Tag Archives: work from home

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)
Advertisements

Don’t Hide Your Hustle: Lucy, Graphic Designer

Welcome to Don’t Hide Your Hustle, a new series on Finding Delight that explores the myriad of ways to make a living in 2017. I’m asking folks to share how they hustle over the course of one work-day (which usually extends far beyond a 9 – 5 situation).

Today, I present you with Lucy’s story. She runs Salt Design Co. with her best friend and together they guide small businesses through a multitude of design and branding conundrums. Her passion for connection and communication shine through, even though most days she’s working from home! Let’s check out her hustle…

Lucy, Salt Design Co.

Hey! I’m Lucy, a brand designer and strategist. I’m a British-Canadian, with the accent to boot. Just over 18 months ago, straight out of school, I founded my business with one of my best friends. Since then I’ve gone from freelance graphic designer and part time nanny, to a fully fledged business owner. I spend most of my days in my pyjamas or gym kit (because I’m going to work out at some point today…. right!?) and am just getting used to the weird routine that comes from working at home. Today I’m sharing a random Thursday with you, complete with 6am emails and 6pm cocktails! This is a pretty typical day in the life for me, and I can’t wait to share it with you!

6 am – Woke up to my alarm with a jump. Didn’t sleep too well last night, and even though I normally have to wake myself up with multiple alarms (1 set every 5 minutes kinda thing) I woke up instantly today. Honestly, not a good sign for me! That’s a true indicator that I wasn’t sleeping deeply, and I know I hadn’t been all night.

6.30 am – Breakfast! Time for some eggs and avo with toast. One of my fave parts of the day, because I set my laptop on the kitchen counter and have 45 minutes to myself to watch tv and eat yummy food.

7.43 am – Got distracted, looked at the clock, and realized it was most definitely time to move my butt! I casually switched from kitchen counter to couch, and started replying to emails at 7am. Maybe not such a good move….

8.56 am – Continued to work, and that’s ok. I don’t mind getting things done if I’m up early. I feel more productive and accomplished that way. Now, though I’m going to have a little workout, maybe do a 10 minute meditation (a new habit I’m trying to create) and glug down lots of water.

9.04 am – Ok, I’m actually putting the computer down now! LOL

10.18 am – Back to work! I don’t like to waste too much time after I workout, so I tend to jump in the shower, put some comfy clothes on, and get back to it (even with wet hair). First up, checking in on my newsletter for the week and scheduling some Facebook and Twitter posts. Then I need to get on with some strategy documents for a brand project I’m working on! I promised to send them over tomorrow, which means I’ve got today and today only to get them done!

12.12 pm – Despite a few Facebook messages with some other designer friends, I managed to get 2 straight hours of work done on a strategy document and mood board.

12.35 pm – Finished eating and decided that NOW is the time to get out and enjoy the sunshine! I’ve got lots of work left to do, but a latte and some Vitamin D are only going to help. Plus, it’s about time I got dressed and dried my hair…

12.59 pm – Back at my desk and thinking of ALL THE THINGS that have to be done. Contemplating the fact that I could work on Saturday as I’m at a photoshoot tomorrow… but a workout and lunch with friends sounds way more fun, so I’ll just have to get as much done today as possible.

13.15 pm – Stopped working briefly to do a little Instagram stories sesh. Wanted to share with our followers what a brand strategy document is, and what we use them for! Took me a while, mainly because I get fussy about how I look (story of our lives right!) and I also always think my voice sounds weird.

13.48 pm – I’m browsing Pinterest to find the perfect peach colour for my mood board. Pinterest is life!

14.32 pm – Still sat at my desk – I’m sorry to say design days aren’t all that interesting! But in about an hour I’ll be off downtown for cocktails with a friend! Yay!

16.30 pm – Popped into my old office to drop off some flyers – I’m hosting a workshop next month and we’re marketing our butts off!

17.00 pm – Drink time! Gin and Tonic for me, please.

20.00 pm – 2 drinks, and 3 appies later, we’re heading home. I walked part of the way with my friend to make the most of the exercise, and also this sunshine that is only just gracing us here in the Pacific Northwest!

20.30 pm – Home! Yay! Watching the last episode of Season 5, House of Cards with my boyfriend, and then getting an early night. Anyone else as addicted to that show as us!? It’s both horrifying and gripping.

21.45 pm – Bed time. Hopefully I’ll sleep better than I did last night….

Thanks so much for sharing your hustle, Lucy! Do you guys have any questions for her? Do any of you work from home or run your own business?  

P.S. Are you a hustler willing to share your story? Let’s chat! I would love to know how you’re making money while following your dreams in 2017. Shoot me an email — ebeth.berger@gmail.com. Thanks!

 

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).

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!!! 

Showing off my new home workspace!

IMG_1189

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.

IMG_1201

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.

IMG_1212

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.

IMG_1215

IMG_1217

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!