CWAHM Devotional

Do Life DifferentDo Life Different
Work-at-home mom: take a deep breath and Do Life Different as you allow these devotions for work-at-home moms to fill the vacuum of your needy heart in the chaos of your busy world.
 
Order Your Copy!

CWAHM Video Devotions

Get Our Updates!

Join our monthly newsletter!

Archive for Mixing Faith & Business

As we’re moving from spring into summer, we all have a moment or two where we look forward to summer because of its slower pace.  When summer arrives, in all its glory, we then recognize the lie that we had been telling ourselves. Summer is crazy busy.

Between pool parties, summer sports and sleepovers, how will we ever fit working in to our schedule? Here are a few tips on how to make it work.

Plan Your Work Times

I know it seems impossible, but planning work times into your schedule is something we must learn to do. Each day holds something different during the summer it seems, so we may have to do things like get up early and work, plan out work during naptimes or stay up late and burn the midnight oil.

Know Your Priorities

Knowing when you’re going to work is only half the battle. It can be easy to say to ourselves that we’ll work during naptime, but then we sit down to get to work and don’t know where to start. So, one simple technique is to keep a running list of projects and tasks, ordered by priority. If I know exactly what I need to work on when I sit down, I’m much more likely to get it accomplished.

Be Flexible

It’s easy to say we’ll follow a schedule in the summer, but it’s a much harder task to actually stick to it. Kids throw a lot of variables into the mix, so we must keep ourselves in the attitude of adjusting as necessary. We’ll also have those days when we sense God calling us to rest or to visit someone specific or whatever it might be. We need to be sensitive to His leading and flexible with our schedules. Read More→

May
15

Avoiding Distractions

Posted by: | Comments (0)

emailDo you find yourself checking your email every five minutes? Or chatting on the phone when you are supposed to be working? Distractions are a part of life, but that doesn’t mean they have to control your days. Here are a few ideas to help you keep on task.

Close your email and get off social media

This may seem simple, but, at least for me, it can be hard not only to close my email, but also to STAY out of my email program. When a task needs to be done, the best way to focus is to shut your email program, turn your phone off (or mute it) and distance yourself from any other distracting technology items. You’ll be amazed at how much more you will accomplish – and how much more efficiently you work.

Find Time Alone

As a work-at-home mom, this is by far the hardest distraction-buster to accomplish. As my kids have gotten older, I’ve found that I can get most of my work done while my kids are at school. However, when they were still small and home with me all day, I tended to work in small chunks. Twenty minutes here while they watched a little T.V. or half and hour here while they played outside (and many times I sat outside with my laptop so I could keep an eye on them.

Another tactic I used was to trade babysitting time with a friend who also needed some “alone time” or to ask family members for help. Be creative!

Make a List

This is my go-to tip when people ask me how to become more productive. I couldn’t get nearly as much done without my lists. If plan out tasks with lists of steps that need to be accomplished. I make an outline out of an idea to see if it is feasible. And when I’m writing I outline what I want to say. I find that if I have an outline, I’m much more likely to take on the task and actually complete it. Read More→

May
08

Prepping Your Business For Summer

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Prepping Your Business For Summer

beach playI can hardly believe it, but another school year is coming to a close. As I stumble through this month of end-of-school parties (not to mention my own graduation from Grad School-yay!), I find myself left with very little time in which I can actually get “work” done. Which leads me to wonder – what will the summer look like if I’m already in such a jumble?

So, I’ve decided that in order to start the summer off right, I need to take some time NOW to get my mind and heart ready.  Here are some things I’ve decided to do to get ready for the new season God has for my business – maybe they’ll help you, too.

Set Aside Time

It’s easy to forget the importance of setting aside time to work on our business in and of itself. We are commonly focused on our customers, daily tasks and the like that we don’t take time to think solely about what the future holds for our business.

As we near the end of this school year, let’s dedicate a couple of solid hours to sit down and dream a little, plan a little. If you have a team of people that you work with, consider pulling them all together (provide some Starbucks, of course) and have a brainstorming session.

