Organization, Productivity, Time Management

How to Survive a Busy Week

Can I tell you a secret? Recently over a 10-day period, I had 46 deadlines, assignments, and meetings. This included 3 papers (including 1 group paper), 37 job applications, checking and correcting over 200 legal citations, work deadlines, and school deadlines. On top of that, my car broke down.

While I’m normally pretty good at managing high levels of stress, I really struggled. I had to employ new stress-mitigation techniques just to survive. Along the way I realized that my productivity wasn’t at all optimized. I thought that today I could share with you some of the things I learned.

So, go ahead and take a breather. Give yourself 5 minutes out of your hectic day and ask yourself if you employ these techniques, and what about your productivity could be optimized.

The To-Do List and Calendar

These are non-negotiables to help manage your life efficiently. When you’ve got tasks in all different directions, you need to know exactly what’s on your plate and what’s coming next.

As for myself, I’m kind of the queen on the to-do list. I make lists everywhere. Sometimes it’s a sheet of paper, a notebook, in my phone, or on Trello. Since I make so many lists, a few may or may not get finished – but when you have a week of non-stop deadlines, that list becomes your best friend.

With every list, I recommend that you add the deadline of the task. This can help you prioritize your list and keep you moving on your next deadline.

Change Your Routine

This is going to sound a little crazy, but when you have a busy week, you’re not exactly yourself. When it gets so busy, you almost have to go on auto-pilot. Don’t be afraid to change your routine during this time to accommodate for everything you need to get done.

If you don’t work out, strongly consider adding a little bit of movement, like a morning walk. This can help clear your head and get you focused for the day.

I really warn against changing your sleep schedule. Late nights aren’t efficient and let’s be honest, they suck. For me, late nights are almost a guaranteed mental breakdown and I avoid them at all costs. If you really need more hours in your day, try waking up earlier. You’d be surprised at how efficient you can be before the rest of the world wakes up.

Breaking It Up Into Smaller Tasks

This is what helps me survive massive deadlines. Your focus during a busy week should be to keep your mental state pretty solid. Giving yourself mini-breaks is the most effective way, at least for me, to get things done.

For example, if I have a paper to write, I might tell myself that once I make it to the end of this page, I can check my phone or watch a YouTube video. Since I only have a small task, I’ll power through it knowing that I have a reward waiting for me.

You can take breaks as often as you need, but I don’t recommend taking many breaks longer than an hour. I get it, sometimes you need it, but really, only like one or two hour-long breaks a day. You need to stay productive during your busy week.

Good Takeout

I get it. During a busy week, you’re not really thinking about self-care. If you cook, you’re probably not cooking as much when you’re busy. That’s okay. This week you can get takeout.

I strongly recommend that your takeout be somewhat healthy. Eating something not so great for you can often leave you feeling sluggish and sleepy. You’re not going to get much work done after a meal that slows you down.

On the other hand, getting something that’s a little healthier keeps your body moving. My mother was such an angel this last week and made me some home-cooked frozen meals. To have a veggie soup in the midst of Hurricane Jacqueline was so comforting. It was quite literally a taste of home. It grounded me and kept me moving.

Turn Off Your Phone

If you can’t think of a good reason to have it on. Turn it off. Period.

One Hour of You Time

I know most of these tips have been focused on moving forward, but one thing I really suggest is taking one hour a day just for yourself. I like that time right before bed. If I want to lay down and stare at the TV, I can. If I want to go for walk, I go for one.

Just because you’re busy doesn’t mean that you have to give 100% at every moment of every day. Relax a little and your body and mind will thank you.

Follow the Momentum

At the tail-end of a busy week, I take the weekend off. However, this time when I took my weekend off, my body felt like it should be doing something. Harness this energy with smaller tasks like dishes or checking your email. Don’t go into anything crazy, but if Newton’s Third Law applies to you, capitalize on it.

That’s all that I’ve got for you today! I’d love to hear how you survive busy weeks – I know I’m still learning when it comes to managing your time efficiently! Let me know down in the comments what I got right and what I still need to learn!

And, in the spirit of moving forward, stay productive!

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Motivation, Productivity

What’s Next for This Blog

Hello! I know it’s been a little while, but I’m back! I’ve taken my time returning because I was processing changes that were happening around me. I’ve written this post several times over. But I’m okay and so is everyone around me. Let’s talk.

