Tag Archives: productivity

Found: My Perfect Planner

I’ve finally found a planner that I’m totally obsessed with and can foresee using for months (maybe years!) to come. It’s the Bob’s Your Uncle 8 Days-A-Week Planner Journal.  Here’s what I love about it:

  • Features 52 week at-a-glance spreads.
  • Each week runs Monday-Sunday and includes a “Someday” column for other tasks you want to complete during the week that aren’t specific to a certain day.
  • Includes 30 minute interval time slots so you can map out your day super precisely.
  • Spiral-bounding allows it to lie flat and stay tucked in a drawer with the current day facing up.

This may sound a bit neurotic, but when I was contemplating the reasons why past planners just hadn’t cut it, it was the inability to create a detailed timeline for my day.

You see, my work schedule can be a bit of a puzzle. I do freelance work for a number of different clients, I work on this blog, and I side-hustle at a local wine store. The great thing about this set up is that I can create my own schedule by piecing together the three. The not so great thing? Doing so can be a little difficult to conceptualize. A traditional planner with a big empty box for each day almost felt over-whelming. Jotting down “work at 3pm” or “phone call w/ client at 10am” didn’t do my brain any favors when visualizing how I should schedule the rest of my To-do’s.

Then I had a *lightbulb* moment. What if I could find a planner that was more appointment book than daily calendar? I stumbled upon this 8 day-a-week version while searching on Amazon and the rest is history. It’s honestly one of the best things to happen to my productivity levels in YEARS.

 

Above you’ll see a little peek at my planner in action! Nothing too fancy. I throw in a few stickers here and there when I feel like it (like the devil emoji for a 7am meeting, LOL!) and use a few colors of highlighters to indicate different things. Sometimes I’ll mark off a certain time-frame for client work and then bullet point more specific to-do’s off to the side. And that’s about it. I love it!

What type of planner do YOU use? Tell me below! 


In this multi-week series, #PlannerPorn, I’m delving in and discussing all things planning-related. Here’s what you can expect from the series:

  1. Found: My Perfect Planner
  2. A Planner Round-Up
  3. Revealed: People Give Us a Peek Inside Their Planner
  4. 10 Ways to Up Your Planner Game (+ a FREE printable to get your planner juices flowing)
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A 30 Day Mantra Challenge (+ FREE activity guide)

Now that you know how to incorporate mantras in your daily life and have read up on the mantras folks love and use, let’s get action oriented! The benefits of mantras are no joke and committing to a 30 day practice is a wonderful first step to start reaping the rewards. So, I’ve created a 30 Day Mantra Challenge!

There’s a new mantra for every day of the 30 day challenge. Each day, focus your thoughts on the words. Repeat them to yourself as you get ready in the morning and during your work-outs. Let them wash over you as you take breaks, feel over-whelmed, or sit in traffic. Consider their power as you turn in for the night. Let’s get started…

Day 1. Today I let go of all that does not serve me.
Day 2. I choose to nourish my heart and mind.
Day 3. I choose compassion and kindness.
Day 4. I am loved.
Day 5. I feel abundance all around me.
Day 6. I feel abundance within me.
Day 7. Everything is working in my favor.
Day 8. The Universe is powerful and I exist within it.
Day 9. I trust in the power of the Universe.
Day 10. I am strong.
Day 11. I am grounded.
Day 12. I am connected.
Day 13. I send healing light to those in need.
Day 14. I align myself with my highest truth.
Day 15. I communicate with love and understanding.
Day 16. I open myself to the fullness of my power.
Day 17. I am enough.
Day 18. My mind is clear.
Day 19. This is my path towards a higher purpose.
Day 20. I connect and ask for guidance.
Day 21. I am grateful for this day.
Day 22. I am grateful for my body.
Day 23. I am grateful for my mind.
Day 24. I feel gratitude for the abundance all around me.
Day 25. I am graceful.
Day 26. I have the tools to overcome any obstacle.
Day 27. Practice and all is coming.
Day 28. I love and honor where I’m at today.
Day 29. Be brave.
Day 30. Find delight!