Set Goals

During the time that you set aside to “think business,” make it a point to set goals for the summer and fall. I generally make a list – 3 months goals, 6 month goals, etc – to help aid me as I plan out where I see my business heading for the upcoming months.

Try to stretch yourself in your goal-setting. Be specific and make some of your goals measurable so that when you look back next year, you can truly see the growth your business has experienced. And then cover each goal in prayer throughout the year. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on Prepping Your Business For Summer
May
01

Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Business In Order

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Business In Order

IPurple crocus at a park, opening to the sun and heralding Springt’s spring! That means sunshine, rainbows and daisies, right? It also means that it’s time to spring clean – and not just your house, but your business as well. Each spring I set some time aside to clear the cobwebs off projects that I’ve set aside and take stock of what needs to be put in order now that spring is dawning.

Evaluate

I start off by taking a look and what IS working as well as what ISN’T working in my business. I hate to admit it, but not every grand idea that I come up with works in reality. I’ve had to learn that it’s okay to try new things; and it’s ok for some of those things to fail. The trial-and-error process is one way that we can determine what our customers are looking for. Don’t be afraid to make changes to existing products or programs if you see they aren’t bringing in the results that you had hoped for.

Emphasize

Do you customers know all that you have to offer? Often when I’m re-organizing I realize that I haven’t given the proper amount of promotion or attention to programs that I already have in place. This is a great time to re-launch a product or program that has not been made widely accessible to your audience. Consider how you can best highlight this under-promoted item – you may not even need to make changes at this time, just make people aware.

Excite

In order to make sales, we need to get our customers excited about our business and our products. This may be the perfect time to offer new special promotions or run a sale. Or, maybe it’s time to develop a new product or service to reach a new section of your ever-growing business market. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on Spring Cleaning: Getting Your Business In Order
Apr
24

Saving Money To Stay Home

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Saving Money To Stay Home

Usually when I write something having to do with working from home, it’s about how to create an income. However, making money isn’t the only necessary ingredient in the stay-at-home recipe. The flip side of the coin is making some sacrifices and finding ways to save money.

When my husband and I first made the decision that I would leave the corporate world in favor of working from home, we knew it was going to take more than just me finding a way to bring in money from home. The amount that I would be making was half – or maybe even less – than I made at my corporate job. We needed to find a way to make it on his Air Force salary and my very small financial contribution.

Get Rid Of Non-essentials

In order to cut out some of our living costs, we sold one of our cars and for the next several years I drove around a lovely (I use that term loosely) car that had been my grandmothers. It certainly wasn’t my dream car, but it got me around town and we also saved a LOT of money when the time came around to pay tax and licensing fees.

We also cut out cable and anything else that we could find in our budget that we could live without. It’s amazing what things we consider “essential” that truly aren’t.

Keep Things Simple

Another aspect of our life that received serious cutbacks was eating out. This was a hard adjustment for me at the time. When I worked full-time outside the home, it seemed easiest many nights to just stop and pick up supper on my way home. And once I began staying home every day, I still wanted the ease of fast food.

I wish I could tell you that I found a way to make that work, but of course that’s not the case. Instead I began working on my cooking skills and learning to make easy, simple meals that kept us within our food budget each month. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on Saving Money To Stay Home
Apr
17

Professionalism At Home

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Professionalism At Home

One of benefits of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. You can set your own scheduled, work around your family and even lounge in your pajama pants from time to time.

However … one of the drawbacks of working from home is the ability to have a relaxed atmosphere. Yep, you read that right. As much as I love working from the comfort of my home, there is a serious side to my business as well. There are times when I must set aside my comfort and ensure that my clients get the very best from me.

The question that comes to mind then is how do we retain professionalism while we’re working at home? Here are a few ideas:

Take a shower – I smile as I write this because I know how basic this tip is. However, I know firsthand that it can be difficult to get motivated to get up and shower as if you were heading to an office for the day. Some days it can be hard just to find the time to shower (if you have small kids at home, you’re nodding as you read this). And don’t stop with a shower – put on a cute outfit, add a little makeup and get yourself feeling good. You’ll be surprised what a difference feeling good about yourself can make on your attitude, which will in turn impact your family, your business and all those you come into contact with throughout the day.

