Fruitfulness

It would be heartbreaking to reach the end of your life and realise you have done a lot of ‘THINGS’ but NOTHING to show for it. This category has articles that will help you to be more fruitful with your time! Time to get productive..

If there is one thing I hate, it is getting out of bed in the morning!  While I am grateful to be awake every morning, I’m just not that bubbly morning person. This means I spend a lot of time hitting the good old snooze button which of course makes me late!

Not a good look! So I have explored various ways to help me save time in the mornings and these 3 have worked the best for me so far and I wanted to share them with you…

The most vital tip and the basis of the first 2 points is to … START THE NIGHT BEFORE!

Yep, you need to start your day from the day before to put you in the best position to have a day filled with productivity. “So what kind go things should I do the night before”, I hear you ask..

Get your outfit in check 

Yes, that’s right, get your clothes ready the night before. I try to do this particularly for work, this way I avoid faffing about in the mornings looking for something to wear. It takes more time than you think, trust me. And no don’t try to take a shortcut and just plan the outfit in your head, actually take it out of your wardrobe and hang it on your wardrobe handle.  Seriously, if you plan it in your head, I bet you won’t find that turtle neck you planned to wear in the morning or the skirt you really wanted to pair it with is still in your laundry basket. Planning it avoids those annoying surprises which take up our precious minutes in the morning. 

I would also include packing your bag the night before. I tend to use the same bag during the week, so I will check through it to ensure everything I need is in there and reorganise the contents.

Bonus: Try planning your outfit for the whole week!

Image Credit: Shirley B. Eniang

Do not just think about what you need to get done , WRITE IT DOWN!

Write out your to-do list the night before and where possible put the most important tasks first in your schedule. 

This way you can review the day you have just had and accurately plan for the next day. 

I find that doing this the night before makes me more objective as I could wake up the next day and not feel like doing anything, but because I have written it down I am more inclined to. It is a great way to keep yourself accountable.

Putting the most important or most difficult tasks at the start of your day ensures that you have already accomplished them before you have even got going. That way any distractions or procrastination doesn’t have such a blow on your productivity.  I know that if I start the day without having my quiet time with God and going to the gym, the likelihood of it happening later in the day is really quite low.

The Fruitful Life Planner 

Time your shower-time! 

If you are anything like me, you may take AGES in the shower and loose track of time! It happens to me all the time no matter how much I tell myself I am going to be quick. So, I found a solution! I bought a small waterproof clock which is stuck on my shower wall and honestly, it has helped me loads. Being able to see the time helps to me to be more realistic. I used to get in the shower and think I have been in there fore 5 minutes but it has really been 20! Not the best discovery when you are running late! So now I give my self a time limit and it is so much easier to stick to when you can actually see the time.

Do you have any other tips that could help us save time in the mornings? Share them in the comments below! Don’t forget to come back and let us know how you get on incorporating these tips into your routines..

Thanks for visiting!

A few days ago (15 Jan 2018) was ‘Blue Monday’. Never heard of it? Well, this is the name typically given to the third Monday in January and it is said to be the most depressing day of the year! Why? Because most people would have failed or even given up on their new year resolutions. We are about igniting Fruitfulness in the lives of all our readers, so we want you to smash all your new year resolutions. I hate setting the same resolutions year after year so I am really passionate about putting strategies in place so that I can put a big fat satisfying tick next to all my goals by the end of the year.

Hopefully, you are now settled into 2018 and back into the swing of things. (Took me a good few days!) So how are you doing so far?

Why not read on and check against our 4 indicators that you are on track for a fruitful year…

1. You reflected on 2017 

And I don’t mean you just uploaded a bunch on pics/vids from 2017 onto Snapchat (Am I the only one who thinks that’s incredibly annoying lol?) What I mean by ‘reflect’ is critically analyse! Ask all the questions and be honest with yourself..What went well? What didn’t go well? What did you achieve? How did you achieve it? What didn’t you achieve?  Why didn’t you achieve it? What did you wish you did more of? Did you do things that mattered? Did you spend time with people you love? How did your circle help you this year? How did you help them? Do you need a new circle? Is this goal really God’s plan for me? I could go on… but you get the picture? These are the kinds of questions I ask myself. And you should write them down so they sink in and so that you can go back and read your answers. If you don’t know what was good and bad in your year how can you make adjustments in the new year?

“Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”

If you didn’t do this, it is not too late. Get out a notebook or your notes app and get to writing!

 

2. You have a plan for 2018 (AND YOU HAVE ACTUALLY WRITTEN IT DOWN)

Most people have goals and aspirations. But most people do not write them down. We always write down important things, so why on earth do most of us not write out our goals?! Did you know people who write out their goals earn up to 10 times more than those who do not according to a Forbes report based on a study done by Harvard. Now, I am not basing the meaning of success or fruitfulness on how much you earn. BUT to earn up to 10 times more than your peers suggests you must be doing something right!

