Tag Archives: life hack

The Life Hack I Learned from Playing The Sims 4

I had a serious light-bulb moment the other day while, of all things, PLAYING THE SIMS 4…

Have you ever played it? If not, let me clue you in.

The Sims is all about simulating life. So, your sim (the little person on the screen that you control) goes to work, forms relationships, and pursues hobbies. And you play to move up the ranks in different categories — like to reach level 10 of the scientist career or become an expert in gardening. The higher you get, the more you can do in the game.

Now, there are certain things you can do to make sure your sim is killin’ it in all these categories.

For instance, my sim works as a newspaper reporter. If I make sure she goes to work “focused” instead of “playful” or “sad,” she advances faster in her career. Makes sense.

Before she goes out on a date, she needs to feel “social.”

When she’s headed to the gym, she should already be “energized.”

If I want her to succeed in a certain hobby, she needs to be “inspired” before diving in.

You get the idea.

So…

As the person in control, you direct your lil sim to do whatever it is for them that will flip on the correct emotion.
Before work…read a book.

Before a date…talk on the phone.

Before the gym…take a cold shower.

Before gardening…research plants online.

See where this is going?

While directing my sim to pick out a book to read before she headed to work, I realized…
I could do the same thing!

When my brain is going a million places at once, and I can’t focus on a project that requires some super single-tasking; instead of taking a break that involves MULTI-TASKING (like playing on the internet or tidying up the kitchen while listening to the news), why not pick up a book and read a chapter? When you’re reading, you really can’t do anything else.

And I’ll tell you, dear reader. I tried it and it works.

I’m ready and FOCUSED for the work that lies ahead.

And it’s worked in other aspects, too. Morning phone/skype meetings are definitely not my jam. But if I make an effort to do something else social…even if that’s just chatting with a barista…before I hop on the line, I’m much more in the head space for being outgoing.

While applying this sim-hack might not be quite as easy in the real world, (afterall, I can’t just click a mouse and feel happy!) it really boils down to taking a moment to check in with yourself.

To ask…

What will I need to make this next task a success?

How can I create that for myself instead of looking for it in an external source?

What makes me feel happy/social/productive/zen/inspired/creative?

And then HOOKING YOURSELF UP!

Give it a try some time and let me know how it goes! xoxo

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Are You Spiritual?

*This post may contain affiliate links.*

Readers, do you consider yourself spiritual? No matter what you believe, I’ve sorta come to the conclusion that as long as you are happy to take what works for you and put the rest aside, you will find there is great benefit to be had from living in a more spiritually aware manner. Whatever that may mean to you. For some people that’s weekly trips to church, others it might mean a daily mantra practice, or setting out into nature alone with your thoughts once a month. 

Here are three spiritual practices I try and incorporate in my life —

Keep Your Eyes Open

It can be amazing what you miss when you aren’t really looking – and by that same token, what you can see when you make a concentrated effort to keep your eyes open. Keeping your eyes open simply means you are on the lookout for anything which might spark joy…or delight ;). [I talk more in depth about how I incorporate this practice HERE.]

A friend of mine pointed out that when she started living this way, she was surprised by how the same things cropped up over and over again. So often that they began to feel significant. Her advice? Whether it’s the recurrence of specific angel numbers, a certain theme that seems to reappear in your relationships, or anything – whatever it is, pay attention and see what you can learn from it.

Spread Compassion

Something else which all spiritual traditions share is a focus on helping others and spreading joy and compassion towards them. Learning to do this in your daily life takes time, effort and courage – but you will find that doing so really does make for a much more fulfilling life. If you find that there is some kind of blockage stopping you from doing this, then you might want to think about what you can do to make it easier for yourself. In most cases, it begins with first spreading joy to yourself – so that you can then be more compassionate to those around you. You know what RuPaul says, right? “If you can’t love yourself how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else?” CAN I GET AN AMEN? 

Remain Present

One tenet most spiritual traditions agree upon is remaining present as a way to feel more in tune with reality and more at peace. Presence is hard to fully comprehend until you have practiced it. You might think you’re always present in the here and now. While this is technically true, if you’re anything like me, your brain is always moving…even in neutral! Reigning in your thoughts to focus solely the present moment actually takes a lot of work. Who knew!? But it is SO worth it. Of these three principles, this one is definitely where I struggle the most. Got any tips? 

Are you spiritual? What does living in a spiritually aware manner mean to you? 

A fun planner hack!

Here’s a fun hack if decorating your planner brings you joy —

1) Buy a package of sticker paper.

2) Search Pinterest for free planner printables. (Click HERE for the one pictured above. i ❤ Pusheen!!!)

3) Print, cut them out, and stick ’em wherever you like.

Stickers designed especially for planners are awesome for keeping track of to-do’s, marking tasks as important, and habit tracking. However, they can become a costly habit pretty quick. Luckily, there are a TON of super, adorable designs for ABSOLUTELY FREE!

Go ahead…TAKE A LOOK! Here are some show-stoppers: keep track of your fill-ups, for the baking obsessed, sweet little icons to remind you of chores, and SLOTHS! (heehee!)

P.S. My favorite planner is the Bob’s Your Uncle 8-Days-A-Week Planner Journal. You can find those Erin Condren Dual-Tip Markers HERE.

My Weekly Ritual: Mask Mondays (+why I think you should set & forget self-care)

Every Monday evening I hole up in my bathroom and do a face mask. It’s something to look forward to at the end of a long day of not wanting to be back at work. Mondays, am I right?

My current favorites are this honey facial mask from Bee Friendly and this mermaid mask from Leahlani. And my mom tucked this spirulina mask from The Granola Goat in my stocking this year and I’m excited to give it a try.

