Thursday, June 30, 2016

Tips for Crushing Your To-Do List


Lately (as in the last couple of weeks), I've been finding it very hard to finish up everything I have on my ever-expanding to-do list. Every time that my tasks pile up to an enormous amount, I tend to shut down in a sense. Like I have no idea where to even begin, so my brain kinda goes into this trance like state + I abandon all motivation to finish anything, let alone everything. Then I spend my free time (time that could have involved being productive) lollygagging around; watching Netflix, scouring around Pinterest for new recipe ideas or mindlessly scrolling through Instagram. The day draws to an end, I look around at the things that were not completed and then I get pissed at myself for wasting almost an entire day. Anyone else deal with this nonsense?

I'm all for the occasional lazy day (or mental health days as I so often refer to them as), but when it turns into a lazy week (or weeks in this case), I just can't deal. I feel like I need to get my life together (haha — cue the dramatics). So, in hopes of helping myself and others who are in the same boat, I've compiled a list of strategies for crushing my to-list more effectively.

Break your time into chunks (the 30/10 rule).
I've actually done this in the past and it really helped. Try dividing your work / breaks into a thirty to ten ratio. Spend 30 minutes working diligently, then take a 10 minute break to clear your mind — listen to music, do some stretches, grab more coffee, etc.

Prioritize your tasks.
Instead of looking at your whole to-do list and freaking out about it, try placing the most important tasks at the very top of your list, or writing them down in a different color ink. These are items that must be done within a specific time frame. By doing this, you won't run the risk of wasting precious time doing something that really could have waited another day or two.

Grab some more coffee.
Coffee or highly caffeinated tea will be of much help whenever that midday energy dip hits (unless you have a caffeine allergy or intolerance). I try to limit myself to two cups of coffee a day. After my first cup in the morning, I try to have another around two or three in the afternoon since that's normally when I begin losing momentum. However, everyone is different, so find what works for you! If you aren't fond of coffee or tea, some energy boosting snacks include almonds, bananas, apples, popcorn + yogurt.

Don't be unrealistic with your time frames.
You gotta be real with yourself when it comes to how long it'll take you to complete certain items on your list. I'd recommend overestimating the time for each task rather than cutting yourself short. And don't leave your break times out of your equation. Having a realistic time frame will insure that you won't run out of time (which would obviously cause you more stress).

Put away all distractions.
This one is a biggie, especially after social media + streamable entertainment came onto the scene. If you have things to do that require your undivided attention, try placing your phone on silent or leave it in another room while you're working if you can. Use your 10 minute breaks between tasks to check your notifications, catch up with texting people, or scroll through Pinterest.

Start the day with your most dreadful task (i.e. eat the frog).
In the words of Mark Twain, ❝Eat a live frog first thing in the morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.❞ In other words, if you have a task on your list that you're absolutely dreading, choose to do it first thing in the morning. Once it's out of the way, everything else you have to do will seem like a breeze in comparison. It makes a lot of sense, really.

Don't beat yourself up for tasks left unfinished.
Last, but definitely not least, don't get upset if a few items aren't completed when your day draws to an end. Instead of focusing on the things you weren't able to finish, go over everything that you did accomplish. Focusing on all of the things you were able to knock off your list rather than stressing about what was left undone will be more beneficial to your overall well-being. Trust me!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

#PrayforOrlando


I've become a bit numb to the violence + animosity that is constantly demonstrated in our world these days. Every time I flip on the news, there's another heart-wrenching story to learn about. I've blocked it out. In a sense, I've built up a wall. I have become desensitized to the horrors that go on each day. I guess I'm just so accustomed to seeing and hearing about these tragedies that they no longer come as a surprise. But the grim scene that unfolded last night, that has completely shattered me.

