5 Ways to Make Your Workday More Productive

It's that transition time again, and we're all thinking about getting into new routines, starting back to school, and switching over from long summer days to cool fall evenings. With the change in season comes the perfect opportunity to give your productivity and work habits a little boost. Here's five simple ways to make the most of your time, get inspired, and increase your success.

1. Create a routine that will create consistency and success. 
Here's the deal: we achieve success by being strategic, consistent, and persistent. Success is not an overnight job, and we have to break the mold of instant gratification that society so tightly holds onto. Take 30 minutes to an hour for yourself and write out exactly what you want your routine to look like, how much time you're allotting for each activity, and commit to following it.

2. Know when it is time to take a break and rest.
Putting in consistent effort is hard and results don't come overnight, so the option to just give up can seem like a good idea, especially when we are tired. Instead of running yourself ragged, know your limits---both physically and mentally---and plan time for creative rejuvenation. We have to unplug, relax, and renew our spirits. It is essential to productivity and success. Resting is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of wisdom. Marathon runners know when to increase speed and when to conserve energy to make it for the long haul. The same is true in our daily life and workday routine. Know when to push the limit and when it's time to take a break. Don't give up because of fatigue; instead, regain your strength and get ready to persist once again!

3. Decide to see the good in every situation. 
It's amazing to see how swiftly things can turn around when we turn our attitude in a new direction. A tough situation becomes a learning experience and an opportunity for growth. Attitude is everything, so make sure yours is helping you go in the right direction. What you look for, you're sure to find. Seeking the things that could go wrong? Always looking with a critical eye? You're going to find exactly that. Looking for the good, the fun, and the positive? You're sure to see all that and enjoy the ride! Train your mind to always be looking for the good in everything. Choose a good attitude and you'll find that your days are happier because of it.

4. Engage the important, not simply urgent.
We're bombarded with a variety of urgent requests throughout the day. The day begins and suddenly we're in a swirl of emails, calls, notifications, reports, meetings, to-do lists, texts, errands, events...there's always something popping up to grab our attention. Whew! No wonder we're exhausted by 2pm, ready to grab our next cup of coffee to get us through the afternoon. We do so much, yet we feel like we've not accomplished enough of what needs to be done. The problem is that we're allowing our energy and attention to be diverted in too many directions. Sure there's lots of things that are "urgent", but are they actually important? Facebook/Instagram notifications....may seem urgent, definitely not important. Time with the family? Important. Instead of allowing your energy to simply be allocated by reaction, be intentional and choose to invest your time in the things that are of most importance. Prioritize by productivity and your days will reflect it!

5. Decide to quit procrastinating and take action. 
You knew we'd end up talking about this subject, didn't you? Procrastination is the result of laziness, fear, and doubt. We think of all the things that could go wrong, the discomfort of the process, or the investment required and we talk ourselves right off the starting block. We stare at the blinking cursor of a blank page, hold the phone in our hand--waiting to make the call, and create lists of things to check off...all avoiding the seemingly impossible task at hand. Procrastination is not as tough of an enemy as it may seem, especially when we come at it armed with action. Here's my suggestion: do the toughest thing on your list first. Make the call, have the conversation, write the email...whatever that task is, do it. Once you've gotten it done, you'll not only feel better, but it will give you the boost to glide through the rest of your day with ease and energy. Productivity, here you come!

How to Get A Good Night's Rest & My Nightly Routine

A good night's rest is so important to feeling your best, achieving success, and simply living well. Too many of us just don't get good quality sleep, and then we wonder why we feel like we're walking around in a fog or hit that afternoon slump. I've found it easy to slip into the habit of staying up to burn the midnight oil or to scroll on social media before bed, but when I'm deliberate about creating and sticking to a routine, I always feel incredibly better. Consistency is so essential to creating a successful life. Here's a few things that are a part of my evening routine:

  • Start by lighting a candle. There's something about changing the lighting in my room to a softer glow that helps me to make the switch from daytime productivity to a slower, more relaxed pace. 
  • Making a cup of tea is a great way to unwind; I love having peppermint or chamomile in the evenings. Sipping it out of a fun mug is an added bonus! I've linked my latest favorite below!
  • Put away technology---yes, this includes both my computer and my phone. It can be so easy to mindlessly scroll, and before you know it, time gets away from you! Also, our screens emit a high level of blue light, which is great during the day because blue light is a natural stimulant to increase activity and alertness. Unfortunately, many of us expose our eyes to lots of blue light before falling asleep and then wonder why we can't seem to quiet our minds. By staying off technology before bed, we allow our minds and bodies to prepare for rest. In order for this to really work, I try to stay off technology for at least 30-60 min before bed. (I know it's hard, but so worth it!! Trust me!)
  • Plan for the next day. Mornings are always far less rushed and more productive when I have taken the time to plan for the next day. To do this, I often begin by looking over my planner, making any note of meetings, events, or things I will need to prepare for. In addition, I've started laying out my workout outfit and choosing my clothes for the day. If you find it hard to hit the gym or head out for a run in the morning, this step will greatly increase your ability to get out and do it! 
  • Skincare routine. After I've prepared things for the next day, I wash my face, brush my teeth, and then smooth on a moisturizer and eye cream. Lately, I've also been using a lash serum and a lip conditioner before bed, and I've been pretty pleased with the results. It's never too early to begin taking good care of your skin, and this step also impacts your overall wellbeing. When you care for your body, it will be far easier to achieve better sleep and increased wellness.
  • Journal. Journaling is such a wonderful habit to add to your life! Whether it is a recap of the day, a bullet point or two, or a list of things you're grateful for, it's such a healthy way to process elements of your life in a way that you can go back and review. I remember consistently keeping journals all through my high school and college years, and those are some of my favorite ones to go back and reread from time to time to see what I've learned and how I've grown since then! It doesn't have to be a novel, just write a few sentences to reflect and calm your mind.
  • Read. I love to end my evenings on a positive, encouraging note, and reading a few chapters of a personal development book is my favorite way to do that. Currently, I've been reading The Magic of Thinking Big as well as Louie Giglio's newest, Goliath Must Fall. Both are fantastic, practical and inspiring. In addition to reading a good book, I also review my goals. This helps to solidify their existence in my mind and life. (Need some help writing successful, achievable goals? Read this and this.)
  • Get a good mattress. Finally it's time for some sweet dreams, but before you shut out the lights, make sure you have a great mattress! It's pretty challenging to sleep well when you're uncomfortable, and a good night's rest often starts with a comfortable place to fall asleep. Leesa has some great options, and in addition to donating one for every 10 they sell, they've also partnered with the Arbor Day Foundation to plant a tree for every mattress sold! How cool is that? I love companies that are committed to giving back to their communities and world. Find out more about how to get your own Leesa mattress and their social initiatives here!
While you'll have to find the nighttime habits that work best for you, hopefully you've gotten a few ideas to add to your evening routine! I often think about evenings as the set up for a wonderful next day. When we plan for success, it will follow. I encourage you to set up a routine and be consistent. Here's to many sweet dreams ahead! 

Thanks to Leesa for partnering on this post.


Motivation Monday

 It's time for a check-in. How are you doing? What goals are you working on currently?

I recently took some time to do a self-evaluation of my progress and goals from the last few months. This process is such a necessary part of achievement for me, and I often find that if I am not consistent with this self-accountability, the results of my productivity reflect it. Part of this process is focused on environment, specifically, the words I allow to encourage and inspire me, and I wanted to share a few of the ideas and quotes that have been motivating me lately. Words are powerful, and often we don't give a second thought to the ones we use and listen to. Part of the challenge for me, and you also if you choose, is to be mindful of what we feed our minds. What makes up the environment in which we operate on a daily basis? Does it include words that inspire, invigorate, and empower us to achieve great things? Do you use words that build yourself up internally? How about the words you use toward others--are they encouraging, positive, and life-giving? If not, what changes need to be made in order for us to both live in and create an environment that includes words that create positive growth and success? Here's a few questions that I used to help start the conversation in my own life.

What is inspiring you this month? 
What does your internal and external dialogue sound like? Do I need to make any changes?
How are you doing on your progress toward your goals?

Palm Print

I love all things tropical, especially during summer months, and this playful palm leaf print is perfect for a hot day. The weekend was filled with lots of time outside, and when the temperature heats up, I reach for lightweight, breathable pieces. Print and texture are a fun combination, and I loved how the eyelet skort paired with the breezy tank added interest to an otherwise simple look. Lace up sandals have been a popular trend for both spring and summer. I've enjoyed wearing these gold ones that work as a sophisticated neutral to pair with just about everything in my closet! ;) 

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