If you want to take your journey one step further, I’ve also prepared a FREE activity guide to augment each day’s mantra. Every day includes 3 action items – 1 to promote positivity, 1 to help with productivity, and 1 for focusing on self-care. If you’d like to nab a PDF of your very own activity guide – CLICK HERE.


In this multi-week series, #MantraMania, I’m laying the ground work for you to make mantras a part of your life. Here’s what we’ve covered:

  1. Do you use mantras?
  2. How to Incorporate Mantras in Your Daily Life
  3. Revealed: People Share Favorite Mantras
  4. A 30 Day Mantra Challenge to Welcome Positivity, Productivity, and Self-Care (+ FREE activity guide)

14 Ways to Take Meaningful Breaks

how to take meaningful breaks during long projects

As the queen of leaving projects to the last minute, I’ve learned a thing or two about how to settle in for the long haul without losing my mind. I think we’ve all been there. (Especially if you’re someone who enjoys working under pressure.) The rest of life got in the way in the weeks leading up to a deadline, and you find yourself chained to your laptop with a marathon’s worth of work to tackle.

My secret to making it out unscathed? Meaningful breaks.

Choose an amount of time (like 45 minutes to an hour), set a timer, and start ticking things off the to-do list without stopping. Then, when the time is up TAKE A BREAK (like for 15-30 minutes).

Related: A Formula for Perfect Productivity: Work for 52 Minutes, Break for 17 ]

Below, I’ve listed 14 meaningful breaks that I find helpful to cycle through as I hammer away on a project.

Take a shower.

This is especially helpful if you didn’t get a lot of great rest. Showers are like liquid sleep! Use a body wash like this one and breathe in deep. Massage your scalp as you lather up your hair. Get that blood flowing to your brain!

Fill up your water bottle.

Gotta stay hydrated! Fill up your favorite vessel and take time to drink as much as you like as you stare into space. Feelin’ fancy? Add some fruit or cucumbers or herbs and get a lil infusion action going.

Watch a YouTube video.

Sometimes you just need to switch your brain off for a few minutes. But turning on the TV or firing up Netflix may distract to the point of disaster. YouTube to the rescue! There’s a zillion different kinds of content to choose from (Cats! Makeup tutorials! Hydraulic press! Cooking miniature meals!) and most are a reasonable length. Go nuts for 10-15 minutes and then switch that brain back on.

Make a list of the day’s accomplishments.

I’ve mentioned this before, but a “shit I’ve already done list” can sometimes quell the panic of a seemingly insurmountable “shit I still need to do list.”

Eat a snack.

Go fix yourself something healthy to eat!

Love on your pet.

Taking care of someone else for a few minutes is a great way to snap out of it if you’re feeling like EVERYTHING IS THE WORST. So if you have a pet, go make sure they have food and fresh water. Take them outside to run or toss around a toy. Get out their brush for a lil grooming sesh. Give them lots of pets.

Head to your closet for a costume change.

I like to capitalize on the surge of productivity I feel as soon as I wake up…which usually means I’m in pj’s and then *whoops* several hours have gone by. So a simple costume change if you’re in my boat is to just go get dressed. But you can also change from your everyday clothes to workout clothes if you plan on working out later. Change from uncomfortable clothes to comfy ones. Or switch it up for a change of pace in the aesthetics department.

Handle a “personal admin” task.

You can’t press pause on life because you’re under a deadline. Reply to an email. Pay your phone bill. Grab groceries. Schedule that dentist appointment. You get the drift.

Work up a sweat.

One time, during a looooong (and boring) day of work-from-home projects, I did 10 push-ups/10 sit-ups/10 squats during every break. Not only did the time FLY by…but I was sore as heck the next day. Ha! For a less crazy approach, go for a jog outside or queue up a 30 min HIIT workout on YouTube. Roll out your yoga mat and stretch out.

Have a solo dance party.

Put on your favorite song and jam like no one’s watching. Because they aren’t. Repeat until you’re sufficiently pumped.

Tidy up a little.

Just like with the “personal admin” tasks, tackling a quick chore or two will feel like you’re accomplishing something…even when your BIG accomplishment for the day is hours away. I like to do the dishes or make my bed. (Which also helps to make your space feel more productive.)

Chat with another human being.

Working on a project solo can start to feel really isolating. Pick up the phone and catch up with a friend or meet a friend for a quick cup of coffee.

Switch up your surroundings.

Usually if I feel like I’ve hit a plateau, it’s time to pack up and head somewhere new. It’s amazing the second wind you can achieve just by heading to a second location!

Go for a walk.

Fresh air! Natural light! Even if you only circle the block, you might just have that break-through “A-HA!” moment once your legs are pumping and your mind is allowed to wander a little.

Over to you! What are your favorite ways to take meaningful breaks in the midst of a marathon work sesh? Share below!! xoxo 

P.S. 4 Career Building Tips for the Newly Hired and Let’s Talk Personality (Tests).

The Finding Delight End of Summer Reboot!

FINDINGDELIGHT.com

I always find life’s pace to slow a bit during the summertime. Maybe this is an after-effect of years spent in school. Without reading assignments and due dates, the days would stretch into a calm, never-ending march towards autumn. In the year’s since the same chill vibe has continued to ring true. This blissful respite from the GO, GO, GO of other seasons is awesome. But it can be a hard one to shake once the vacation days are spent and you gotta force yourself back into the saddle.

I think the end of summer is a great time for a fresh start. Whether you’re still a student or the change in season marks a new chapter in your life or you never stopped hustling all summer long (“Vacation? WHAT vacation?”), you can give yourself a little reboot.

To help us out, I’ve gathered 30 days worth of reboot assignments. If you want to ease into the next season feeling productive, de-cluttered, calm, inspired, and ready to kick a lot of butt then this challenge is for you. One day at a time. One assignment at a time. We got this!

Day One. Keep a spending diary.

Record your purchases for the duration of the day. Spend some time going over the results to identify necessities vs. superfluous spending.

Day Two. Silence the cell phone noise.

Navigate into your phone’s settings and turn off all your notifications. Choose a few times throughout the day to check on things (read: texts, emails, social media) but leave it at that.

Day Three. Give your To-Do list a Top 3.

Identify three to-do’s that MUST get done today and place those at the top of your list. Check these items off before you move down to any of your other tasks.

Day Four. Organize your junk.

Do you have a space in your house that acts as your catch-all? Maybe it’s a random drawer in your kitchen or a table in your entryway. Maybe it’s even the top of your desk. Spend some time today clearing out this space, wherever it is, and organizing whatever items remain after the purge.

Day Five. Plan your counter-attack.

Stress creeps up at the most inopportune times. Why not get out in front of it. Today, identify five things that ease your stress. A nice cup of tea? A thirty minute jog through your neighborhood? Keep this list near and then USE IT. When stress rears it’s ugly head..fight back!

Day Six. Enjoy a day of nothing.

Remember the part where I said you were gonna ease into a productive autumn? If you have the day off then see where the day takes you. No planning ahead, no worrying about what you should be doing. Just do what you want when you want to do it. (If you have to work today, apply this mind set to your off-time.) Perhaps you’ll end up starting the novel you’ve been dying to read. Perhaps, bored out of your gourd, you’ll turn your attention to your side hustle. Who knows!? The point is to just go with the flow.

Day Seven. Focus on casual gratitude.

All too often, we say “I’m sorry,” when what we mean is “Thank you.” Work on catching yourself and flip the script. Read more here.

Day Eight. Streamline your morning routine.

Take a long hard look at the steps you take to ready yourself for the day and find ways to trim the fat. Love a good, long morning faff? I do too! But maybe you don’t need to do ALL the journaling, yoga, newspaper reading, and full-face of makeup every, single day. One or two areas of focus per day may work great for you!

