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These Morning Hacks Will Help You Start Your Day

In lifestyle, productivity on February 22, 2021 at 8:56 am

For some people, getting up early and starting the day (or week) is easy and the fresh start is something to look forward to.  For others, getting up early and starting the day is traumatizing.  There many factors that can cause one to feel that way such as not being a morning person, always feeling tired or just not looking forward to the events of the day.  Whatever the case, staying in bed seems like a better idea.

For most adults however, staying in bed all day is not an option.  So what is the fix? Planning ahead and establishing a routine, especially if you have to get up before the crack of dawn, can make your process more tolerable and your day run more smoothly.  So the next time you have to get up super early, consider the following:

Set your alarm to your favorite song.  If a traditional blaring alarm is too aggressive and anxiety inducing first thing in the morning, try music. Choose a song that will hype you up and make you want to dance first thing in the morning.  And when that song no longer gets you excited, switch to another song.

Give yourself some time.  Make sure you give yourself a few minutes before jumping out of bed so you will have time to time to do things like meditate, pray or review your schedule.  Nothing is worse than waiting until the last minute to wake up then making a scatterbrained leap out of bed.  Not the best way to start your day.

Turn on all of the lights.  This has helped me tremendously when I have to get up before sunrise (especially in the winter).  Consider getting a timer to turn on the lights a few minutes before you have to get up so you don’t have to walk through a dark house to turn on lights.

Eat a delicious breakfast.  Take the time to have a wholesome breakfast before heading out.  Doing so helps you ease into your day, puts you in a good mood, helps your concentration and improves your memory.

Drink ice cold water.  Doing this will help you wake up instantly.

Buy some new underwear.  I can’t tell you how many times I have gone shopping for new underwear and couldn’t wait to wake up the next morning to shower and put them on.  What is it about new underwear that makes one feel powerful and ready to take on the world?

Get a morning exercise routine.  It might be stretching, yoga, or a HIIT workout which can take place in a physical gym or in your living room.  Wherever you choose to workout and whatever workout you choose to do, take a few minutes to do something to get your blood flowing, burn some calories and energize yourself.

Prep meals and outfits ahead of time.   Eliminate the morning frenzy around food and clothing by preparing ahead of time.  It might be the day before or a plan for the week but whatever the case do it ahead of time so you can focus your energy on other important things during your morning.

Be realistic about your time.  Nothing is worse than rushing to get things done.  Do you find that you are late often or that you are making it to your destination by the skin of your teeth?  Oftentimes we underestimate the amount of time it takes to get ready in the morning or for any event so make sure you are giving yourself enough time to get everything done.  For instance, just walking to the car, getting in, putting on your seat belt, turning on the car and rushing to get gas take up time that counts so plan accordingly.

Don’t get caught up.  In your cell phone or laptop that is.  Email and social media can rob you of precious time.  If you aren’t in an industry like customer support where you have to answer email right away, set up a time where you will check all of that stuff or at least wait until you are done with your morning routine to check in.

What are your best morning hacks to keep you on track for a productive day?

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6 Unproductive Habits To Break Right Now

In lifestyle, productivity on February 19, 2021 at 8:30 am

We all want to experience productivity and growth in various areas of our lives. But sometimes there are things that we do (or don’t do) that blocks us from experiencing the growth that we desire. You can read about all of the productivity hacks you want but if you are unaware or unwilling to make some behavior adjustments, you won’t be able to enjoy the advancement you desire. Continue reading to see if you are unknowingly doing some of the growth saboteurs below.

Overspending.

We’ve all been there. You promise yourself that you are going to save more money – that you are going to stop spending so much money on whatever it is you like to spend on. Yet you find yourself yet again scrolling through your favorite shopping sites only to find yourself making yet another purchase. You justify your purchase because there was a 40% off sale. So of course you needed to make a move. But think of it this way – that 40% off of $600 is $240 off. Cool – because it’s nice to get good deal. Now consider looking at the same purchase this way: you still spent $360 that could have helped you with your savings goal. Consider creating a saving/spending plan and creating a wish list for items you want. If it’s not on the list, reconsider the purchase – at least until you reach your goal.