Once you have it written down, you need to go back review it every once in a while. I would say at least once a month. I have got to the end of a year once and as I was reflecting I was like, “omd, I didn’t even remember I had that goal.” Needless to say, that was not one of my achieved goals at that time. I could have avoided this by revisiting my goals regularly.

A great way I find to do this is to create a Vision Board for the year! A pictorial representation of your goals. Hang it somewhere you can see it! The more focused you are on your goals the more likely you are to recognise opportunities to achieve them and take action.

Remember that your goal is not a plan! The goal is the destination… what you need to do to get there is the plan. What actions will you take to reach that destination? Be specific. For example; if your goal is to save £5000 you need to write exactly how much you are going to save weekly/monthly, where the money is going to come from, whether you are using a bank account or a piggy bank and what your deadline is.

My honest advice for those with goals that seem beyond their reach is to start with what you have and do what you can; the rest will follow! Take it one step at a time. If your goal scares you then you are on the right track sis!

“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”

3. You have a planner (or equivalent) to help you execute that plan!

As a self-confessed stationery addict, I love paper and the feel of physically writing things down. It is therapeutic and clears my head.. I think a lot of you would agree? Not only that, it also forces you to be intentional. I use our Fruitful Life Planner because it literally has everything I need on one page and it gives me a fresh page each day!

This planner helps to break down those goals and actions into day to day tasks when used properly.

Now if you are not into paper and stationery like that then… YOU REALLY NEED TO GET INTO IT! Lool no but seriously, you can make use of apps you already have on your phone;

– Notes
– Reminders
– Calendar

The alerts that you can set on the Reminders and Calendar Apps are super useful, in fact, I actually use them in conjunction with my planner.

Also, if you like using planners but hate carrying them about, you can take a picture f the page you need and then go about your day!

“Until we can manage time, we can manage nothing.”

4. You will have arranged accountability.

Sometimes we need help with motivation! And a lot of the time we need someone to check in with to ensure we are still moving towards the goals. It is so easy to just sit on a goal but not when you have accountability. This can be anyone who cares about you and will challenge you.. you mum, a friend, mentor, pastor, uncle, aunty – just ask!

Since our Vision Board Party in December, we had a lot of people ask about some sort of accountability programme. So I am starting a FREE online group where we can share tips, ideas, encouragement, progress and create a cute accountability network. I would also be providing free monthly reflection printables exclusively to members of the group.  If you would be interested please email us ay hello@shopcocoon.co.uk or DM me just to register your interest and I can add you once it is all set up!

“Accountability is the glue that ties commitment to results.”

 

Were you able to say ‘DONE’ to all the above ? If so, celebrate in the comments! If not, tell us below what it is you need to do!

Wishing you all a Fruitful 2018! xx

“We are called to be fruitful, NOT BUSY.”

When I first heard this, it gripped me! If I had a pound for every time I used the word ‘busy’ I’d probably be a millionaire by now.. But I’m not. And that’s because my busy did not produce fruit. There was a lot of activity but not a lot of productivity. I decided to make a change and ensure there was real tangible results from all the hustle bustle of life.

So, I created THE FRUITFUL LIFE PLANNER.

Here are 3 ways the Fruitful Life Planner has changed my life: 

1 – IT KEEPS ME MOTIVATED

Have you ever been to an event / seminar or even church and left feeling so on top of the world, so full of life, so inspired and motivated …. ?

Yeah, me too! 

A few days later though?

Let’s be real.. it often dies down. 

Imagine if you could feel that same zeal that you feel right after a inspirational event everyday! Imagine how much you could get done.

Motivation / Inspiration is like our fuel to get things done! Imagine a car only getting petrol once every few months. That must mean the car isn’t really going many places, right? This year more than anything I have learnt that us humans need motivation DAILY. 

And I try to get this a few ways, prayer & bible study (pls don’t skip this one, if there is no God in what you are doing, there is no fruit regardless!) and listening to motivational messages on YouTube and Periscope. But the quickest and easiest thing I do is  reading and meditating on the motivational quotes that are on every single page of my Fruitful Life Planner! These gems can make a big difference in my mood and intentions for the day. 

Another way my planner keeps me motivated is the fact that my goals are right at the front. Have you ever got to the end of the year and thought “wow i had that as a goal? I did nothing or very minimal towards it!” But this planner gives you the opportunity to look at your goals as much as you want, its right in your face and so keeps it at the fore-front of your mind.

This will keep you motivated to ensure your days are fruitful!

2 – IT KEEPS ME INTENTIONAL 

A lot of us spend a lot of money on planners and other tools that will help us be better. As a result, I make it my mission to not let my planner collect dust on my bedside table. 

