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Life Hacks

Life Hacks, Resources

Get Your Productivity On

Don’t even tell me you’re not guilty. We all do it and we all have our favorite way to do it.

We’re talking about procrastination. 

All in the name of productivity, we’ve rounded up our 5 favorite ways to fight procrastination. We can’t be perfect every day, but here are a few tips. We’re gonna try one tomorrow…

  1. StickK 

StickK is a web app that helps you create a goal and stick to it using a personal commitment contract. You can make simple goals like cleaning the kitchen, or big goals like quitting smoking or buying a house. With StickK, you have the option to put money on the line and add referees to help keep you accountable. If you put money on the line, you’re up to 3X more likely to succeed in completing your goal!

  1. The Two-Minute Rule

This rule is based off of physics. As Sir Isaac Newton taught us, things at rest tend to stay at rest, while things in motion tend to stay in motion. If there are things you’ve been putting off but can complete in 2 minutes, you should just do them now. So, go ahead and set your dentist appointment or transfer money to your savings account. Next, spend 2 minutes on bigger things you’ve been putting off. If you want to eat healthier, look up a new healthy recipe and make a list of what you need or prep some grab bags of fruit. Once you’ve started, it makes it easier to eat healthier every day because you’ve already spent 2 minutes preparing. 

  1. Pump Up the Jams

This one is for those of us whose biggest distractor is chatting with coworkers. Invest in a solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones. This will keep you from chiming in on friends’ conversations, as well as keep people from interrupting your work unless it’s for something really important!

  1. Make a List

One simple thing that can be really helpful is to make a list. It may seem obvious, but many of us still don’t do it. Making a list each morning, or at the beginning of your week, can help you visualize all the things you need to get done. It’s also nice to be able to check something off that list and give yourself a boost of confidence. If you’re really into planning and list making, you could use a site like Asana or Wunderlist.

  1. Remind Yo’ Self

If you’re a spender, this may be your favorite option on the list. There are tons of cute products out there that you can use in your work space, whether you’re a busy stay-at-home parent whose office is their SUV or a CEO who practically lives in their corner office.

Try this agenda by Ban.do:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And these fun pencils from HollyOddly on Etsy:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh! By the way, reading this blog post wasn’t procrastinating— it was vital research.

 

Life Hacks

How to Make Your Home a More Peaceful Place

Your home says a lot about you. It’s a safe haven after a long day at work, and it should be one of your favorite places to come back to. When you’re married, it’s also a shared space where both of your styles come together. But, how do you make your home a peaceful space you love? There’s a hack that will help both of you relax in your space: decluttering.

Sounds easy, right? Maybe. According to the LA Times, the average American home contains around 300,000 things. No wonder you feel like you’re drowning in your own stuff! So, where do you start? Try these three tips to declutter like a boss.

Take an inventory.

Go through all the items in your home. Yes, even the stuff crammed in your drawers, under the bed, and in that tiny corner of the closet no one sees. Ask yourself these questions: Do I love this item? Does it bring me joy? Have I used it in the last month? Here’s the kicker: you’ve got to ask your boo about each thing, too. Really evaluate whether you and your love enjoy or use each item. If you haven’t looked at it or thought about it in the last 6 months, it’s probably clutter you can live without.

Take a picture.

If you’re wrestling with number one because you’d be heartless to get rid of those hideous dishes Aunt Myrtle gave you, this tip is for you. It’s hard to hurt people’s feelings—especially when well-meaning friends and family give you so many wedding gifts and home items. Next time you’re tempted to keep something out of guilt or because it gives you all the sentimental feelings, take a picture of it. That way, you gain the space without losing the memory.   

Take time before you buy.

So, you’re at the store and you see the perfect print for your space. Plus, it’s on sale! What do you do? Resist the urge to impulse buy. Most clutter comes from mindless shopping. Before you buy anything for your space, honestly ask yourself if you really need it. If you can’t justify it, consider coming back for it in a few days. Odds are, you’ll forget all about it. And if you still can’t refuse, snap a picture for your cutie and ask for their opinion first.

There’s nothing better than coming home with someone you love to a place you love. So, use these three tips to make your home a peaceful place you’ll both enjoy.