Day Nine. Establish your bedtime routine.

Spend this evening creating a lovely, relaxing nighttime ritual that sets you up for a great night of sleep and a productive tomorrow.

Day Ten. Write!

Set aside twenty minutes today for a little stream-of-consciousness journaling.

Day Eleven. Read!

I love watching TV as much as the next guy, but for today’s assignment, switch out any time you would normally watch for some time spent reading instead. Books, articles, whatever. It’s a day for reading!

Day Twelve. Go on a long walk.

Hit the trails unplugged and free from distractions. Just spend some time with yourself, your thoughts, and nature. Take note of your surroundings and how they make you feel.

Day Thirteen. Social media clear out.

As you scroll through your social media accounts today take note of those people, brands, or accounts that no longer serve you. Is there a friend whose Facebook posts do nothing but rile you up? Time to unfriend. A store whose Instagram pics make you pull out your wallet a little too quick? Click that unsubscribe button.

Day Fourteen. Try the “45 minute on – 15 minute off” approach.

As you create your To-Do List, consider breaking down your tasks into items you can complete in 45 minute chunks. Then, set a timer as you work your way through. After you complete each task give yourself a 15 minute break to stretch, grab a snack, wander outside, play with your dog, or whatever!

Day Fifteen. Give yourself an allowance.

Look back at your spending diary and see if you can place a number on the amount you would like to put towards “extras.” Spend some time defining extras, sketching out your monthly expenses, and identifying the best way to divvy up your fun fund. Then, give yourself a pay-out!

Day Sixteen. Eliminate decision fatigue.

Take today to identify one area of your life where you could eliminate decision fatigue and come up with an action plan. Some ideas – weekly meal plans, subscription services (like Graze for snacks or Vitafive for vitamins), or a capsule wardrobe.

Day Seventeen. Sign up for a learning opportunity.

Take a class, enroll in a web seminar, work your way through a workbook, or download an app. Education has a way of re-invigorating and inspiring!

Day Eighteen. Cull your closet.

Try on all your clothes and sort them into three piles–keep, donate, and toss. Think of all the clothes karma you’ll receive when you pass along your duds to someone they may be better suited to.

Day Nineteen. Set goals.

What are your main goals or priorities in this season of your life? Make an inspiring piece of wall art that lists them and hang it somewhere prominent.

Day Twenty. Forward plan.

If you’re like me, then you focus a lot of your attention on planning day-to-day tasks and not as much on the big picture. Today, spend some time sketching out the weeks and months (maybe even years!) ahead. Grab your calendar and pencil stuff in. No worries if things change down the road.

Day Twenty-One. Check your inbox three times.

Instead of spending the day with an ever-open tab dedicated to your email, check your emails only three times today. Once at the beginning of your work day, once right before or after your meal break, and one more time at the end of your day.

Day Twenty-Two. Prepare some meals.

Stock your fridge with lunches for the coming week. Pinterest has about a billion pins-worth of inspiration if you’re stuck on what to make.

Day Twenty-Three. Work off-line.

Allocate 2-3 hours to working off-line. Get everything you may need to complete your tasks in order, turn your phone to airplane mode, and venture outside of that Wi-fi bubble.

Day Twenty-Four. Make a reading list.

Make a list of all the books you want to read over the next year or so. Head to the library and get started!

Day Twenty-Five. Schedule time for your passions.

Identify three or four things that bring you joy and schedule them into your routine for the week to come. Maybe you can play soccer with friends on Monday, work on a knitting project on Thursday, and every other day work a crossword puzzle with a glass of wine. Make the time for YOU!

Day Twenty-Six. Talk to someone just starting out on this journey.

This one is open to interpretation but is a great way to pay it forward. Whether you choose to chat with a new hire or your own kid, an honest discussion about your personal life path can be a wildly helpful twenty minutes. And why not?

Day Twenty-Seven. Keep your small talk positive.

