7 Tips For Your Morning to Maximize Workday Productivity

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It’s already March?! It seems like yesterday was January 1st. Time flew and now we’re a quarter of the way through 2018. Craziness.

If your work week is anything like mine, the days blend together with meetings, tasks, emails, assignments, due dates, projects, and more. So much to do, so little time!

It’s easier said than done to stay organized, but I kickstarted these habits during my college years and never looked back. If you’re looking for ways to start your day organized and mentally prepared to tackle your to-do list, you’ve come to the right place.

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{ONE} Start The Day Before

The process from waking up to arriving at the office is a couple of hours of pure craziness for me. The last thing I want to do is try to remember everything I have to do that day.

Instead, I start the day before. Before I leave the office, I clean up my desk and write down all the tasks and meetings I have for the following day. I even write reminders to drink water, walk, eat lunch, and skim news articles. It may seem like a silly exercise, but cleaning my workspace and jotting my thoughts on paper before I head home relieve stress and serve as visual reminders of the next day’s priorities.

{TWO} Make Your Bed

It’s a simple trick that many fail to do, but when I make my bed, my morning is instantly better. It takes only a few minutes and once it’s done, I feel accomplished because I’ve already checked an item off my list. Plus, my room looks and feels cleaner because the pillows are off the floor and the blankets are folded neatly.

{THREE} Eat Breakfast 

“Hangry” is definitely a thing. Not only does eating breakfast give me the necessary fuel my body craves in the morning, it also brightens my mood and releases those hangry tendencies. I typically eat eggs and sausage for breakfast, which give me a quick boost to make sure I’m mentally and physically ready to tackle the day ahead.

{FOUR} Drink Water Before Coffee 

I am a huge coffee lover. I drink at least 24 ounces every day, but I try to drink even more water. Before I drink my first cup of coffee, I sip water first. It not only helps me start the day healthy and hydrated, but it also gets me in the right mindset to tackle the day head-on. Plus there are tons of health benefits on why drinking water first thing in the morning is good for you so it’s a win-win!

{FIVE} Check Emails

Once I arrive at the office, I sip my coffee, check my to-do list, and dive into emails. I don’t typically check my emails first thing in the morning. I wait until I am at my desk before I open my inbox so I can give myself enough time to sort through, read, and respond to them all at once.

While I check my email, I write any additional to-dos to the list. It kills two birds with one stone because I’m keeping my list updated while also trimming down the number of emails in my inbox.

{SIX} Stick To A System

I’m a color-code, check-everything-off kinda girl. You may be like me, or you may not be. Whatever works for you, stick to it.

For me, I check things off as I go so I can visually see my progress. I have a notebook dedicated to my daily lists, a planner for important dates and reminders, a monthly wall calendar, and a pad used only for weekend goals & tasks. I’m a bit Type-A, can you tell?

You don’t have to manage the same system I do but find what works for you and stick to it. One major way to stay organized and ensure you’re ready to take on the day is to find a system that works for you and do it until it becomes a habit.

{SEVEN} Just Do It

Similar to the organization system, stop avoiding the unavoidable and just do it. Know when you’re most alert and productive and do the harder tasks then. For me, I write better in the morning so I try to do a lot of my writing when I first arrive at the office. I also am more creative in the afternoon so I try to plan in a way that allows me to tackle creative projects then. However you operate, try to accommodate your to-do list around it to ensure you are creating your best work every day.

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28 Healthy Habits You Can Start Right Now

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How are your New Year’s Resolutions going?

A lot of people laugh at this question nowadays because by now, many have given up on them.

Admittedly, I was this person in years past, but this year I chose three words to shape my 2018 perspective. One of those words is “Change” and the other is “Do.” You can attribute so many resolutions to these two words alone that the list is endless!

When it comes to healthy habits, I’ve struggled a bit. As I experiment to see what works and what doesn’t, I realized something.

Every little thing counts.

In my mind, I have thought of ‘being healthy’ as a series of huge decisions destined for failure. But really, that is not the case at all! I started listing out all of the healthy habits I’m already doing and looking at the list, I realized it’s not hard to be healthy.

You simply have to change little things in your life and then, as Nike says, just do it.

