3 Tips for Increasing Productivity

Staying energized and productive during the winter months can sometimes feel like an upward battle. When daylight dwindles and temperatures drop, the desire to curl up and get cozy can be hard to resist.

As tempting as this urge to hibernate can be, I know that the happiness it will bring will only be temporary. And although periodically indulging in some relaxing moments is great for balance and self-care, I would hate if it got in the way of my productivity goals. So this November, I’ve put in a little extra effort and tried out some new systems — and the results have been really gratifying! Read More »

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Tip of the Week: Listen to Yourself

Stop-and-ListenThis week’s tip: Practice your internal listening skills.

I’m not sure if anyone ever really taught me how to be a good listener. I learned phonics and comprehension in school, sure. But interpersonal communication skills were something I had to learn through practice — and internal communication was something I hadn’t really ever thought about until recently!

Personally, I know I am nowhere near an expert listener. That said, I have figured out that it is possible to improve my listening skills by turning on a little bit of mindfulness and clueing into a few straightforward tips: Read More »

Tip of the Week: Remember Your Wings

FacebookQuote_WeatherTheWaves_031516This week’s tip: Stop dwelling on the wind and the waves. Start focusing on your wings.

Life got a little turbulent for me over the past couple of days. I came down with a little bug that had me flat on my back for most of yesterday. I felt exhausted. All I wanted to do was work on some writing or do something fun with Eric, but all I could manage to do was sleep, nap, and lie there.

I had considered staying home from work today, but I had a few meetings in the morning, so I figured I’d go in for my meetings, grab my computer, and then work from home in the afternoon. This morning I felt a little bit better, so heading to work didn’t actually seem so bad.

Life can be groundless, though. Read More »

Tip of the Week: Begin to Declutter Your Life

2016-04-18 10.31.44This week’s tip: Experience the joy of tidying up.

Everyone is talking about the life-changing magic of tidying up. I experienced it today. Have you heard about it?

It’s an internationally best-selling self-help book, written by Japanese decluttering and organization consultant, Marie Kondo. She calls her tidying process the “KonMari method”, and it’s pretty simple:

  • Tidy by category, not by place. Kondo suggests first tackling your clothes, then books, papers, Komono (miscellany), and finally, mementos. She suggests making subcategories if it is helpful.
  • Start by discarding. To decide what action to take for a particular item, ask yourself “Does this spark joy?” Trust your intuition. If the answer is yes, you can set the item aside to store. If the answer is no, it should be discarded or donated.
  • Next, decide where to store things. Kondo urges you to keep your storage strategies simple. Everything should have its own place, and similar items should be stored together. She also teaches a particular method for folding your clothes.
  • Start the next category, and repeat.

This minimalist idea of surrounding yourself with only possessions that bring you joy is not unique to Marie Kondo. Happiness Guru Gretchen Rubin often preaches that “outer order contributes to inner calm,” emphasizing that seemingly small things like an over-crowded closet can weigh us down more than we realize. Read More »

Tip of the Week: Pursue Balance

IMG_6192-balanceLast week, in an effort to express my ideas about pursuing balance, I accidentally wrote a poem! This week, I am going to give it another try and see if I can articulate my thoughts a little more concretely.

Staying balanced is challenging. We all juggle a lot, from social time to “me” time, personal responsibilities to professional responsibilities, and spiritual pursuits to physical pursuits. Everyone prioritizes these things differently, and it’s important for us all to figure out where we personally feel the most centered. If we stay focused on pursuing that center, we can avoid unhealthy extremes, maintain a clearer perspective, and keep our stress levels more in check.

So, ask yourself — where is my center?Read More »

Tip of the Week: Spread Seven Smiles

PA160453_squareThis week’s tip: Give a random gift every day!

Yesterday was my 28th birthday. Birthdays are great, aren’t they? Leading up to my birthday this year, I started to anticipate the warm, happy feelings that my birthday tends to bring, and I got to wondering — why is that birthdays make us feel so good?

Is it the fact that we are a year older? Probably not. (Unless we’re under 21 — and then it’s still really exciting.)

Is it the fact that all of our acquaintances came out of the woodwork to wish us a happy birthday on Facebook? Alright, I’ll admit… that does make me feel kinda good.

Is it the fact that we receive lots of gifts? Ooh! Bingo! I like presents! 😉

In all seriousness, though — this is the perfect time of year for me to tell you from personal experience that receiving a gift can make you feel appreciated, grateful, and happy. But why do we only tend to give each other gifts on birthdays, anniversaries and special holidays? Why not spread appreciation, gratitude and happiness on a day when someone least expects it? Read More »

Tip of the Week: Stand at Your Desk

This week’s tip: Stand up!
StandingDesk

Have you heard that “sitting is the new smoking”? Sure, it seems a little extreme at first, but if you read up on the research, it’s true: too much sitting can correlate with major health risks. In an informative blog post, James A. Levine, MD, PhD (of the Mayo Clinic) outlines a variety of sound reasons why sitting too much is probably impacting your overall health. Too much sitting can cause:

  • Sluggish nervous systems, which can lead to fatigue
  • Weakened muscles, which can increase risk of back and joint pain
  • Stagnant fat-burning enzymes, which can lead to weight gain
  • Poor blood sugar and blood fat levels, which can increase heart risks

Fortunately, there is no nicotine involved in your sitting habit, so it’s pretty easy to quit! For many of us, our desk jobs are the major culprit for promoting our bad sitting habits. But there is a really easy solution: just stand up!Read More »

Tip of the Week: Cook with Friends


This week’s tip:
 Make (and enjoy!) a delicious, homemade meal with friends.

dinner-party-tableWhether it’s a one-on-one occasion to catch up with a close friend, an intimate dinner party with a small group, or a big pot-luck gathering, getting together with friends over food is a great way to boost your happiness (and depending on the food you make, maybe your health too!)

Here are five reasons to consider putting a dinner-date with a friend on the calendar:Read More »

Tip of the Week: Make the Bed

IMG_1735

This week’s tip: Make your bed.

I was never great about making my bed growing up. So to those of you rolling your eyes at this week’s tip — I totally get it. I used to make excuses to myself like, “Why bother making the bed? I’m about to leave my room anyway and tonight I’m just going to crawl back into it!”

Deep down, I always appreciated how nice it felt afterwards to have a freshly made bed, but the struggle was in convincing myself to make the effort in the first place. Like so many good habits, it can be hard to see the benefits before the habit is in place.

So, why is making your bed so important? In case your mother never broke it down for you, I will. 😛Read More »