Lifestyle

3 Tips for High-Impact and Productive Time Management

There’s something for everyone who desires effective time management. Yet, none of it has worked for me. With endless amounts of apps, blogs, and resources that are INCREDIBLY helpful and challenging, they can often become a hindrance to high impact living. 

Being a creative hustler, I’ve grown weary of books and resources cramming me into their personalized time management programs. It’s amazing information, however, the monotony becomes excruciatingly under-stimulating or the sterile boundaries around time become my failure. 

Maybe you’re like me. Productivity is mandatory but inspiration fuels your energy, focus and impact. This feeling is common for extroverts or even creatives, but I’m quickly realizing that if you lead teams or work with people, three things are absolutely needed or possibly demanded from you: execution (of the tasks), inspiration/motivation (for the vision), and connection (with the people). 

So no long ago I set aside the rules and started a few of my own that have SKY-ROCKETED my impact, motivation, productivity, and connection. 

Below are three ways I’ve organized my months/weeks for high-impact productivity: 

    1. Connection – who do I need to connect with and I make sure I know what type of “connection” it is; project update, vision casting, feedback (positive/negative), or building a relationship. If the individual has reached out to me, I always ask what they are hoping from our time together or what do I need to prepare for our time together. I try to keep all connection times on the same days so I can go into that day with full steam of people, people and more people! 
    1. Inspiration – I need to dream, see the vision, find my inspiration and even motivation behind my work. It’s crucial. Often times it comes being alone and allowing my brain to absorb inspiration from various resources, images, people, sounds, or things. I write, plan, dream, find what I need to store energy and motivation for the vision ahead.. I often spend a portion of a morning/afternoon weekly to fuel my passion for creation and vision! If I can see it, then I can lead others to it. 
    1. Execution – Once I fuel up, I need to hustle, create and make it happen! This means the vision which needs people who are better than me, has to be fulfilled through tasks, projects and ultimatley getting things done. This also refines my ability to problem-solve, become resourceful and steward people/budgets well.

So let’s recap:

Connect (with people) + Inspiration (for the vision) + Execute (the tasks) = HIGH IMPACT. 

This powerful equation has worked miracles for me and praying and hoping it connects those (task/time management) dots for you. Break the rules, find your inspiration, become an incredible hustler and connect with people well! You’ll find a rewarding and IMPACTFUL life ahead of you. What about you? What tips and tricks have made you HIGHLY-IMPACTFUL and productive? Let’s hustle, create and connect together, shall we?

Your Biggest Fan,

Jessica Huffman

Double Bouncing Friendships

I grew up on trampolines, Kool-Aid, sprinklers and creating tree forts in the woods. It was a wonderful childhood (not perfect) filled with family and friends. I remember Sundays being my favorite days for my best girls and I to own Sunday school like a boss, run around the church playing make believe and then everyone heading to Ryan Steakhouse for their all you can eat buffet. As little girls, we would compliment our latest colored socks or talk about how we got into trouble for watching the Smurfs. We were a GIRL PACK/TRIBE/GANG/GROUP long before we knew those existed. It was fun, it was exciting and it was organic. Relationships were easy and natural, without pressure of feeling the sting of exclusivity and favoritism. No one talked about who knew who or who hung out with who, or compared relationships with another. We just…well….enjoyed our friendships for what they were. Some of my friends came from wealthy lives that lived in large homes and took exciting vacations. They worked hard for their lifestyle and I respected that. Others grew up with disabled family members who lived with lots of love and joy knowing that each day brought its own adventures. I adored and encouraged them. 

Every season of life has brought a plethora of people with wonderful stories. We played together, got mad at each other, forgave each other and never thought about why we couldn’t be friends with one another. We were just friends…it was simple. 

Then we all grew up, the world grew up and I saw friendships become complicated and overexposed. 

We needed boundaries….

We needed vulnerability….

We needed affirmation and encouragement….

And when we didn’t get it, we dropped one another in search of another friend. 

We became selfish, isolated, cruel, comparison junkies, ambition driven women who were going to be STRONG and independent. 