  1. Take the stairs.
  2. Eat an apple with your lunch.
  3. Park farther away in the parking lot.
  4. Do squats while brushing your teeth.
  5. Do squats while watching TV.
  6. Do squats basically whenever you’re standing still.
  7. Drink a glass of water in the morning.
  8. Drink a glass of water at night.
  9. Drink water more often in general.
  10. Eat a big breakfast.
  11. Don’t eat late at night.
  12. Try black coffee without tons of creamer and sugar.
  13. Do sit-ups during commercial breaks.
  14. Do planks.
  15. Laugh often.
  16. Go to bed at a decent hour.
  17. Rest when your body needs it.
  18. Get outside.
  19. Cook at home if you can.
  20. Eat more fruits & veggies.
  21. Stop drinking soda.
  22. Sit less, stand more.
  23. Don’t snack if you’re not hungry.
  24. Eat sitting down.
  25. Don’t drink your calories.
  26. Eat colorfully.
  27. Walk more.
  28. Read more.

There are so many more, but those are the ones that came to mind. What is one healthy habit you’re going to start today?

On My Radar 🎧📱

One of the habits I’ve been trying to “break” this year is watching a lot of TV. It’s so easy to come home after work and turn on “background noise” as I do other things or watch a Netflix show to relax.

It dawned on me a few weeks ago that I could be using that time to my benefit. Why watch what you can listen to? Since that epiphany, I have challenged myself to avoid TV after work.

It’s not easy.

I allow myself to text and scroll through Instagram, but when it comes to watching TV, I avoid it when I can. (This is Us and How To Get Away with Murder are my two exceptions!)

My No-TV challenge has helped me discover a few great podcasts & audiobooks in the last couple of weeks.

Here’s what’s on my radar so far.

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{ONE} Serial Season 1

A true-story murder mystery told by a curious individual who details her investigation through 12 episodes. Honestly, this season of Serial is what sparked my interest in podcasts.

{TWO} Reach Church’s “The Great 8” Series

My church is studying Romans right now, and I’ve been learning so much. I absolutely love the book of Romans and I can’t get enough of it. It’s so powerful! “The Great 8” series focuses only on Romans 8, and it has been eye-opening so far. Check back each week for more videos added to the series.

{THREE} The Village Church’s “Romans 12-15” Series

When searching for a new sermon series to listen to during the week, I stumbled upon The Village Church’s sermon series on Romans 12-15. As mentioned above, we’re studying Romans at church but I enjoy listening to other sermons about it when I can. I’m halfway through this one and highly recommend it.

{FOUR} The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes Audiobook

I can’t give an honest review about this yet since I just started it, but so far, it’s good. This is an experiment, to be honest, because I’ve had mixed experiences listening to audiobooks. You’d think the experience would be similar to listening to a podcast, but I find it harder to focus on an audiobook than a podcast. It might be the fact that it’s scripted instead of conversational, but doesn’t hurt to try, right?!

 

What are you listening to? Let me know your recommendations & I’ll add them to my growing list!

Monthly Roundup: Five January Favorites

Can you believe it? January is (pretty much) over. This month went by too quickly and too slowly all at once.

As I wrap up the first month of 2018 and start prepping for February, I want to take a minute and highlight a few of my favorite things from this month.

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{ONE} The Greatest Showman

What an ah-maz-ing movie. Soundtrack, acting, story, casting…You name it, The Greatest Showman aced it. I saw it twice this month and highly recommend it. My favorite song: “From Now On.”

Listen to the full soundtrack here.

{TWO} 1-Second Everyday App

My friend completed the 1-second-video-a-day challenge last year and challenged me to attempt it this year. I already can tell it’s going to be a memorable part of 2018 as I capture the little moments of each day. It has helped me look for the good in each day and document moments I may have forgotten otherwise. Download the app here.

Screen Shot 2018-01-29 at 12.22.46 AM.png{THREE} Carly the Prepster

Carly is one of my favorite bloggers, hands down. I follow her on Instagram and read her posts multiple times a week. I even had breakfast with her a few years ago in New York City! Carly’s Instagram feed is beautiful and her blog posts range from recipes to fashion tips to lifestyle hacks. Check her blog out here.

