Tag Archives: Hacks

Monster Productivity Hacks For People Stuck In Home Offices

Having a home office can be a lot of fun. You no longer have to deal with office politics or chat idly around the coffee machine with co-workers you only barely tolerate. 

But there’s a problem – home offices aren’t always ideal for productivity. Compared to working in a regular office, in can be harder to get stuff done. 

In this post, let’s look at some monster productivity hacks for people stuck at home.

Find Something That Makes You Happy

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Did you know that our brains work best when we are happy? Well, it’s true. So when working from home, find a setup that fills you with joy. 

Naturally, what this entails depends on you. Perhaps it’s always having your favorite mug of tea next to you while you work, or maybe it’s putting up photos of your pets. Whatever it is, make sure that you do it. Over the course of weeks and months, it can dramatically improve your work. 

Focus On Ergonomics

Don’t just sit on the couch or at the kitchen table. Over time, that’s going to ruin your posture, cause pain, and make you less productive. 

Instead, really drill down into ergonomics. Find out what works best for your body and then perfect it. Make sure that your mouse and keyboard are at the right height, relative to your chair. Move your chair up and down. And even experiment with standing desks if you feel that they might help. 

Changing your ergonomics could be the best thing you ever do. 

Achieve The Perfect Temperature

Productivity goes down when office temperatures go above 73.4 or fall below 64.4 degrees F. So you’ll want to find a way to keep yours within that range if at all possible.

Don’t delay getting AC repair if you need it. You’ll often make back your investment in the form of higher productivity and more comfort while at work. 

Put Plants Next To Your Screen

Sometimes you don’t have a choice of whether or not to stare at a screen all day. But you can improve the experience by adding potted plants to either side. Plants increase oxygen levels in your office while also having positive effects on your mood. It’s also fun typing at a computer that looks as though it is emerging from the jungle. 

Block Your Time

Generally, you can place your work times into two distinct categories: tasks and communication (phone calls, emails, virtual meetings, etc.). Completing tasks is what earns you money and makes you valuable to the company you work for. Your correspondences and meetings can add value, but they are also an enormous time sink. For this reason, the most productive home office workers always block their time. For instance, they might block their calendar from 8 am to 9 am to respond to emails, schedule a project team huddle at 1:30 pm and then perform tasks for the rest of the day. If they have several meetings to get through, they might block them one after the other at the end of the day so that they can use the morning to do tasks when they are at their most productive. Play around with what time blocking works best for you!

Do you work from home? What productivity hacks would you add?

Approved Methods For Getting More Veggies Into Your Stomach

We all know that we should be consuming vast quantities of veggies every day. But actually finding the time to prepare and eat them is always a challenge. Sometimes, we just want to keep things simple. 

It turns out, though, that actually getting the veggies that you need is easier than you think. Most of the time, it’s just a matter of adding them to food you’re already cooking. It doesn’t have to be hard. 

Add Them To Your Omelet

If you’re an omelet fan, you’ll know that adding extra ingredients here and there can really help take it up a notch. Plain is okay, but adding ham and cheese makes it even more delicious.

If you are a big omelet eater, you might consider adding extra veggies to improve the nutrition even further. Common additions include bell peppers, tomatoes, mushrooms, bok choy, scallions and onions. 

Add Veggies To Your Casseroles

You can also do something similar with your casseroles. Adding veggies can often make them taste even better than usual, especially if you cook in season. Try adding mushrooms, broccoli, celery, carrots, and other seasonal favorites. 

Blend Them Into A Smoothie

Vegetable smoothies don’t sound particularly appetizing until you try them. However, if you follow a decent recipe, they can turn out pretty good. For best results, follow all the advice given in the recipe, such as using plant milks and ice where required. 

Add Veggies To Your Sauces

Another place you can sneak veggies into your diet is through sauces. For instance, if you’re making marinara sauce, you don’t have to stick with plain tomato. Instead, you can add finely chopped carrots, bell peppers, onions and even leafy greens. Overall, these additions won’t change the character of the marinara sauce much, but they will improve the nutrition of the dish. 

Get Juicing

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Today, millions of people around the world swear by the virtues of juicing. Here, the idea is to extract the liquid element of veggies with a cold press juicer and consume it like a regular beverage. Except, unlike other beverages, you’re getting a whole bunch of beneficial nutrients at the same time. 

Make Your Pizza Crust Out Of Cauliflower

A decade ago, nobody had heard of the idea of making pizza crusts out of cauliflower. But today, thanks to some high-profile recipe books by famous TV chefs, it’s almost becoming mainstream. It works because when you combine cauliflower with almond meal and sometimes eggs, you wind up with something that tastes very similar to a regular crust. But it’s much lower in carbs and far higher in antioxidants than plain old white pizza flour. 

Use Veggies For Your Kebabs

Regular doner kebabs are a national favorite. But nothing is stopping you from swapping it out for regular veggies. You could cook veggies over a grill on a skewer to give them that nice flame taste. The best for this purpose are mushrooms, tomatoes, zucchini, onions and bell peppers. 

