Category Archives: Career

3 Things to Remember When Your Blog Becomes a Side Hustle

3 things to remember when your blog is your side hustle[* This post may contain affiliate links — because my blog is my side hustle!! 😉 ]

Congratulations! Your blog has graduated from a fun hobby and creative outlet to something that is pulling in a bit of money on the side. This is an amazing development! But now what???

If you’ve decided to roll with it and turn your much-loved baby blog into a full-fledged side hustle, there are a few things to keep in mind.  Blogging can be a fun way to make some extra cash, but only if you’re prepared to put in a fair amount of work. While Finding Delight is by no means my full time job, I do consider it profitable enough to be included in the lil pie chart in my brain that is titled “work.” Unfortunately, there are a lot of resources out their for folks lookin’ to turn their lifestyle blog into the whole dang pie but not that many for those of us who are happy with keeping it at a good, hearty slice. 

With that in mind, here are a few things I wish I had implemented as soon as I decided to consider my blog a money-making side hustle…

Keep It Separate

First, successful blogging is just one chunk of your life. So it needs it’s own chunk of time! Schedule dedicated time for your blog that is separate from the hours you need for your main income source but also separate from your home life, too. It took me awhile to get a hang of this and I would often let blog stuff leak into both realms. My saving grace in this department was definitely my perfect planner. This thing lets me schedule my day down to the half hour–which might sound crazy to some! But if I can see where in the week I have “blog work” scheduled (always highlighted in a pretty pink!), I’m less likely to pop into WordPress when I should be working or email that company back when I’d rather be hanging out with my husband. 

Making Time For You

I think there’s a tendency among bloggers to stack their plates too high. When something that started out as a hobby becomes a part-time job, it can be hard to reconceptualize. It doesn’t feel like work. However, you might find that there is great potential and power in slowing down and allowing some time for yourself. Last week I didn’t put up a single blog post because I wanted to give my full attention to a new project I was really excited about. And that’s ok! Sure there are things I do, like affiliate linking, that allow my site to make money without me around. But for the most part, I just don’t worry about it anymore. Think about this time away from blogging as the space in which content can be born! You allow yourself time to read books, or play games (www.finalfantasyxvapp.com#home), or travel, or bake a cake…whatever it is that you enjoy…and then you’ll have these rich experiences and opinions to share with your readers later!

Know The Reader

If there is anything that means success in the literary world, it is the ability to know your readers well, inside and out. And the same goes for blogging – if you can make sure that you really have a strong grasp of your audience, then you will be able to provide enjoyable and useful content. This becomes a careful balance when your blog is a side-hustle. You might start to feel pulled in a lot of directions. I know I did. You want to create the content you enjoy creating…but also get paid to do so by brands. You want your friends and family to continue stopping by…but you also want to grow your audience to include new folk. I put new posts to the test with a series of questions:
(In order of importance)
Will I enjoy creating this?
Will the readers I currently have gain something from this?
Can I optimize or monetize in some way?
Could this encourage new folk to join my tribe?

Any blogging-as-side-hustle hopefuls out there? I’d love to hear your questions, challenges, or thoughts! ❤
And bloggers who already have this blogging-for-biz thing nailed down — What would you tell someone just starting out on this journey? xoxo

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Sunshine Blogger Award Q&A

sunshine blogger award

The Sunshine Blogger Award is an accolade given by one blogger to another in recognition for work that they find creative, inspiring and positive. I was super honored to be nominated and leapt at the chance to join in the fun!

The rules of the award are:

  • Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  • Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  • Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  • List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Recently, Finding Delight was nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award by my sweet friends over at Sweet Tea, Science!

Meridith and Rachel are the masterminds behind Sweet Tea, Science. They are Kentucky gals like yours truly (we all went to Western Kentucky University) and sassy scientistas. They blog about their lives in the STEM-world as they complete their PhD’s. (Rachel in Ecology and Meridith in Statistics.) Some of my fave STS posts include:
Public Speaking Hacks for Scientists
What’s in Her Bag: International Conference + Honeymoon Edition
Day in the PhD Life: Statistician 
Guide to Graduate School Grief
Field Work Flashback
You can also follow Sweet Tea, Science on Twitter HERE and Instagram HERE.

The ladies of Sweet Tea, Science asked the following questions:

How do you take your tea?

Sweet, of course! But I’ve switched from sugar to stevia. 😉

What motivates you to blog every week (or as often as you blog)?

