Motivation Monday: Finding Balance

I can’t believe I haven’t updated this blog in one whole month! Life has been a bit overwhelming (work + school + life in general). I won’t bore you with the details, but it really got me thinking about balance.

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The word balance is kind of thrown around (pinterest, i’m looking at you)…but obviously anyone who has to juggle life, kids, school, work, working out, relationships, traumatic life events…whatever…know that it’s not quite that simple.

I put so much pressure on myself, but I realized that a major part of balance is only attempting to balance what truly matters. I realized that sometimes it just does not matter if the dishes are done or I can’t fit a workout in. It’s not necessary to try and juggle a million things at once. Sure I can take on too much, but it’s only a matter of time before something isn’t getting proper attention. There are periods of life where more is possible, and others where it’s simply survival mode. Only YOU know where you are at and what you can truly handle.

A huge aspect of health is mental health, and pushing yourself to the limit is no way to treat yourself. I think we are our own worst critic (can’t be just me, right?), but you can’t forget to cut yourself some slack!! I really need to take my own advice on this. Don’t forget about your mental and emotional health!

Have a great week!

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Motivation Monday: Productivity Essentials

Last Monday I went back to work full time after going part time when I started grad school last fall. I was working as a nanny, but have been in my current position since April, and was able to transition to full time before fall semester starts in 2 short weeks!
Now that my time is more limited, I’ve been trying to spend it wisely….not only is school starting in 2 weeks, but I’m also moving at the end of the month and I just had family in town for a week. Productivity and smart time management is more important than ever! Especially if I want to spend any time with my husband or pup….and I do.
Last week was a trial to see how a.m. workouts would go, and it seems like that’s going to be my best option for sticking to my workouts. I didn’t want to let myself get lazy, so I was at the gym at 6am last Monday…hopefully tomorrow will be the same!!

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I’ve been keeping my eyes open for time management tips and trying to practice what I learn…here are a couple things that have been saving me!

  • Utilize the “Fringe Hours“- I heard about this book on this podcast last week and it really resonated with me. Utilizing the time that usually goes wasted (early morning, right after work)  is a great way to get more done and feel fulfilled.
  • Use the weekend wisely. I’m all about a relaxing weekend, but in order to feel a fresh start on Monday morning, I need to make sure a few things actually get done! My weekend must-do’s are cleaning, laundry, meal planning, grocery shopping, and a little meal prep. A couple of well spent hours are crucial to starting the week on the right foot! But don’t forget to relax too!
  • Plan out my workouts for the week ahead of time so I don’t show up to the gym without a plan
  • Pack my gym bag and lunch the night before! Since I’m getting ready at the gym a few days per week (until we move and are super close to our gym), it’s essential I have absolutely everything I need for heading to work!
  • There’s no such thing as multi tasking!! I heard this from a business consultant who coaches people who make $$$$ and he said that basically our minds can do 1 thing a time. If we do 2 things at once, we are like an internet browser- toggling back and forth-then every time we go back to the first thing, it takes a minute to re-focus and we actually lose time. It’s better to focus on one thing a time! Who knew?
  • To follow up the above, I believe there is a way to maximize time and do 2 things at once- for example using the time that eggs are boiling to unload the dishwasher. When you simply have to start a task and then let it go on it’s own (landry, dishes, cooking) you can spend the time you are waiting to do something productive. Win win!

I know I feel better when everything is planned out vs when I spend a lazy weekend doing nothing, so it is SO worth it to spend a couple hours trying to GSD !!

Have a productive week! Let me know if you have any tools, systems, or hacks you live by to get more out of your 24 hours!

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Motivation Monday: 5 minutes to more motivation

I think everyone faces a lack of motivation at some point. It’s normal for this feeling to ebb and flow, but what about when you just need to get your act together? Sometimes you have to be a big girl, but let’s face it…..sometimes you want to just snooze a little longer (or just waste a little more time instead of actually getting to work)!
I had a recent epiphany though, that no matter how many times I press snooze (or how good it might feel in the moment), it does NOT lead to feeling more rested. If anything I end up feeling rushed AND tired, instead of just a bit sleepy. Now when I’m feeling lazy in the morning, I make myself get up and make my bed. It leaves me feeling productive, and then I can start my morning.

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Whether it’s work, fitness, or just life that needs to get done…here are some tips for YOU.

  • Go outside. Take a 5 minute walk and listen to your favorite song, or even better- this podcast.
  • Keep a private Pinterest board called motivation, with the things that speak to you personally. When the going gets tough, open up your board and remind yourself WHY you are going to push through.
  • Meditate. Take 5. Close your eyes and imagine yourself being successful, working hard, and kicking butt. Set a timer on your phone, and when the alarm rings, it’s time to get moving.
  • Ask yourself WHY. Are you just sleepy? Feeling lazy? Not excited about your goals anymore?  Asking yourself why can get to the root of the problem! If it’s just about of laziness, give yourself 5 more minutes to do whatever you want…pinterest, online shopping…but SET A TIMER!! And then get to work!
  • Stand up and stretch! There is something about getting the blood moving that wakes up the mind, and allows you to keep powering through. Look up some videos for stretching on youtube. There are a ton, no matter your level of privacy or surroundings!
  • Drink a large glass of water. Seems weird right? But dehydration can do some funky things to the mind and body, so drink up! Doing something good for yourself will give you a little step in the right direction.

Do you have any tips for getting sh*t done?? If you want some more productivity tips, check out this post.

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Motivation Monday: Power in the ritual

As I was preparing for the week ahead, I realized that there is really something to be said for a good ritual. I am definitely a creature of habit, but I think if you are trying to change any habits, then routine is necessary!! For example, I LOVE giving my apartment a good scrub down before the week starts. It helps me start fresh, and there is nothing better than going to sleep in a fresh bed! On Saturday I went to town scrubbing floors, bathrooms, washing the sheets and towels, and even my makeup brushes. It made my Sunday so much easier (and much more enjoyable), since I could just relax before starting a new week.

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A few other rituals that can start your week on the right foot….

  • a little meal prepping
  • a long bath/shower
  • decompressing with a good book
  • meditation
  • a sweaty workout
  • a fresh mani/pedi
  • deep cleaning your home!
  • tidying your work space
  • hanging up your clothes (SO guilty of letting this get out of hand during the week…)
  • meal planning

If I had all the time in the world I’d do them all, but hey….just choosing one or two will help you start the week on a productive note!!

Enjoy your week!

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4 tips for adopting a more focused life #essentialism

What is essentialism?? According to Greg Mckeown, author of Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less, it involves pursuing the things that are truly important to you and eliminating the rest. When I first heard of this concept I thought it was fascinating, but didn’t know if it was do-able. At this point, considering the evolution of technology, the amount of distractions in life are endless. I wondered if it was possible to tune this out. What I found out was that you aren’t necessarily “tuning out”, but really just “honing in” on the things that you actually find meaningful and important.

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I’ve found that this is just like adopting any other healthy habit. Instead of focusing on what you are NOT going to do…ex:”not eating fast food”, focus on what you ARE going to do ex: “cooking at home”…Put the emphasis on what you are in control of, versus what you are avoiding.

Upon looking at my own habits, I realized I had a few goals that were going unmet, and meanwhile I was wasting time every single day doing things that I really didn’t care about (looking at gossip websites/magazines/social media/ blah blah blah). I am still at the beginning stages of adopting this philosophy, but was able to recently listen to a talk at a work conference on a similar subject, and had a few lightbulb moments.

As a real “people-pleaser”, it sounds heavenly to be able to focus on what really matters, while letting go of the rest… aka JUST SAY NO. I’ve been trying to use the word “no” more this year, and it’s surprisingly satisfying.

