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Blogging Lessons Part 1

Before launching Blonde Boss Babe, I had no idea how many technical skills I would need to learn to start and maintain a successful blog. This November will mark one year since I migrated platforms from wordpress.com to wordpress.org, which I recently realized I didn’t even do 100% correctly. LOLZ. How did it take me this long to find out? Well, all of the images from my posts pre-November 2016 disappeared from public view but would show when I was logged in working on the site. Ironically, this little bit of a nightmare has come with a lot of blessing mixed into the mess. Manually re-inserting the images into each post has provided an opportunity for me to look back on how much the blog has progressed, clean up/delete less than ideal content, and reminisce on some favorite projects. Of the 20+ posts affected, here are the few that made the cut (click the image to be taken to the post): 

  

 While I still have so many more things to learn about this crazy complex – yet super fun platform, in a post soon-to-come, I will be sharing with y’all some of the key steps that would have GREATLY simplified this process. So, if you have any blogging questions about launching a site, working with companies, or even designing a logo – feel free to comment them below this post or contact me here. I will try to answer as many as possible in the posts to come on this topic. 

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Adulting, Blog, School, The Home

Top 5 Strategies for Increasing Productivity

 

Increasing productivity in your workspace, whether it’s a home office or an open cubicle, is so essential to effectively using your time and making the workweek a bit more manageable. These 5 strategies, focus on increasing efficacy and efficiency, and all incorporate the same themes: self-care and self-awareness – both of which are super important for healthy & positive productivity. If you’re ready to rev up your workspace, let’s get started:

1.Learn your distractions…and beat them.

Y’all, it took me forever to realize that visual clutter is a huge distraction and source of anxiety for me. Cleaning up that clutter is a great way to procrastinate from what really needs to be done since it makes you feel like you are doing something productive. Technically, yes you are, but in all reality, you’re just putting off what you need to be working on at that time. Once I figured this out, I made sure to clean up my desk space at the end of every day. Coming into a fresh and clean workspace each morning has boosted my productivity so much, especially on days when I know I there’s a ton of work to finish. So whether it’s clutter, or checking social media too often, learn your distractions and create methods that limit them.

2. Focus on your five senses. 

Sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste. OH yes, the big 5 within the top 5. Sight = Creating a space you don’t mind (at minimum) but actually enjoy spending time in for work. Work is work, so it isn’t always fun. Simple touches, like a favorite pillow or fun print hung on the wall can go a long way to boosting your mood. Touch = If you are uncomfortable physically, you won’t be at your best mentally. Is your back hurting? Invest in a good desk chair, seriously it’s worth it. Mine is by Serta and it has honestly been one of the best & most important purchases for the home office. Sound = Learning what helps/hurts your productivity (see #1 again). Some people can work well with the TV on in the background, while others need absolute silence. Personally, I love to have acoustic guitar songs streaming on Pandora. Find your groove and use it to your advantage. Smell = Y’all already know how much I love diptyque candles (from this post) and 90% of the time that’s exactly what I have burning in my workspace. However, sometimes when I find I’m getting a little too cozy I will put a couple drops of lemon essential oil into my diffuser instead. Lemon is supposed to be helpful in increasing energy and focus, and I know that at the very least, it wakes up my senses and makes my space feel extra fresh. Lastly, Taste = Fresh mints in your desk drawers are lifesavers (hehe see what I did there?) lolz sorry, but seriously it’s the same idea as teachers passing out mints before tests – something about how refreshing they are promotes clarity which means better productivity for you.

3. MOVE!

If you work from home or are currently holding a job where you are required to be in a seat all day, try to incorporate movement as much as possible. Set reminders on your computer, phone, or tablet. These can either be hourly, or at specific times during the day. Personally, I set mine for 10 am & 3 pm everyday because that tends to be the time I hit a wall and begin to slump in productivity. At home, I keep a stepper beside my desk, as well as a bike desk that I purchased last year during Amazon Prime Day (SO worth the investment). If your office space doesn’t have room for either of those options, a mini cycle that fits under your desk may be ideal. This one is essentially silent; so even if you are in an open cubicle, you won’t be disturbing the person next to you. (WIN)

4. Know your tasks before you begin.

Often, if we sit down without a plan, what we had in our heads the night before turns into an hour of browsing Amazon, and another hour or two scrolling through social media and sharing funny videos with friends. Make a list, stick to the list, and keep it where you can see it. This agenda by Kate Spade is huge and holds all of my important dates as well as daily/weekly/monthly tasks & goals. I also keep a mini bullet journal in this notebook – it’s the perfect size to throw in my purse or keep in the car when I’m on the go and need to jot something down quickly.

5. Encourage yourself. 

You are your own biggest cheerleader, and you are also your own worst critic. If you spent more time than you meant to checking your email or completed a task totally wrong, don’t beat yourself up about it. Keep reminders in your space that you can do this, whether through quotes, notes from friends, or even favorite photos. If you feel yourself going down the slippery slope of self-doubt even with those reminders in your space, take a 20 minute break and go somewhere else in your home or to a coffee shop you love. Learning what hurts and helps your productivity can take time, and that’s okay! Some things that work for others may not work for you & that’s okay too! You got this. (For cute DIY memo holders to brighten up your space – check out this post)

That’s the end of my top 5 methods for increasing productivity in the workspace. What are your favorite strategies? I would love if you shared them in the comments below!

 

 

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Adulting, Blog, Home Decor, School, The Home

Top Organization Tips for 2017

Happy 2017 everyone! If your 2016 was anything like ours, then things may have been a little crazy. J and I are super thankful for the experiences, (and hopefully growth) that have come from 2016, but we are so very happy to enter into 2017 and leave 2016 behind.