Staying In Situations That No Longer Serve You.

This might be you and you don’t even realize it. When you do come to the realization that you are going no where fast, it can sometimes be hard to break free. If you have invested a lot of time and energy into something that you aren’t even growing from, you may even feel guilty for wanting something different. Whether it’s a job or relationship (romantic or otherwise) it is important to periodically re-evaluate where you stand. Take inventory of your skill set and career goals. Do they line up with your current work situation. In relationships, do you feel valued and affirmed? In either case, if things are not lining up, you may need to consider moving on.

Not Getting Enough Rest.

Living in what can be considered a hustle culture, it can be hard to slow down. As an adult there is so much that needs to be done in a short amount of time. Going to sleep can seem like the lazy way out. An escapist route. This can sometimes be the case but regardless it is very important to prioritize rest. Getting enough rest can actually make you more productive, energetic and alert. When that’s the case, you can continue doing all of the things you need to get done. Heck, take an intentional day of doing nothing. Schedule it. It works wonders for the psyche.

Not Saying No.

Do you find yourself saying yes to things you aren’t remotely interested in just to be nice. Do you struggle with saying no to things that you know will waste your time or that don’t line up with your core values? Stop. Now. You don’t owe anyone anything. Saying no is liberating and doing so gets easier the more you do it.

Not Writing Things Down.

Although we live in an electronic driven world and continue to move to a paperless society, there is still value in writing things down. Writing down something you need to remember creates a connection to the very thing you need to do. It also captures your attention in the moment and it can help to clear your mind. You also process things better when you write them down.

Waiting On Others.

How often do you wait on other people to do something like go to a museum or take on a new activity? And how often do you not do something you want to do because you circle of friends is unavailable or not interested. While it’s fun to do things in a group setting, waiting for others to be on the same page as you for anything can rob you of the experiences and growth you deserve to partake in.

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

Create The Perfect Work From Home Space

In lifestyle, productivity on January 27, 2021 at 8:30 am
Image Courtesy of Andrea Piacquadio via Pexels

For many, working from home has become more of the norm during these times. If this is true for you, then your living space has most likely become your workspace. And even if you work outside of your home, having a great space in your home where your can read and get other projects done is important. Creating these spaces doesn’t have to cost a ton or take a lot of time to create. In fact, creating beautiful and functional spaces that you enjoy is important and can improve productivity. I feel that when you have a beautiful space that you look forward to going to, you produce better work.

Image Courtesy of Kaboompics.com via Pexels

Think about how you want to feel when you walk into your home work space. Do you want it to feel like a hug? Do you prefer a minimal aesthetic? Do you want it to feel like an art gallery or like you just walked into an upscale hotel lobby? The choice is yours and remember you are free to switch things up with new decor whenever you feel like it.

Mackenzie Childs Queen Bee Square Pillow Cover & Insert

Adelaide Faux Fur Throw Blanket

Byredo Altar Candle

Vanligen Vase

Alto Tic-Tac-Toe Set

Setting Up Your Work Space

If you already have an actual home office, setting up and decorating might be easier for you in the sense that you don’t have to carve out a separate space to work in. If you don’t have extra space, no need to worry. With a little imagination and some key pieces, you can create a functional at home work environment that you love. For instance, you can utilize your kitchen or dining room table or get a small desk that doesn’t take up a lot of space. If possible, set up near a natural light source and of course you can always purchase decorative lighting that adds to the overall look of your work space. If your couch is the only option, consider using nice rolling storage carts and bins for your work and office supplies.