We read books to discover why we should no longer talk to “so in so” and set what we call “healthy boundaries”. We share a bit of our heart on social media while flashing a bit more skin in hopes we get a few more likes to feel a little bit more empty. We build bigger homes behind bigger gates so we can protect our privacy, and we build bigger green rooms to talk less to the needy/weird/difficult/ people we’ve been called to love. 

Relationships became strategic and friendships became complicated. 

It’s like the adult version of us all jumping on the trampoline, one falls down and we all keep jumping. Admit it; you loved double bouncing people when they fell and struggled when you got double bounced. Trampolines taught me a lot about life and friendships as a child and even more as an adult.

Eventually three things have to happen (on the trampoline):

  1. If you fell, get back up EVEN if no one stops jumping. It might feel impossible, hard and you might feel hurt, but the goal on a trampoline is that you keep jumping! Resilience is key when building friendships and you might have to jump with a few bad batches of people, but don’t let it take the joy away of YOU jumping!
  2. If you’re jumping and someone falls, help them back up! You might have the strength to offer them and the hand they need in an overwhelmingly large “trampoline” life full of navigating friendships.
  3. If you fell or you’re offering a hand up, remember that the GOAL is to continue to jump with others. No one is perfect, we all need grace, a time-out, and an opportunity to begin again. Stop lashing out at those who are not offering a hand up and stop double bouncing people when they are down!

If we’d focus more on the joy of jumping with others, we’d focus less on how another jumps. It’s a tough world and we are all in desperate need of Jesus’ grace and love…..especially in friendships. 

With all my heart,

-JHuff

(Picture from @Kaitlyn.Hachman)

Huffman Summer 2018!

Summer 2018 has begun in the Huffman household!

With Jason and I leading full ministry lives, it’s important to us that our babes are intentional with their Summer rhythm. We are fully embracing that each day will look slightly different, however, starting with BIG goals gives their minds something to focus on and their hearts growing. 

A few goals are weekly and become “their pick” regarding dinner ideas, activity of their choice, and a friend day! As they grow older, I’m realizing the importance of them owning and taking responsibility for their growth and activities; it’s never easy but it’s going to be worth it.

 

Health – 30 Min of Physical Activity
Spiritual – 15 Min of Bible Reading & Make a Prayer List
Mental – 30 Min of Reading
Mental – One Writing Activity
Emotional/Relational – Friend Day (Once A Week)
Emotional/Relational – Family Activity (Once A Week)
Emotional/Relational – One Activity of Your Choice (Once A Week 3 hours)
Chore – Mom Picks (Daily)
Chore – Keep Room Clean (Daily)
Hygiene – Teeth/Face/Shower (Daily)
Chores – House Cleaning (Once A Week)
Business – 1 hour daily
Good Attitude
Kindness
Lots of Laughing

 

All goals are listed in an Excel spreadsheet with a check box next to them. I’ve printed one week (6 days worth) and leave Sunday as our church/Sabbath day. As a wise person once said, “The days are long, but the years are short”, so Summer 2018 will be one for the books!

What about you? What’s your plans, goals, intentional actives for Summer 2018? Care to share some other ideas with me? 

With all my heart,

J-Huff

XOXO

Living Unoffendable

You probably read my earlier image/post and were like “Whatever, Jess…almost impossible.” Breath; you’re not alone in this journey of living wholehearted (Thanks Brene Brown for making that word so radically awesome) and free. It’s hard and it takes serious amounts of work, however, if we can focus our energy towards becoming unoffendable vs. getting over offenses, we actually become highly productive instead of reactive to the world and it’s ways.

In order to become unoffendable, we need to understand what an offense is and then what the Bible has to say and applying it practically. 

Webster’s definition of offense:

“Annoyance or resentment brought about by a perceived insult to or disregard for oneself or one’s standards or principles.”

Notice the two words we will focus on:

“perceived”  and “oneself” 

In a nutshell, being offended has everything to do with how you perceive yourself and then how you perceive the offender.

 

To live unoffendable let’s talk about YOU!

