Growing Every Day

Posts tagged ‘flow’

Follow Through

From 1st grade through graduating high school, I was a bowler.  I bowled on a league the entire time.  One of the phrases my couch would say continuously, “Follow through”.

Follow through.

Who knew this was a key to success in so many areas of life.  When I was out in the working world, there were deadlines imposed on me.  If I was late with a project or simply didn’t get something done, there were immediate consequences.

Making the shift to staying at home made something very clear to me…I am not so good at follow through.  If a blog post or chapter of my book doesn’t get written, then they don’t get written.  There is no immediate consequence.  However, after being home for several years now I am realizing the consequence is there; it is just far more subtle.

The consequence is not moving forward in life.

If I do not discipline myself to follow through and complete certain projects, then I remain in the same place in life.  No book published, no blog making money, no digital art to sell.

Another lesson from bowling, every time I remembered to follow through, I would hit my mark and almost always get a strike or high scoring roll.  Without the follow through, I would miss my mark and it would not go so well.  That is so parallel to life.  When I push myself to follow through and write for those planned two hours a day, then I move forward.  Things get completed.

What I realize now is that the act of “follow through” is not natural, at least not for me.  This is something that I must discipline, train myself to do.  When I sit down for my two hour writing block, I will inevitably find my mind wandering (and sometimes my body) and have to bring myself back to the project at hand.  I now say out loud, “follow through”.  Even this simple intentional act of speaking out loud to myself has made an impact in how much I am moving forward.

A second thing that has helped me in the discipline of “follow through” are these amazing monthly, weekly, daily calendar printables from Productive Flourishing.  I have tried so many calendars without much success, or with little success.  I am not very good at sticking to an incremental timed calendar.  The calendars found at Productive Flourishing are said to be geared toward the creative mind flow.

Creatives tend to think less on a timeline and more in chunks or projects.

These calendars help you “chunk” your time and order it for the day as well as helping plan the scope of your project(s) for the week/month.

The third element for me in this “follow through” epiphany is realizing that my kids have the same non-follow through nature as I do.  There are numerous Lego projects, art projects, building projects, craft projects, etc. all over the house.  I have no problem with having more than one project going; however, I now have the desire to help discipline (train, not punish) my kids so that they can actually complete these projects.

In the realm of learning and practicing this discipline called “follow through”, I have asked Builder and Princess to pick a project that they want to work on.  We now have “project time” for 30 minutes each day.  They are welcome to work on it more as they wish, but they must work on it for that designated 30 minutes.

Builder has chosen to break down all of his currently built Lego sets and organize them into tubs according to categories.  For example, all police sets will go in one tub, all city or fire sets will go in each of their own tubs, etc.  This is a huge project, and he is continually making forward progress.

Photo Jun 15, 1 30 05 PM

Builder’s Project

Princess has chosen to build all of her Lego sets.  For her to actually complete any one Lego set is quite an accomplishment.  This week already, she has finished two and started working on a third just because she was having fun!

Photo Jun 15, 1 31 11 PM

Princess’s Project (1 of 2 sets built)

The kids’ project times have also helped me to realize that I need to pick a project to work on that is for me personally and not related to business/work.  I know this will be an on-going learning process for us all, and I am determined to follow through!

And You? ~ How are you on following through?

 

 

Bottoms, Bellies, and Bins

Yeah, kind of a strange title.  Let me explain…

In the past 2-3 weeks, I have seen a huge improvement of Builder and Princess settling down to do their morning work.  Morning is when we largely focus on our math and word work.  I believe three things have contributed to this increase in productivity, and decrease in whining/complaining about getting started with schoolwork.

#1 – a table

Photo Feb 16, 12 52 51 PM

This sounds simple and obvious, but in our house we did not have a place we could all gather and work on things at the same time.  At least, we didn’t have a place relatively workable for all of us.  We could sit at the kitchen table, but that was really too high for the kids to work comfortably.  So, we purchased what is called an activity table.  One day, I pictured us all sitting around a table at their sitting height.  I loved this idea and did some research.  I knew this was an investment I was willing to make in our homeschool and found a basic 2′ x 4′ school table.  The table’s height is adjustable up to a normal desk height which allows it to grow with us through the years.  Builder and Princess just know that when it is school time, we gather together at the “oak table”,  as Builder likes to call it, and get to work.  Having a work space at their own height, I believe, is key.

#2 – a snack

This little key was found quite by accident, which I notice is how many things come to be.  We had breakfast early one day, so as we were sitting down at our new school table I asked if the kids wanted a snack.  Of course, they did.  Lo and behold, they sat eating their snack and then were ready to move on to work since they were already sitting and poised, ready for action.  This is what we have done for the last couple of weeks.  When it is time to transition to school, we move to the table, have a snack, and get to work.  Sometimes they finish their snack before getting started.  Sometimes they start working while eating.  Either way, this mama is happy.

#3 – student bins

Photo Mar 07, 12 21 57 PM (1)

This is something that has helped me and the kids.  We have designated a rainbow drawer for each child.  Any printed material, manipulatives, glue sticks, etc. that may be needed for work that day is placed in the bin and set on the table for the beginning of school time.  This helps me keep accountable as well as helping Builder and Princess see the scope of what needs to be done for the day.  It also helps them know how close they are to finishing, and I think that has helped overall.  If it is not a printed material, a sticky note can be placed in the bin and thrown away once the activity is completed.  When their work is finished, they place it on my desk.  When their bin is empty they can put it back in the rainbow drawer stacker.

So there you have it…a place for bottoms, something in their bellies, bins for the days work.  Three very small things that have made a big difference in our school day.

Your Turn to Play ~ What is one of your most valuable routines or tools?

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