Categories
Career Tips Inspiration Productivity

5 Work From Home Tips When Motivation Just Isn’t Enough

I have quite a bit of experience working from home these last two years and quite honestly – I love working from home and am excited to continue doing so! There are times though (more than I like to admit) that I am just completely distracted or lacking all motivation to have a productive day. So, this year I decided to create some new habits and set-up my workspace in a way that gave me the extra boost of inspiration to work when motivation just wasn’t enough.

1. Clean, clear and under control

If there’s one thing that has helped, it’s creating a space that is clear from all distractions. I removed everything but the necessities on my desk. I even removed pens that didn’t inspire me. I brought my desk down to the basics and it has made a huge difference. When I find I’m getting overwhelmed, my desk is the first place I look for signs that I need to take a step back and clear my head. If it’s a mess, I just automatically feel like everything is cluttered and overwhelming.

2. Use productivity hacks to your advantage

I tried the pomodoro technique (or at least an adaptation of it) and it really helped my productivity. Here’s the coles notes: you select a task and then set a timer for 25 mins. You work solely on that one task for the timer and then take a 5 min break. You then continue this pattern 4 times and at the end of the block (2 hours), you take a longer break. I pick my playlist a head of time and set up everything on my computer that I will need and then start the timer. Though I’ve found success setting the timer for 30 or 60 mins, it just depends on what I’m focused on. This cube timer from amazon has really helped keep me off my phone and in the zone.

3. Create a a weekly to-do list

I found this career tip on TikTok and I’m obsessed. Tracking tasks day by day or project by project was just not working and didn’t give me the full week’s picture. This spreadsheet (watch the video below!) has been a game-changer. Even if you aren’t looking for a raise or promotion (but I mean, who isn’t), it’s perfect to help manage your tasks, workload and prioritize your tasks based on their value-add to the company and stakeholders!

@breakyourbudget

Your best shot at a promotion is PROOF. This is how you can set yourself up for success! The best part is it’s so easy and you can start now!

♬ Say So (Instrumental Version) [Originally Performed by Doja Cat] – Elliot Van Coup

4. Honour your time

I loved listening to the Before Breakfast podcast during my morning commutes to the office before the pandemic. And I recently discovered that the same host, Laura Vanderkam, also has a podcast called The New Corner Office that talks about all things career and working from home. In the episode Move beyond the urgent she talks about ensuring that you’re dedicating time every day in your schedule to high priority, but not urgent tasks. Projects that you can move the needle on and that will ultimately benefit you, your career and the company. I’ve started scheduling 2 hour blocks in my schedule at least 3 days a week to work on these projects so that I don’t get so wrapped up in responding to daily emails or unplanned tasks that pop up.

5. Get ready every single day

Anyone else’s #WFH wardrobe totally doom and gloom? Yea, mine too. Whether we like it or not, our work from home looks are now 2 years old and it’s time to start putting yourself together! I’ve been curling my hair, putting on some makeup, thoughtfully picking out my outfit and adding my favourite jewellery pieces. I feel 1000 times better when I put the time and effort into myself before I pour from an empty cup for someone else. A morning routine would work well here too, but I’ll be honest, I’m still trying to put one together that I truly love. ✨work in progress!✨.

Take what you need and leave what you don’t! Remember you can always hit trial and error and find what works for you. Everyone’s working style is different and the beauty of working from home means that you can figure it out until you find the style (or mix of styles) that works best.

Leave a comment down below if you have any tips I didn’t mention here!

Categories
Holidays Inspiration Lifestyle

25 December Bucket List Ideas to Make the Most of the Holiday Season

As excited as I am every year for the holidays, it can be overwhelming and emotionally challenging when you’re dealing with loss of loved ones. Pangs of excitement and sadness all at the same time. What I try to remember is that they would have wanted me (and you!) to enjoy it and live life to its fullest – to spend and treasure time with family and friends.

All of the decorations and bells and whistles are incomparable to the true meaning of Christmas: to spend time with the ones you love – family, friends, your community, your furry pet. So whether you’re going through a tough time this season or just excited to get the holidays started, here are 25 holiday bucket list ideas (many of which I’ll be checking off my list this season) to get you in the Christmas spirit.

Be Merry To Do List:

1. Visit a local community ice-rink and skate

2. Make your own Hot Chocolate and snuggle up to watch a Christmas movie.

3. Can’t be with friends and family in person? Schedule a virtual Gingerbread House making party!

4. Learn to bake your family’s tried and true recipes so that you can pass it down for generations!

5. Visit an outdoor Christmas Market.

6. Purchase a gift from a small business.

7. Buy an advent calendar – you deserve a festive treat everyday leading up to Christmas!

8. Pour a cup of Peppermint tea, snuggle up with a blanket, journal about what you’re grateful for presently, reflect on the last year and dream of what you want in the future.

9. DIY your Christmas wrapping paper. I LOVE a good potato stamp and some craft paper!

10. Go through your winter clothing and donate jackets and cold weather accessories you no longer wear to a local shelter or clothing drive.

11. Sing Christmas carols with family and friends. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is sing it loud for all to hear!

12. Send Christmas cards, whether you make them yourself or purchase them, it’s the thought that counts! Bonus – print out photos of you and the recipient, it makes them even more special.

13. Make a playlist of your favourite Christmas songs!

14. Put together a small self-care pamper kit and gift it to someone who needs it.

15. Watch your favourite classic holiday movie – Elf takes the cake for me!

16. Bake Gingerbread cookies and decorate them with family.

17. Go on a drive or a walk around your neighbourhood to see those Christmas lights.

18. Take family photos! Whether you set up your iPhone and tripod or get them done professionally.

19. Plan a festive day-trip or let the planning be done for you with Guess Where Trips.

20. Wrap your Christmas gifts while watching your favourite Hallmark Christmas movie (can you choose just one?).

21. Go through old family photos and organize them into photo albums.

22. Learn about your family’s ancestry and heritage with your parents or relatives.

23. Make a homemade gift, whether it’s food or a craft, it’s the thought that counts!

24. Try out a new cozy dinner recipe from scratch and pair it with a festive cocktail.

25. Plan a holiday get-together with family and friends and play some festive games.

What is one thing on your holiday bucket list you can’t wait to do this year? Let me know if the comments below 💌.

Categories
Growth Inspiration Lifestyle Mindfulness Wellness

Self-Care Journal Prompts for a New Month

Every month I try to take some time to reflect. Jot down my highs and lows from the month, what I’ve learned and what I’m looking forward to. I don’t believe that you need to be moving the needle forward all the time – then we wouldn’t truly appreciate and live in the moment. But it’s always a good idea to have dreams, goals and plans for getting to where you want to go, while being happy with what you currently have. 

I typically start with my monthly reflection by journaling and then I’ll finish by creating a mood-board on Canva or creating a new Pinterest board. Having a visual representation really helps me to zone in on what I’m looking forward to and sets the tone for the rest of the month. I usually create seasonal vision boards (check out how I created my spring digital vision board here), but lately I’ve been gravitating towards monthly inspiration like the one below!

If you’re looking for some guidance on where to start, here are some of my favourite journaling prompts for monthly self-reflection. Take what resonates, leave what doesn’t! 

Looking back:

  • What were the top 5 highlights from this past month? 
  • What are 3 things I’ve learned this past month? 
  • What do I wish I would have done differently?
  • Did you run into any challenges this month? How did you face them?
  • If I could describe the past month in one word or phrase, what would it be and why? 

Looking ahead:

  • What am I looking forward to this month? 
  • What are my top 3 goals for next month? What are some things I can do to achieve even just one of these?
  • What is one milestone I’d like to achieve this month?
  • How am I using what I learned from last month and paying it forward?
  • What affirmation, phrase or quote am I gravitating towards for inspiration this month?
  • What am I manifesting for next month?
  • Do I see any obstacles this month? If so, what are some ways I can face them?

Happy journaling! Are there any other prompts you like to use? Let me know in the comments below.

Categories
Crafts Holidays Inspiration Mindfulness Wellness

The Best Hobbies for Stress Relief (And They Make Perfect Gifts)

During the last few years and in the midst of a pandemic, I found myself so wrapped up in work and stressing about what was happening in the world that I somehow lost my “play”. At the end of the workday, without any social activities, or the regular routine, I found myself burnt out. But I couldn’t figure out why or even how? In my head, it didn’t make sense. I’m not commuting any longer, I’m not socially drained or going out late at night (lol as if I did before the pandemic, but you get what I mean), so what gives? Short answer? I didn’t have a way of effectively managing my stress. Sure, I love yoga and meditation, but those also seemed like tasks that I needed to complete. 

Enter: crafting. Some of my fondest memories were summers spent at my grandparents house knitting, painting, woodworking, sewing, making cards – you name it. We kept busy by being creative and taking time to learn new skills – for fun. With no purpose other than to create. I wanted to pick back up the hobbies that brought me so much joy and as a way to remember my grandparents to stay connected to the memories that I hold so dear. What I didn’t anticipate was the stress relief it would provide. After doing more research, I found that having leisurely hobbies is actually linked to lower levels of depression.

So, my question to you: when was the last time you tried something new for the first time, just for fun? Get on YouTube, watch some video tutorials (there are so many helpful channels with exactly what you’re looking for) and get started! 

Here are some of the best hobbies to try for stress relief, especially as the weather gets colder here in Canada! Plus, they make the perfect gift for those in your life who love to get creative. P.P.S. All of the shopping links are from Canadian Small Businesses on Etsy

1. Embroidery

There are so many helpful tutorials online, plus many of the beginners kits have detailed instructions, plus all of the materials and tools you’ll need! This is on my list for my next crafting project.

2. Knitting

My grandmother taught all of my sisters and cousins how to knit when we spent time at her house up north during the winter and summer breaks. I only hope to be as great at knitting as she was one day!

3. Puzzles

How beautiful to be able to frame a puzzle that you’ve spent so long working on!? Whether for yourself or a gift – this is a great leisurely hobby. This one is my favourite from Fits Puzzles.

4. Watercolour

Okay, this has been by far the most rewarding hobby I’ve started the past few months. And I’m currently making my own Christmas cards with watercolour! It started off rocky, but I kept practicing and started following tutorials (like the one below) and slowly started to get it. There’s something so satisfying about mixing colours together and creating something that I’ve never been able to do before.

5. Colouring

A classic! There’s so many fun adult colouring books now and a pretty inexpensive hobby to pick-up.

6. Bullet Journaling

Take a regular journal to a whole new level. There are so many page variations you can do, from themes to favourite books to mood trackers. The choice is all yours! Pinterest and YouTube are great sources for inspiration.

7. Paint by numbers

This is one I haven’t tried yet, but have given paint by numbers as a gift and the response was positive! Painting made straight forward, and kits (like the one above) gives you everything you need!


Happy crafting! 🧵 What hobby are you most excited to try? What else would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!

Categories
Inspiration Lifestyle Wellness

My Favourite Journal Prompts for Gratitude

As I mentioned in my previous post, being “temporarily” laid off has actually been a positive – or at least I’m choosing to look at it that way. I’ve always been the type of person who was busy doing something. I worked full time in retail, while I was studying full time completing my undergraduate degree, I was singing on the side, trying to have a semblance of a social life, stay connected with friends and family, think about building my future, etc etc etc. There’s not a moment where I thought all of it would stop. And yet, now it has. I’m still obviously thinking about my future, but I’m living each day now kind of excited to do things. I’m excited to have my morning coffee and write in my journal. I’m excited that I’m trying out intermittent fasting. I’m excited that I get to walk the dogs when it feels like a good time to walk them. I’m excited about creating content like this. Of course there’s still grief, worry and anxiety during this uncertain time… but it seems like priorities have immediately shifted, and I’m choosing to see the positive in this.

When I think back, I was happiest when life was simpler (wasn’t everyone?). Creating vlogs before vlogs were a thing, re-designing my room every September because I loved the feeling of a fresh start, researching because I was curious about the world and not because it was assigned to me. Simple. This pandemic and what’s happening in the world is terrible, frightening and worrying. But when reflecting on what brings me joy (courtesy of Rachel Hollis’ #Next90Challenge), I realized that when things are a bit slower paced and I am able to really connect with myself, my family and nature, that I am much more fulfilled. I think a big part of this realization though was facilitated by finding and writing down gratitude in the little things. I know that there are plenty of resources on gratitude practices (heck, I’m following one right now), but I figured it could be helpful to share some questions to ask yourself to find gratitude in your day, even if it’s small. So if you’re writing down things you’re grateful for (and if you aren’t, you should) and you need a bit more guidance than just “things you’re grateful for” prompt, then take a look at some questions I find helpful below.

1. What inspired you today?

Ask yourself this question: What inspired your today? Did something bring you joy? Maybe instead of asking what you’re grateful for, you can ask what inspired you. Did you see something on social media? A hilarious meme? An encouraging message?

2. Who did you connect with today?

Just because we’re social distancing right now, doesn’t mean that we can’t connect. Did you reach out to virtually network? Did you have an amazing team meeting? Who did you chat with that brought you joy?

3. What had a positive impact on you today?

Think about an action, task, comment — literally anything that had a positive impact today. Did you try a new at home work out? Did you make a delicious and healthy breakfast? Did someone pay you a compliment? Did you journal or practice some self-care?

4. What is something small that happened that brought you joy?

It can be as small as having a clean kitchen, to watching the sun rise. Ask yourself: what is something small that happened that brought a smile to your face? I must say, having a clean kitchen and tidy space had brought me a lot of joy during this period.

5. What action did you take today?

Maybe you made coffee this morning with your favourite creamer. Perhaps you went for a long walk. What is something that you personally did – for yourself or others – that made you feel gratitude.

These are some of the prompts I ask myself when writing 5 things that I’m grateful for each morning. It’s easy to say “having a roof over my head” and sometimes, yes, given these uncertain periods, it’s absolutely something to be grateful for. But I think you can dig deeper and find the little hidden gems in your daily life. Sometimes rephrasing the question and looking at it through a different lens is what you need to truly see the good that’s in your day.

Graditude Prompts_pinterest

 

What are some things you’ve been grateful for during these crazy times?

Categories
Baking Inspiration Lifestyle

Getting Back Into Writing + Blueberry Scones

First things first. I am not a professional baker but I love to bake and I figured during my temporary unemployment, this would be a great time to start sharing some things that I love on this platform again. Plus, I have to keep my writing up to snuff during this time, or I’ll literally spend majority of my time binge-watching HGTV.

For those of you who may find yourself in a similar situation, I hope that you’re also doing something to keep you inspired. It’s hard right now. So if some days you feel like couch surfing all day, then do it. I know that I’ve had my mix of feelings since this pandemic started – fear, sadness, anxiety, worry. But I figured this was finally the time to start things back up that I’ve been passionate about — I’ve wished for more time and now I have it. Maybe not quite the way I wanted it, but it’s all about shifting perspective.

So with that being said expect more content on here and I hope that it brings you some joy and inspiration during this hectic time in our world.

Recipe Review – Fraiche Food Full Hearts

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Inspired by my lack of baked goods readily available, and determined to become a decent cook by the end of this isolation period, I decided to try out the Vanilla Cherry Scones recipe from Jillian Harris and Tori Wesszer’s cookbook, Fraiche Food Full Hearts. I’ve actually made a few of their recipes during this social distancing period and I can say that I’m pretty impressed, and I really love the plant-based, dairy-free options.

I’m a cherry fanatic. I love them. Some of my fondest memories of my summers at my Grandparents house is sitting with a bowl of cherries with my grandfather. However, frozen cherries (since they aren’t currently in season) aren’t great in my opinion. My husband also happens to dislike cherries, so I figured it would be a good idea to swap them out for frozen blueberries this time around.

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Overall, the recipe is quite easy and calls for few ingredients. The only part I struggled with was shaping the dough. This was my first time making scones, so I learned the hard way that flour on your hands is a good idea. Also, the least amount of handling, the better as the blueberries were starting to burst and melt as I continued shaping the disk.

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They aren’t overly sweet, but I do wish there was a glaze or topping recipe for this. Luckily, my best friend, Lindsay over at The Lekker Kitchen, is a formally trained cook and gave me some insider tips to make this recipe even better. AKA lemon glaze. Yes. So much yes. Check out her latest amazing creations over on her site!

Regardless of the topping you choose (or don’t choose) I would definitely recommend trying out this recipe – even if you’re new to baking! Makes for a yummy breakfast or snack option. And it’s probably worth doubling up if you have more than just two people in your household. 😉

I’d love to know — are you doing anything new or picking up an old hobby during this time?

Stay healthy friends!
xo