Maybe it's because it hits so close to home, in a town that I've grown to love over the years + visit frequently with my family. Or maybe it's because I'll never be able to wrap my mind around the reasoning behind such a ruthless, inhuman act of brutality. Whatever the case may be, my heart aches for all those who have been affected by this undertaking of pure hatred. No one should fear for their life or the lives of their loved ones. There's not much else that can be said, as the whole thing has left me somewhat speechless. Praying that God brings peace, comfort & restoration to the families / friends of those who were slain.

The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit. ― Psalm 34:18

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Currently // June


READING · As I shared a few days ago, I've recently started reading a book called When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker. So far it has been a very heartbreaking read. But, then again, it is about a woman who dies of cancer and the family she leaves behind in the wake of her passing. So, I was aware that it would be a sad story. June 13th actually marks four years since my dad lost his battle against cancer so maybe I subconsciously chose to read this book in June based on that fact. Who knows! I'm also chipping away at Alice's Adventures in Wonderland as well, though I highly doubt I'll finish reading it this month. #slowreader.

WATCHING · My mama and I have been hooked on HGTV shows as of late, especially Fixer Upper (I now understand what all the hype was about). Chip + Joanna Gaines are hilarious. G and I started watching 12 Monkeys on Hulu+ a couple weeks back. It involves time travel during a post-apocalyptic era. That right there should explain why I'm already a huge fan! It's fantastic.

LISTENING TO · Sadly, I haven't been listening to a great deal of new music (recommendations please). Just the usual indie, acoustic + instrumental faves. Copeland, Agnes Obel, and Audiomachine in particular. The song below's been on repeat lately.

DISCOVERING · That a person's attitude truly makes all the difference. Complaining, grumbling + being negative only make situations worse. Stay positive, remain grateful, and never forget that things could always be worse. Just roll with the punches.

PLANNING · A few fun things to do over the summer. Since our Disney passes are straight up blacked out during June + July (not complaining), I've been scooping up different Groupon offers for places near us to check out in the meantime Odessa Wildlife Rescue and Sanctuary, Race to Escape + Florida Air Museum, to name a few. I found some new restaurants to try too.

CRAVING · Oddly enough, a blackened mahi-mahi sandwich from Pinchers. I don't crave seafood very often, but dang man.

WISHING · That we didn't have to wait to start redecorating our house. My mama and I have so many plans to totally redo the living room + kitchen, but there's just no time (or extra funds) to do what we would like to do at the moment. It's all good though. We can still keep getting ideas while we wait. We're thinking of going with a coastal / beach theme throughout the entire house.

FEELING · A wee bit perturbed about an upcoming choice I have to make near the end of the summer. I may be putting my two weeks notice in at Target within the next 6-8 weeks. Once G starts school in mid-August, it's going to be nearly impossible to balance all of my part time jobs with his school schedule and still keep my sanity. It's also time for me to step into the business side of our family business instead of solely working out in the field. I'll be making the same amount as I would be making at Target and working mostly from home, so it's a no-brainer. I've just never quit a job and I love my coworkers, so it's bittersweet.

PRAYING FOR · For strength and guidance in the weeks and months to come. I feel like we are about to shift into a new season of life. Although I'm very excited, I'm also a little nervous. However, I trust that God will be with us every step of the way.

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Rad Reads · The Bullet


Thanks to Tropical Storm Colin, I was able to knock out the rest of this lovely thriller yesterday. I'd been pecking away at Mary Louise Kelly's, The Bullet, since late April. I typically reach for pieces of nonfiction literature, but this book gave off a very distinct allure when I was skimming the Kindle book deals that day. One that caused me to click the big orange 'buy now with 1-click' button as soon as I had finished reading the overview. I've long been drawn to mysteries, but it had been quite some time since one swept me up the way this one did. The end of each chapter kept me impatiently awaiting the next.

