Tag Archives: planning

How to… (one dozen super rad things I think you should do!)

how to do one dozen things

Y’all!

We’re in the dog days of Summer down here in South Florida. Heat index over 100 and daily afternoon thunderstorms that arrive out of nowhere and leave just as quick. It’s pretty bananas. So, Chet and I are escaping to Delray Beach for a few days. I’m going to sit my butt on the beach (with a couple good books + an iPhone full of podcasts), eat conch fritters, drink rosé, and soak in some #saltlife vibes.

I’ll get back to posting ’round these parts next week. But since you’re already here, why not stick around and check out some posts I pulled from the archives! Here’s how to do ONE DOZEN super rad things…

How to start a fascinating conversation with a friend (or stranger).

How to use stickers to stick to your goals. 

How to make a super cute calendar from burlap.

How to use jars for DIY wedding decor.

How to create the perfect care package. 

How to take meaningful breaks during long projects. 

How to give your office a style upgrade.

How to tap into the power of self-care.

How to work on your female friendships.

How to practice styling photos.

How to dance more.

How to pack for a weekend away in the Tom Bihn Synapse 19 + Side Effect.

I hope all of you have a wonderful week and I’ll see you back here soon! 🙂

P.S. If you have any posts (how-to’s or otherwise) you think I should tackle when I get back, LEAVE  YOUR IDEAS BELOW! Thanks. 

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Planner Tip: Prioritize Your Passions

planner

I’m totally obsessed with my Target Dollar Spot planner. While I keep a daily To-Do list, planning in this adorable binder has become more of a hobby (I can decorate it with washi and stickers! Weeee!) and a way to plan out my personal, less work-focused time. I plan on doing a more in-depth post about this planner in the future, but today I thought I’d share a little tip I’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of! Here goes…

So, here’s the deal! If left to my own devices, I can waste a LOT of time on my computer. I love to read blogs, watch YouTube videos, and scroll endlessly through Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram. When a pocket of free-time opens up I can have the best of intentions and then find myself, 2 hours later, still sitting with my laptop open. This habit is especially frustrating if you sit at a computer all day for work!

Recently, I did a little soul searching about ways I could encourage myself to turn off the screen and prioritize my passions instead. I came up with three areas of focus…

  • I’m passionate about exercising my mind through books.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my body through yoga.
  • I’m passionate about exercising my creativity through paper crafts.

Next, I took a look at my typical day. When was I getting unnecessarily sucked into the internet? When would it be easy to indulge in a little self-care instead? For me, it was occurring between dinner and later in the evening when Chet and I spend time together (usually watching TV, unwinding, etc).

So I started scheduling my “me-time” activities in my planner! I write in “Read” or “Yoga” or some sort of craft or planner spread….

planner inside

It may sound simple…but it works for me! Instead of staring at a screen into the night (when I’ve already stared at it for so long during the day), I pick up a book or make a pocket letter. I roll out my mat or I decorate my planner. Sometimes I might throw in a long walk with a podcast or a class of some sort.

Do I HAVE to stick to the schedule? Absolutely not. But I’ve found that, when mapping out my week to come, if I give my “future self” a little nudge in the right direction I’m less likely to take the easy way out. (You also may recall that I’m all about eliminating decision fatigue! Why not make the decision about how to spend your “me-time” ONCE A WEEK instead of every single day.)

Wanna implement this TIP? Here are some easy steps: 

  1. Reflect on your daily life and identify a common “time suck” activity that you’d like to eliminate.
  2. Brainstorm 2-4 passions or areas of your life you’d like to grow. Really dig deep about what makes you happy. Do you wish you spent more time outdoors? Maybe you would benefit from a weekly bike ride. Are you looking to grow your writing? Perhaps you need to set aside time for daily journaling.
  3. Next, figure out where your “me time” best fits into your schedule. This could be different each day or the same time throughout the week. I’ve found the best way to identify when you have the time is to look to Step #1. Is there a pocket of time when you typically sit staring at your phone for 30 minutes straight double tapping random IG pics? Or do you find yourself waking up early just to end up channel surfing for an hour?
  4. When you do your weekly planning, PRIORITIZE YOUR PASSIONS! Plan for those moments of free-time with a little ME-TIME!

What do you think? Do you keep a planner? Would you consider scheduling specific activities for your free-time? Or do you prefer a more free flowing approach? I’d love to know your thoughts! xoxo 

Santa Monica

April favorites.

