5 Daily Habits to Increase Productivity

When it comes to productivity, we often think it involves stuffing so much into each hour to squeeze out every last second.  For the most part, however, we should approach the idea of productivity in a work smarter not harder approach.  Productivity isn't about squeezing every last second out of each minute it's about intentionally using each minute, one day at a time, to move towards our goals. 
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Making the most out of your day includes taking care of yourself. so let's talk about how we can be more productive while also being mindful of our own physical and emotional needs.

Plan & prioritize

I talk a lot about the importance of morning routines here on the blog!  Starting your day off on the right foot means knowing which foot needs to hit the ground first.  Plan and prioritize what needs to happen in your day by making a list and editing it.  You may find that prep the night before helps you prioritize the next day.  You may find that making time in the morning to create your to-do list is best.  Just take 5-10 minutes to make your plan.  Your head will be on straight and you'll have guidance through the day.  You may also find diffusing something like Rosemary, Lemon, and Peppermint gives you focus & pep in the morning.  (Read more about essential oils here.)

Make Time to Move

Exercise gets you energized.  Moving and stretching wakes up your mind & body, plus all that mumbo jumbo about exercise and endorphins can help you stay on track during the day.  I find that when I get moving in the morning I'm more ready for the day - tasks are tackled easier, I'm more even tempered, and I'm more alert.  I also find when I get moving after work I've released any tension built up for the day and found a bit of a second wind.  Making time to move not only crosses exercise off your list (a win for productivity) but it also gets you energized to do more.  Just don't over extend yourself!  A light work out - most often I prefer yoga - can help you connect into yourself.  You can also use this time as a meditative space to connect in with your mind & body.

Clean Everyday

Again, we'll be marking something off the checklist but we'll also be creating a less cluttered work space.  After all, a cluttered desk is a cluttered mind...right?  If you've ever been distracted by the mess on your desk or thought you've got to do the dishes before you can get anything done, coming up with a simple cleaning routine can help ease your mind.  I clean for 30 minutes each evening and find that this gives me the peace of mind to get things done.  I'm not stressed over what I haven't done because I know I've done something and I'll get to something else tomorrow. PS. If you need any inspiration to get in a quick clean, look up clutter quotes on Pinterest....then reexamine your life, they are super deep.

Practice Gratitude

When we're happy & when we feel successful, we're more likely to get stuff done!  One thing I've been doing recently is saying thank you....out loud....to the universe (and to others as well) when something happens that I've been working towards.  I've mentioned before about creating a vision board and taking action toward bringing the things you want into your life, but what do you do when they actually happen?  You say THANK YOU and you appreciate the opportunity.  This reflection shows you your capabilities and helps you realize when saying no serves you.  You don't have to get elaborate with your gratitude practice just be mindful of when to express your thanks and say it openly & freely!

Go to Bed Earlier

You may think that cutting yourself short on time in the day means you're not getting as much done, but it is just as important to shut it down as it is to rev it up.  If you've started your day on the right foot, you want to end it there too.  Unplugging and unwinding will free up your mind of clutter so get off the computer (I'm typing this in bed right now, so do what I say...not as I do!) and do something low tech - bedtime yoga, night time stroll, read a book, sip tea on the front porch.  Self care is important and so is a good night's sleep.  Diffuse something like Lavender and DoTERRA's Breathe for a restful sleep.  If you've gone to bed earlier you can totally plan and prioritize your morning.

And with that, we've come full circle.

Productivity is one of those quality over quantity things - you get out of it what you give into it.  Create a space for you to be your best self and that will allow you to be productive.  Learn what serves you and what isn't in your best interest.  This is a constant flow of self editing as well.  Try out new routines, adjust to new surroundings, incorporate new practices....just don't give up on yourself!

If you want more productivity tips, check out all the productivity posts on the blog here.

What daily practices have you noticed impacting your productivity?  Are there any systems you recommend for productivity?

xoxo, Moe


Three Big Tips to Actually Using Your Planner

I'm pretty sure one of the biggest questions when it comes to actually diving in to using a planner is 'well, how will I remember to actually use it?This can cause some hesitation and make you believe that you may not even really need a planner (spoilers: I think everyone can benefit from a planner!)  You may also be thinking 'that is a silly question', but not everyone can easily see how a planner can help them in their daily life.
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I think one of the keys to using, and getting the most out of, your planner is mindfulness.  I talked a lot about mindfulness last year, but the basic gist of mindfulness is being conscious & aware.  We often rush around our lives leaving our lunches on the counters & forgetting important papers on the train.  The easiest way to do more of something is to make it a priority - we must be mindful of what we want in our lives and we must take action to make it so.  Mindfulness can create routine and routine will create habit!  So here are some tips on how to actually use your planner:

Make it a habit

Remember that thing I just said about routine?  If you make using your planner a part of your morning, evening, or daily routine you'll begin to rely on it and eventually that will free up your mind from remembering all the things!