If there are things you like doing for yourself – whether it be painting your nails, taking bubble baths, zoning out while you roll around on your foam roller, WHATEVER – I encourage you try out this set it and forget it approach.

It’s really easy to love the idea of self-care but actually doing it…like on the regs…is a little more difficult. There’s never a time when you couldn’t be doing “something else.” So we set those moments for our self aside and relegate them to next weekend or when the to-do list gets done or we’re on vacation. But y’all. All told my Mask Mondays take me about 20 minutes. 20 minutes a week of a lil luxurious me-time. I can spare it. And so can you.

But you don’t have to waste the brain space figuring out when to take that 20 minutes each week. Pick a day, pick a time. Repeat. Every week.

…And then if you’re feeling really wild, maybe you can try a monthly ritual too. Think: trips to your gym where you don’t work out but instead hit up the hot tub and sauna. Getting a massage or a blow out. Hikes in a state park. Taking yourself out to eat or to a movie.

When I turned 28 I decided on the 28th of every month for the whole year I would buy myself a new magazine. Whatever looked interesting and appealing. It was such an amazing birthday gift to myself because I love magazines but I always talk myself out of them. Essentially I gifted myself with the reassurance that it was ok to spend money on something that brought me joy. And setting a date that was easy to remember meant I actually followed through.

If you want to up your self-care game and do more that brings you joy — set it and forget it, sistah!

Anyways, what self care rituals are you into lately? 

Current Podcast Subscription List

Last night, as I cleaned up the kitchen and loaded the dishwasher, I did what I always do during chores these days. Popped in my earbuds and played a podcast. Do you do this? Ever since starting this ritual, I find myself looking forward to doing the dishes. *gasp* It’s almost like the doldrums of domesticity masquerading as pleasant self-care. Highly recommend!

Anyways! Here’s my current line-up, in case you’re curious:

And I just started Britney’s Instagram and Embedded (after finishing Dirty John).

What’s on YOUR subscription list? There are so many good podcasts out right now, I might have to start doing more daily chores! 😉 

P.S. I asked 9 friends, “What’s your favorite podcast?” and here’s what they had to say.

Keeping a Notebook

Recently, my dearest has been experimenting with a new organization/journaling/calendar system. Since starting a few weeks ago he’s been RAVING about it. Honestly, the whole system seems like a total game changer so I asked him to fill us in. Take it away, Chet!

I have dates in my Google calendar. I have notes from courses that I’ve taken in Evernote. I have random ideas and lists jotted down in Google Keep. I have a near endless number of notebooks, legal pads, binders, and folders filled with years of academic and recreational work. Ideas, outlines, lists of books to read, movies to watch, music to listen to….stuff.

Digital technologies have completely unleashed work and leisure. We are all familiar with the struggles of being plugged in 24/7, but I’m consistently frustrated with the solutions to these problems. There are no shortage of apps and software designed to help us organize our lives, but, somehow, the more apps I download to organize my life the more disorganized and fragmented it becomes! I log into some of these programs, weeks or months after I’ve last used them, to find piles of useful notes, things that would have helped save me time if I had remembered their existence. Months ago, I bought a Moleskine notebook in order to help solve this problem once and for all. I would hand write all of my important notes to this one notebook so that it would be impossible to lose track of information. The result? Disaster!

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I ended up with this mess. All of my notes were in one place, but they were completely unreadable. The Moleskine was a great place to keep content, but not a great place to sort and easily find that content later. Enter the Bullet Journal. The Bullet Journal is a very simple analog note taking organizational scheme. In essence, it provides the system for organizing a notebook into a searchable, readable form. The most basic entries are simple task lists and reminders by day.

notebook2

Much better! Tasks are now clearly organized, and can be checked off or moved around as necessary. The Bullet Journal system also uses page numbers in some really cool ways. I’ve gone through and numbered the whole book in advance, and those numbers can now be used as a table of contents.

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I’ve only just started this system, so I don’t have many entries (yet), but I do have a few cool ones. You can see in the pic that there are some other categories listed like movies and pc games. These are persistent lists. You can keep adding items to them and reference when needed. I’ve already used a full page for my first movies list, so I’ve brought a few stragglers over and created a new one.

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You can even begin to subdivide using other important tags like Netflix availability. This method of organizing has really helped me to be more efficient in my media consumption. Before, I would twiddle my thumbs, browsing Netflix aimlessly. Now, I can quickly scan through stuff I want to watch, and not just settle on content I’ve already seen. I also plan on including a few tags with titles that I’m unfamiliar with so that I can sort even quicker.

My favorite aspect of the Bullet Journal, by far, is the customization. Now that you have an organizational framework, you can use it to your advantage. I used a ruler to draw up a simple calendar for this month. On the opposing page, I’ve made a list of monthly notes/goals.

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This gives me a macro/micro view of my ongoing projects. If I want to sketch out a given week, I’m also free to do that.

I’ve only just started using the Bullet Journal, but it’s already helping me tremendously. I’ve been able to organize and collapse some disparate lists into a compact, portable package. The daily lists sometimes aren’t needed. I’ll remember everything on my plate for a given day and finish them all. I’m still working at cracking the journal open at least twice a day. When I do, I get to see my tasks, and then see them completed or re-organized. It adds a great sense of accomplishment to a day, and also helps me prepare for the next day by clearly establishing my goals. I also think it’s a great place to unplug, to practice your handwriting, to not use a phone all the time!

If you’re feeling frazzled by apps, or just looking for a place to keep some informal lists, a Bullet Journal may be for you!

Thanks for sharing, Chet! I’ve been pretty enamored with this whole system since he began sharing it’s success with me. Luckily, I was gifted the tools to start trying it out for myself…

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So far so good! ❤