Iris Apfel Paper Weight

Spiral Twist Candles

The Hive Gilded Silverwood Table Lamp

6 Drawer Storage Chest

Quinn Lacquer Mini Desk

How To Be Productive While In Your Work Space

It is very easy to become distracted and involve yourself in non-work related activities while working from home. This makes it very important to minimize distractions. Start your day knowing what tasks you need to accomplish with a planner or notebook to block out tasks you need to complete. If you are easily distracted by every little sound, use noise canceling headphones. While working from your laptop, only keep the tabs open that you need to complete a specific task. Put your phone away or put it on do not disturb. Also, be sure to create specific blocks of time to start and end your day and eat lunch. Block out time for tasks like for phone calls and emails.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Sonos One SL

Papier Colourblock Notebook

Clever Fox Planner

You Are My Favorite Blush Pink Crown Pen Set

PHI Scissors

Jam Office & Desk Set

WFH Outfits

Even when you are at home, consider getting dressed and putting yourself together This is another way to create boundaries between work, play and relaxation. Doing this also fosters productivity. When working from home, I usually like to wear jeans and a sweater, or a slip dress and slides. Nordstrom Rack and Shein are two places where I like to get loungewear for when I’m not leaving the house or working from home.

HM Boyfriend Low Jeans

Madewell Donegal Jason Ex-Boyfriend Pullover

SKIMS Waffle Long Sleeve

SKIMS Waffle Jogger

Aerie Waffle Triangle Bralette

Dyanora Flat Slide

Aqua Two-Layer Coin Pendant Necklace

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Need one on one consulting, customization or updates for your beauty and fashion questions and concerns, visit khalilahneals.com.

Don’t Sleep Your Day Away: 5 Benefits Of Getting Up Earlier

In lifestyle, productivity on January 15, 2021 at 8:30 am

sunrise on village

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

As a child, I never had trouble getting up early – and I mean super early.  Like 5 am early.  This was not a problem during the week when I had to go to school.  The weekend, on the other hand, was a different story.  My mom, after having worked all week, looked forward to getting some extra shut eye – at least until 6:30 but there I was – padding into her bedroom, waking her up, wanting to eat and play.  At 5am.  On a Saturday morning.

Not wanting to stifle all that young energy and realizing that I might just be one of those early risers, she would set up my snacks, toys, books and showed me how to turn on the television so I could entertain myself until she awakened from her slumber.  She also purchased dark blinds thinking they would keep the sun out of my bedroom and make me sleep a little later.  Those didn’t work.

Fast forward to my adult years.  I still wake up between 430 and 6am – depending on what my schedule is.  Do I occasionally fall into a pattern of hitting that snooze button and sleeping later?  I sure do.  But since I don’t like feeling frenzied or like I don’t have any control ever my life, I usually get up when I wake up.  Waking up early helps me to be productive, focused and punctual.  I like the feeling of easing into my day and having a good amount of time to do things like workout, review my day, get dressed – all without arriving at my destination all batsh*t crazy.

But then there is you.  Maybe your internal clock doesn’t go off that early or you get up 45 minutes before you have to leave your house.  Perhaps you are a shift worker who gets off work at 1130pm so waking up at 5am is out of the question.  You might be a night owl and find yourself to be more productive later in the day.  Cool.

If, however, you are looking for reasons why getting up before sunrise/ 5am-ish can be beneficial, continue reading…

Fewer Distractions.  First off, when you get up earlier, you get the opportunity to reflect in peace.  This is particularly important if you have a family or roommates.  You will also have free range of your entire living space before everyone else gets up.  Serenity is a beautiful thing.

Gain More Time.  If you are an entrepreneur, student or even someone who is working on a particular project like writing a book, you can gain an extra 5-10 hours a week (or more) just by getting up 1-2 hours earlier.  This can be a good thing especially if you have a full time job.  You will have more mental clarity when you get up earlier and when you get home from work (or wherever), you can focus on other things that require your attention – like your family and friends.

Peak Energy, Creativity And Better Organization.  Assuming that you have had a good night’s rest, you wake up with better mental clarity and you will have more energy to actually start your day.  Those ideas that were on your mind before you went to bed are more likely to be executed.  You can also do things like get ahead of traffic and make sure you have everything you need for your day before you run out of the door.

Wellness Habits Are Put Into Practice.  How many times have you said you want to work out, eat a healthy breakfast, pray/meditate or even take the time to look nice before running out of the door?  Well when you get up earlier, you can actually do all of these things.  When you are able to put these habits into practice, it can enhance your overall well being, focus and confidence.