Life Hacks

Take the Selfie Your Face Deserves

When you take a selfie, you’re putting your face out there for the world to see! If you take one with bad lighting, squinting, or a double chin thrown in—well, you’ll probably just call it a night, right? 

Taking a selfie is serious business. You’re showing your face to the Internet universe. You want to get it right, and we’ve got your back. 

Here are some ways to show your beautiful face & fun Datebox date to the world:

LADIES

Lighting:

Outside: Always put your back toward the sun. You’ll look like a little angel baby with the sun glowing around your head. 

Inside: Find natural light and use it. Try sitting by a window, and this time face into the light. Don’t put the window behind you. Let the light from the window give your face a great glow. 

Find the right angle:

If your arm is fully extended, you’re holding the camera too far away. Keep it close. Look up (slightly) for a longer neck and slimmer face. Try angling your face and body to see what works best for you. 

Show those curves, sister

Get those hands up on your hips, when I dip, you dip, we…But for real, get a hand high on your hip. Bring one knee up, like you’re going to bring it all the way to your chest. (Just kidding—definitely don’t do that. We’re just going for a little raise.) Work that Bend and Snap, girl!

FELLAS

Outside: Get in the same flattering light as the ladies. When outside, keep your back towards the sun, and select an interesting background. 

Inside:If you’re inside, find the most natural light. Lamps tend to give a yellow light that’s unflattering. Try going for window light and put your face toward the light (opposite of outside). Just make sure you’ve picked up your living room first. 

Outta that box: Always have some sort of interesting background or reason you’re taking a selfie in the first place. There’s nothing interesting about you snapping a pic in your cubicle. Think outside that box, literally. 

All the feels: Finally, give the camera some kind of expression. Show that you’re excited to be at an awesome game—flash us those bright chompers. 

Feeling contemplative at an art gallery? Give us your best pensive stare. 

ERRRYBODY

Fess Up: It’s never cool to use #nofilter or #nomakeup. Let’s all just be honest. You know you put a filter on it. Own it! 

The filter to rule them allDid you know there’s one filter that will instantly give you warmth, tone, and extra awesomeness? It’s the Red filter on Instagram.

To use the coveted Red filter

  1.  Open Instagram
  2.  Select the photo you want
  3.  Tap “Edit” at the bottom
  4.  Scroll right to “Color”
  5.  Choose the red option 
  6.  Tap the red button again and slide to your desired intensity

Magic!

You’re now a selfie ninja whose powers rival Kim Kardashian’s! Wield the knowledge wisely, & remember: no double chins.  

Life Hacks

4 Ways to Become a Morning Person in No Time

Have you ever been jealous of your friends who get up at the crack of dawn to work out? Or the person who always beats the crowds at the best brunch places because they just love getting up early?

Becoming a morning person might be easier than you think. Here are four easy ways to start:

1. Create an evening routine. The best way to have better mornings is to start off with better nights. Remember when you had a bedtime as a kid? It was way more helpful than you think. Set a standard time to be in bed every night—even on weekends—and your body will eventually adjust.

2. Limit your screen time before bed. At 3:00am, watching one more episode of The Office seems like it makes perfect sense, but maybe you should pick up a good book instead. Probably before 3:00 am—just sayin’. (Pro tip: don’t read on a smartphone or tablet that has lots of screen light. Stick with old-fashioned paper or an e-reader, like an Amazon Kindle.) Along with cutting out TV time, it’s best to stop mindlessly scrolling through Instagram before bed. If you just can’t break your smartphone addiction, enable Night Shift on your iPhone to reduce the harmful blue light coming from your screen.

3. Stop hitting snooze. When you keep waking up and falling asleep by banging the snooze button, you’re interrupting your body’s natural rhythm of sleep cycles, which only makes you more tired. It’s the same reason you can feel less tired by just getting out of bed at 6:00am than by snoozing until 7:30, even though you technically got more sleep. Science!

4. Get some natural light in your room. If you can open your blinds at night without disrupting your sleep, the payoff in the morning will be waking up to beautiful, natural sunlight. If you can’t do this for whatever reason, invest in a Philips Wake-Up Light. It’ll automatically simulate sunrise 30 minutes before your alarm time. I’ve used one for almost four years, and it’s awesome.