Reflection

Over the past month, I’ve been thinking. Like really deeply thinking about my happiness and my future goals. A reflection period I’ve put off for so long – thinking that one day my plans would just fall right in to place. I suppose in some way that was right since I fell into this growing period seemingly unprovoked.

It was then that I realized that a lot of the projects that I had created on this blog gave me short-term happiness. I was happy to do these things because I had a work product to share, but quickly realized it didn’t progress me anywhere besides acquiring a new skill.

In my self-induced hibernation, I realized what this blog has actually meant for me. I realized that these projects I was doing were setting me up for my next big thing. I was learning valuable skills like how to create a website, how to write, and how to schedule my day to be most productive.

As someone who is extremely career-oriented, I realized that while these projects weren’t wasting my time – I was learning new skills and gaining confidence in myself – but they were a huge opportunity cost. If I spent time working on my future career(s), I could have put myself a little farther.

While you all know me as a law student and aspiring lawyer, that’s not entirely who I am. I’m not actually sure I want to be a lawyer. I’ve put myself on this path to become a lawyer since I was a kid, not actually thinking about what that meant. I don’t really see myself as a 9-5 kind of person. Not that I don’t respect 9-5 jobs or think less of them, I just think I want to own my own business and accrue my own wealth. The problem I’ve always had is what business?

I realize that my primary interest is learning how to be self-sufficient. To me, self-sufficiency is owning my own business, growing wealth, and chasing actual goals. I hop from idea to idea because I am naturally curious and value consistent self-improvement.

This has been growing in me for years. I’ve mentioned before that I have a background in start-ups. I started this blog with the idea of trying many projects. I chase a career in patents and gravitate towards those who innovate. All the puzzle pieces were there, I just wasn’t able to connect them until now. This is what lights my fire: innovation and creation.

What’s Next

So, where does that leave this blog? I mulled it over for a while because I didn’t want to rush into something I couldn’t (or didn’t want to) maintain. But this blog has been a strong source of accountability and motivation for me. I share ideas and thoughts on here that only those in my innermost circles know. I like that.

I have decided to pivot this blog to follow my hustles and side-hustles. I want to show the ups and downs of me learning to be self-sufficient. My ultimate career goal is passive income from multiple income streams. I want to learn about options that don’t involve a cubicle or eight hours of my day, and I want to learn together.

I’m not talking about writing about motivation and creating “hustle porn.” You’re not going to see cheesy inspirational quotes or anything. I want to focus on the realities of exploring and experiencing these ventures. Motivation is irrelevant if you don’t capitalize on it. I want to talk about where this journey actually takes me: through the good, the bad, and the ugly.

I also want to continue projects that acquire skills. These can be used in later business moves. It’s always relevant to learn something new. I have a Slumdog Millionaire kind of perspective on things: everything always comes back to help you in some way. However, some of the projects I’ve begun on this blog will probably be paused until later notice. They may come back in the future, but not until I get a few other things going.

Expect to see some changes in this site over the next few days. I’ll be shifting into its next phase. I know that this isn’t necessarily the content that you came for, but if you’ve made it this far – thank you. No hard feelings if this isn’t for you and you don’t want to read this new content. I know it’s kind of a 180. But thanks for the support to get me here.

We’ll talk again soon.

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Productivity, Resources, Time Management

What Your Daily Life Says About You

I have a bit of a confession: I’ve always been a daydreamer. A full-blown Capricorn, I thrive on setting goals far into the future – hello, welcome to my blog! When it comes to working towards improving myself in the short-term, I’ve never really understood it.

While I’m not the messiest person on the planet, I don’t make my bed. I never have. The concept of it bewilders me: why tidy up something I’m just going to make a mess later that night? The times I’ve made my bed are strictly limited to when I think there might be evening visitors.

Girl, Bed, Hair, Bedroom, Relax, Person, Indoors

On top of that, I adhere to a strong indoor-outdoor clothing policy. This might sound strange to some people, but I only wear clothes that are a little bit rattier that in the house. The clothes I wear outside of the house are a little higher quality, so I don’t want to wear them out but running them through so many clothing cycles. Seeing as I like many others have been staying at home for the past few months, my appearance hasn’t been the cutest.

