Productivity & Habits

Last year I wrote a post about productivity: To-Do or Not To-Do
In this I describe how I have discovered Trello as a platform for my to do lists and some different methods to tackle them as a Kanban system. I have had great success with this at work but not so much in my personal life. One of the main reasons being that I forget to look at my list when I am at home. When I am at work, I am at my PC the whole time and therefore have it in view, but at home I try to limit screen time as much as possible, which means I forget about my to-dos 😀

Recently I have started to combat that with a simple little white board in the kitchen. It’s in plain sight pretty much all the time and it is working so much better.

I do use the 3 item to-do concept for it though and use Trello for my backlog list.
The 3 item to-do list is really true. Essentially, the concept states that anything beyond 3 items will hinder your productivity.
Read more here:

Using this concept, my new white board, Trello, and Leo Babauta’s Zen Habits book, I want to accomplish the following things:

  • Establish and sustain some new positive habits: I want to do this the Zen Habits’ way, which will take at least 6 weeks for each habit. although I believe it is possible to introduce another habit before the end of the 6 weeks to run in parallel. I highly recommend Leo Babauta’s book (linked above) to help through the process of mastering change and forming new habits. I think I will start with a simple exercise routine as a habit as this plays nicely along with trying to have more energy. (see my recent post: 5 keys to more energy)
  • Hobbies / Arts / Crafts pool: Make and sort a backlog list of projects  of things I want to do, sorted by priority. This will then be part of basis to pull from for my 3-item to do list. My goal is to always have one of my to-dos be from this category.
  • Cleaning and household projects: I also need a list of these by priority, so I can add one of them a day to my 3-item to-do or maybe do 2 or 3 on the weekend. 
  • My side hustle aka Jamberry: I want to be more efficient and spend less time. I am utilizing the Maeven app and plan on doing a power hour each Sunday.
  • Journal: At some point next week I want to also do a morning journal. as this is part of the Zen Habits steps, I believe it will come naturally. But I think this is also an important item to be consistent and reflect on your day and make plans.

In my 3 item to-do I do not want to include my habits. Why? Well the idea of a habit is to do it automatically like brushing your teeth. And you don’t put that on your to-do, do you? 😀

I also talked to my partner about these and he even participates in the 3-item to-do on our white board. He says it helps him complete the tasks, because he is annoyed seeing them up there 🙂

If you think this might work for you, give it a go and PLEASE let me know how it worked for you!
If you maybe already have a great system how to organize and be productive, please share. I always love to hear new approaches. And any feedback in general is very welcome.

I hope you enjoyed this post and come back for more!

5 keys to more energy

5 Keys to More Energy

About a year ago, I wrote a post about ways I was going to improve my energy levels: I need an energy boost!
Some of the ideas were good, like utilizing the book “Zen Habits” by Leo Babauta. I will come back to this book in future posts, as it is a really good tool to implement habits into your life making them second nature instead of dreaded tasks you always find an excuse for. Although you got to go through the full process, or it won’t stick as you can see with me 🙂
No excuses!
Some of the ideas in my previous post were just way too focused on apps and technology, which is really something I try to reduce in my day to day life. It’s a crutch at best and a rabbit hole and time sink at worst.
So, after some reading and soul searching, I recognized that there are really only these 5 very simple things that lead to more energy:

1. A Healthy Diet

I am not a fan of fad diets, so I am not going to tell you in too much detail what you need to eat for a healthy diet, but I think we all know the main ingredients to this already: more fruits and veggies, less processed foods, more fiber, a lot of water and MODERATION! 
I believe in making eating healthy simple and I found that just keeping to those few simple rules goes a long way. And it is hard enough, because believe me I do want that pizza or burger too 🙂
By making sure I drink a glass of water BEFORE meals and always adding some veggies, I have already knocked out almost all of those rules. But I also add some vitamin supplements, because it is hard to get all of what you need just from food, especially that many foods are changed from their original form for agriculture and mass production and do not contain as much vitamins naturally.
And the cleaner you eat the less sluggish you feel.

2. Exercise

This is also a known fact that regular exercise will increase your energy level. And it doesn’t even have to be long or some crazy workout plan. Just a little walk or some jumping jacks every day will help. I had started the Zen Habits steps for making exercising a habit and plan on picking this back up. As I said it is not fool proof but a lot more effective than anything else so far. But more to that in a later post.

3. Enough Sleep

It is pretty much a no-brainer that you need to be well rested to have more energy. But it also matters to get a good quality sleep. Simple ways to improve the quality of your sleep are making it at least 90 min long to get REM sleep, keeping your bedroom cool and dark, and drinking alcohol and coffee in moderation.