As you go about your day, make sure your conversations are steering clear of the following topics: how tired you are, how busy you are, or anything else complain-y. No need putting out negativity at every opportunity. Instead, focus on positive conversations.

Day Twenty-Eight. Organize your computer.

Clear out any files you no longer need and get your folders on fleek.

Day Twenty-Nine. Meditate!

Take fifteen minutes today to tap into some mindfulness. If you’re new to meditation, there are tons of apps and YouTube videos out there that can help guide you.

Day Thirty. Take a break from technology.

Repeat the day of nothing from Day Six but this time *dun, dun, DUN* do it without technology. No cell phones, internet, or TV’s. Spend part of the day reflecting on the strategies you’ve learned and tried throughout your reboot but most of the day just doing whatever you want. See what happens!

*As you complete each assignment consider whether it is something you could implement long-term. If you find something to be especially helpful or meaningful then keep it up! *

So, are you ready to reboot? Buh-bye, Summer! HELLO AUTUMN!!! 

***

Want to receive an extra dose of delight in your inbox? SUBSCRIBE! You’ll receive a weekly newsletter from Finding Delight chock-full of all sorts of goodies–including mini weekend challenges. Thanks so much! xoxo

mid-week round-up

pop of color bird

What are you up to this week, friends? My mom is flying down to visit us on Saturday, and I can’t wait to show her around. I hope she’s ready for lots of tropical plants and Cuban food! I just finished the book “Me Before You.” Have you read it? Chet’s mom mailed it to me the other day (Thanks!) and once I picked it up I couldn’t put it down. I’m looking forward to the movie! Hope you all have a wonderful day, and now check out these links…

A perfect cocktail for adult summer camp.

The female journalists on Hillary’s campaign trail.

How self-deprecation is taking over the internet.

For summertime travels.

Would you try The Pomodoro Technique?

How to make an origami corner heart bookmark.

If Hillary could go back in time to tell one person she’d been nominated for president…

An algorithm that unpacks the master rhymes in Hamilton.

Thoughts from a refugee camp.

Chicken, leek, and pea pasta bake.

How Hawaiian immersion schools saved the Hawaiian language.

9 contradictions to embrace for greater happiness.

Three Fun Office Updates

Is your office feeling a little blah? When the weather is so beautiful, it can be that much more difficult to drag your butt to work and get productive. Luckily, a little decor transformation can go a long way in motivating you to meet those deadlines! (Even when the sun is calling your name.) With that idea in mind, I decided to put together three office style updates.  Here they are…
Parisian Chic

For Parisian Chic I went with an executive look with lots of white and gold.

Show off your fashion-forward side with a sweet spiral bound notebook, geometric desk tray,  polka dot pen, and designer style pencil cup. Keep all your important papers organized in a super stacked desk organizer and a wide drawer filing cabinet. Place a sleek side table in the corner for plants and a convenient spot for co-workers to set coffee cups when they drop by for a morning chat. Don’t forget to keep a clipboard handy for boss-lady chic on the go!

Quirky + Colorful

For Quirky + Colorful I went with an artist look with lots of bright elements to foster creativity.

Decorate your artistic alcove by adding tons of colorful notepads, notebooks, and sticky notes along with a few quirky pieces like a stapler shaped like a bunny and a rolling shelf unit that doubles as a comfy place to sit. Add a few Eiffel Slope chairs for even MORE pops of color. Don’t forget to stock your desk with a slew of markers for doodles and taking (colorful) notes.

Ethereal Elements

For Ethereal Elements I went with a dreamy look with lots of light and airy pieces.

Draw inspiration from the earth around you and the sky above with a wooden filing cabinet, a branch bundle table lamp, a chair decked out with beautiful songbirds, and pendant lights. Pay attention to adorable little details by including a magazine file to store inspirational periodicals and a whole bunch of butterfly sticky notes to jot down your great ideas. Ever a fan of the written word, cheeky phrases on mouse pads and pencil pouches are always a plus.