I genuinely enjoy doing it! There have been times throughout this little blog’s life where writing posts has had to take a backseat…but I think keeping a full editorial calendar is fun and I don’t beat myself up if not every idea comes to fruition.

Long before Finding Delight was a twinkle in my eye, I kept an online journal for 4 years — from my junior year of high school through my sophomore year of college. I really liked having a place to share about my life where I could connect with other people doing the same. I enjoyed knowing that someone would read what I wrote. I felt like it was the perfect creative outlet for my little introvert heart. Blogging is just my flashier, more grown up version. 😉

From a more practical standpoint, I work as a freelance marketing consultant and web content manager. My blog is a great way for potential clients to get to know me (freelancing is all about selling yourself alongside what you can do!).

What’s your favorite way to keep in touch with folks that have graduated/moved away?

While I love snail mail and social media, nothing beats taking an hour long walk through my neighborhood while on the phone with a bestie.

Where would you like to travel to next? Is it for work or pleasure?

Savannah, GA to meet my nephew! Besides that, I’ve always wanted to go to Iceland and Australia.

How has a mentor inspired you to take a risk? Or how have you inspired yourself?

A mentor gave me the push I needed to start this blog! During a conversation about how I could get to where she was in her career, her biggest advice was to start a project that would encourage me to write every day, as well as practice design, branding, and marketing. Finding Delight was born shortly after!

At the time, sharing about myself on the internet felt like a HUGE risk! I thought, “My life isn’t all that exciting. Will anyone even care? What if no one reads it.” But, of course, that wasn’t the point.

What is your favorite post you’ve written? Link that post! Go you!

I stopped paying women compliments on their appearance and here’s what happened…
How to Eliminate Decision Fatigue
A 30 Day Mantra Challenge (+ FREE activity guide)
and all the posts about my wedding.

What is your favorite post someone else has written? Link that post! Go them!

Nice Girls vs. Kind Women
Handmaids, Hospitals, and the Pageantry of the Newborn Nursery Window
My Sister’s Home Makeover
You’re Totally Allowed to Buy That Latte
I Talked to a Woman for 4 Hours on the Train

Where do you do your best blogging work? What sort of environment?

At my desktop computer – although I’m known to fire off a few paragraphs into my phone notes when inspiration strikes. Here’s a look at my desk set-up. It has stayed pretty much the same since our move to Alabama…except now, instead of being about a foot away from our bed, I have my very own home office!! *trumpets*

What is that one productivity tool (app/website) you enjoy using for your blog?

I’ve recently started using Asana which has really helped me visualize larger projects as a bunch of smaller tasks as well as keep track of deadlines. I enjoy assigning due dates to my goals (even when they’re totally arbitrary) because it helps me stay on track. Plus, sometimes a unicorn flies across the screen when I mark things complete–and I’m all for that!

What is a big career challenge you have overcome?

I think narrowing the scope of what I wanted to do. Starting out, I faced two big personality traits; 1) interested in everything, and 2) decisionphobe. That meant I was excited about a lot of possibilities, but would stall out in planning mode. Once I realized I can be interested in things without needing to make money doing them, I had a lot more time to build a career around things I was actually good at.

If you could only read one book, over and over, for the rest of your life, what would it be?

I don’t want to live in a world with only one book! (Perhaps that would be enough incentive to start writing my own!!) I don’t often re-read books because my reading list is just too long for circling back around! But if I had to, I would choose one of these.

My Nominations:

  1. A Silent Observer
  2. This Curvy Life
  3. Views From My Garden Bench
  4. Little Things With Jassy
  5. The Barefoot Angel
  6. Katnapped
  7. Em Busy Living
  8. Dreamer Achiever
  9. Chaus’ Adventure
  10. Miss Portmanteau
  11. Hello Whitney

My Questions:

  1. How did you first get involved with blogging?
  2. Besides the comments section, where do you chat and connect with other bloggers?
  3. What’s the hardest blog post you’ve ever written? Was it worth it?
  4. What’s your favorite book?
  5. What three goals are you focusing on right now?
  6. Where do you get inspiration for your blog posts?
  7. What are some positive things blogging has brought into your life that you didn’t expect?
  8. Is there a post you’ve always wanted to write but never have? What’s holding you back?
  9. What’s your favorite social media platform? Why?
  10. Is there someone who doesn’t have a blog but you would read every thing they published if they did?
  11. What have you recently achieved that you’re super proud of?

6 Ways to Use PicMonkey

If you need to edit photos, make graphics for your blog or social media accounts, or just want an awesome template for an Instagram post, you need to check out PicMonkey!