April Favorites collage

With the turning of the calendar page from April to May, it’s time to bundle together the best products, places, media and everything in between from the last month. Here are 9 things I found myself loving in April…

1. Pocket Letters

If you follow me on Instagram, then you’ll know I’ve been going a little Pocket Letter crazy this month. I just can’t get enough. For those curious, Pocket Letters are a genius way to send someone (pen pal, friend, stranger, etc.) a little mailbox surprise! Essentially, you take a 3×3 baseball card holder, decorate it to your heart’s content, tuck in some stationery goodies for your pal, and mail it off. Here’s a TUTORIAL if you’d like to learn more. I’ve been making these for a little while now, but I only recently hopped on PocketLetterPals.com to start arranging swaps with peeps from across the country. The resulting deliveries have made mail time a giddy experience. (If you’re interested in swapping leave a comment below!) 

2. Ballet

While I’m hopelessly devoted to my yoga practice, the month of April saw me dusting off my ballet shoes for a bit of barre work. I turned to YouTube (of course!) and was able to rustle up a few videos of actual ballet classes. I then got to work and have been trying to incorporate ballet into my workout routine on a weekly basis. For me no other exercise ever seems as effective yet effortless as ballet. I can have sweat dripping down my neck all with a smile on my face. Maybe because it has been a part of my life for so long? *cue that scene in Center Stage where Juliette Simone/Julie Simon talks about the barre being home.*

3. Graze snacks

If you wanna up your snacking game, you GOTTA check out Graze. Graze is a snack subscription service that sends you 4 or 8 individually packaged snacks weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I’ve gotten two boxes so far and I gotta tell ya…I am HOOKED. Each snack I’ve tried has been delicious and perfectly portioned. And you can’t beat the convenience! My favorite snack so far has gotta go to the Honeycomb Flapjack which Graze describes as a “rustic rolled oat flapjack with honeycomb and chocolate drizzle.” It’s legit better than a candy bar. YUM!

4. Homestead Town Hall Museum

On a recent #AdventureSaturday, Chet and I decided to explore Historic Downtown Homestead. Normally when we spend a Saturday in Homestead it’s at the beach. But this time around we decided to stay on dry land and see what else the city had to offer. Downtown Homestead is definitely a blink and you’ll miss it stretch of road but it does offer some quaint places — an old theater with a retro marquis, a park with an amphitheater, and the Homestead Town Hall Museum. After chowing down on some amazing Cuban food at a little hole-in-the-wall attached to the local bus station, we headed to the museum. Admission is free and was totally time well spent just for the eccentric docent who showed us around. (Although she did try to convince us to sit down in a couple of folding chairs to watch an HOUR long documentary about Homestead on a rinky-dink TV. Not gonna happen, lady.)

5. Free printables

One of the joys of wedding planning on a budget has been scouring the internet for ways to cut corners. My favorite way so far? Free printables. They are so fun to tinker around with. Pictured above is one I found for a Thumbprint Guestbook. It is so simple and fun! I love the idea of having it out at our reception with some ink pads and asking guests to create the leaves. Wouldn’t it be lovely to frame that as a keepsake? What a beautiful reminder of all our “people” and the special family tree we’ve created for ourselves, both with our actual family and the folks who’ve become our family.

6. Washi tape

I LOVE washi tape. This month I’ve been using it a ton to decorate pocket letters (see above) and my planner (see below). Last week we stumbled upon an office supply store that was going out of business and I stocked up. My other favorite places to find washi? Target, Dollar Tree, and Ikea. Ikea sells packs of four for FIFTY CENTS. Hello!?! Need I say more.

7. Target Dollar Spot planner

I started using my Target Dollar Spot planner on April 1st and the obsession is still going strong. In case you’re wondering, I call it the Target Dollar Spot planner because it was created from 3 components purchased at Target in the $1-$3 section. A mini binder, dividers/weekly inserts, and folders/monthly inserts. Each of these “kits” was $3. While I utilize this planner for weekly and monthly planning, I’ve also been trying my hand at planner decorating. (Inspired by CheapCraftyGirl on YouTube.) It’s a fun activity to sit down on a Sunday night and decorate the next week’s spread! And it’s also a cool way to use some of the stationery goodies I receive in my pocket letters. Paper crafting for the win!