Sets The Tone.  Getting up early helps to set the tone for your day.  Doing so can foster a sense of accomplishment which can be the foundation of your day, making you feel in charge, able to make solid decisions.  Imagine feeling like a boss before you even leave the house?

Interested in learning how to get up earlier and take charge of your day?  Try the following:

  • Know your why.  Figure out why getting up early is important to you or why you think you should.  Do you have a specific goal you are trying to reach like start a business, write a book or workout and can’t seem to find the energy to do it after a long day? Do you want to feel more focused and in control of your day.  Knowing your why can help you stay committed to you goal or focus.
  • Start small.  If you are used to sleeping to whenever, abruptly trying to get up earlier can be painful.  Start by setting your alarm for an earlier wake up time in small increments.  If you usually wake up at 7am and you decide you want to start waking up at 5am, the thought alone is agonizing and chances are you won’t make that transition.  Instead, start by setting your alarm 10-15 minutes earlier and once you adjust to that time, then you can add on another 15 minutes or so until you are accustomed to waking up at your new time.
  • Plan to go to bed sooner.  Simply put, getting up earlier can be related to getting in bed sooner and getting a full night’s rest.
  • Put the alarm away from the bed.  Having your alarm clock by your bed can encourage you to keep hitting the snooze button and sleeping longer than you planned.  Instead, put your alarm clock on the other side of the room.  But please, when you shut the alarm off, don’t crawl back into bed.
  • Leave the room.  After shutting off that alarm, turn on the lights and leave your room and don’t look back.

If waking up earlier is something you are interested in and you aren’t successful at first, be gentle with yourself and give yourself some time to adjust.  Also, getting up early is not always about being productive.  Sometimes it’s about being able to take your time which is the most relaxing, loving thing you can do for yourself.  At the end of the day, you have to do what works for you.

Are you an early riser or do you sleep in?  What reasons for getting up earlier resonated with you?  Share your thoughts below.

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Download These Apps To Boost Productivity And Efficiency

In lifestyle, productivity on May 8, 2020 at 11:05 pm
Image Courtesy of cottonbro from Pexels

 

Who would have ever thought that cell phones would become a tool that we can’t seem to live without?  Once reserved for certain people in society such as celebrities and government officials, it seems that everyone, including children, has a cell phone

In times past, the primary function of a cell phone was most likely to make and receive phone calls on what looked like a brick with an antenna.  As cell phone design and technology advanced, people were able to browse the internet and communication via text messages was made possible by using the alternate functions of the number keys.
Fast forward to today where our cell phones do so much more.  What once allowed for basic forms of communication, modern cellular devices allow us to do things like binge watch our favorite tv shows, read books, make movies and videos and of course take the perfect selfie. In addition to that is the fact that cell phones can literally function as personal assistants, helping with day to day activities and interests with the use of apps.   There is an app for any and everything you can think of, both free and paid, which can help make navigating your day and life easier.  With a quick download on your cell phone, you can do a multitude of things like manage your calendar, create a workout plan, hail a ride, get a therapy session and even meditate.  Below are 12 of my favorite apps that can possibly help you manage your day to day activity:

The Weather Channel.  Never get caught out there again without being equipped with the proper weather attire such as snow boots or an umbrella.  The Weather Channel app gives you up to the minute alerts and data regarding weather activity in your area. There are also features such as news, live radar maps, allergy alerts and additional benefits of getting up to 15 days of weather forecasts, sunset times and the best running times with the Go Run feature. Annual subscriptions available.

Evernote.  Keep all of your ideas, notes, photos and projects in one place with Evernote. Anything that is a text, sketch, photograph, screenshot or audio can be saved/uploaded to Evernote, thus making it a wonderful creative and archival space. You can use your phone’s camera to scan and digitize documents, business cards, and more. Everything that you put in Evernote is searchable and syncs across platforms so you can start on one device and finish on another (tablet, computer or phone) without compromising information.  You can also share your information with others. Annual and business subscriptions available.