My boyfriend is the exact opposite of me. The yin to my yang, he dresses up every single day, cleans his house every night, and spends time working on the little things. While I’m not a slob, my little quirks drive him crazy. He sat me down to explain his reasoning recently and honestly, it finally clicked. I understood.

The Formula That Changed Me

He argued that our daily life is the majority of our life. Most of the time, we’re just doing what we’re doing. He rationalized it as: if you dress like a slob every day, you become a slob. That one line stopped me in my tracks. I quickly realized the formula applied to every aspect of our daily lives: if you don’t do your dishes every day, you’re a person who lives in a house with dirty dishes.

Understanding that extending self-care to the minutiae of your daily life, you see maximum improvements in overall productivity and confidence. It’s really that simple. Living in a clean house just makes you happier. Sometimes these little things make all the difference.

Bed, Bedroom, Closet, Furniture, Lamp, Light, Betstand

As someone who didn’t understand this until recently, I felt like I was experiencing a breakthrough. Seriously, my mind shattered. I focus on the long-term and didn’t realize the short-term can help you get there. I shouldn’t be surprised either. After working on projects like organizing my life, I’ve been feeling the difference. I even wrote a whole post on it a little while ago. I guess I just didn’t connect the dots.

And if that wasn’t enough, you can just be a better partner/friend/family member. Grooming makes you more attractive and confident and a cleaner house is more inviting. Make your loved ones happy!

Edit: My boyfriend read this post and added: “if you’re half a percent better every day, that’s a lot of percents better in a year.” Okay, so he’s not the most eloquent – but you get the point. Maybe he should take on Project 4 with me.

Let’s talk about the little things: what little things make your day a little more productive or happier? I’m curious where else I can improve my daily life – help a girl out here.

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Motivation, Productivity, Resources, Time Management

Four Reasons Why Taking a Break Can Boost Your Productivity

As someone who is always working on projects and posting about them every day, I can understand why people think I’m more productive than most. But I’m not. To be honest, I’m probably less productive than you think. It’s all about time management. I’m an adamant believer in working smarter, not harder.

I’ve been in rigorous academic environments for a while now and one thing I notice, especially in law school, is that so often people incorrectly equate working more with doing more. This couldn’t be further from the truth.

There is so much danger in working until you drop. That “grind mentality” leads to much less success than little progress every day. We need breaks. Breaks can be anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of days. Sometimes, taking more time off is critical. Allow me to explain:

1. Breaks Allow Your Mind To Reset

“Just sleep on it!” It’s a phrase we’ve all said, the concept of waiting to make a decision until the morning when you’re all fresh. Sometimes, though, we need to “sleep on it” in the middle of the day. Think of it as restarting a computer. When your computer is moving slow, you reboot it and there, it’s fine again!

Taking a break allows your mind to look for new solutions by looking at it with fresh eyes. You’re looking at your problem in a whole new light, right? Not quite. In difficult and nuanced situations, your brain has likely been processing your problem all along. According to a theory proposed in 2006, called Unconscious Thought Theory, your unconscious mind helps you make better decisions for these issues:

[C]ontrary to popular belief, decisions about simple issues can be better tackled by conscious thought, whereas decisions about complex matters can be better approached with unconscious thought.

A Theory of Unconscious Thought, Ap Dijksterhuis and Loran Nordgren, 2006

You can read the full paper here.

2. You Can Compartmentalize Your Work

I’m notorious for this one. If I’ve got two assignments due, I only work on the one that’s due first. I won’t even touch the second one until the first is done.

This is a useful technique for the same reasons as above. You’re keeping yourself exposed to only one problem at a time. Cranking out assignment 1 and taking a long break before assignment 2 allows your brain get ready for a new topic.

Psychologist Jordan Peterson argues that getting small tasks done can keep us motivated to keep moving and that these small changes make a big impact in our lives. It’s powerful stuff. It’s a bit more motivational than concrete evidence of compartmentalizing, but if you’re interested, you can listen in yourself here.