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Between my own experience, and from the extra materials I’ve been listening to, here are 4 tips for adopting essentialism:

  1. Know what you want. This is ABSOLUTELY the most important. It’s impossible to decide what doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what does matter. This may take a little soul searching, but think about what you want in life. How you want your life to feel. Consider your work life, home life, relationships, and even your personality type. Keep in mind, what looks good/fun/exciting on the outside, doesn’t always feel that way from the inside. If you are lost, I highly recommend listening to this podcast.
  2. Create a mission statement. After deciding what absolutely matters most (again this can include any/all aspect(s) of life… home life, family life, personal, spiritual, etc), create an overarching mission statement that will help guide your decisions.
  3. Accept the fact that saying no to what doesn’t matter =  saying YES to what does matter. It gives you more time  and resources to focus on your mission!
  4. Post your mission statement. In the conference I attended, we were encouraged to post the mission statement in a frame on a nightstand or on a bathroom counter, or even your desk. This ensures you are looking at it multiple times a day, and you can reflect on how your choices are measuring up.

Since I’ve had the topic of essentialism on my mind, I’ve been able to ask myself regularly “is this activity that I am doing right this second something that is leading me to my goals?”. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean going-going-going non-stop. Part of my mission statement includes nurturing my relationships, specifically with my husband. So if we are sitting on the couch together watching TV after a long day…well that’s time well spent! I’m mindful of the other activities we do together, but I don’t feel pressure to be chasing the grind 24/7.

One thing Greg said, that I thought was interesting is that people (esp in the beginning of a career/new job) want to be the “yes” person. While this may help you get ahead at the beginning, it’s no way to spend a career. You end up unable to focus on what you are good at or where your talents really lie. He mentioned that people actually end up getting farther ahead when doing what they are good at! Imagine that. #nobrainer

As I continue to adopt the practice of essentialism, I will continue to update with any changes I notice!

BTW here’s a great article from NPR, and there’s an interview with my girl-crush Chalene, on episode 3 of her podcast.

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Half-way point

Somehow we are half way through 2015!!! SO crazy. This is a good time to check in and see if you are on track to accomplishing what you wanted to this year. If you wrote down your New Years Resolutions, have a look at them, otherwise just evaluate where you are at [personally, professionally, physically….]

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If you aren’t making progress or heading in the direction you want, only YOU have the power to drive your life in a different direction. Now ask yourself, where do you want to be on January 1, 2016???? What do you want to be the same? Different?

For me it’s been a crazy but fun year! I am half way done with grad school, we got our puppy who is now a (n obnoxious but cute) member of the family, almost done with my Masters Project, took a couple trips to CA, and finally- started a new job that I am so happy with! Going forward, I want to be sure I’m focussed on a couple financial goals I had set at the beginning of the year, and make sure I am continuing to make exercise a priority.

I know I said it before, but I really love this time of year…the temps are crazy this week, but I am so excited for the 4th of July. I want to make sure I’m soaking up as much of the summer as possible before heading into an insane fall semester.

Have a great month!

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Motivation Monday: My happy place

Happy Monday! I took an extend break from the blog (not really on purpose) over spring break/last week. Spring break was SO nice, but for some reason when I got back I felt super tired/lazy. WHAT?! Aren’t trips supposed to leave you feeling refreshed and awesome?! Anyway…I blame school, allergies, and….laziness I suppose. Now for a little spring break re-cap….

I went to so-cal to meet up with some old friends and see my family. It was delightful….and this was my view flying in. Heaven.

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more heaven… 😉

froyooh and the most delightful acai bowl by the beach. heaven…and a little more heaven…

Since I sadly can’t be on vacay//in california 24/7, I started thinking about the little things that make a big difference for me…aka things that bring me to my happy place.

  • fresh flowers
  • pink pedicure
  • clean sheets
  • snuggles with my hubby and pup
  • candles burning
  • good workout tunes
  • fresh air//sunshine
  • clean&organized home/desk/purse
  • an intense workout
  • fresh gel mani
  • retail therapy
  • walking my dog on a sunny day

I realized that often we focus on the big trips/events/vacations to bring us to our happy place, but in reality, our quality of life could be better if we focused on a few small things more often. Here’s to finding your happy this week!

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