I’ve been using PicMonkey for years. I rave about it to friends and clients. But I’ve never written a dedicated post about this sneaky lil blogger hack.

So, in case you’ve never heard of PicMonkey before, it is an online image editing tool that is super user friendly and perfect for all my influencers, bloggers, entrepeneurs, and marketing mavens out there! What can you create with PicMonkey? SO. MANY. THINGS!

Here are 6 ways I use PicMonkey for my blog, clients, and personal life…

1. Photo Editing

I love snapping photos on my adventures! Before I pop ’em into a blog post, many of them get a quick edit in PicMonkey. Because my posts aren’t super photo-driven, Photo Shop just doesn’t seem like a worthwhile investment at this time (and I don’t really have time or the desire to learn how to use it — just being real). So this is a great alternative! I usually crop or straighten my photos as needed. Then, adjust the exposure and color. Sometimes I’ll sharpen them, too. Here are a couple images I edited with PicMonkey…

2. Invitations

There are a ton of templates available to make custom invitations for everything from birthdays and graduations, to surprise baby showers and special promotional events. Chet and I actually used PicMonkey to create the “Save the Date” cards for our wedding!

save the date with picmonkey

3. Graphics

I manage website and social media content for several of my clients. PicMonkey is a great way for me to quickly create a graphic for their blog posts or online newsletters. All I do is keep a spreadsheet with each of my clients, which PicMonkey fonts are suitable for their brands, and any HEX color codes. All I need is an image and bada-bing, bada-boom–I’ve got a custom graphic!

everything you need to know to find your blogging niche

4. Cover Photos

Social media cover photos are a fun way to show off a bit of personality, as well as cross-promote across different platforms. I usually opt for a simple look, but I recently created this Twitter cover photo in PicMonkey and thought it was pretty cute! There are a ton of templates available and there’s no going back and forth to get the right size for the right platform.

5. Collages

I also use PicMonkey to create collages. This is how I first discovered PicMonkey — googling an easy way to include multiple photos in a single image. Below, you’ll see a collage I created for my About page as well as the format I used when I was making monthly favorites posts.

6. Brand Boards

Finally, who doesn’t love a good inspiration board??? If you want to put together a cohesive vision for your brand, then I highly recommend checking out the brand board templates on PicMonkey. As an example, I put together a board for Finding Delight. This is to help guide my aesthetic and posts for Fall 2018 and the sort of vibe I’m hoping to convey with my content in the upcoming season. This one is for my personal use, but this is also a great tool for sharing the feel of your brand with others or creating media kits for companies who want to partner with you.

finding delight fall 2018

Have you ever used PicMonkey? What are your favorite features?

How to Find Job Satisfaction (even if you haven’t found your “dream job”)

how to find job satisfaction*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Even in the midst of your dreamiest of dream jobs, work can still seem like a chore. Something you have to check off your list along with mopping the floors and getting your oil changed. They call it “work” for a reason, right? And when you haven’t landed your dream job, or still aren’t sure what that ideal occupation even is, finding motivation can be that much harder.

But everyone deserves job satisfaction in their career, whether waiting tables at the very beginning of their ascent or as CEO on that top rung of the ladder. It’s all about attitude, outlook, and a dash of discipline. 

Not too long ago, broke and in debt, I found myself back at a store I worked at when I was 18. Seven years down the line, it felt like a giant step backwards. But by figuring out the tips below (and trust me, there were times I resisted them), I realized I could find satisfaction in my work…no matter what I was doing. This is the attitude that gets you noticed and helps you to make moves. Sure I’d gotten knocked down a few steps, but climbing back up…and then beyond…was so much easier when I enjoyed showing up at work every day and did my best.

So, let me share the tips I utilized to do so…

Being The Best

No matter what your job, you’ll always enjoy it more if you focus on being the best. Whatever, I’ll say it…winning feels good. Does this mean you have to work yourself to the bone? Not at all. There’s always ways to work smarter not harder, no what I mean? You just have to find that willingness to be ambitious.

I’m competitive anyways so I’ve always got my eye out for opportunities where I can beat people (in a gracious way! obvi.). If you’re not, think about the rewards that motivate you most and focus your energies on receiving those rewards specifically. I’m very motivated by words of praise but you might be motivated by public recognition or money or learning something new! Speaking of learning something new…

Educating Yourself

Even the poopiest of jobs can teach you valuable lessons for later in your career. Dive in! Seek out specialized training, put yourself forward for educational opportunities, and tap the knowledge of co-workers. I pride myself on being a life-long learner outside the work place so I relish any opportunity to learn “on the clock.” Depending on your job this could be anything from taking 30 minutes a day to read industry news, signing up for a wine pairing class, or taking part in an online accredited MBA program in your free time if your company is footing the bill.