If you follow all these tips, I’m certain you’ll be on your way to beating the crowds on Saturday mornings at your fave brunch spot in no time.

Life Hacks, Resources

5 Tips for Great Self-Care

Self-care has become a bit of a buzzword on thousands of Pinterest images, but it’s no joking matter. Taking good care of yourself is not only good for you, but good for the people around you.

When most people hear the term “self-care,” they probably think of people with way more money than them taking lavish vacations in Maui. But that doesn’t have to be true—in fact, the best ways to practice self-care are completely free.

Here are a few free or low-cost tips for great self-care:

1.)  Go for a run or hit the gym. One of the best ways to find the motivation to exercise is to remind yourself that you’re giving your body something good, not taking something away from it. Download a free Couch to 5K app and start training, or hit up a friend to go lift weights over your lunch break. It’s okay to start small—even once a week! Soon, you’ll find your routine and start feeling healthy again.

2.)  Ask a friend out to lunch. Let’s be real: sometimes the reason we feel like we don’t have enough friends is because we don’t enjoy time with the ones we already have. Take the initiative and send a text to the BFF you’ve been missing. Catching up over lunch at your fave spot is good for the soul.

3.)  Spend some time in nature. One of the best things you can do for your mental health is to get time away from artificial lighting (especially if you work in an office with no windows) and spend some time in nature. Eat your lunch in the park, bike to work one day, or go for a run at sunrise.

4.)  Keep a journal. Regularly jotting down your thoughts has been shown to reduce stress and improve your mood. Whether it’s a sentence a day or a few paragraphs, it’s easy to get started. Pen and paper are great, but if that’s not your vibe, check out apps like Day One or Five Minute Journal.                                                                                               
5.)  Schedule a date night. It might not seem as spontaneously romantic, but find a night to go out with your sweetie and put it on the calendar. Pro tip: look for deals on non-peak days, like BOGO tacos on Tuesdays or free museum admission on Thursdays.

Life Hacks

How to Achieve Inbox Zero in Time for Date Night

“Honey, can’t you just put down your phone and talk to me?”

Sound familiar? If you’re that guy (or girl) who can’t seem to stop hurting your honey’s feelings by replying to work emails during a romantic dinner, you know that something needs to change. Put on your big-kid pants & follow these steps to tackle email once and for all.

1. Stop letting it pile up. This is the number one deadly sin of email: doing nothing. When you go through your inbox, make it your goal to not let it just stay there. If you can (or need to) act on it immediately, do it. If it’s information you can read quickly or spammy marketing email, either archive it or delete it, depending on if you’ll possibly need it in the future. Otherwise, move it to an appropriate folder, which leads us to step #2:

2. Use the power of folders & your calendar. Most email programs like Outlook or Gmail allow you to create folders for your email. Some people go a little crazy and create too many folders, but they’re best used when you only have a few. Here’s what’s worked for me:

  • Follow Up ASAP — Check this folder at the end of every day to see what things you need to address immediately or prioritize first thing the next day.
  • Follow Up Someday—This is where the power of your calendar works its magic. File things in this folder that need a response eventually, but aren’t urgent and can wait a few weeks. Then, set a recurring 30-minute calendar invite (with yourself) on the first Monday every month to go through this folder.
  • Notifications—This is where notifications from sites like Basecamp, Slack, Google Docs, etc. should automatically go. You can set up a rule in Outlook or Gmail that files these automatically.
  • Archive — This one’s pretty self-explanatory. This is the ultimate destination for most email. After it’s gone through one of the folders above, or if you don’t need to take action on it from your inbox, file it here. Put EVERYTHING in one archive folder; the power of search on both Gmail and Outlook is great enough that there’s no reason to have the hassle of multiple archive folders.

3. Turn off your mobile notifications. Wait, you can do that? Yes, you can do that. The reality is that you don’t need to be notified of every single email you get. If it’s an emergency, calling or texting are much more efficient. If you can’t quite bring yourself to completely turn off notifications, try using the “Do Not Disturb” function during date night.

If you start putting these tips into practice, you’ll be on your way to glorious Inbox Zero in no time—all the praise hand emojis! Your sanity (and your honey bun) will thank you.