Stop Breathe Think.  This meditation and mindfulness app is wonderful for simple guided meditation.  Stop Breathe Think has breathing exercises, soundscapes and also recommends meditation, yoga and acupressure videos.  You can also explore various topics such as stress management and guide journaling.   There are over 40 free and over 100 premium activities which allow you customize your experience.  Monthly and annual subscriptions available.

Hootsuite.  Hoot suite allows you to organize your social media life in one place.  It helps you save time by allowing you to schedule posts (pics, text, stories, etc) with an auto or customized schedule to various social platforms.  View and edit before posting as well as view all of your comments, likes, retweets and reposts.

Canva/Over. No graphic design experience or degree is necessary with these apps. Canva and Over enable you to create graphics for business cards, invites, forms and so much more. You can create from a templates or add graphics, captions and logos to a photo from your library. No computer is necessary because you can create on your phone then post directly to social media or other platform.  Monthly and annual subscriptions available.

Focus Watch.  If saying focused and productive on a particular task is an opportunity for you, Focus Watch can hel with task performance and  efficiency.  Focus watch analyzes your productivity and allows you to give yourself timed breaks.  It also works in the background so you can resume activity and get notified with an alarm at the end when your allotted time is up.

Water Reminder.  Who needs to drink more water?  Who continually forgets to drink more of said water?  Well there is an app for that too. Water reminder allows you to track hydration and let’s you know how much water your body needs.  It also sends you a reminder to drink up so you can achieve your goal.

Clue Period & Cycle Tracker.  Take the guesswork out of tracking your reproductive activity with Clue.  Clue allows you to track things like your period,  ovulation, basal body temperature, fertility and PMS systems. You can set Clue up to work for you by setting reminders, personalizing tracking options and even back up your information.  With continued use, Clue which becomes more intuitive to your cycle.

My Fitness Pal.  If you are focused on tracking your food intake and nutrition for fitness or other reasons, My Fitness Pal has you covered. It has the largest database of food to choose from whether it’s from your favorite restaurant, pre packaged or homemade, making it easy to track your food/caloric intake. Tracking this information is easy with the ability to scan barcodes.  You can get in depth information regarding micro/macronutrients and estimated calories burned during workouts as well as sync with your other favorite fitness apps for a seemless experience.  Unlock all features with a monthly subscription.

Sworkit Fitness & Workout.  Feel like you are pressed for time with a schedule filled to the brim of your existence but need to squeeze in a quick workout?  Try Sworkit, an at home app that helps you achieve your fitness goals, even in a pinch.  Sworkit allows you to customize a workout to meet your needs, whether all you have is 6 or 60 minutes.  You can choose from what you need – HIIT, yoga, cardio, as well as chat 1 on 1 with trainers and track your performance.

Blinkist.  Become more knowledgeable and insightful in about 15 minutes daily with Blinkist.   Choose from over 3000 bestselling nonfiction books, to broaden your thinking and sharpen your skills across multiple categories including personal development, health, nutrition, and culture.  Available in audio and text and across multiple devices (IOS and Android).  There is a free 7 day trial as well a free subscription.

Noonlight.  It goes without saying that there is a heightened level of concern around personal safety these days.  Anything can happen at any given time and place and the ability to alert emergency personnel with the touch of a button is important.  Noonlight is a safety platform and mobile app that triggers alerts to emergency assistance.  With advanced technology, moonlight gets help to your exact location when you release the button.   Setup is easy with four pieces of information and Noonlight integrates on all of your devices and there is no need for phone calls or technicians to visit you.

 

Don’t Be Late: Do These Six Things To Help You Be On Time

In productivity on September 25, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Early is on time.  On time is late.  If you are late, don’t bother to show up.

analog clock sketch in black surface

Photo by Miguel Á. Padriñán on Pexels.com

Are you one of those people who struggle with being on time?  You are not alone.  There are many people who never arrive on time or struggle to meet deadlines.  As a result, they may suffer the consequences of tardiness – whether it’s a missed opportunity or in extreme cases, termination.  Whatever the case, there are 6 things you can put into practice to help you be on time.