 

1. Understand that offense begins with areas you are most insecure in. 

If you feel like your being excluded, then you will see, hear, and respond like everyone is excluding you. When someone didn’t invite you to that hang-out (because they forgot, etc.) it affirms the insecurity that you’re not wanted or belong and BOOM, you’re offended at them for a way you feel. 

The sting of the offense might come but allow yourself to feel the pain and then decide to not let it settle or apply more meaning other than “it hurts”.  A wise man once said, “It is the mark of an educated (trained mind) to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”  – Aristotle

Entertain the sting/pain or the “ouch” moment and then move on. It does not deserve your time nor attention. You’re far to purpose-filled to be pain-filled by offense, so be ruthless about your insecurities and then incredibly devoted to God’s truth in those areas. 

Jesus talked about offense in Luke 17 saying “when they come”. The offenses ARE coming and the more you grow, gain success, expand your thinking, dream, take risks, the more potential offenses will come. Jesus also said, “you shall forgive them” again and again and again…well, you get the point. 

Insecurities are the other side of pride’s coin; it’s your belief that you’re not good enough in areas. Pride says “we are better than them” in areas and it’s the same coin that goes with us in every walk of life and will jingle loud in your pocket with every season of growth. 

May I be honest? You’re not good enough. Life with Jesus was never designed to be about “good enough” because once we accepted Him, He became our “More Than Enough”! Shake off that worldly thinking, leave self-pity behind and go dwell in God’s goodness and love over and for you. 

 

To live unoffendable let’s talk about THEM!

 

2. Believe the best….even if it’s really the worst. 

Ever had your intuition radar go off the charts with people? Yeah, me too and it’s the worst deciphering someone motives and intentions until one day a verse smacked me in the head and my heart and mind changed. 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble (honoring), whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” – Philippians 4:8

When people were the worst or the truth was coming out, my flesh wanted to scream, “I told you so” to everyone who I shared my heart (which was a mask for my offense) with. Even though who and what they were was truth, God was asking me to literally go-down the list of each values in Philippians 4:8. 

God: Was it true?

Me: No! 

God: Is what you’re thinking noble (honoring)?

Me: **Wide eyes and blank stare.

Even though they offended me, I still had an obligation to HONOR! It was not. In fact they were being ripped to shreds in my mind. Regardless of their actions and words, I still had a commitment to honor them in my mind by remembering they are God’s creation and deserved the highest respect and honor. The fight to honor in our minds will always prevail in our words and actions.

Once I got past the noble part, then there was…right…pure…lovely…admirable….then excellent and praiseworthy…UGH! 

Soooooo HARD, right? The truth is where we send our thoughts, we land our energy (physical and emotional). 

Believing the best in the middle of the worst will keep your heart free from offense and your life happy. Don’t stop there! Once you are believing, then start speaking the “excellent and praise-worthy” qualities over that person, too that person, but mostly over the situation that happened. 

 

My prayer for you is to remain both resilient and soft in a world that continues to settle in resentment, bitterness and un-forgiveness. 

Believe in you friends,

J-Huff

PS – Stay tuned for my next blog talking about the other part of Luke 17 and “going to your brother/sister”. 

The One Topic Christians Don’t Talk About!

There is a “hush” word in the Christian arena and it is called Depression.

There are approximately nine symptoms of Major Depression and I experience every one of them. I accepted Jesus when I was 13 years old and I, very much believe in God’s redemptive power to wipe out any addiction, disease or anything that stands contrary to His Word. Yet, I struggle with symptoms that sometimes take me to a very dark place that seems to cover me like a heavy, weighted blanket.

It does not ask my permission, it just comes.

Three years ago, on February 1st my strong, spirited Father lost his battle with cancer and now both of my parents are gone from the same disease. I was there at the very last breathe for one and left 3 hours before the other slipped into eternity. I never saw my parents age and I miss them terribly, especially now. The next year my husband of almost 9 years decided he did not desire to be married any longer and our divorce was final July 3rd, 2017. He started his life with his new wife, July 29th, 2017. Their new baby arrived September 2017 and his life moved on quite swiftly.

The clock still ticks but my life has stayed still.

I’ve always been joyful, full of life and what some have called me,” refreshingly annoying,” as I am a quite a morning person and a night owl! I really did not allow much to ruffle my feathers and was a very even-keeled type individual. I am loud, passionate, enjoy laughter and I love people.

Most days it is a struggle to get out of bed, clean my house, I overeat and sometimes I cannot come out and face people, family and close friends. My personality has changed and I am still very much in grief over the loss of my life as I knew it. Grief is a complex place to be in, you cannot pray it away, yet prayer will very much ground me and light my way. Grief and depression go hand in hand and it is something I have committed myself to going through and not around.

As I have entered into 2018, I have found a new appreciation for this place I am in. It is lush, green and the scent in the air is of “The Valley.” The Psalm 23 kind of valley along with the shadow of death. The following are the ways I found helps me through this place.

  • My condition does not define me so I refer to symptoms of Depression and Grief, I am not Depression!
    My future self is not part of this Depression as God already is in my future and He says, I am restored, healed and I am running the race with perseverance.
  • I coach myself daily and have sit down sessions with The Wonderful Counselor, Jesus.
  • Confess I am God’s workmanship, co-worker, child & He knit me in my mother’s womb (Eph 2:10, 1 Corth 3:9, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 139:13).
  • Use God’s word as my life manual and my confessions are my medicine to my soul.
  • Renounce lies as they don’t prosper even though they may form.

I try my hardest not to call myself depressed because I am not defined by my circumstances. I confess I have symptoms of grief and depression but I am not what it says I am, nor will my future be determined as so. I have begun to adjust my thinking and daily I fight for normalcy. I coach myself through these dark places and allow myself time with God for daily sit down sessions with what the Bible calls” The Wonderful Counselor, Jesus.” God’s Word is my life’s manual and my confessions are medicine for my soul. I remind myself that I am God’s workmanship, His co-worker and His beautiful daughter that He knit together in my mother womb (Eph 2:10, 1 Corth 3:9, 1 John 3:1, Psalm 139:13).

I confess I have a voice, a purpose, a great group of people that surround me and a beautiful 8 year old son who needs me to get healthy.

There have been times I did not think I needed to be here but that is a lie that I will not let prosper (Isaiah 54:17). I am fighting for those who share this same place with me, we can get out of this together. I am fighting so when the people who I personally know go through a season of loss, I can wrap my arms around them and say, “I’ve been there, you will come out of this too.” I am fighting for those women I meet who I can immediately see are where I once was and stand with them through it. God sees into our futures, He is already there, that is why He can say to me, you are restored, you are healed and run the race with perseverance. He sits with me on my worst days and He rejoices with me on my best ones, but I am the same in both stances because He says,” I am free and nothing can separate me from His love.” That is my hope and my prayer every day. I am bound to come out of this more insightful, more mature and ready for God’s best for my life and He is not finished with me yet! My victory song is:

“By Your Spirit I will rise from the ashes of defeat, The resurrected King is resurrecting me. In Your name I come alive to declare Your victory, The resurrected King is resurrecting me.” – By Elevation Worship 


-Rita Stanford
1/3/18

Thoughts On Prayer!

Prayer – It reorders the desires/needs of our spirit, and anchors the struggles of our soul. It’s the whisper of God that says “Be still”, and the loud commanding voice that propels us to take action. It’s intimate, corporate, widely impacting, and deeply abiding. It changes us inwardly while the storm continues to rage around us outwardly. It stop us, moves us, inspires us, humbles us, guide us, but more importantly, it’s our direct lifeline to the most important relationship we have – the one with our heavenly father.

I’ve been called a lot of things, but the one thing I hope to have on my tombstone, written on my kid’s hearts & minds, and slathered over all areas of my life is being a “women who prays”.

At some point in your life you will be faced with YOU dealing with your world or GOD, the creator of this world, taking charge of it all. Closing that gap means you pray.

With all my heart,

-JHuff

PS- How can we pray for you?