My rule of thumb whenever someone asked me “Do you want to learn how to do x, y, or z?” Say YES. A downside to working jobs that are more about paycheck than career path? Monotony! But the more you diversify your skill sets…the less bored you’ll be and the more fun you’ll have!

Finding The Value

Finding the value in your job will not only make your daily effort feel worth it, but could also spark passion. How is your work or your company helping people? What are you doing for the greater good? How are you making an impact? Spend some time connecting the dots here. My retail job at a cooperative grocery store prided themselves on keeping the majority of every dollar spent in our local economy. So, I chose to focus on this value. My efforts were always fueled by a desire to promote local farmers and food. I became super passionate about it! And before I knew it, I was working in the marketing office instead of out on the floor…and I still work in marketing today! 

Keeping one eye on the value is a great way to maintain focus when you’re feeling less than pleased about going in or your boss is angry or some task feels pointless. Not to mention, communicating the value YOU provide is an awesome skill to have in an interview setting, hint, HINT.

Do me a favor – Tell us your job in the comments below and the #1 thing you do to find job satisfaction. Thanks!

P.S. Wanna read more of my career tips? CLICK HERE.

Everything You Need to Know to Find Your Blogging Niche

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Finding your blogging niche is one of the best and most powerful ways to grow your audience and start making a profit from your little corner of the internet. Admittedly, I’m interested in LOTS of things (you probably are too) and I’m still working on whittling down what I include on my blog. However, over the years I’ve come to realize that my posts about books, career, travel/packing, and life management systems (like capsule wardrobes and meal plans) perform the best…and not just that…I enjoy creating them, too. They’ve become my own lil “lifestyle” niche! Sure there are other things I’d love to write and share about. But they’re better left outside of Finding Delight. 

So, what are some of the steps I took to find this mystical niche? Read on for everything you need to know.

I Looked Closely At My Interests And Passions

To find your niche, you first need to look closely at your interests and passions. You’ll feel far more fulfilled when what you’re researching and writing and SHARING align with what you love. So, one thing I did when trying to find my blogging niche was write out a MASSIVE LIST of everything (and I mean EVERYTHING) that I was interested in, passionate about, or enjoyed doing/researching. Then, I went in with a few highlighters to start identifying some themes. 

I Looked At My Skills and Talents (And My Weaknesses Too!)

Next, I evaluated my skills and talents to figure out how to best use them for creating blog content. Of course you should love your niche, but you need to be good at it too. For example, there are a lot of systems I’ve successfully put into practice in my own life to eliminate decision fatigue. I would say I’m skilled at creating them. So I started working them into my blog posts. Not just because I enjoy coming up with them but I’m good at it.

Finding your niche means knowing your weaknesses, too. I love the idea of posting elaborate recipes on my blog (I even did a fair amount of recipe posts back in the day) but I’m just not that great of a cook. I don’t have the patience for taking process photos as I create a dish because cooking itself is already taking up all my concentration. I don’t enjoy it because I’m not that great at it! (I do think there are some exceptions to this wherein you blog about something you want to learn about a la Julie and Julia or if you’re charting a fitness journey. But overall I’d say steer clear of finding a niche based on a weakness.)

I Figured Out What Problems I Could Solve For Other People

I started to think about what problems people were facing and how my blog posts might be able to solve them. Now I know this sounds high and mighty but think about it! When you type something into the search bar of Google, what are you looking for? Usually a solution, right? It might be how to DIY a really expensive piece you fell in love with at Anthropologie or home remedies for seasonal allergies or even the answer to some obscure celebrity-gossip query.

Solving problems for people is a key aspect of your niche. It’s also an almost guaranteed way to increase readership. (When people are searching on Google or Pinterest for an answer–they might just click on YOUR solution!) But I also wanted to take current readers into consideration when evaluating the type of problems I could solve. 

I’ve conducted two reader surveys on my blog over the years. Both of which asked readers to answer,

“What challenges or frustrations are you facing in your life right now?”

Many of their answers went on to become topics I tackled in future blog posts!

[Related: Librarians solve people’s problems every day! USC has an awesome library science degree if this is a path that speaks to you beyond the world of blogging –  learn more on their website.]

I Learned From My Competition

Your competition can be used to your advantage. When identifying my specific niche within lifestyle blogging, I began to look at other blogs less as something to emulate and more for what I could do differently than them. What could I do better? Not really in a competitive way…or in a wishing them ill-will sorta way. But my life experience and expertise and passion are uniquely mine. So my niche and my blog should be uniquely mine, too! I want ALL of our blogs to succeed because of who we are and what we love. Not because we’re trying to tick a bunch of boxes of what a blog “should” include. Make sense?

I Constantly Experiment

When you think you’ve figured out your niche, run tests and experiments. No one needs to know about these tests and experiments…they’re just for you! They will help you to figure out whether your ideas are something that should be pursued in the long term. Whether your readers will love it, if your traffic will grow, and most importantly, if you will enjoy it. If you find some posts in the new niche are meeting all of the above — take note! And then look into ways you can double down on that sort of content. 

But don’t be afraid to drop something that hasn’t worked and move on to the next experiment. You might decide you want to start reviewing brunch locations everywhere you travel to…and then find you’ve started resenting an activity you once enjoyed. Or what about a crochet tutorial that you spend hours photographing and uploading…only to find it got 5 views? 

Not everything will work, but you won’t know until you try! And you can always move on to the next great idea!

What steps did you take to find your blogging niche? Any content ideas you love in theory but just didn’t work in practice? SPILL! 

3 Actions to Take if You’re Falling Out of Love With Your Job

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Does your job keep you up at night because you’re thinking about the horrors the next day will bring? Does the thought of clocking in give you a queasy feeling? If so, you may feel as though you’re trapped, but I’m here to tell you that there is a way out. 

Falling out of love with a job happens. Here are some ways to break free — 

BRAINSTORM your perfect job

A wise person once said if you can find something you care about and mix it with something you love doing …bada bing, bada BOOM… you have found your perfect job. Sadly, not many of us approach our career in this way, and this is often what leads us to get stuck in the first place.

Luckily, there’s still time to work out what your task preferences and passions are in terms of work. This will help narrow down the field. For example, you may feel passionately about educating others and facilitating learning, while the sorts of tasks you enjoy involve visual creativity. If so, then a suitable combination might be an art teacher or a graphic design artist that works in the education sector. In terms of freelance work, you may want to explore creating infographics. 

What this example demonstrates is how identifying your passion and your preferred tasks  will put you in a much better position to brainstorm jobs which combine the two. Making the work meaningful AND rewarding.

FIND your perfect job

Of course, once you have a perfect job to work towards, you need to plan how to get there. This may involve starting a job hunt as you inch towards a completely new career. It could also mean speaking to your superior about taking on tasks at your current job that better fit the bill. 

If seeking further education is necessary to make your perfect job a reality, some great options that allow you to work while you do so. Just a quick google search for options in my own area led me to the online degrees available at https://businessdegrees.uab.edu/ but there are options all across the world.

Another great way to find them besides a google search? Seek out someone employed in your perfect job and ask them the steps they took to get there! Do they recommend a specific school or certification? Most people love talking about themselves so don’t be shy. 

CREATE your perfect job

Finally, if you are falling out of love with your job, starting a side hustle (lots of great ideas suggested here –  https://www.ryrob.com/ or your own business can be a fantastic idea.

In fact, doing so could provide you with the opportunity to see if the combination of your passion and preferred tasks are actually a good fit, as well as giving you the chance to work towards something that has meaning for your life and that you control.

A few years ago, I realized I was passionate about helping small businesses communicate their brand and that I loved writing and creating marketing materials. Unfortunately, I was already employed at a job I wouldn’t describe as perfect. Instead of looking for a different job that would fulfill my passion + preferred task criteria…I just started doing it. I found businesses and people to work with, offering my services until I found a way to make it stick. At the time, this side hustle was a perfect way for me to stay in love with the not-so-perfect job. And now, I KNOW that combination is a good fit! 

So, if you find yourself falling out of love, make the first move. Ask yourself – What do I care about? What do I love doing? The rest will follow if you let it!

Have you ever fallen out of love with a job? What did you do? Are you dealing with this now? Sending you love and motivation! xoxo 

5 Ways to Foster Creativity in the Workplace

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

When working, creativity is my most important tool. It guides me through the challenges of a complex project. It helps me refresh my approach to explore new solutions.