Figure Out How Long Things Actually Take.  Oftentimes we underestimate how long a particular activity really takes.  For instance, that walk to the train station to get to work (or wherever) – is it 8 minutes or is it more like 13 minutes?  It’s probably more like 13  minutes when you account for walking out of your house/apartment, getting to the elevator or stairs to get out of your building then starting your actual walk to the station.  And along the way, what about those traffic lights and the fact that you need to put money on your pass to get through the turnstile – there is always a very long line especially when you are running late.  If you drive, what about the amount of time it takes to get to your car, get in, buckle up and start the car?  This is before you drive off.  And what about traffic and parking?  Every second and every detail counts when it comes to time management and unfortunately people aren’t usually unclear about their time frame, often contributing to chronic tardiness.  What is the solve?  Become clear about the amount of time it takes to complete a task.  Time yourself for a week or so in order to get a clear picture of your time factor.  This will also help you to budget in buffers for unforeseen occurrences.

Get Organized.  The habit of being organized is powerful in the quest to help you not be late.  Learn to organize your living space (even your finances) as this allows for a clear mental space and will help you get focused on the important tasks at hand.  Whether it’s for work, school, a date or even a doctor’s appointment, nothing is worse than running late when you are ill prepared.  If you are always scrambling to find something to wear, you’re not clear on your daily agenda and you can never find your keys, you will always undermine your sense of well being and your ability to be more productive.  Instead, get prepared ahead of time for your day or week.  Use a planner (digital and/or traditional) to plan out your most important tasks.  Use it as a roadmap for what your day should look like.  Pull your clothes (shoes, accessories,undergarments) for the next day/week.  This way you won’t be caught off guard by items that need dry cleaning, ironing or repairs.  If you take your lunch to work or school, prepare that at night so you can grab and go and when it’s time to leave.  Make sure your keys, wallet, purse, etc. are in a central location so that won’t have to hunt these items down.  If you are traveling someplace new, review the directions beforehand and leave early enough to reduce anxiety and to allow for time to find your way if you do get lost.

Get Enough Sleep And Don’t Hit That Snooze Button.  If you are running late often because you always oversleep, you obviously might not be getting enough rest.  Going to bed at a reasonable hour and getting 7-8 hours of sleep can help feel refreshed when it’s time to get up.  In addition, get out of the habit of hitting the snooze and just get up as soon as the alarm goes off.  Repeatedly hitting snooze can actually make you more tired and groggy and it’s very easy to mistakenly turn your alarm off and fall back into a deep thus making you late.

Stay Focused And Do Not Over-Schedule.  Learn to eliminate unnecessary tasks and distractions that won’t contribute to your punctuality.  For instance, if you are working against a deadline for a project, don’t get caught up in scrolling social media, checking emails, or taking phone calls and instead schedule breaks to take care of these things.  Also, set boundaries with those around you to respect your time.  Another way in which people end up running late is trying squeeze in the completion of projects before having to leave for a prior commitment.  Consider this:  Say you are meeting friends at 5 for dinner. You are working on a paper, you need to send an important email by 5, you still don’t know what you are wearing and it’s already 1:30.  You should stop working on that paper around 2:30, take 15 minutes to finish up and send that email take, take about 15 minutes to figure out what you are going to wear and by 3 start getting ready – assuming it takes about an hour to shower, get dressed, etc.  This brings you to about 4pm which is a good time to prepare to leave.  This may seem a bit early since where you are meeting is only 20 minutes away but keep in mind that it’s rush hour and you don’t want the evening commute to make you late.  Allowing these buffer times and considering how much time you actually have and how long each task takes can help you to be on time.

Set Your Clock For A Later Time Than It Actually Is.  Setting the clocks in your home 10 minutes or so later than it actually is can prove to be helpful in the quest for not being late.  Even when you know that your clock is 10 minutes fast, there is still that initial shock of thinking you are late that will make you move a little faster.

Say No.  Become comfortable with telling people no.  If you have several important things scheduled that need to take place and a request is made of you that you realistically cannot engage in, gently decline or reschedule.  Not saying no is a disservice to you and the person making requests of you.