Clean your room – While it may or may not be true that “cleanliness is next to godliness,” it has certain proven true in my life that cleanliness helps me to focus. When my office is a mess and my desk is piled high with stacks of paper, I seem to get less done. Take 15 minutes each morning and clear your space as much as possible. Not only will you think more clearly,  you will also be saved from embarrassment if unexpected company (or a client!) stop by. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on Professionalism At Home
Apr
10

Listening To The Right Voice

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Listening To The Right Voice

listeningFor me, every day is filled with voices. There are the sweet voices of my children, the warm voice of my husband and even the near-silent voice of or gecko.

And then there are the voices in my head. Do you know the ones I’m talking about? The voices that urge you to quit; that ask you why you bother trying … you’ll just fail anyway. The voices that say things like, “No one cares about what you have to say or what you’re working on. You’ll never succeed at this.” Some of these voices are echoes of things that people have said to me. Some of them are echoes of things I believe about myself deep down. And some are lies from the enemy wh is bent on our destruction.

When I spend time in God’s Word I find another voice – one that encourages. “I can do anything through Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil 4:13).

It’s not something we think about or talk about often, but one of the major hurdles that must be overcome to be successful in working at home (or in anything really) is learning which voice to listen to.

There will always be naysayers telling you that something cannot possibly be done. There will always be the creeping doubts in the back of your mind, where you secretly wonder if you really CAN do any of these things you dream of. And there will always be the lies of the enemy, trying to throw you off track and get you to do ANYTHING other than what God has for you.

There will always be these things.

But there is also a forever truth that stands above all these. A redeeming truth that we can hear whispering to us if we choose to shut out the din around us.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  – Jeremiah 29:11
Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you. – 1 Chronicles 28:20
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.  – Philippians 4:13

Which voice will you listen to today? Will you sit in defeat, listening to the naysayers and the mocking voices? Or will you stand firm in God’s truth and walk forward in faith?

If you feel a pull toward a business or a ministry, chances are the negative voices will get louder. You will have to make the daily, sometimes hourly, choice to stand firm in what His Words tells us to be true.

God loves you. You are forgiven. You are redeemed.  You are chosen.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Jill Hart founded Christian Work at Home Ministries (CWAHM) in 2000 to assist other Christians who desire to work from home. She is the author of the devotional book, Do Life Different and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill is working to complete her master’s degree in Professional Counseling.

Jill has articles published in In Touch Magazine, P31 Woman magazine and Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family, as well as across the web on sites like DrLaura.com. She speaks to audiences around the country about faith and business topics. Learn more about Jill at www.CWAHM.com and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Comments Comments Off on Listening To The Right Voice
Apr
03

How To Keep Moving Forward When You’re Running On Empty

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on How To Keep Moving Forward When You’re Running On Empty

It can be draining to work from home. Fitting work time in amongst household duties, family obligations, children’s’ schedules, church commitments … it can feel overwhelming at times. So, what’s a business owner to do when she feels her tanks drifting toward empty?

Hold Steady

The first thing I do when I begin to feel overwhelmed is to take a moment and just catch my breath. Depending on what’s going on in my life, this may be as simple as finding an extra fifteen minutes to spend with the Lord (if this is you check out Hebrews 10:35-36). Or it may take something more like hiring a babysitter for a few hours during the day (or calling grandma for help), so that I can accomplish the tasks that are burdening me.

Finding a holding pattern helps me to breathe a bit easier and grounds me so that I can make it to the next step.

Make a Plan, Follow It

The first step is recognizing that we’re sliding toward that empty energy tank. The second step is developing a plan so that we can either avoid the pit or at least dig ourselves out relatively quickly.

For me, this generally takes the form of work in shifts. I break my work tasks down into 20 or 30 minute increments and just try to push through and do what I can during that time. Then I take a break or reward myself somehow – 5 minutes on Facebook or maybe a Hershey’s kiss or two. Breaking the work into chunks not only helps me actually get things done when I’m struggling, it also helps me see the big tasks in a manageable form. This helps me keep pushing through.

