in this fast, as well.  The biggest part of my week was being a hunter's widow again, so I compared what this week was like against what it was like last time when I had Instagram to keep me company.  The difference was glaringly obvious.  I was WAY more patient this last week than I was with my kids the last time Dewy was gone.  I was still annoyed and slightly on edge periodically, but I found that my time was used being with them, and not tolerating their noises while I turned the volume up on Facebook Live.  Instead of feeling furious that I was stuck in the trenches and my friend was lounging on a beach or executing a massive shopping spree, I snuggled with Larsen and played catch with Rhett.  I was also not nearly as exhausted at the end of the day, and I was even more productive than normal.  

I've always been a productive person.  I'm not a procrastinator, like at all, and I find unhealthy amounts of satisfaction in checking things off a list.  Ever heard of Google Keep? You guys... it will change your life.  Like, I will bear my testimony about it right now.  Several people have commented about the things I'm able to get done in a day, and it has always kind of baffled me.  What are those people doing?  How does someone sit down and do nothing without having an anxiety attack? I'm not saying my way is healthy or better, I'm just saying I don't fully understand yours.  This week, during my down time and because I didn't have the luxury of mindless double tapping, I read an article about characteristics of productive people.  I realized that things that were totally normal for me, apparently weren't for others.  So for those of you who keep asking how I get so much crap done using the same amount of hours you have in a day, here we go:

Prioritize and plan.  I've realized I sometimes do this subconsciously.  List making is as much a part of my life as bread is, but some things don't need to be written down.  For example, I realize I have bananas that are way too ripe sitting on the counter.  That means I need to make banana bread or throw them away.  I also need to make dinner, cut the boys hair, do the laundry, get baths done, and clean the floors.  Recognizing all my to-dos, I immediately figure out which order to do them in.  Laundry takes the longest, so I make the boys gather the baskets and drop them in the laundry room.  Once that is sorted and started, I tackle dinner.  When I get dinner in the oven, I switch the laundry and start making the banana bread.  We eat dinner, I throw the banana bread in the oven and it's off to cut hair. Rhett first so he can shower, then Larsen so he can jump in the tub.  Dewy holds Baylor while I cut his and he then joins Larsen.  Dewy is last, and while he showers I throw the clothes everyone just took off into the last load of laundry, pull the banana bread from the oven, get kids from the tub and dressed, and while Dewy handles pajamas and teeth brushing, I do the dishes and clean the floors.  Also, cleaning while you cook is a necessity.  Once you are done using something, put it away.  It's all about time management people.  Also, take it a step at a time.  If I had to visualize the entire process I would be so overwhelmed.  Once I know what I need to do, I can break it down into pieces.  Kind of like a KitKat bar.

I also like to prioritize tasks and do the most important first. Some of the things I do I consider to be of the utmost importance.  For example, working out and reading my scriptures.  Those are things that affect how my day goes, so it's worth it to me to get up at 4 in the morning and get them done before work.  If it's important, you'll find a way.  If it's not, you'll find an excuse. I feel like this isn't a characteristic thing, but rather a habit.  That way if the less important items on my list--cleaning the fridge, ironing, shaving my legs--don't get done I'm not upset.  

Be a problem solver.  I say this phrase to my kids about 13 times a day.  Once I've got my plan laid out for the day, I will inevitably come up on a road block.  Maybe it is that I wanted to deep clean an area of the house before I have to leave for soccer, but Baylor won't lay down for a nap. I immediately start reworking my plan.  If I let Baylor stay up now, then go to soccer, I'll be able to get the other stuff done after the game when Baylor will be too exhausted to stay awake.  My mindset then shifts to getting things done that don't require a kid proof atmosphere.  I could just throw the whole plan out the window and blame it on the lack of nap time, but instead I rework the plan. 
Again, I don't feel like this is an innate gift, but more like a habit.  Another thing that fits in this category is continuing to learn.  If I don't know how to do something that needs to be done, I'll youtube the crap out of that task before I throw in the towel.  I feel like this habit comes from watching my dad, who did everything possible on his own instead of hiring things out.  If he needed to know how to do something, he learned how.  Don't let your momentum die because you came across an unexpected issue.  Fix it, and move on.  

Stay focused.  I am the first to admit that my attention span is sometimes shorter than Matt Rolof, but certain things help me maintain my focus on a task.  Music is a big one.  For some reason, if my music is blaring I'm working ten times faster.  If you decide to come visit the Hodges house on a Saturday morning--Dewy calls it "stress out Saturday" because I'm always rage cleaning--plan on just walking in.  We will never hear you knock over the Thomas Rhett blaring through my speakers.  I also like to have something to look forward to for when I'm finished.  It's usually time to go read or something to eat, but to each their own.  

Be organized.  I like to clean my house in order.  Start with the front room, and work my way through each room doing the tasks in order--pick things up, vacuum, dust, etc.  I've got cleaning supplies in appropriate designated areas of the house, and everything has a place.  You've seen my pantry, right?  I'm obsessed with organization.  Hence the use of Google Keep.  Seriously.  Download it.  Right now.  I'm also a freak about schedules.  My kids know we follow routine, and they are always asking what the plan is.  This also lets me throw in random tasks to maximize time usage.  For example, when I'm sitting on my boys' floor while they fall asleep at night, I can type a blog post, answer emails, or online shop.  All three of which are obviously productive. 

Overall this challenge was enlightening, and if I'm being honest I didn't think it was hard.  Will I go on an anti social media crusade? No.  How would I see all of the new products on Poppy and Dot?  I did see the effect it has on my mood and my mind, however, and I think being aware is going to be very helpful.  Plus, if I got rid of mindless scrolling I'd have to resort to increasing online shopping, and Dewy would leave me for sure.  


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