4. Reduce Stress 

Reducing stress is very important for your energy and overall health. Constant load of stress can wear on you and exhaust you. But it has to be taken with a grain of salt, because there is also positive stress. Positive stress may also be harmful if it happens to excess but mostly it will actually give you more energy. I look at it as something that excites you and gets you going is positive stress. Like something that is a challenge you enjoy taking on. Negative stress is things you dread, deadlines, worries, those kind of things.
Everyone has a different technique that works best for them to reduce stress. This firstly includes removing the source of the stress, for example if you have financial trouble to find help and a way to reduce dept. And that is hard to say, as it may be out of our control to change.
Often we are stressed because we rush so much. In that case we are to slow down, step back and take in the moment. Take a relaxing bath, have a nice cup of tea, maybe do some quick 15 min meditation are all some simple ways to reduce the stress a little.

5. Positivity

This goes hand in hand with the stress, but it is very important to have a positive outlook to increase your energy. Sometimes we can just try and find positive sides to a situation, or find positivity in being grateful for something. The whole concept of mindfulness for me leads to positivity.

Of course, for each of these some of you may have additional hurdles that prevent you from doing this. If you suffer from anxiety and depression for example it’s not so simple to try and have positivity or sleep well. Or if you have a thyroid problem, there is more to the diet than what I wrote.
In no way am I saying this is the one and only list and holy grail, just some points that should work for most people.

What has worked for you to have more energy? Would you add something to the list you feel is essential and I have missed?

My New Now #MondayMotivation

I am revisiting goals and getting back on track

That’s it! It’s just not working. I have not been what I wanted to be ever since the baby is home, and that needs to stop. It needs to change now!

Today I have been reading some blogs during my lunch break, and I realized how lately I am not taking any inspiration and putting it into energy to do anything. I’m just floating around aimlessly, bobbing left and right, always tired, always planning but not doing. Like some sort of paralysis. Something got a hold of me. And it’s not just having a baby. Although the change in routine is certainly not helping. But I wouldn’t even call it a routine. My day is not focused. I’m just losing time left and right.

In April, pretty much right when my baby came home, I started being a Jamberry consultant on the side. The timing seems just great right? And in May, I started my day job again (Man, do I hate that maternity leave is so short in the US. It’s like they hate mothers!)
So I got very excited about Jamberry and put a lot of time into it. Plus less time due to the baby. And now I feel like all the other things I did in my life are just pushed away and have no space left.
And I need to organize my space and time (lol).

My head seems to be filled with endless lists of things I want to do but I can’t prioritize, discard, and just start them. And that needs to change now.

Here are a few goals I have and some ways I want to get there.

  1. Get more organized at home: I want to clean and maintain, but also de-clutter. I have told myself, I don’t mind and it’s normal because of the baby, but I am not really happy with how the house looks. But this also means getting better about communicating and coordinatin,g because I cannot do this all by myself, and I am bad at those two seemingly.
  2. Getting more energy: A few months ago, I wrote a post about this topic, but did I do the things I suggested to myself? No. So, back to the drawing board. I will also include exercise.
  3. Being more productive in general: I also wrote some posts about productivity, but have not followed through. I need to revisit all of them. This is so important for everything. I want to make mundane tasks simple and routine, so they don’t hold me hostage.
  4. Get back to my hobbies: I need to do a little sewing, painting, crocheting, video gaming, general crafts. This one is probably the hardest and depends on the other goals. Having a clean de-cluttered house will make it easier to find space to do my hobbies. But also having more energy is very important.
  5. I want to be more inspiring and interesting in the things I post. But I don’t even know if what I write is interesting. Do people read this? And if they do, does it interest them? Does it bring value to their lifes? I think the best way is to be more consistent with content, be more myself. But also, take a few of my favorite blogs and figure out what is the thing that makes me want to read them, and try to incorporate that into my writing.
I think this is a good list. Next post I want to be a little more concrete about how to get to each goal, and also come up with a way to keep track of them, so I don’t let it slip away again. But not just that. Because that would be boring right? Hopefully my changes do take fruit and I can share some of my projects and pictures as well.
And lastly, I want to also remember to cut myself some slack. Rome wasn’t build in a day and a 5 month old is a lot of work 🙂
I hope you, my reader, enjoyed this post. Please feel free to give me some feedback. Otherwise I don’t know if anyone even wants to read my posts or not.