What do you think? Which would suit your personality best? 

mid-week round-up

dog on porch

Hey friends! We had the best time this weekend! Thankfully, Hurricane Erika turned into just a bit of rain by the time she reached us on Sunday. Now we’re back to hot and sunny days and floating in the pool whenever we get a free hour. Despite the gloomy weekend weather, we managed to pack in trips to Ikea (followed by several hours of furniture assembly), a little gyro shop, and an arcade. And I’ve already been loving working from my new desk this week! Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday, and here are some links for you to enjoy…

A modern twist on Degas’ depictions of dancers off-stage moments.

Photographer runs off to join the carnival (for 3 months).

September means lots of soup for dinner, right?

This season of So You Think You Can Dance has been awesome! Proof. More proof.

Looking to develop a new hobby this month? How about upping your art skills!

These 14 words lack English equivalents and their meanings are fantastic.

Scientific proof that nice guys don’t always finish last.

Swooning over this kitchen. I’m white tile obsessed these days!

Parents: Little kids are weird as hell. Just embrace it.

It runs in the family.

On my travel bucket-list for a future visit.

Do you implement these strategies? I try to!

P.S. Choosing to do better and My Reverse Bucket List.

Showing off my new home workspace!

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home office

The folks at WeWork, a co-working company that builds communities to empower people to do what they love,  inspired me to share my current workspace and what I love about it. The timing couldn’t have been more perfect! This past weekend, after a morning trip to Ikea and a good few hours of flat-pack furniture assembly, I got to work setting up my NEW home workspace! I thought I’d give you guys a peek at the finished product. I’m already SO in love with it! I can’t wait to spend my days creating and writing at this gorgeous command center. I knew I wanted a color palette of white, gold, and Tiffany box blue so the Micke desk was a perfect fit for that aesthetic. Add to that my custom desktop computer, a few gold trinkets, and some stationery from the Target dollar spot and – wam BAM – the perfect little corner for productivity. Shall I show you around?

Mounted monitor.

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My monitor was painted white to match this mounting arm, a feature which allows me to position based on my viewing needs. And since my work-space is in our bedroom, those needs CAN include watching Netflix in bed.

Bits and bobs to keep me smiling.

bits and bobs

I’ve picked up quite a few desk accessories from Target over the past few months, including; post-it notes, page flags, bulletin/chalk board, and owl pushpins. All super affordable. I believe everyone should have a few desk trinkets to personalize their space. The stone was a gift from a co-worker. It says “Trust” and is the perfect size and shape for rolling around in your hand when you’re having a good think. The dino skeleton was a present years ago from my friend, Katie. And the gold wheel was thrifted. I’m sure it used to belong on a contraption that spun around but I just liked the way it looked and it functions quite nicely as a coaster. The bird mouse was a must-have as soon as I saw it.

Custom computer.

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Chet built me my very own computer, including painting it to my aforementioned color scheme, and presented it to me for Christmas last year. I’d say not many people are lucky enough to have a computer cute enough to proudly display on top of their desk LET ALONE such a tech savvy individual as their BETROTHED!

Plenty of drawer space.

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A big selling point for me for this particular desk were the 2 large drawers that run the whole length. They’re the perfect place to stow my notebooks, stationery, cords, current reading materials, folders, and adult coloring book(!).

Thanks so much to WeWork for encouraging me to share this post. I always find other people’s creative spaces quite inspiring so it’s fun to have an excuse to show off my own!

If you’re a freelancer (like me), run a small business or startup, or work remotely, and you’re interested in joining a coworking community, do check out WeWork. They have lovely office spaces located all across the world and offer tons of benefits.

Details – Desk/Ikea, Office chair/Ikea, Bulletin board/Target, Owl pushpins/Target, Mouse/Amazon, Wedding notebook/Moleskine, Purple polka dot notebook/Moleskine, Grey notebook/Baron Fig, Kindle case/Amazon, Blah blah blah folder/Target, Secret Garden coloring book/Morris Book Shop

P.S. Check out Chet’s home office setup, too!