So I have to write in it and to do this I actually have to think! Now appointments and meetings are easy, you just slot them into their allocated time. Where it gets difficult is planning my time for personal development and planning my tasks for my businesses. It causes me to think and be intentional and so I end up accomplishing things I never would have had I not taken time out to plan! 

You know what they say, if you fail to plan, you plan to fail and I understand that now more than ever. 

This is also why I use DATED planners. Last year we released an undated edition of our Fruitful Life Planner but I don’t think we will be doing that again because having dates cause you to be accountable. Each page gives you a fresh day to work with. You will feel guilty if you have missed a whole week of your planner or keep transferring your to-do lists from day to day but if its undated you don’t really care, its like you aren’t moving forward. 

3 – IT KEEPS ME GRATEFUL  

One of my favourite sections of my Fruitful Life Planner is the Daily Gratitude section. When I first started doing this, to my surprise, I found it difficult and that should not be so! 

Being content in life is so key to your emotional health and I strongly believe that to stay content you have to stay grateful. Thinking of one thing each day that you are grateful for shifts your mindset. Trust me, a heart of gratefulness leaves no room for complaining. And you really do not want to be complainer. (Click here to read our previous post of how complaining is form of meditation.)

TIP: Make sure you aren’t writing down the same thing in your daily gratitudes. Push yourself to think! Trust me you will be surprised at how much you are actually grateful for. 

All these things keep me Fruitful. Since creating and using this planner I have been more at peace with my busy-ness because it now produces fruit! 

Thanks so much for reading! Can I challenge you to get fruitful? We still have a few May-December ’17 Fruitful Life Planners.. Invest in one today! 

And if you have a planner already tell me in the comments what you love about your planner or how you keep yourself fruitful?

Complaining is meditation on the wrong thing

Complaining… We’ve all had those days where life gets a little too much and a rant seems acceptable. Sometimes people disappoint us, sometimes life looks like a mess but there’s nothing wrong with venting our feelings, there’s nothing wrong with saying how you feel… Or is there?

We start out with a complaint and realise years down the line that we’ve become complainers. We focus on the negative, we love to play the blame game and our expectation of good becomes so small. And we wonder how did we get here?

Complaining is more than venting. Complaints start from within. Then they become murmurs and then they become a person’s fluent language if not stopped in its tracks. I know this all too well. Not too long ago God brought to my attention a bad habit that I had become desensitised too. I realised I was a person who did not always speak out offence but I would harbour it, chew on it, meditate on it – this is the inward complaining. When you meditate on something it gets bigger.

It amazes me that a whole generation wandered the wilderness for 40 years and was wiped out because of their constant complaining (have a read through the book of Numbers). God had set His people free from Egypt where they were in bondage. They were taken through but God provided for them (Deuteronomy 29:5). They complained about thirst, they complained about hunger and they even wished they had stayed in Egypt, in the ‘comfort’ of bondage. Do you know why God disliked their complaining and He cringes at ours? Complaining is cousins with disbelief and disbelief is lack of faith. Without faith we can’t please God. Our constant complaining tells God the situation is bigger than Him.

In your business, in your family, job and life as a whole, constant complaining is a contamination to your success. When you choose to mediate on the negative, it gets magnified and it becomes your language, which then forms your world. Will you have a successful business if you keep complaining about hard it is? Will you get promoted if you keep complaining about hard it is?

Let’s look at 3 things you should be cautious about when it comes to complaining.. 

1 – Complaining about lost time

First all complaining about lost time is a waste of even more time. We spend too much time thinking about what we should have done and what we could have done. The time is gone! We can’t do anything about it now. I used to be that person. I would say “if only I knew what I know now, back then. I know I would be further ahead.” We need to transfer that misery into the joy of taking advantage of now. Now is the only thing certain. Take time to reflect and evaluate, like looking at the rear view mirror in the car. You need to then look forward and decide what you will do now, that’s looking on the road ahead. If you stare at the rear view mirror you’re at risk of getting into an accident. I tell myself this when I start to feel myself going back to my old ways – do what you can while you can with what you have. 

2 – Complaining when offended

Offence will come, Jesus said this. How do you handle offence? Do you tend to sit on it or harbour it like I used to. Harbouring offence is unhealthy for your spirit because it breeds bitterness and bitterness is a poison that kills the harborer, not the offender. We are allowed to feel hurt and offended. We are human, however because you have great things ahead, you can’t hold onto it.

Pray or pray and express, that’s what I say:

Pray about how you feel, offended or hurt, and choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:43-48).

You can also approach the person and appropriately express your offence then choose to let go and let God (Matthew 5:23-24).

That means after all is said and done we must choose to stop meditating on it and replaying the video of the offence. Some of us have been through some real situations in our life and it feels hard to move on. This why we have grace and we have the word of God. Asking for grace and strength will empower you supernaturally to move forward and having the word of God gives you something healthy to meditate on instead of complaining.

3 – Complaining in groups

Be very vigilant about the company you keep. The Bible says bad company corrupts good character and similarly negative company corrupts positivity. What is the common language of those you spend the most time with? Your friends influence you and when you decide what type of influence you want in your life, making a decision about the proximity of certain individuals in your life becomes easier.

When you tell your friends about a challenge in your life how do they respond? Are they solution-orientated or do you leave the conversation feeling deeper into the hole than when you started? I cannot boast in having many friends however those I have chosen to have a friendship with all contribute something to my life.

Sometimes complaining and self-pity feels comfortable. It tends to feel better when you’re doing it with someone else. Although it can be a comfortable place it is a stifling and non-progressive place. Don’t allow yourself to sit with a friend remaining in the cycle of complaints. Break that cycle.

I hope this has meant something to you. Don’t be hindered or stop by a complaining spirit. Be great.

Thanks for reading! Comment and share, share, share!!

If you had to make a choice between success or failure which one would you pick? Sounds like a silly question to ask right? Most people aspire to be something growing up, whether that be a doctor or a lawyer, teacher, writer, singer, footballer, the list is endless. However, I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say, “when I grow up, I want to be a failure”. Don’t get me wrong in life we may experience failures and setbacks that when handled correctly can actually push us towards our goals and dreams (which is another topic in itself), but I’m sure the desired end destination isn’t ever failure. Yet so many are casually driving towards that destination and are doing nothing to stop, turn around and change direction. Who in their right mind chooses to head towards failure? I recently came across a quote by Danni Johnson that I think sums up the problem.

“We do not intentionally groom ourselves to fail but we have not done enough to ensure that we succeed.

What I like about this quote is that it not only highlights the problem but presents us with the solution. That is, to avoid failure we must start modelling success, intentionally doing things that will lead us to success. This is definitely easier said and done and you may be wondering where do I start? So let’s start with what success is!

I believe we are all born with purpose. God had a thought, a plan, an idea so epic and amazing that it motivated our birth. Because of that there is a unique contribution that our lives are to make in this world. Therefore, success to me is discovering what that is and doing it. Now that may seem like a lot but God has given us unique abilities, skills and talents to achieve this. There really is so much potential inside of us, but as much as we have potential there is also a thing called unfulfilled potential and there is nothing worse than unfulfilled potential.

In December 2015, I realised I was so far reaching my potential. I had dreams and aspirations but I was living life so passively, going to work every day, coming home and eating, watching TV, spending hours on the phone either gisting or scrolling Instagram, sleeping then starting all over again.

 

I knew I had to change the way I was living but I wasn’t quite sure how. I started reading a book by John C Maxwell called the 15 invaluable laws of growth (highly recommended). In this book I learnt a very simple but major lesson that has completely changed my priorities and the way I live. That is, in order to reach your potential you must grow! If you want your life to improve if you want to be successful you must improve yourself, learning to work harder on yourself than you do your job.

I have learnt that there is only a thin veil that separates the average person from the excellent person, the successful person. The successful person realises that they are their most valuable asset and works hard on their personal development. So if you want to see amazing things happen in your life, if you want to be all God created you to be and fulfil your God given purpose you really cannot afford to not grow. This may be simple to understand butnot necessarily easy to do, I have found it challenging at times but this business of personal development is a life-long thing, if you just stick with it you will see the fruit of this commitment.

Here are three useful tips to get started:

  1. BE INTENTIONAL

No one improves by accident! Personal growth is not something that just happens. No matter how much you wish to grow you will only get out of it what you put in. You must take complete ownership of your growth, stop waiting to be the person you want to become and start being! Start doing something.

  1. CHANGE YOUR DAILY HABITS

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle

Your daily habits are either preparing you for either an average or extra-ordinary life. So if you want change your life you have to change something that you do every day. Ask yourself what can you commit to everyday that will aid your growth, that will push you closer towards your goals and your dreams. If you’re not sure what to do study the habits of successful people and do that.

  1. STOP MAKING EXCUSES

“Excuses are the nails used to build a house of failure.” Jim Rohn   

Many times, the only thing standing between where you are now and where you want to be is your excuses. We can come up with a million reasons not to do something but the truth is if you really want to do something you’ll have to find a way to just do it. Whatever the excuse whether legitimate or not CHALLENGE IT! This will mean sometimes telling your emotions or your fears to keep quiet!

If you had to make a choice between success or failure which one would you pick? It’s not that much of a silly question when you really think about it, what it involves, the sacrifices you’ll have to make, the bad habits you’ll have to give up and the new one’s you’ll have to start.

But I encourage you to make the right choice today and start living in a way that fully aligns with that choice.

Thank you for reading. Please comment and share with others!