 

2014 First Quarter Goal Recap

In my Goals post in January, I have been talking about how I was inspired by my friend Rose, who posted per 2014 goals on her blog. Recently she posted a first quarter recap of how she did so far, which was a great read, and I decided to do the same. So here it is – tada – my first quarter goal recap:

  1. Make a plan and motivate myself
    I definitely have been a lot more motivated, but the planning thing is still sketchy :). I started with a plan for the blog – see more about that under #2
  2. Blog Daily
    Ok, blogging daily is not happening. Well, let’s say it this way. I am trying, but then I want to show results and pictures and it’s later in the day, so I push it off due to light issues (still need to buy some daylight light bulbs for pics), and then I don’t post for a couple of days. Because I have a hard time coming up with what to write about if I can’t show off progress for a project. But I already have some ideas I can include into the blog. for example, I love to read other blogs, especially crafting blogs. So I was thinking I can talk about them a little. Or maybe some interesting ideas I find and want to sometimes try. Also, I read some articles about writing blogs and one tip – even though it’s not directly related to writing – is to turn off word verification for comments. I already have comment moderation, so I get the chance to review and answer comments, so I really don’t need word verification. It is just a hassle, and I have to agree, because I also find it somewhat annoying (half the time you can’t even read the darn thing)
  3. Friends
    I think I am doing ok. Have been gaming, and currently I am lucky because one of my friends is getting married and there are many crafty preparation meetings to participate in.
  4. Crafting
    I definitely have made some great progress here. I added 9 items since mid-January. But I could definitely do more. If I want to reach 100 by the end of the year I have to double my efforts.
  5. Health
    Hmm, sadly I was really slacking in this one. I worked out a few times in contrary to a few times A WEEK. Well, at least I did not gain any weight :P. But seriously this is a major area I need to focus on.
  6. Cleaning
    Also this area was not really a change from what it was. Could do more.
  7. Relaxing time
    Yeah, well. this is not really a goal I could seriously fail at LOL

So…end result is a little meager. Need to make sure I have some more stuff to “brag” about next quarter.

Goals for 2014

I have been reading a post of my friend Rose about her goals that inspired me to make my own list of goals for 2014. I have multiple friends who do great blogs and are so active with crafting and other creative activities, it almost feels like I would never be able to do something like that. Just looking at this blog of mine and my Etsy store made me realize, I need to have a plan and stick to it.
This post here is the start.

So what are the things I want to do and need a little push to accomplish?

  1. Make a plan & motivate myself
    I have always had goals and plans floating in my head, but keep letting them slide. I am an A+ procrastinator, somewhat introverted and love to get distracted by easy fun stuff like video games. I believe writing down a plan and checking my progress will help. So for 2014 I have the goal to use these high level goals and make a weekly plan for myself, that is manageable and easy to follow. Maybe choosing Sunday as the Goal Day (pun intended) is a good start. But as part of this I want to include a daily motivation I need to find.I always find articles about how motivational quotes are helping people achieve their goals and lift them up, even if they do not really believe it at first. If you say “I can do it” every day to the mirror you will eventually believe in yourself enough to do it, right?
  2. Blog Daily
    I love to read blogs about the stuff I like and I want to participate. Have people read my blog and be inspired for their lives. Otherwise, why do I have a blog, right? And to do it right and make it a habit I should post something every day.
  3. Friends
    I am sometimes such a social hermit and have a hard time bonding. How do I get around that? Not easy, but I need to force myself to socialize to find friends. This means, doing the events like board game night (probably one tomorrow), girls nights, craft parties etc. is important. Even writing this and knowing some of my friends will read it, is awkward for myself. Why do I try to not share these thoughts with them? I guess I am just afraid of what people think. And last but not least, friends need to include my husband and my dog. They are my family and I need to spend quality time with them!
  4. Crafting
    I want to get my Etsy shop running and actually sell stuff. But even more important craft more. The more I do, the better it will be. Maybe a goal of 100 items in my store plus Christmas gifts for the family will be a good goal for 2014.
  5. Health
    This one is a biggie. I really want to loose weight and get more active this year. I am inspired by multiple of my friends. I want to eat healthier and work out at least 3 times a week.
  6. Cleaning
    There are some things that should happen every week and that includes cleaning the house. With a little planning this can be integrated easily. Maybe clean a little every day so it will not be this huge chore.
  7. Relaxing time
    With all of these goals, I do want to balance this with “relaxing time”, otherwise I cannot achieve my crafting goal or may start slacking again. This means, I will need to make sure there is still time for these things like video games 🙂

I ended up with these 7 goals. 7 is a nice number!
To start this off I have planned my week with some smaller goals in these categories.
And here the motivational item of the day: