The 3 Quick Steps for Feeling Productive RIGHT NOW
Overwhelm can strike at any moment and turn a seemingly organized, well-planned day into a downward spiral of confusion and self-doubt. When this happens, it’s so important that you quickly recognize the pattern and take immediate action to halt and reverse it. You can take back your day no matter how deep a spiral you have fallen into, but you need to take these 3 quick steps to get you feeling productive right now!
Step 1: Turn off Distractions
When I get overwhelmed, even the slightest distraction can cause me to panic, so I need to make sure everything that makes noise or has an alert/alarm is silenced. Silence your phone, kill the music, and turn off your computer’s audio and display. If you can’t avoid all noise completely, put on a pair of headphones or put in some earplugs to give you peace and quiet for a few moments as you gather your thoughts.
Step 2: Do a Brain Dump
When your head is spinning out of control and can’t focus on a single task to work on, you need to make space in your mind by performing a brain dump. Take out a piece of paper and a pen and just start listing out everything you are thinking about that is causing you stress or overwhelm. The items don’t even need to be task related. Jot down those negative thoughts, what they are saying and how you are feeling inside. By writing it down, you are figuratively transferring that energy out of your brain and onto the paper. This works well with anything that comes to your mind that for one reason or another, your brain just won’t let go of. So write it, dump it out and get your brain clear to focus.
Step 3: Breathe
Hopefully by this point, you have significantly reduced any distracting noise or screens around you and have completed a brain dump to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Before you get back to work and process through your to dos, take a moment to sit and breath in the silence. Close your eyes, sit comfortably and inhale deeply through your nose, exhaling from your mouth. Breathe in for five seconds, hold your breath for 2, and breathe out for 7 seconds. Repeat this process for at least five minutes before getting back to your work.
I hope these tips help you to regain your control and sense of productivity when overwhelm strikes! Let me know in the comments if you have any other tips or suggestions that you use in this situation.
Why Kim Kardashian’s Terrifying Robbery was a Wake Up Call for Us All!
You could definitely say I’m a fan of Kim Kardashian. Not just Kim, but really her whole family, at least the ones you frequently see on their reality shows. Love them or hate them, they are all very beautiful, have entertaining personalities and family dynamics, and are undeniably business and social media savvy. Which is why when news broke of Kim Kardashian’s terrifying robbery at gunpoint, I was personally shaken. As someone who works online, puts much of themselves on the internet, and relies on social media to run my business, I began to question my online activities and if my social media habits were putting me at risk for a similarly terrifying situation. To be clear, I do not think I am anything close to Kim Kardashian. Her and her families fame and fortune is far beyond my wildest dreams and expectations, however, I do believe that you, me and everyone we know on social media should consider Kim’s misfortune a wake up call for the way we each share online. In our age of total interconnectivity, it honestly only takes one person, one bad apple paying too much attention to our feeds for each of us to be in a similarly terrifying ordeal. And while the chances of something like that ever happening to any of us are truly slim, the truth is, we are all vulnerable on social media. So, after giving serious thought to this situation and what it means for me, my friends, family and followers online, I have a few insights and lessons I want to share to hopefully keep all of us safer!
1. Turn off location services
Humans are creatures of habit and I bet that the majority of content you have shared on your social media feeds were posted from places you frequent. We post from our homes, jobs, favorite restaurants and local hangouts. Although many of these locations may be “public” that is no reason to geo tag your current location so everyone of your followers know where you are and where you are not at any given time. I understand wanting to tag your location if you are at a very special event, but other than in rare circumstances, keep your location services off when you post to social media so ill-advised followers don’t begin to learn your routines and invade your personal privacy by showing up out of the blue to meet you.
2. Don’t share travel details publicly
I learned this one years ago and am still always shocked at the number of posts I see sharing travel details on social media. No matter if your social media accounts are private and you are sure that you know every one of your followers, you should never share travel details on social media. In case you weren’t aware, there are people who target individuals and families they KNOW will be away from home for extended periods of time and rob them. This has been a common practice for years, even before social media, with people who scan the obituary section of the newspaper to get details on local funerals so that they could burglarize an unoccupied home at a time when all the family members would be absent. If you think that’s despicable, consider the fact that many unauthorized home entries and robberies are perpetrated by friends and neighbors who know your travel plans, what valuables you own and are familiar with the layout of your home. We need to have a little collective common sense with these issues and as much as it’s exciting to post about your upcoming vacation and share photos in real time while you are away, you are taking a tremendous risk that someone you know and trust is taking advantage of the opportunity you have flaunted in their feed. Now, I’m not perfect with this one either, and I realize the temptation to share a post or picture in the moment is made simpler by our wifi and data connections, but even when I went away recently and shared details and posts, I did so knowing full well that my husband was working from home while I was away so my home wasn’t in imminent danger.
3. Delay sensitive posts
Of course, there are safe ways to share and situations where we can enjoy social media without putting ourselves in danger. One way we can do this is by delaying sensitive posts so that we are not giving away important location details in real time. Using social media schedulers like one of my free favorites, Hootsuite, means we can capture our moments and schedule them to go live once we have left a location. No one needs to know precisely where you are to enjoy a fun snap from a concert or event, and your great photo won’t get any fewer likes if you post it the next day. Getting into the habit of delaying your posts is a good way to share while retaining a level of privacy that is critical to your safety and well being.
4. Get some sort of security system
The most shocking detail of the Kim Kardashian robbery is certainly the fact that she was alone in a hotel room without any form of security, despite traveling with a bodyguard. Hindsight is 20/20 and of course there have been numerous interviews and reports from professional celebrity bodyguards and security experts that say a lack of security was truly at fault for this event. Now, you and I most likely don’t require a bodyguard, however, we could all up level our personal security at home and while traveling with the aid of modern technology. Potentially lethal forms of protection aside, it is relatively easy and inexpensive to install and travel with personal and home security systems. Installing a home security system was a top priority for my husband and I when we purchased our home, and the upfront and ongoing cost to do so is truly minimal in comparison to how much more secure we know we, our dog and our possessions are now at home. But what are the options for personal security outside the home and when traveling? This article outlines some awesome hi-tech security systems that you can wear via clothing, jewelry or attach to purses or keychains. Although there is some variety in these gadgets, many protect the wearer by creating audible and/or silent alerts that transmit your location and/or live audio feeds to trusted friends and authorities that can come to your aid in an emergency. When traveling, simple things like luggage tags, locks and hotel safe’s can keep our belongings secure by creating a simple barrier that will deter the average thief or opportunist. Additionally, simple door alarms and window pressure sensors are portable and inexpensive ways to provide an alert to a potential threat no matter where you are.
5. Keep valuables off your feed
A final action we can take to minimize ourselves as potential targets on social media is to keep our valuable possessions off our social feeds. I know this one can seem especially difficult because the nature of social media is to share and so often what we are sharing are purchases and products we enjoy, however, we all need to expand our common sense on this point and be careful not to overshare or highlight valuables that may draw unwanted attention. In the case of Kim Kardashian, it has been speculated that the robbers where targeting her specifically due to a very valuable ring she had been sharing on social media. It’s one thing to take a selfie wearing your favorite piece of jewelry, but quite another to post precise details of quality and value, and engaging in that type of behavior regularly may encourage attention we don’t want. Again, this is something I too have been guilty of in the past and I’m not here to tell people what they should or shouldn’t post. Let this just serve as a reminder to all of us that our behavior can be a contributing factor in why we may be targeted. Again, there are so many examples of opportunistic criminals that found themselves in the right place at the right time with the right information, and we shouldn’t assume that it won’t happen to us. So, let’s just be smart with what we share.
I know this post was a bit of a different pace for my content, however, my purpose as a creator is first and foremost to ensure I am educating my audience, and as social media is such a prevalent topic I cover, I felt personally moved to share these ideas with you in real time. I hope you gained some insight from this post and if you find this information valuable, I would urge you to share it with friends and family on your social media feeds so that we can spread the word on this important message and keep our loved ones safe. If you have any additional insight or tips you would like to share with the community, please do so in the comments so that this post can become a resource for others.
I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing,” and in the case of those looking to do their best work and be as productive as possible, mistakes are commonly made when we take concepts at face value without understanding how to apply them. So, today I want to cover the 7 common mistakes I see people make, that are most likely killing your productivity as well!
1. A Disorganized To-Do List
Anyone will tell you, if you want to get more done, you need a to-do list, but did you ever stop to recognize that your to-do list may be the cause of your productivity woes? A disorganized to-do list can often be more dangerous to your productivity than no list at all. When a daily to do list is too long to complete, fails to batch like-items together or lacks a structure for prioritization, it will debilitate even the most productive person. To remedy this, keep one master to-do list with all your open actions but make a separate daily list with a reasonable number of tasks so that you aren’t overwhelmed by the expectation you are setting. Next, list like items together or use a symbol or color code to match up items that should be done together or maximize efficiency. Finally, identify three items on that list that are the most urgent and complete those as soon as possible before moving on to the rest of the items on your list.
The concept of multitasking is an example of when common knowledge doesn’t equal common sense. Years ago, the concept of multitasking was the hot productivity tip that led countless workers into the deep end in terms of poor quality of work, focus and overwhelm. Yes, humans can do more than one thing at a time, but study after study shows they can’t do more than one thing at a time well. Work on only one task at a time, give it your entire focus until completion and then move on to the next. Don’t juggle multiple items at once or you will find all your work crashing to the ground around you.
3. Accepting Tasks Without Question
You probably think that cheerfully accepting tasks from your superiors without question makes you an excellent employee, team player, and asset to your workplace, but when we accept work without asking at least some questions, we waste time and dilute our productivity. Whenever you are given an assignment, you should always get the most important details of the task before agreeing to complete it- if you don’t you may find yourself in deep water when you either overcommit or fail to complete the assignment properly. When you are given a task, activity or project, find out specifics about the due date, expectations (quality, format, budget, goals), and possible support if you experience a conflict (who can you go to for help or information). Most of all, ensure you that understand fully whether this task belongs to you, so that you are not being saddled with someone else’s responsibility or tasks above (or too far below) your pay grade. Failing to understand these important details before committing to work can cause you to spend too much or too little time completing the assignment, cause embarrassing delays or make you look disorganized/irresponsible in the mind of your superior if you keep having to come back to them for more and more details.
4. Doing Everything Yourself
Either out of a sense of perfectionism (“only I know how to do this right”), control (“it’s my responsibility because I’m in charge”) or guilt (“I don’t want to burden anyone else”) individuals commonly kill their productivity by failing to delegate. Most of us work in teams, have a system of family and friends and/or have the ability to delegate or outsource our work, but choose to go it alone and take on everything ourselves. This can put us in a terrible situation of feeling overwhelmed, overworked and isolated, not to mention being a complete waste of our time. Understanding what constitutes the best and highest use of our time, builds key productivity and management skills that we may lack, while simultaneously shaping us into more effective people. To start this process, identify the activities that aren’t the best use of your time and figure out how and who to delegate these tasks to, both inside and outside the office. A busy working mom may see that hiring a cleaning service (or her cousin who works part time) makes her more successful at home as well as in the boardroom or PTA meeting. A junior level sales manager may opt for a virtual assistant to handle their scheduling and finances to have more one on one time with clients and climb the corporate ladder. Likewise, an amateur writer may partner with an amateur photographer to trade copywriting for headshots, capitalizing on their talents in order to delegate work to someone better suited to the task. You may think that you have no one to delete to or no way to afford assistance that may not already exist but if you think strategically, you can delegate any productivity problem.
Procrastination is the productivity killer that comes in many forms. By accepting perfectionism, we procrastinate. By overthinking a problem, we procrastinate. By failing to make decisions, we procrastinate. By leaving tasks unscheduled, we procrastinate. By over-planning, we procrastinate. The only way to end the habit of procrastination is through action. Do something (but not anything), make progress, advance a project, and action will beget action.
6. Drinking Too Much Water
I say it all the time, keep hydrated during your workday to stay sharp and prevent fatigue, but drinking too much can inevitably cause frequent interruptions in the form of bathroom breaks that can kill productivity and create bad work habits. To manage this, drink from a larger bottle and get into the habit of finishing it before getting up to relieve yourself. Drinking from smaller cups means more trips to the water cooler to refill, which increases the time you will spend out of your desk and the number of trips you make to the bathroom. Now, to clarify, it’s not the amount of water at fault, but our hydration habits. Water runs right through us, and if you like to sip, sip, sip throughout the day, you will be running to the bathroom just as often. The point here is to swap sips of water for gulps to absorb your recommended volume in fewer intervals.
7. Sticking to Only One Productivity Strategy
Nothing demonstrates the danger a little bit of knowledge can pose to your productivity as much as someone who is partial to a single strategy and blindly applies it to every situation. The point of productivity is to get more done with less time as often as possible, but humans do not live in a single-situation loop. Every moment of everyday we experience variety, which is why life isn’t a cake walk. We experience new situations constantly, so to say that one single strategy for productivity applies to everything is missing the whole point of being productive. Instead, we must learn about many productivity strategies, what they are best used for and when/how to execute them in our lives. To help make this information more accessible, I have recently started a new YouTube series called Work Smarter, Not Harder. You can check out my first installment of the series here to learn three popular productivity strategies and when they best apply. Keep up to date with the series by subscribing to my YouTube channel so you don’t miss an installment and opportunity to expand your knowledge base and learn how to work smarter, not harder!
Which of these common mistakes is holding you back from maximizing your productivity? Let’s share in the comments!
Although Fall begins in September, October is truly the month that brings the autumn chill and with it, plenty of opportunities to snuggle up with a good book and something warm to drink. So, I have been compiling a list of my favorite books to read in October. Some are quintessentially spooky for Halloween and others are classics that just feel like they need to be read with a side of pumpkin spiced anything!
Amazon Says: H.P. Lovecraft’s tales of the tentacled Elder God Cthulhu and his pantheon of alien deities were initially written for the pulp magazines of the 1920s and ’30s. These astonishing tales blend elements of horror, science fiction and cosmic terror that are as powerful today as they were when they were first published.
This handsome tome collects together the very best of Lovecraft’s tales of terror, including the complete Cthulhu Mythos cycle, just the way they were originally published. It will introduce a whole new generation of readers to Lovecraft’s fiction, as well as being a must-buy for those fans who want all his work in a single, definitive, highly attractive volume.
Amazon Says: Undoubtedly the most famous verse written by Edgar Allan Poe, The Raven is also one of the most famous poems in the world. Though it did not bring him much in the way of money, this piece was, as per the author’s statements, composed quite methodically, with an aim to appeal to the masses. And appeal it did, making Poe an overnight sensation, a household name almost the moment it began to circulate. Full of brooding guilt, moody atmosphere and love lost, The Raven depicts Poe’s overwrought narrator and that most infamous of all fowls, the titular croaking Raven.
Amazon Says: A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs.
It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive. A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.
Amazon Says: Harry Potter has no idea how famous he is. That’s because he’s being raised by his miserable aunt and uncle who are terrified Harry will learn that he’s really a wizard, just as his parents were. But everything changes when Harry is summoned to attend an infamous school for wizards, and he begins to discover some clues about his illustrious birthright. From the surprising way he is greeted by a lovable giant, to the unique curriculum and colorful faculty at his unusual school, Harry finds himself drawn deep inside a mystical world he never knew existed and closer to his own noble destiny.
Amazon Says: Few creatures of horror have seized readers’ imaginations and held them for so long as the anguished monster of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. The story of Victor Frankenstein’s terrible creation and the havoc it caused has enthralled generations of readers and inspired countless writers of horror and suspense. Considering the novel’s enduring success, it is remarkable that it began merely as a whim of Lord Byron’s.
“We will each write a story,” Byron announced to his next-door neighbors, Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin and her lover Percy Bysshe Shelley. The friends were summering on the shores of Lake Geneva in Switzerland in 1816, Shelley still unknown as a poet and Byron writing the third canto of Childe Harold. When continued rains kept them confined indoors, all agreed to Byron’s proposal.
The illustrious poets failed to complete their ghost stories, but Mary Shelley rose supremely to the challenge. With Frankenstein, she succeeded admirably in the task she set for herself: to create a story that, in her own words, “would speak to the mysterious fears of our nature and awaken thrilling horror — one to make the reader dread to look round, to curdle the blood, and quicken the beatings of the heart.”
Amazon Says: In 1603, James VI of Scotland ascended the English throne, becoming James I of England. London was alive with an interest in all things Scottish, and Shakespeare turned to Scottish history for material. He found a spectacle of violence and stories of traitors advised by witches and wizards, echoing James’s belief in a connection between treason and witchcraft.
In depicting a man who murders to become king, Macbeth teases us with huge questions. Is Macbeth tempted by fate, or by his or his wife’s ambition? Why does their success turn to ashes?
Like other plays, Macbeth speaks to each generation. Its story was once seen as that of a hero who commits an evil act and pays an enormous price. Recently, it has been applied to nations that overreach themselves and to modern alienation. The line is blurred between Macbeth’s evil and his opponents’ good, and there are new attitudes toward both witchcraft and gender.
Amazon Says: English solicitor finds himself at the center of a series of horrifying incidents. Jonathan Harker is attacked by three phantom women, observes the Count’s transformation from human to bat form, and discovers puncture wounds on his own neck that seem to have been made by teeth. Harker returns home upon his escape from Dracula’s grim fortress, but a friend’s strange malady — involving sleepwalking, inexplicable blood loss, and mysterious throat wounds — initiates a frantic vampire hunt. The popularity of Bram Stoker’s 1897 horror romance is as deathless as any vampire. Its supernatural appeal has spawned a host of film and stage adaptations, and more than a century after its initial publication, it continues to hold readers spellbound.
Amazon Says: This is the book that started it all! The basis for the smash hit Tony Award-winning Broadway musical, Gregory Maguire’s breathtaking New York Times bestseller Wicked views the land of Oz, its inhabitants, its Wizard, and the Emerald City, through a darker and greener (not rosier) lens. Brilliantly inventive, Wicked offers us a radical new evaluation of one of the most feared and hated characters in all of literature: the much maligned Wicked Witch of the West who, as Maguire tells us, wasn’t nearly as Wicked as we imagined.
Amazon Says: Jack Torrance’s new job at the Overlook Hotel is the perfect chance for a fresh start. As the off-season caretaker at the atmospheric old hotel, he’ll have plenty of time to spend reconnecting with his family and working on his writing. But as the harsh winter weather sets in, the idyllic location feels ever more remote . . . and more sinister. And the only one to notice the strange and terrible forces gathering around the Overlook is Danny Torrance, a uniquely gifted five-year-old.
Amazon Says: This spooky addition to Alvin Schwartz’s popular books on American folklore is filled with tales of eerie horror and dark revenge that will make you jump with fright.There is a story here for everyone — skeletons with torn and tangled flesh who roam the earth; a ghost who takes revenge on her murderer; and a haunted house where every night a bloody head falls down the chimney.Stephen Gammell’s splendidly creepy drawings perfectly capture the mood of more than two dozen scary stories — and even scary songs — all just right for reading alone or for telling aloud in the dark.
If you have any October favorites you would recommend, please make sure to share yours in the comments below, or better yet, snap a pic of your favorite books, post it to Instagram or Twitter and tag me @MissTrenchcoat and use #CharmedGTD so the whole community can get inspiration from your recommendation!
Are you ready to seriously jump into the halloween spirit this month? There is no better way than with an awesome playlist of spooky Halloween hits! I don’t know about you, but I have a diverse pallet when it comes to my music taste and there are so many great songs that totally embody the spirit of Halloween for me, so I have put together a fresh playlist for you to feast your ears on! Feel free to use it at an upcoming Halloween get-together or on your car ride to the pumpkin patch!
If you enjoyed this playlist, I’d love to hear about it and I’d be thrilled if you would share it with your friends and family through social media so we can all enjoy some spooky October tunes while we wait for our candy covered comas to arrive!
We talk a lot about productivity and achieving more of your goals here on my blog, but have you ever stopped to ask yourself what a productive day would look like to you? The first step when you are trying to achieve any goal is to understand what the results should look like, and that goes for designing your day as well. I gave some thought to this idea and I came up with a framework that I believe is the basic anatomy of a productive day. Now, granted, this may not be a one-size fits all schedule, but I do think that we should all be making time for each of these daily activities and integrating them into our days more often to regularly establish a habit of productivity into our lives.
A productive day…
…Starts on Time: It’s hard to have a productive day after oversleeping and starting your day off on the wrong foot, so make sure you have a hard wake time for your day, even on the weekends, if you want to set yourself up for success.
…Includes a Morning Routine: Whether your morning is 6am or 6pm, you should have a simple routine established to help you get ready to start your day. Click here if you’d like to learn more about morning routines and establishing one for yourself.
…Happens in an Organized Space: For most of us, being productive requires a bit of organization. I realize that people do have different working styles, and some of us need organized spaces to work while others can work in clutter, but be aware of your work style and make sure you are starting your workday in the proper environment.
…Requires Time Spent Planning: There is no doubt that in order to have a productive day, you need to take time, first thing, to look at your plans, schedule and tasks. During this planning time, you should prioritize your top 3 activities for the day and keep a to-do list with next action items ready to go.
…Manages Time in Blocks: Depending on your work for the day, in order to create and sustain your focus, you should divide your day into time blocks of anywhere from 20 minutes to 4 hours. Assign specific work to your blocks of time and keep a timer or clock in sight to make sure you stay on task and on time.
…Makes Time for Regular Breaks: Within those time blocks, make sure to give yourself regular breaks for meals, decompression, and to stretch your legs. You should take 15 minutes off for every 2 hours of work, and 30 minutes off after 4 hours at work.
…Wraps Up Your Workday Seamlessly: At the end of your workday, take time to wrap up and recap what you have done and what you have left to do. Make a to-do list for the next day, clean your workspace and turn off any work related devices. Don’t forget to leave work at the proper designated time because after a productive day, you need to shut off and remain on time for your personal life.
…Treats Dinner as a Scheduled Event: While you were doing your daily planning or even at some point before that, you should have planned out what you are having for dinner. After a long work day it’s so easy to get lazy about your last meal of the day but doing a little bit of planning or prep ahead of time will transform dinner from a chore to a treat.
…Prioritizes Self Care: When you work hard, you also need to play hard, or in this case, you need to ensure you spend time taking care of yourself so that you are in tip-top shape to have another productive day tomorrow. Click here for some great self care ideas if you need some.
…Winds Down with an Evening Routine:Just as your morning routine helps you prepare for the day, your evening routine helps you transition from productivity to sleep. Spend time on your nightly hygiene, reviewing your day and swap screens for books an hour before bed.
…Ends with a Scheduled Bed Time: Just as it is important to start your day at a regular time, you should also end your day with a scheduled bed time to optimize the amount of sleep you will get to be refreshed and prepared for your next productive day!
I’d love to hear how you add these elements to your day and what a productive day looks like for you so make sure to leave me a comment down below!
A lot of the content I create on my platforms is strategy based, where I’m sharing a process for how to do something specific or how to course correct your already established processes. But making new change is always difficult. I’m not blind to that fact. It’s hard for me, it’s hard for you, and most of all, when we badly want to make a change and try to put a new strategy into place, it can be discouraging if we don’t see that we are making progress. Most of us have a very bad habit of giving up before we reach our goals and I bet if you asked, quitters would say they gave up because “it wasn’t working” or “I wasn’t able to do it.” If you’ve ever given a similar excuse, I bet what you really meant to say was “I tried but I didn’t see any progress so I quit!” It’s hard to see progress, especially if you are really making progress because usually, when you are in the thick of it trying hard and actually moving the needle, you don’t notice anything different because you’re too close to the change to notice a difference. To see progress we need to step back and look at the big picture. So today I want to share with you a few different ways you can do that so you can tell if you are making progress on your goals!
3 Ways to Tell You’re Making Progress
1. Track your actions and results:this works very well with any goal or project that includes measurable objectives like weight loss or sales. You should keep track of your actions, what you are actually doing to make a change, as well as your measurable objectives. This works because when you see your actions, you become more accountable. And when you see the results, you connect the dots between how your actions made a difference. Don’t be surprised if this simple act of tracking ends up being your greatest motivator moving forward because connecting those dots can be very powerful and give you a sense of control over your goal and your life.
2. You’ve hit a roadblock: Change always brings with it a new set of challenges to overcome, and luckily for us, most people see their roadblocks clearer than their progress. So if you are working towards a goal and aren’t sure you have made progress, think about the challenges you’ve faced in the process. The presence of a challenge alone means you were making change, and if you were able to solve the problem and overcome it, you are seriously moving forward.
3. The plan keeps getting tweaked: If you think that having to change your original plan towards your goal means you have failed to make progress, think again! Just like roadblocks, alterations and adjustments are part of the path of progress. If you find that you are negotiating a lot more than you used to as you plan your life around your goal, this means big things are happening. Progress is difficult because it involves adjusting life as you know. Even if you think you set a goal or established a new routine for a minor part of your life, you’ve really started a domino affect that will shift your whole world around you, even if it’s ever so slightly.
Think about an area of your life where you are making change but don’t feel like you’ve seen any progress. Can you apply any of these insights to your situation? If you can identify measurable objectives, start tracking your goal immediately!
Fall is here and for many of us planner girls, it also happens to be our favorite time of year! September brings that fresh start, back to school feel, embellished with sweet but spicy candle scents from Bath & Body Works, Pumpkin Spices Lattes from Starbucks and of course beautiful autumn accessories like riding boots and blanket scarves! The best part about the fall, in my opinion however, is Halloween! Other than my birthday and Christmas, Halloween is one of those days I wait for all year! I can’t wait! So, to celebrate this season I put together a set of printable planner goodies to help you personalize your planner for the Fall months in style! Let’s take a look!
The first part of my fall collection is called “Let’s Fall in Love” and takes inspiration from a Parisian Cafe! This collection includes 5 unique graphics that can be used as planner covers, dividers or dashboards for your planner, as well as a set of journaling cards as pictured above!
And of course, no collection would be complete without a set of vertical square planner stickers as pictured above! Print these out on full sheet labels, cut out the simple squares and Voila! You have a never ending supply of inspiration for your planner!
The second half of my fall planner collection is a homage to Halloween called “I Put a Spell on You!” Don’t you just love the lyrical inspiration for the names of these collections? No matter if the title of this collection evokes Nina Simone or a trio of witches from Hocus Pocus, this collection is going to have you spellbound with a collection of 6 cover art graphics and journaling cards. Take a look below at the designs and I’ll bet you’ll be enchanted!
And last but not least, a printable sticker set that you can use to cast a spell on your planner for inspiration and productivity this fall!
I can’t wait to see how you use these goodies in your planner, so make sure to take a picture and share it on Twitter or Instagram, tag me @MissTrenchcoat and use #CharmedGTD so everyone in the community can get inspiration from you as well!
It’s back and better than ever and I want to spend just a few moments giving you some important details about this year’s launch! First of all in case you didn’t know, the Charmed Life Planner is available in both A5 and Personal size Filofax equivalents.
2017 Charmed Life Printable Planner A5/Half Letter
The A5 version, pictured above, has a vertical week on two pages layout for your daily planning, along with month on two pages layouts, a master monthly task list and an expense sheet for every month! It’s a complete printable planner solution but this year I’ve made it even better. Printing inserts at home isn’t always the easiest, printers are not all created equal and there are different paper sizing standards around the globe that make designing a single usable file difficult to manage. After talking to many customers who use and love the Charmed Life Planner, this year I’m adding 2 additional files to your A5 Charmed Life Planner purchase to give you options when printing your planner at home.
The three (3) files you will now get for this size are:
US Standard Half Letter File (same as last year’s design)
US Bordered Printing Option (so those with printers that cannot print borderless don’t have to guess on how to scale the file)
True A5 File designed to print on A4 paper (for those of you who use A4 as your standard).
The 2017 Charmed Life Printable Planner in personal size is the same great day on one page design as last year with the muted time table for scheduling a full day of events and tasks! Due to its more compact size that prints well on US Letter or A4 , this planner was easier to print without issue and so there is no major design changes or additional files necessary. This size, as well, includes the month on two pages layout, a master monthly task list and an expense sheet for each month of the year.
This year I have decided to swap the Business Planning Bundle with a Functional Planning Bundle for both the A5/Half Letter and Personal size planners. The bundles will include the Charmed Life Planner in your choice of size, the Yearly Project Tracker, Project Planning Sheet and an additional Task List.
For a limited time, when you purchase ANY 2017 Charmed Life Planner or Bundle, you will receive two (2) great freebies!
#CharmedGTD Quick Start Guide: Inspiration and instruction for working smarter, not harder
Exclusive Downloadable Graphic “I’m a List Lover with a Planner Problem!”
Both Freebies are included in the downloads for your purchase automatically!
Make sure to check out my recent planner set up video for my full announcement and my updated planner set up video and I can’t wait to see how you set up your 2017 Charmed Life Planner, so make sure to take a picture and share it on Twitter or Instagram, tag me @MissTrenchcoat and use #CharmedGTD so everyone in the community can get inspiration from you as well!
September has really been a very successful month for me and my business in a number of ways. After getting back into the groove of work and productivity in August, I have not only kept the ball rolling, but I have also taken some positive steps to help me build habits and routines for success in my life. Here is a summary of how it all went down in September!
What I Didn’t Do
1. Let Myself Get Stressed Out:This month my husband and I had a few unexpected issues with our new home that really shook us up, and although I definitely had a few ugly cry moments, I was surprised at how well I handled the stress that can come with unexpected home repairs. If you follow me on Snapchat you probably know, things actually ended up working out better than expected, but I was impressed by how I managed to keep a positive mindset during the whole ordeal and take things one day and one minute at a time.
2. Worry About Being Perfect: I’m not perfect, you’re not perfect, my business isn’t perfect, homes aren’t perfect! Although I have always been a fan of the quote “Done is Better than Perfect,” I feel like I lived through that a bit more this month. Two specific things that I applied this to were my Planning for Success Master Class and my Work Week Vlog. I realize that I am pretty good at product development, but I ALWAYS worry when I launch a new info product about how it will be received. After all, when it comes to information and knowledge, there is so much out there and a lot of it is free, so I tend to get a bit neurotic when I launch a class. But I actually took some time during the process to sit and think about how I go through this cycle with every info product and it really helped me to quick breakthrough the fear so I could create. In the end the class was a smashing success and the reviews are through the roof with positive feedback! Same goes with my Vlog that went live on the 18th. I don’t like to vlog, I don’t think I’m good at it, and as the clips began to add up I was concerned that no one would want to watch it because it was close to an hour and that everyone would think the content was trash. But, done is better than perfect, so I hit publish and was pleased to see another positive reaction from my audience. They really are the best, but I just need to keep reminding myself that fear is part of the creation process and use previous examples to keep me focused on getting the job done!
3. Confuse My Priorities: Priorities were a pretty major topic in my life this month and I took many steps to be crystal clear with mine. I did a really good job of keeping those priorities in balance and because of it, this month really felt like my life was falling into place. I never really thought of my life as feeling out of place or out of sync, but keeping my priorities straight really brought a profound sense of clarity to me that I can’t say I have experienced thus far in my life.
What I Did Do
1. Focused on Self Care: It was Self Care September, after all, and so I specifically took action on self care items I had been neglecting. This all goes back to my priorities and that my number one priority is ME! If I’m not taken care of, I can’t do much for anyone else or for my business.
2. Established a Regular Meal Routine: This was one of the big self care items I tackled this month and I’m very proud to say that all month, I did an excellent job eating regular and healthy meals! You may think this is an odd thing to have to build into a routine, but for me, I have a tendency to wake up and get to work and forget to eat until nearly dinner time. This bad habit ended up creating a terrible cycle of binging and overeating that led me to weight gain and a lack of structure in my day. Meal times are so important to help you structure your day, I think most people may take this for granted. Regular work breaks are necessary and for most people, a growling stomach would be an internal alarm to stop working and get a bite to eat, but for me, there is some disconnect between my belly and my brain that makes this hard for me. Luckily, I have started this great routine for myself and will regular oversight and maintenance, I hope to keep it going strong!
3. Took a Vacation: Earlier this summer, my mother, sister and I planned a girls trip to celebrate my sisters 21st birthday (yes, we are nearly a decade apart in age). At the time, I thought to myself the end of September would be a good time because it was near her birthday and by September, I thought I would have everything in order with my new house. Of course, that was wishful thinking, but despite moments where I have felt like canceling on this trip due to work or house obligations, I’m glad I didn’t. I’ve been reminded so many time this month that there is no “right time” for any specific thing. We have to make the time, keep the plans, and live or else our lives will pass us by.
What I Learned
1. To Shake it Off: Something I have been noticing lately is how I don’t seem to let little everyday issues upset me as much as they may have before. Overall, I think my stress level has just plummeted recently and because of it, I don’t let the drama or negativity that is prevalent on the internet affect me personally. I think when you stop taking things personally you end up being so much happier.
2. The Importance of Taking Care of Myself: It’s pretty much common knowledge that taking care of yourself is important, but honestly, for me it was never really a common practice. Yes, I did engage in self care regularly in the past, and take time off for myself and spend time on my own hobbies, but I think that there is a mindset shift that happens when you truly understand that you haven’t been taking care of yourself and you really need to. So far my progress has been good, I’ve visited my Drs for some lingering health issues that I have been ignoring, I’ve started eating regular balanced meals, and I’ve kept up this mindset that I’m a priority and need to deal with my issues first and not last. I’d say it has resulted in this reduced stress, positive mindset I’m currently in. Will it last forever? Probably not. But am I seeing first hand the positive effects that routines and good habits have in your life? Absolutely. So when I do eventually fall off the wagon, which I’m sure will happen one day, I think this experience will help me get back on quicker.
3. To Optimize My Space: Now that we are settled into our new home and this feels like a more permanent home to me than any of my apartments ever did, I have spent a good amount of time this month understanding how I can optimize my space. Not just in my office and my home, but even in my business. If you watched my Work Week Vlog you may have seen my new robotic vacuum cleaner that I ordered in order to optimize my home care after I was faced with the problem of having so much more space and surfaces that need care. Hopefully, the robot will help me automate some of my chores so I don’t feel like taking care of my home is my second full time job! In terms of my business, I’ve been asking myself how I can optimize my brand, my income streams, my work, all to help me remain clear on my goals and find a direct path to execute on my plans. I’ve outlined and brainstormed a few projects and general plans this month that I want to work on through the end of the year to really help me start the new year with a fresh take on my business.
So that is my recap for September. I hope you found some nuggets of information in their and some examples that may help you think about managing your entrepreneurial lifestyle a little more productively. Of course, I want to hear how your month went, so please share your insight from September in the comments.