{FOUR} Starbucks’ Coconut Milk Vanilla Latte

I’m usually a caramel latte girl, but I decided to be adventurous (ha!) and order something vanilla the last time I was at Starbucks and oh my goodness, this latte is so good! A grande is *only* 200 calories, which yes, is still a lot of calories for a drink, but compared to a few of the other choices, it is wayyy less. And delicious!

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{FIVE} The Beautiful Word Devotional

I received The Beautiful Word daily devotional as an anniversary gift at the beginning of the year. It quickly became a highlight of my day. Each day focuses on one verse and a little reading to go with it. The pages are beautifully illustrated and the devotions are deep and thought-provoking. I can’t wait to keep reading it this year.

January’s been a fun month. I’m excited to see what February brings!

Don’t forget to share your favorite January moments below – I’d love to hear them!

6 Books I’m Reading Right Now 📚

I don’t know about you but lately I’ve been on a reading kick!

Maybe it has something to do with my 3 words for 2018 and my desire to change a few of my habits, one of which is to read more books, but whatever it is I’m loving it.

Below are some of the books I’ve either recently read or that are on my list to read this month. I’m always up for suggestions so feel free to send them my way!

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{ONE} The Magnolia Story

I mentioned this book in a recent On My Radar post, but it is a fantastic read! If you’re into HGTV’s Fixer Upper, love the Magnolia line at Target, or just hands-down love Joanna and Chip Gaines, then read this ASAP. I finished it within a few days and loved learning about one of my favorite designer couples.

{TWO} Socialnomics

Calling all the social media marketers! This book is written by one of the top social marketers in the industry, Erik Qualman. In this, Erik explores the social trends, effects and implications of social media and how businesses and marketers can use it to their advantage.

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{THREE} Yes, Please

I’ve read Yes, Please by Amy Poehler before, but this is the type of book you 1) can’t put down and 2) can’t get enough of. It contains a mix of personal stories, advice, and humor…to name a few. Plus anything by Amy Poehler is awesome in my book so there’s that.

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{FOUR} Diana: Her True Story

I’ve always loved Princess Diana and learning about her life, style, and history. I’m currently reading this and have found it to be  fascinating because it unveils a lot of things I never knew about Diana. Especially now that her boys are grown and in the media a lot, this book has helped me understand more of the Royal Family’s history. Plus when I finish, I’ll be able to update one of my 101 in 1001 Day tasks: To read 5+ biographies.

{FIVE} Talking As Fast As I Can

I’m a huge fan of Gilmore Girls and of Lauren Graham in particular. Her character in Gilmore Girls reminds me of myself a lot of the time – always drinking coffee, always talking, always trying to take care of those around her. Lauren Graham talks all about being on set of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, growing up, her life now, and more. It’s an easy read and one I definitely recommend to anyone who loves Gilmore Girls as much as I do!

{SIX} What Lies Beyond

My brother wrote a book! If you’re into horror, suspense, mystery and love a little ghost story action, this is for you. It’s based in an eery haunted hotel in Kansas and let me tell you, I couldn’t put it down and I’m not just saying that because he’s my brother. It’s really that good!

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2018: The Year of Three Words

I’m a little late on the whole “New Year’s Resolutions” trend. Better late than never, right?

A few years ago, instead of the usual list of goals, I chose three words to theme my year: First, Risk, and Joy.

Shortly after that, I (unintentionally) stopped blogging for a while and I didn’t track my progress on how that shift worked for me. I wish I had stuck with it; it kept me accountable. Generally speaking, though, I liked that way of kickstarting a new year.

This time, I sat down towards the end of December and began thinking of all that was to come in 2018. So many milestones, so many goals, so many items on the to-do list! Instead of jotting them all down, I noticed a couple of themes. I realized 2018 would not be the year of checking things off…

2018 would be the year of three words.

So I reviewed my list of goals and chose my 3 words: Change, Do, and Joy.

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Change.

Change of last name. Change of mindset. Change of scenery. Change of style.

It kind of, sort of scares me that “Change” is inevitably one of my 2018 words. Change makes me nervous because routine is interrupted and my Type-A senses have difficulty adjusting to a new normal.

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BUT it is also a good thing.