But, creativity doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It’s not the kind of thing you can summon into life as soon as you’re sitting at your desk. Creativity is not a skill; it’s a state of mind – but that’s not to say you can’t train your mind the same way you might train your muscles. So what are some ways we can foster creativity for better workplace performance?

Clutter-free offices free up your mind

The mind wanders when you sit at your desk. Imagine you’re a writer. You’re at your desk, your fingers floating above the keyboard as you wait for an idea to appear. Your eyes instinctively scroll past the contents of your office. The desk is filled with discarded coffee mugs, piles of documents and books that lie flat on top of it all. The shelf behind you spills contents onto the floor: More books, dusty knick-knacks, some stationery still in the packaging and an open bag of chips. Yikes! Messy offices lead to a clogged up mind. Conversely, a clutter-free workplace can do wonders for your imagination.

Sensory experiences improve the imagination

Sensory experiences enhance creativity. Listening to music can take your mind on a journey of self-discovery, emotional enlightenment, or merely melancholy – depending on your playlist. Similarly, the smell of fresh flowers or manipulating gooey playdough can open new horizons. Without senses, the mind doesn’t know how to experience its surroundings. Consequently, sensory deprivation, as a result of a health issue, can represent an obstacle. However, not all situations are without a solution. Perhaps, instead of a downfall, we can view hearing aids as a way to boost creativity. Glasses or dedicated eye surgery as a means to improve our view–not just literally but figuratively, too. 

Smile!

So, here you are, ready to work, but you can’t get your mind off an awkward conversation you had with a friend. You’re still angry about it, and somehow, it remains at the front of your mind. Or maybe it was an altercation with a rude client that occupies all your thoughts? Whatever happened, it’s time to let your mind break free. Take a deep breath and smile. Yes, you read that right: smile. Studies show that the act of smiling can actually trick your brain into thinking you’re happy. (Fake it ’til ya make it!) Consequently, you’ll find the anger, the frustration and all the thoughts about what you could have said will gradually disappear leaving room in your brain for those creative juices to start flowing.

Exploratory mindset and inspiration

If you don’t see or try anything new, it’s fair to say you won’t be able to create anything new. Same old routine leads to same old ideas. As a person seeking creativity, you need to push the boundaries of your comfort zone to explore what is happening on the other side. For some people, this might mean traveling abroad. For others, it could be trying out new activities or going to see films and plays you wouldn’t normally choose. The more you see what you’re not used to, the richer your mind becomes.

Don’t believe the unhealthy artist cliché

Finally, if you’ve been loving the idea of the recluse artist who lives only on coffee and the occasional cigarette, it’s time to reconsider the habits that foster creativity. Indeed, the food you eat affects your brain health. Avocados, for instance, improve cognitive function, both memory and concentration. Beets help with mental performance. Blueberries protect your brain from degeneration and stress. (An idea my mom espoused on a recent visit and now my husband says “PREVENTCHA DEMENTIA!” whenever I pull a tub of bluebs out of the fridge, lol.) In short, a healthy brain can process new ideas quicker and better! So, look after your main creative tool by feeding it right!

How do you deal when you’re in a creativity rut at work? I’d love hearing your tips in the comments!

Forget whistling…SMILE while you work!

When it comes to enjoying our daily lives, often it’s the smallest things that have the most positive impact. Earning your paycheck after working for two weeks is great, but that smile and warm hug from someone you helped could make your entire week (and more!). These little moments are the things to truly live for. They can help us stay positive and learn to find delight.

For this reason, I’d love to know – how many things make you smile in a day? Would counting them somehow impede your natural tendency to smile? Would simply adding more things in your life to help you do so improve your life even in the small matters? There are many things to give you that toothy grin, but the following can help:

Something To Love

It’s important to keep something you love around you at all times. Of course, family is usually the first thing people think of when the word ‘love’ comes to mind, and so in these instances, it might be worth keeping a picture of your loved ones on your work desk or kicking it old school with some wallet-sized prints.

Continually reminding yourself of who you love in any given day might not only feel wonderful, but it can help you remember the reason for your daily efforts in the first place. Experience a bad day at work? Simply seeing your newlywed wife’s photograph might help you get through it that little bit easier. 

Something To Excite

It’s important to stay excited in life. This might mean looking forward to a vacation, becoming part of a new community, or anticipating the moment you break a fitness PR in the gym after work. When you have things to look forward to, you will feel much more infused with positive energy, and it also helps you stay engaged in the world around you.