One Foot In Front Of The Other

My go-to verse in times like these is 1 Chronicles 28:20:

Be strong and courageous, and do the work. Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord God, my God, is with you.

This is such a great reminder that God is with us, but also that there will be times that we will have to fight fear and discouragement and push through to do the work that He has called us to. So, keep pushing forward, one foot and then the next, trusting that God will uphold you and see you through. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on How To Keep Moving Forward When You’re Running On Empty
Mar
20

Organizing Your Days

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Organizing Your Days

Working from home can be challenging. You must be a self-starter and willing to really push yourself, set deadlines for yourself, and make things happen. Here are some ideas on making the best use of your time:

Get A Plan

Planning is my favorite stage of organization. I get to brainstorm and dream about what God may have for me in the coming weeks and months.  One of the ways that I plan best is in talking things over with someone – a friend of colleague who is willing to listen and give ideas.

I know other business owners who keep a whiteboard in their office. On the board, they list dreams that they have for their business, action steps they can take to get there and even sometimes a timeframe of when each step needs to be completed.

 

Write It Down

I’ve learned over the years that my plans never get anywhere unless I write them down and give them a timeline. This can be done online with tools like Google Calendar, Google Drive (formerly Google Docs) or collaborative tools like PBWorks.

While I do use these tools, I’ve found that what works best for me is the good old paper planner. I pick one up in the dollar section at Target at the start of each year and use it to keep appointments straight. I use a Monthly Planner because I can see the whole month at a glance, which keeps me from overbooking myself. It also has a place in the sidebar to keep notes, which comes in handy if there are specific things that I need to remember throughout the month. The planner fits in my purse so I can easily pull it out and add new appointments wherever I am.

 

Keep a List

I love lists. I have stacks of tiny pieces of paper and notebooks full of lists I’ve made to track projects that I want to complete and things I need to do. Unfortunately, a mound of paper doesn’t help me stay on top of tasks.

I’ve found that  having one big notebook – the kind that has dividers – is the simplest way to keep track of my lists. I have a section for each major project I’m working on. Then, I can keep a list of regular tasks (sometimes a daily list, sometimes weekly) stuck to the front page of each project’s section. Once those tasks are done, I simply remove the sticky note, make up a new list of tasks and stick in where the other was. This keeps me focused and I get the satisfaction of crossing each task off the list. Read More→

Comments Comments Off on Organizing Your Days
Mar
13

Holding Steady

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Holding Steady

Not long ago I was talking with a coaching client about her fears and doubts in regards to leaving the corporate world and working from home. She was sharing with me her concerns about bringing in enough money, making the right contacts and how just getting her new business off the ground was causing her to feel completely overwhelmed.

As we talked, a verse that I had read earlier in the week, 1 Corinthians 16:13, came to mind and I realized that it can be applied to our work-at-home fears and doubts as well as our spiritual ones.

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.
1 Corinthians 16:13

Be On Your Guard
I think it’s imperative that we remember that we must be on guard. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in the concerns of this world – our business, our family, etc – and take for granted that we are in a spiritual battle. If we’re doing what God has called us to do, our enemy does NOT want us to succeed. We must be aware of the lies he feeds us, the worry he works to create in our lives and the utter hopelessness that he tries to convince us is reality.

Stand Firm
When we’re aware of the battle raging around us, we can cling to God’s truths and stand firm in our faith. There are days I find myself repeating hope-giving verses out loud to help me stand firm. Verses like these:

I will never leave you nor forsake you. Hebrews 13:5

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who[a] have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28

So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. Isaiah 41:10

Be Courageous
When I have God’s truth on my lips and in my heart, I’m filled with courage. The key here is that being courageous is a choice. We can choose to sink into the defeated mindset that the enemy tries to create. Or we can choose to rely upon the Holy Spirit and be courageous even in the face of overwhelming odds.

There will be times in business when it seems like no matter what you do, you can’t succeed. But, we know that isn’t the truth. We must be courageous and walk through these times, trusting that God will provide and that He has our best in mind – even when we can’t see it. Read More→