Make A Batch Of Veggie Burgers

The great thing about veggie burgers is that once you know the basic recipe, you can add pretty much whatever veggies you need to use up in your refrigerator. 

Veggie burgers are essentially just beans mixed with oats and a source of fat for the base in a processor. Then it’s pretty much up to you how you want to flavor them. Most people use black beans for veggie burgers because they look so similar to regular beef patties. But you can use any kind of beans that you like. Some recipes don’t even require beans at all, offering tremendous flexibility. 

Make Your Guacamole More Veggie

You can make regular guac by mashing an avocado and then adding some salt and lime juice. But if you want to take the nutrition up a notch, try adding a little red onion, garlic, and chopped tomatoes. 

Add Veggies To Your Sandwiches

Instead of ham and cheese, you can make much more delicious sandwiches with the help of veggies. One of the best are hummus sandwiches. Plus, they’re easy to make. Follow a hummus recipe, and then add little extras, like salad leaves, tomatoes, olives and parsley. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also create a little sweetness by topping the hummus off with caramelized onions. 

Use Lettuce Wraps

You don’t have to stick with regular bread for that matter. If you want a light dinner, it’s sometimes nice to just eat your food in lettuce wraps (instead of heavy tortillas or pita bread). Just create the mix, put it in a wrap, and you’re done!

How do you sneak extra veggies into YOUR diet? Leave a comment below.

10 Tips for Working an Event

One aspect of work-life that I look back on fondly now that I’m a work-from-home freelancer is working events. From hosting speech tournaments on college campuses when I was a forensics coach to planning and executing a street fair during my days on the marketing team at a food co-op, these all day affairs used to be a pretty common occurrence for me. They were always stressful. Always a lot of work. But oh so rewarding at the end of the day when you pulled it off.

After a lot of years, and a lot of trial and error, I feel like I eventually got working events down to a fine science. Whether you run conferences, host all-day trainings, or volunteer at your kid’s model UN tournaments, you know the deal! Here are my top tips —

Preparation –

1. Get plenty of sleep the night before.

I’ve worked plenty of events in a state of exhaustion and, let me tell you, it ain’t fun. Do everything in your power to show up bright eyed and bushy tailed. It will feel like way less of a slog and the hours will fly by if you go into the day feeling energetic. If the event starts later in the day still get plenty of rest the night before and make sure to eat well and drink plenty of water throughout the day.

2. Eat a hearty, well-balanced breakfast.

When you’ve gotta go, go, go – sitting down for a decent meal isn’t always possible. Waking up just a tiny bit earlier is totally worth it if it means you won’t have to scarf a pop-tart in the car on the way there.

3. If you can, spend some time outside and/or do some form of light exercise before you go or when you get a break.

This will give you a nice boost of energy and stamina. It seems counter-intuitive, especially if you know you’re going to be running around and doing a lot of set up throughout the day, but I promise those exercise endorphins are worth it. And the sunlight part is a no brainer if you’re going to be spending the next million hours inside.

During the event –

4. Wear comfortable shoes.

If the event is a more casual situation and you can get away with rocking walking shoes, by all means! But even if this is a biz-cas affair, make sure your shoes are selected for comfort and not style. (I mean, you can have both…but you know what I mean.) I spent way too many years rocking ballet flats at events before I realized those aren’t the BEST option for gallivanting from one end of a college campus to the other and being on your feet all day.

5. Hydrate.

I’ll say it again for the people in the back — HYDRATE! Keep a water bottle close at hand and just keep guzzling. Nothing takes the pep out of your step like thirst.

6. Keep your pockets stocked.

I always want to remain incredibly mobile when working an event…and I don’t really want to carry a bag everywhere I go OR have to add even MORE steps to my daily total to run to a “home base” for what I need. For me, this means keeping some cash and my debit card on my person throughout the day.

7. Have portable snacks on hand.

Sometimes your only downtime when working events is when you’re walking from one place to another. So, I like to bring along portable snacks that I can eat on the go. Bananas and granola/protein bars are great for this. NOM.

8. Avoid the urge to pound caffeine and sugar all day.

Another reason to show up well-rested. All the caffeine and sugar crashes just aren’t worth it…not to mention it will mess with your sleep after the event is over. Don’t you want to sleep like a baby after your marathon day? I think yes.

9. Say “Thank you!”

Successful events truly take a village. Show your gratitude as much as possible. Even if you’re not the one at the tippy-top running the whole shebang, there are certainly people who are making your part in the whole thing easier. Tell them you appreciate them!

10. Don’t bark orders.

And if you ARE running things, be considerate with how you manage and delegate. Events can feel way more high stakes than day-to-day work for everyone involved. Tensions will run high. Ask for help with a specific task instead of giving an order. Slight rhetorical shifts can make grunt work sound a whole lot less demeaning.

What tips would you add? xoxo

P.S. 11 Ways to Sneak in Healthy Habits When You’re Traveling.

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?