Something To Laugh

Something that makes you laugh can be essential to keeping your mindset happy and open. Laughter has the wonderful ability to connect people and help them forget their issues. This might be as simple as telling your boyfriend a silly joke from time to time, checking out stand-up comedy and finding some favorites in that field, or spicing up your office with things that help you crack a grin. (These novelty desk plates are always a crowd favorite.) Laughter shows us that the world isn’t as self-serious as we thought, and can honestly lift our spirits quite unlike everything else. 

What little things make you smile throughout your day? Do you consider yourself a happy person? Do you think surrounding yourself with things to love, excite, and laugh about would make you a more effective worker? Why or why not?

Office Design Tricks to Up Your Productivity Levels

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The place you choose to work makes such a big difference to your productivity levels. Thankfully, if you work from home, you have maximum creative control to design your work-space exactly as you see fit. (Score!) In this post, I’m gonna lay out some aspects of home office design that will make your home work-space a hive of productivity. Many of these changes are simple and don’t require a huge investment, while others may take a little more time and expense. Find the fixes that work best for your working flow and budget…

Light the Way

Office lighting can make such a big difference when it comes to your productivity. Bad lighting can lead to headaches, fatigue, eye strain, and tiredness. Conversely, natural light can play a big role in boosting your mood. So consider positioning your desk nearby a window where it is going to attract as much sunlight as possible. Rather than having one main overhead source of lighting, having a lamp or two allows you to adjust the brightness as necessary.

Alabaster Mini Orb Lamp // Globe String Lights // Petite Perla Chandelier

Ergonomically Check Your Chair and Desk

If the position of your chair and desk ends up leading to neck and back pain, this is inevitably going to impact your productivity levels. There are a couple of quick ergonomic checks which are easy to perform. First of all, the top of your computer screen should be around eye-level. Your feet should either be able to rest comfortably on a foot rest or on the floor. Make sure that your chair is slightly reclined to minimize lower back pain. Investing in a good-quality chair is one of the best purchases that you can make for your office.

Mesh Desk Chair // Gaiam Balance Ball Chair // Adjustable Foot Rest

Sights, Smells and Sounds

Your senses all come into play when you are creating a comfortable office space. Starting off with what you’ll spend the day looking at — the room color. Studies have shown that the color blue helps with productivity. But whatever you choose, make sure it’s a shade which isn’t too harsh on the eyes. You can also hang some pictures to give yourself something fun (and maybe motivational) to look at during the day.

Interior Paint in Blue Bayou // Calming Art Print // Ayo Mirror

You may never have thought much about the smell of your office, but the right scents can actually help to focus your mind and boost your mood. Fresh flowers are a great way to provide a scent in a natural way. It is worth going for some which you can easily smell such as Alii Hawaiian Tropical flowers. Another option is to use candles or essential oils. Otherwise, you could always try simmering a few herbs and spices in the kitchen to fill your whole house with pleasant smells.

Hawaiian Flowers // Stress Relief Candle // Stone Essential Oil Holder

The type of noise which works best for your productivity levels varies from person to person. Some people prefer complete silence. In which case, it is worth looking into soundproofing options in the room. Others like to have some background music, so it check out wireless speakers so you can cut back on the need for wires criss-crossing around the room.

Sound Proof Panels // Noise Cancelling Headphones // Wireless Speaker

Clutter Clearing

While you may create a lot of clutter in the creative process, you should make it a habit to store away the things that you need and throw everything else away. Mess is generally not helpful when it comes to productivity levels. Make sure that you have enough storage systems to contain everything comfortably. And don’t forget your digital clutter as well. The best way I’ve found of keeping on top of your clutter (actual AND digital) in a home office is to schedule time each week to organize. Pick a day and time and jot it down in your diary weekly. You’ll likely just need a half hour or so each week to go through papers, computer files, etc and get it all sorted. Consistency is key!

Poppin 3-Drawer File Cabinet // Paper Organizers // Wire Wall Grid

Bring in Nature

There are plenty of ways that you can bring nature into your indoor office space. We already talked about fresh flowers, but house plants are also a great option. They will last longer and are usually straightforward to maintain. Open the window on a regular basis to allow fresh air into your office space. If you can’t see anything natural outside, the next best thing is to put up some “nature pictures” – think: a picture of you and a loved on a recent hike in a pretty frame on your desk or a painting of the sea!