8. The Brain Candy Podcast

Confession: I’m a LONG time viewer of The Real World, Road Rules, and The Challenge. I have never “out grown” these shows and continue to enjoy, especially The Challenge, to this day. The advent of social media has taken my interest in reality TV in a different direction. I love keeping up with cast members on Twitter and Instagram because seeing what D-List celebs do in their day to day is just as interesting (if not more) to me than watching them on a show. Anyways, that’s all to say, I follow the two ladies responsible for this podcast on social media. So when they started promoting this endeavor I was totally into it. It’s hosted by Susie Meister (RR: Down Under) and Sarah Rice (RW: Brooklyn) and is billed as “candy for your left brain and your right brain.” While some episodes are about The Challenge (both Susie and Sarah have competed multiple times on the show), many are not. They cover everything from cults to travel to DIY. It is super easy listening…kind of like you’re eavesdropping on two intelligent girlfriends having a chat. Oh, and usually wine is involved!

9. Uncovered by Leah Lax

If women and religion, and how the two intersect, is of interest to you, then this memoir is a must-read. I love learning about different religions and recently realized I didn’t know too much about the lives of Hasidic Jews. I picked up this memoir at my local library and couldn’t put it down. It tells the story of Leah Lax who left her liberal, secular home as a teenager for a life as a Hasidic Jew. Lax recounts her experiences with arranged marriage, fundamentalist faith, and motherhood during her time with the Hasidim, and exposes how her creative, sexual, and spiritual longings existed beneath the surface throughout her time there. This book taught me a lot about this particular faith through the eyes of a woman who lived it and then left it.

 

My Notebook System

notebook system

Do you have a system to keep track of all your to-do’s for the day? It may seem like a no-brainer to some folks out there, but once I developed a set-up that worked for me it was a game changer.

As you can see above, I devote a full page to each day. I borrow elements from the bullet journal system, but it’s a WAY scaled down version. Each of my tasks are given a tick box that I check off as it gets completed. If I didn’t complete the task it gets an arrow so that I know to migrate it onto my list of to-do’s for the following day. If an item no longer needs completing for whatever reason I give it a strike-through.

In the middle of the page are my notes. These are items I encounter through out the day that I want to return to and investigate further when I have more time. This little section is instrumental in keeping me focused on the task at hand. And I don’t forget about things that may be useful or interest me later. Sorta like leaving myself little breadcrumbs in the form of bullet points!

And finally, something I started in 2016, a MANTRA! I kicked off the new year with Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Camp. The challenge included 30 yoga videos to be done every day for 30 days and each one came with their own mantra. I found these daily affirmations wildly helpful and inspirational in January so I figured, why stop here!? When I sit down with my list at the beginning of each day I find a phrase, quote, or affirmation that I can focus my thoughts towards in the coming hours.

I also borrow The Monthly Log or Calendar Page from the Bullet Journal method. That’s where the Bullet Journal similarities end. For me, keeping an index (a key Bullet Journaling component) just feels too cluttered. The full Bullet Journal system, though I tried and enjoyed it for awhile, just isn’t for me. And ya gotta find what works for you. I love my system and love that it’s adapted over time to keep me productive and my brain-space uncluttered.

OH! And for forward-planning (ie. weekly and monthly planning as opposed to daily to-do’s) I use a mini-binder planner from the Target Dollar Spot. I just started it at the beginning of April and have been trying my hand at planner decorating…..totally something I never thought I would get into but I’m absolutely loving it. Perhaps I’ll post some pictures at some point if y’all are into it.

How do you stay on top of your daily to-do list? Do you keep paper lists or are you totally digital? Have you ever tried keeping a bullet journal? Into planner decorating? Tell me everything!!! 

How to Eliminate Decision Fatigue and Get More Done

how to eliminate decision fatigue

As I mentioned in this post, I’m not very decisive. While I’m great at split-second decision making (think: barking orders during emergency situations or finding the best course of action when work events go awry), life’s more mundane questions, like what to eat for lunch or wear to a friend’s wedding, can leave me perplexed.

While I may consider myself an extreme case, I have a feeling I’m not alone. You may notice a few signs of decision fatigue in your own life as well. Perhaps you come home from a long day of work feeling completely exhausted. You can’t quite decide what to do so you sit on the couch watching TV instead of going to the gym. You have no idea what you want for dinner so you go get takeout instead of cooking. That’s decision fatigue! Whether sick of choosing or just overcome with options, your brain defaults to the easiest decision possible.

Over the years, I’ve figured out a few ways to cope with decision fatigue. I have found that organizing my life in a way that eliminates decisions is tantamount to increasing my productivity. You may find you’re the same…

decision fatigue food

When it comes to deciding what to eat, I’ve found that making these decisions “in bulk” is the best way to not succumb to restaurants in the 5 o’clock but no idea what to eat for dinner madness. Set aside time to make a meal plan each week. If you’re feeling extra on top of things then do a bit of meal prepping, too. You could go all out and package up 21 meals into neatly organized tupperwares or simply take a bit of time to get ahead. Wash and chop up produce. Cook a grain. Boil some eggs.

Check out this post to learn more about sticking to a certain theme for dinner each night of the week. This way, even when you slip, and find yourself with out a plan or anything prepped, you’ll at least know “It’s Thursday so we’re having stir-fry.” (Or whatever you selected.) Another approach you could try if that feels a bit too limiting is the 14-day dinner menu.

decision fatigue clothes

Another decision I must make on the daily (sometimes multiple times a day…UGH!) is what to wear. Ever notice how super successful folk tend to wear the same things all the time? They might be on to something! While I don’t plan on rocking jeans and a black turtleneck every day a la Steve Jobs, developing a capsule wardrobe is a great way to limit the scope of my options. Do a little closet experimentation and see if you can come up with a capsule that suits your lifestyle.

Another possibility is to organize your clothes based on when you would wear them. Dedicate a drawer to workout wear, a section of your closet to office apparel, another for running errands and weekends at home, and a dedicated place for more formal attire. Identify what you’ll be doing and then head to the corresponding area to grab your outfit.

If buying and trying lots of clothes and keeping up with fashion trends is something that’s important to you, consider coming up with some outfit equations or cheat sheets that may work to speed up your getting dressed process. Then you can put together different combos like skirt + cardigan + tights + boots + boho earrings + scarf lickety-split!

Conversely, if choosing which items of clothing to add to your wardrobe is contributing to your decision fatigue, consider looking into services like Stitch Fix. I LOVE Stitch Fix because I don’t have to stand in a store and ruffle through racks trying to decide what to buy! They simply send me 5 items of clothing they think I’ll love, based on my style surveys and Pinterest boards, and then I either keep them or I don’t. I’ve also eased my clothes decisions by choosing to focus on building this 50 piece capsule wardrobe.

decision fatigue planning

If you suffer from decision fatigue I HIGHLY recommend you start keeping some sort of a notebook or planner system. Spend some time with this little guy every night before you go to bed. Write down all the things you’d like to accomplish the next day. Before I found a notebook system that worked for me I would start each day with my mind SO FULL of all the things that needed to get done. I would repeat them over and over and re-order them in terms of importance and then repeat them again. Basically, struggling to decide when to do what. Take it from me, just write it down. I can still work out the order the next day, and migrate things that don’t get done, but having that rough sketch the night before saves me so much brain space.

decision fatigue finances

This one may seem pretty obvious but I think it’s worth mentioning. Set up direct deposit so you don’t have to decide a good time to take your paycheck to the bank. Work out an amount you feel comfortable allocating for savings and schedule automated transfers from your checking account to a savings account. This way you won’t have to decide (as often) when and how much to set aside. Switch things like utilities, internet, and cell phone bills over to autopay so you don’t have to decide when to pay what bill and whether to mail a check or pay online. Easy peasy!

decision fatigue schedule 2

Instead of saying, “I’d like to explore my city more” or “I need to exercise” or “I want to spend time with my friends” and having to DECIDE when in your busy life you’re going to do these things…make COMMITMENTS. Set your priorities and then schedule your priorities. Learning to do this was a HUGE first step for me in investing in myself. Set up a recurring movie night each week with your friends. Declare #adventuresaturday and explore something new with your sweetheart (See picture above!). Set Monday, Wednesday, Friday as your workout days. Invest in your hobbies for an hour each day after dinner. Wanna grow your side hustle? Head to a coffee shop every Sunday, put your phone on airplane mode, and dig in.

Keep up a routine for long enough and it will soon develop into a habit. And you know what that means? It no longer took any thought. No decisions, no fatigue, no brain space.

Just life lived.

Do you suffer from decision fatigue? Have you made any lifestyle changes to limit the amount of decisions you have to make? I want to hear about them!