3. The Longer You Work, The Less You’ll Accomplish

This is the law of diminishing returns. Eventually you’ll hit a point where the more effort you put into something, say studying, the less you’ll retain. That first hour of working on something is primary real estate. Measuring out the wood you’ll cut to make furniture, chopping all the vegetables for a soup. Whatever it may be, there eventually comes a point where your brain just won’t get much more.

While I could explain more on this topic, I think it’s best summarized by a Ted Talk my boyfriend sent me last night. Go ahead, watch this for yourself. You may be surprised:

4. You’ll Probably Be Happier Doing Your Work After Taking Breaks

Scaling back can be invaluable. It’s common knowledge since burning out doesn’t feel good. But happiness can boost productivity (check out this academic paper from the University of Warwick about work environments and productivity).

It’s exemplifies why those who have the “grind mentality” might not get as much done in a day. One social media hustler, Gary Vaynerchuk, consistently advocates for working until you can’t any more. A real-estate investor, Graham Stephan, took the opportunity to explain exactly why this mentality doesn’t work for everyone – and why it didn’t work for him. I’m a big fan of this video because it promotes mental stability and also accomplishing big goals:

If you made it this far, I hope something has struck a chord that it’s okay to move slow. This method works well for me, but I want to know: what productivity tips do you have? Does this method work well for you?

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Blogging, Productivity, Resources, Time Management

What I Learned from Blogging Every Day

If it’s your first time stopping by this week, you might have noticed quite a bit has changed around here. I’ve got my own domain and have changed up the actual site! With a new theme and new featured images, it looks much better!

In the midst of these changes, Abbey and I spent a whole day doing nothing but reading in preparation for a week straight of book reviews. It was something we’ve been planning for a while as a way to relax after me finishing school! Originally, I was supposed to go visit her, but given quarantine we did it separately and checked in over the phone.

A week’s worth of consistent content has been a blast. It was tough to prepare so many reviews ahead of time, but I’ve had the opportunity to work on even more content because of it!

Additionally, I have seen a huge spike in engagement on the blog which has been overwhelming! Having the opportunity to meet some new faces and engage with people reading the same books and doing similar projects has been so much fun! On top of people visiting me, I’ve been trying to reach out to creators whose content I enjoy.

Throughout this process there are a few things I’ve picked up on that I thought I’d share. This week has given me insight as a blogger and my place in this whole mess.

Quality Matters

This is something that’s been really noticeable in my book reviews. There are books I really loved reading and others I just couldn’t wait to finish. Sometimes, it was hard to find the motivation to even write the review after and it showed. No wonder those posts didn’t have nearly as much engagement as the ones that I was proud of writing! The key takeaway I discovered was that if you don’t enjoy what you’re writing, your readers will notice.

With love and affection, it doesn’t really matter what you’re writing about – it only take one reader to identify with your content. For example, a book I really disliked was A Clockwork Orange. It had mostly to do with the – in my opinion – abhorrent slang that distorted the story line. But I really took the time to flesh out these opinions and unpack it a little more. I spent quite a bit of time writing that post and I was happy when it became one of my most-liked posts. My readers could see the love I had put into it and responded to it.

Quantity Matters Too

This week in particular I’ve been focused on putting out content every single day. It’s been challenging, but I came in with a game plan, so it was very do-able. To no one’s surprise, posting every day brought a lot more traffic.

I’m not sure if it has something to do with the Reader algorithm wanting to suggest me more or if I was creating content on subjects others already followed. Nevertheless, I found that when people visited, they checked out my other content too. Because I have a back-catalog of posts on a variety of topics, I saw that visitors were averaging higher views when I was putting out content every day.

Writing often familiarizes others with your content and gives you more of an opportunity to be seen. And maybe, just maybe, it’ll be seen by someone who enjoys your stuff.

Motivation Fluctuation

Just like any habit or hobby, if you’re truly excited about what you’re doing, doing it every day makes you even more excited. I found that I was thinking about content and working on my projects much more this week just because I wanted to.

Motivation is a rarity, so making the most of it is crucial. But exposing myself and quite frankly, some days forcing myself to write, brought more ideas and more of a desire to deliver on material.

There you have it – my thoughts on consistent blogging. It honestly comes down to finding your place and your voice on your blog. But I want to hear your thoughts: What do you think? Do you agree with my observations?

As always, thanks for reading!

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