Change means growth and learning new things. It means pushing yourself out of your comfort zone. Adventuring into the unknown can be exciting and full of possibility and joy. For example, I’m getting married this year (!!) so that alone comes with a lot of changes like place of residence, last name, relationship status, routine, schedule, responsibilities, and it also brings a lot of love and laughter and memory-making, to name a few.

I am excited that “Change” is one of my 2018 themes, even though it does make me a bit anxious. A few other changes that I hope to conquer this year: drinking more water then coffee, updating my blog, modifying a few habits, and waking up earlier.

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Do.

2018 is the year that I do. Literally, I will say the words “I do” this year!

“Do” is action. It’s a step towards completing something. It’s a verb.

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Honestly, something about the word has always inspired me. It’s not just an idea or thought; it’s a word that takes that and turns it into something. I’ve never been much of a daydreamer and I hate procrastinating. I’ve always been a girl who wants to spring into action ASAP and do something.

This year is no different; I want to do many things like read at least 25 books, complete my social marketing certification, buy a house, and get married. I want to be more intentional with my friends and write more letters…just to name a few.

“Do” encompasses so many things; it’ll be an adventure to see how God uses this word in my life this year.

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Joy.

“Joy” was one of my words for 2015, and I loved it so much, I’m choosing it again. This is what I said in 2015 about why I picked “Joy.” I think it sums it up pretty well:

Different than “happiness,” I choose “joy.” Happiness is temporary and circumstantial. Joy is a mindset. Through the little things, I yearn to discover the joy. Choose joy and keeping choosing it — that’s what I want to do. Instead of “I have to …”, replace it with “I get to…”   A mindset makes all the difference. Through every situation, good or bad, I aim to focus on the joy of it all.

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So there ya go! My three words for 2018. What are your New Year’s Resolutions or Word(s) of the Year? Comment below; I’d love to see them as we encourage each other to live the greatest year yet.

On My Radar: 2018 Edition

Happy 2018!

I can’t believe it’s the start of a new year. In some ways 2017 flew by, but in others it dragged on. I’ve been eagerly awaiting 2018 for a while now, and it is finally HERE. Cue all the praise hands and happy dances.

So many exciting things are bound to happen this year, I can hardly wait.

Although I am still planning and finalizing my “resolutions,” I will share those with you soon. In the meantime, I wanted to share what’s on my radar lately because I’m really excited about them.

On My Radar…

{ONE} “The Magnolia Story” by Chip and Joanna Gaines

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This book! I received it for Christmas because I’m a huge fan of Fixer Upper. I was always intrigued by the husband & wife duo who flip and design houses, raise four kids, live in Texas, and keep God at the center. However, while reading The Magnolia Story, I became an even bigger fan of the Gaines’.  It’s an easy read, too, so it hasn’t taken me long at all to be almost finished it. I’ll probably finish it tonight and I started reading it a few days ago.

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{TWO} La La Land Piano Sheet Music

This piano sheet music book is another thing I received for Christmas and I *love* it. I’m always on the search for new songs to learn on the piano to challenge myself and keep my skills sharp. Since I teach piano and no longer take lessons myself, playing for fun usually does not happen on a regular basis. La La Land quickly became one of my favorite movies in early 2017, and the soundtrack is downright ah-maze-ing, so I am excited for the challenge.

{THREE} Fur Vests

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This trendy piece of clothing has stumped me. I love how it looks and received one as a gift this year. I’ve pinned a few outfits on Pinterest that includes this statement piece, but I have yet to test it out. It’s so warm and stylish, I’m excited to wear it soon.

{FOUR} Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar

Screen Shot 2018-01-02 at 4.10.56 PMI discovered Bloom Daily Planners a few years ago while researching the best academic planners to use during my senior year (*cough* my Type A is showing *cough*). Bloom is a Delaware-based company and their founders attended the University of Delaware, so obviously when I found this out, I was hooked and purchased my first of many products from Bloom. This year, I received the Bloom Daily Planners’ Daily Calendar and it sits proudly on my desk at work. It’s not only adorable and colorful, but every day features a quote or a challenge – two of my favorite things!

 

Those are a few things on my radar. What’s on yours?