5 x 7 Frame // Gradient Cement Planter // Mid-Century Turquoise Planters 

Achieve an Optimum Temperature Balance

Achieving the right temperature balance is one of the best ways of boosting your productivity levels. Studies have shown that people tend to work better when it is a little warmer inside, but you don’t want to make it SO warm so that you feel drowsy. A smart thermostat will give you maximum control over the temperature in your office. And you can always bring in some extra heaters or fans when you feel like you need to adjust the temperature up or down.

Nest Thermostat // Urbanjet Desk Fan // Portable Radiator

As you can see, there’s a lot to think about when it comes to creating a work-space that provides maximum productivity levels. Essentially, you need to create an environment which works best for you. No two people work in the same way, so it is important to learn as much as you can about your own working habits. Good luck!

Do you work from home? An office? What changes have you made to your working space to increase productivity? 

Nine Activities to Break Up the Day When Working from Home

After I’ve worked from home for a few hours, I tend to get fed up with my surroundings, and need a change of scenery. You too? There are definitely benefits of having a place in your home that allows you to get shiz done. Whether you work for yourself, remotely, or hustle on the side. At the same time — when you wake up, punch the clock, and fall asleep ALL within a few steps of each other? It can get a little monotonous! So let’s talk about how to break up the day when you’re hard at work in your humble abode…

Stand Up Every Hour

To protect your lower back and improve circulation, stand up and stretch every hour. I use the Pomodoro app to set timers for work and when I need to peel myself out of my office chair. (I love a good power hour followed by a 15 minute break!) Oh, and if you’re feeling uninspired, use the time to get some fresh air (outside or open a window). The fresh oxygen is great for your body and brain! 

Coffee Break Around the Corner

Instead of having coffee at my desk, I like to take a walk to the ventanita up the street for a freshly brewed treat. Breaks like these give you something to look forward to when you are hitting a wall. Plus, motivating yourself with a coffee…or a healthy smoothie or a cupcake(!) or whatever treat might be close by is a great way to incentivize the big push you need to meet a looming deadline.

Check the News

Instead of checking the news on my computer or phone, getting a newspaper to flick through or flipping on the TV for a few minutes allows me stay tuned in to current events throughout the day. WITHOUT getting sucked into the inevitable internet rabbit holes.

Five Minute Yoga Routines

No matter how small your home office is, you can always find a spot to unroll a yoga mat! Look on YouTube for a few yoga stretching routines you can complete in five minutes or less. Bookmark your favorites so you can return to them whenever you need to stretch, restore your breathing, and energize. Your attention span will thank you!

Call Your Friend or Colleagues

For a complete break, return that phone call to your mom or give your friend a ring to hammer out weekend plans. Want to stay on task but still have an excuse to pace away from your desk? If you generally collaborate with your colleagues through email or Gchat, switch it up and call them instead. You can talk about the project you are working on, ask about the next steps, or simply clarify issues. 

Water the Flowers

One thing I really want to start getting more into is houseplants! And I’d like to keep up with their maintenance by choosing a set day and time to go around the house and tend to them. This would give me a short break, a reason to unchain myself from the desk/computer, and a sense of accomplishment. You can create your own schedule based on the watering and care needs of your plants. For example, Hawaiian flowers (my current obsession) need less water less often to stay healthy and bloom, while some houseplants need attention every day.  

Plan Your Office Redecoration

Feeling like your home office needs a reboot? Take some time to brainstorm how to improve your home office to suit your needs better. Think about the colors you want to use, the carpet, look for inspirational images and quotes, and think about ways of improving your lighting. You might even download an online app that allows you to design the perfect space online. Get ideas from blogs and magazines, and use your imagination. My current set-up is fine for now but I love daydreaming and planning for a future office overhaul! 

Complete a Mandala

While you might think that coloring is for kids, it is actually a super relaxing activity. You can print a mandala (for free!) and get your crayons or colored pencils out to complete and design it. Sometimes when my work is feeling more monotonous than creative (think: spreadsheets and analytics), I like to bust out the art supplies for a little bit to break up the monotony. 

Watch Funny Videos

For some fun and energizing entertainment, save your favorite YouTube videos for when you need a pick-me-up. Get a collection saved on your desktop or bookmark bar, so you can access them when you need them.  A bit of laughter goes a long way. It will help you release stress  so you can carry on with your daily work more focused and motivated. I’m starting a new playlist for this very purpose! So far I’m feeling this one and this one.
LEAVE ME LINKS TO YOUR FAVORITE FUNNY VIDEOS IN THE COMMENTS BELOW! 

Thanks so much for reading, friends! Happy working (and breaking!!) ❤