"Caroline Cashion is beautiful, intelligent, a professor of French literature. But in a split second, everything she’s known is proved to be a lie. A single bullet, gracefully tapered at one end, is found lodged at the base of her skull. Caroline is stunned. It makes no sense: she has never been shot. She has no entry wound. No scar. Then, over the course of one awful evening, she learns the truth: that she was adopted when she was three years old, after her real parents were murdered. Caroline was there the night they were attacked. She was wounded too, a gunshot to the neck. Surgeons had stitched up the traumatized little girl, with the bullet still there, nestled deep among vital nerves and blood vessels. That was thirty-four years ago. Now, Caroline has to find the truth of her past. Why were her parents killed? Why is she still alive? She returns to her hometown where she meets a cop who lets slip that the bullet in her neck is the same bullet that killed her mother. Full-metal jacket, .38 Special. It hit Caroline’s mother and kept going, hurtling through the mother’s chest and into the child hiding behind her. She is horrified—and in danger. When a gun is fired it leaves markings on the bullet. Tiny grooves, almost as unique as a fingerprint. The bullet in her neck could finger a murderer. A frantic race is set in motion: Can Caroline unravel the clues to her past, before the killer tracks her down?"

See what I mean? The plot draws you in from the get-go. As much as I enjoyed diving into this one, the last half of the story threw me off just a bit. Certain decisions that Caroline made didn't exactly line up with her character (or the character we had essentially grown to know), although I decided to chalk it up to all that she had experienced throughout the course of the book. Truth be told, the outcome of the story had somewhat of a suspected twist that I had seen coming earlier on. However, it certainly didn't downplay what transpired during those final chapters. I was still pleased with the conclusion.

Overall, I found Mary Louise Kelly's writing style to be charming. I especially liked the way that she weaved Caroline's love of Parisian culture throughout the entire tale. Needless to say, it was a very good read and I'd recommend it to anyone who fancies mysteries and thrillers alike. I'd like to read her other book, Anonymous Sources, as well (though it doesn't sound as enticing).

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Goals for June


May was crazy. It was a good month, albeit a hard one. Between Mother's Day, our wedding anniversary, a handful of trips to Disney, wacky work schedules, unforeseen car repairs and having to briskly help my brother + his family move into a new home last week, I barely had time to breathe. But, like I said, it was still a good month. I didn't have a chance to complete everything.

┆ MAY RECAP ┆

(✔✘) Finish The Bullet + one other book.
(✔) Continue studying for the GED math exam.
(✘) Take photos for our 6th wedding anniversary.
(✔) Visit Disney at least three times.
(✘) Keep tracking calories throughout the week.

➜ ➜ ➜

We're already a week into June, so I'm not setting the bar too high with my goals this month.

Continue + finish reading When I'm Gone.
I've been on a roll with reading more this year. I'll admit that in years prior, I would turn to television for entertainment more often than books. However, thankfully, that hasn't been the case this time around. I still watch television, just not as much.

Finish clearing out the office room.
So. There's a certain corner of our office space that is stacked high with boxes, clothing and other random items that are in dire need of being sorted + placed in more appropriate spots around the house (or given away). It's long overdue, really.

Visit Haslam's bookstore with G.
Oh, Haslam's. This gem of an establishment has been on my list of places to visit for a few years now. Ever since my brother informed me about all this bookstore has to offer, I've desired to peruse every nook and cranny myself.

Cook one new meal.
Trying out new recipes has always been a favorite of mine, but it seems as though I've nestled into a certain meal rotation over the past few months. I think it's time to spice things up a bit by adding in at least one new meal, if not more!

Have at least two family nights.
Above, I mentioned that my brother + his family moved into a new home. Well, that home is now a whopping 15 minutes from our house. With that being said, family nights must recommence! Now that they are closer, I'm hoping to visit more often.

Blog at least once a week.
Y'all know this is a leap for me, lol. I've never had consistency when it comes to this space (whomp, whomp), but I'm striving to change that. Once a week should be easy enough. Key word: should. We'll see how it works out.

Pay off a significant chunk of credit.
I  absolutely loathe owing money and I know that our amount of debt is nowhere near the amount that most people have to pay off, but I'd still like to cut out a pretty decent portion within the next month, if possible.