In gearing up for the new year and getting refreshed, I thought I would share with you all some of my favorite organization tips and tricks. I’m a huge advocate for an organized home/workspace, and can truly tell a major difference in how I feel and how focused I am when our home is put together. Just look at this eye candy:

From: http://www.thehomeedit.com/blog/2016/2/20/the-x-pencil-and-paper-co-shopping-list
From: http://www.marthastewart.com/1502454/diy-home-projects

 

From: http://www.bloominghomestead.com/2016/02/pantryorganization.html
From: http://www.popsugar.com/home/photo-gallery/37140497/image/37140506/Drawer-Organizers

Even though I love organization, I’m not always the best at actually controlling the whole “stuff” factor. Just ask our realtors, Karin Head and Brad Klosterman from the Head Team, about their meetings with us to minimize and simplify prior to listing our condo back in the summer (more on that here and here).

So, while I am starting a 100 day “purge sesh,” in the mean time I’ve included some of my all time favorite ways to control the mess while getting rid of it as well.
These racks are amazing. They essentially double your cabinet space and provide sooooo much more storage than you would even ever expect. I’m obsessed with them, and LOVE the difference they’ve made in our kitchen.

These bins have been prime time. I first ordered them when we were focused on figuring out how to utilize storage while staging our home. They’re great quality, and almost a year later have held up incredibly well!

I LOVE acrylic storage. Whether it’s for makeup, drawer organization, or just general use, acrylic storage works in any and every type of room. It’s clean-looking (as long as it’s decently organized) and due to its see-through nature you never have to guess what’s where, which is honestly half of the appeal.

Today, I worked on organizing my jewelry and my leaning shelves in my home office:

Funny how even after only four months in a new place my home office preview is no longer as organized/ clean as it was! Time to get refocused and reorganized!

What are your goals for 2017?! I would love to hear them!

 

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7 Fool-Proof Tips for Final Exams

How to Ace Your Exams like the Genius You Are

Hey you, procrastinating again? Feeling overwhelmed? Look, I get it and this is the ultimate judgment-free zone for students. When it’s final exam season or even midterm season, the ish gets serious and the stress is REAL. Here are 7 tried and true favorite tips that help keep focus and sanity in check:

1. Limit the Distractions

I know this one seems obvious and you are probably thinking this won’t be anything new, BUT if you have the TV on, a show playing on your iPad, music coming from your phone, and this blog/Amazon/etc. open in extra tabs, how much of your focus is really centered on what you are needing to study? Probably not much! This also means if you aren’t good at working in groups (i.e. you end up talking about what happened on last night’s episode on Bravo) try your best to go to a cubicle instead. It stinks, I know. Here’s how to make it better though: Separate 30 minutes during your study session to check your Instagram notifications, scroll through Facebook, visit with your friends in the library, whatever! Just get back to it as soon as that time is up. It will help you feel refreshed and still somewhat connected to the outside world.

2. Dress Well | Test Well

My personal favorite, and y’all, I cannot stress this one enough. Whenever I am studying or getting ready to take an exam all I want to do is wear sweats. Here’s the thing though, there’s something about actually going through the motions of getting ready and putting together a semi-decent outfit that not only boosts my confidence to be in the general public sphere but also wakes me up for the day. I can focus so much better when I feel good about what I’m wearing. Keep it comfortable, keep it simple, but try your best to stay away from the sweats if you can help it, otherwise you’ll just want to nap even more than you already do.

3. Keep It Consistent

Whatever your routine is, keep it consistent. This applies to more than just not cramming the night before. Is there a certain hairband or scent that you like to use when you’re studying? A small hard candy or mint? Personally, I love to wear Ugg slippers when I study, super random – probs even a bit weird, but they are amazingly cozy and that’s all that matters to me. Get in your groove and pattern of what you like to do and stick with it. That will help train your brain to focus when you are sitting down to hit the books.

4. Figure Out Your Mode

How is it that you best learn? Auditory/Visual/Interactive? Find out ASAP if you don’t already know, and spend the majority of your study time using that method. Supplement with the other forms. For instance, if you are visual, work on your charts, or note taking, then after you feel comfortable, try to discuss the concept with a friend in the same class. (As long as it’s allowed of course, don’t do anything against your respective school’s honor code.)

5. Sleep

Also crucial to not only your mental and physical health, but to your understanding and ability to concentrate. Start studying early enough to allow yourself to get sufficient rest. Complete the work first then play, not vice versa. Sleep should be just as important as eating and breathing, don’t skimp on it, especially the night before a major exam.

6. Eat Well

Speaking of food, what you eat fuels your body and your brain. As tempting as it is to snag the pizza or snack on chips and candy on those later nights, try your best to resist. A balanced diet will not only help you sleep better, but will vastly improve how you feel when you are preparing for big exams. Grab the water before the energy drink, and you’ll be surprised as to how much more helpful that is in improving your study session.

7. Know The Expectations

Last but certainly not least, know your professor’s expectations. Never assume. Ask for feedback, ask for assistance, ask for examples of past exams, JUST ASK. This will vastly decrease your study time, making it more efficient and more effective. It will prepare you exceptionally well for your final, and very likely build a solid rapport between you and your professor. A relationship like that can be helpful in more ways than just getting you a decent grade in the course. Do you see yourself in a career involving this subject matter longterm? Are you going to be applying to a graduate program following graduation? Well, recommendations from valued professors are not a given, however, they are much more likely to happen when you’ve consistently shown dedication and personal motivation for excelling in his or her course. Not interested in the subject longterm? Still apply this and you’ll have no worries. Roll into that exam like a champ because let’s be real;  you’re ready.

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