Put your planner in a place you'll see it

Do you have a command center at home?  A main desk you're always working at?  Put your planner in this location so that you'll always know where it is.  Write in important things when you know them either on sticky notes if something is tentative or on your main calendar if it's already become a  plan.  I love using Frixion pens for my planner so just in case something changes I can quickly erase it.  These sticky notes fit perfectly in a lot of different planner systems - from personal size to A5 - with out taking up too much room.  You can also use these page marker style post-it notes for shorter items.

Carry your planner with you

Each day, grab your planner from its designated home and stash it in your bag.  I used to not bring my planner with me because I didn't really use it at my 9-5.  Now I use my lunch break as a social media power hour so having my planner has become a necessity.  If you don't use you're planner as much outside of the house, you may find the more you carry it the more helpful it is.  You won't be double booking yourself on occasion and you'll have everything you need at your fingertips.....just in case.

Schedule planner time

Creating a routine around your planner will increase your chances of using it.  Schedule time to plan out your week on Sunday evenings, schedule time to check in mid week, and then schedule time to celebrate your wins on Fridays!  This can also double as a little self care time if you're getting creative or if you just really feel happy when you're working in your planner.  I love that this little functional habit actually makes me feel creative!

Make it your master plan

There are different schools of thought on what should be in your planner.  There are even debates on whether using multiple planners is necessary.  I'm here to tell you that you should do you boo boo and that my Mini Happy Planner is my master plan....it holds everything!

Vision board

If you planner holds everything, make sure it holds your vision for the year.  Create a mini vision board to store in your planner so when you open it you'll be reminded of what you're working towards this year.  You can also create smaller, actionable lists that you can refer to to make sure you're reaching your goals.  I use the Mini Happy Planner graph fill paper + the pocket pages to create mini vision boards.  Learn more about using graph paper here.

Monthly view as the big picture plan

For your master plan, use the monthly view for the bigger picture.  Create an overview of your month so that you know due dates, appointments, & activities.  This will give you an idea of when things are happening & when you're free.  It will help you schedule your time better.  Personally I have two monthly views in my Mini Happy Planner - one for family stuff (like bills, appointments, gatherings, etc) and one for social media (editorial calendar, sponsored content, etc).  I still house this all in one planner though so I can easily see what time I have.

Weekly view for plans & tasks

Your weekly view will be what you'll look at the most.  This is where you can transfer obligations, due dates and appointments from your monthly view and then outline tasks to reach greater goals.  I use personal size week on one page inserts from the Five Sixteenths shop for menu planning.  This insert also has a weekly habit tracker and two checklists on the back.  The Happy Planner brand makes these little notepads I use as a 'side bar' of sorts to store weekly to-dos that don't have a specific day.  Your weekly view is how you can make progress on your bigger goals!

Make your planner work for you

And finally, the only way you're going to actually use your planner is if that planner works for you.  The key here is not to choose the prettiest or the most popular planner.  The key is to choose a planner that you can make the most of and that fits your lifestyle.  There are a ton of factors that go into finding a planner that works for you and you may find just the right system where you only have to tweak it just a touch.

Create specific areas for specific tasks

If you're going to be in the habit of looking at your planner everyday you'll want to make sure you know where the info you need is stored so you can quickly retrieve it with out flipping all through your planner.  One of the easiest ways to do this is use icon stickers to denote specific tasks.  That way you can easily scan the planner page and then find exactly what you're looking for.  You can also create different sections in your planner for different areas of your life.  I've got a whole video on the routines & sections in my planner here.  Though it's changed over the years, that's still a video I recommend!

Add in other pages

My favorite planner, the Mini Happy Planner, allows for the adding (and removing) of pages very easily.  Six ring binder planners allow for this too.  Part of making your planner work for you is feeling like you've got control over what you do with it!  For me that means the ability to customize - I like to add in graph paper + the other extension packs offered by the Happy Planner brand but there are a ton of printables on Etsy that can help you add in pages or even build the planner of your dreams.  Check out my shop for planner printables for both personal & A5 sizes.

If you follow these three tips you'll be a planner queen in no time.  Life is too short to take everything so serious, so be sure you're having fun with your planner.  If it makes you happy you're more likely to use it, but don't feel pressured to plan a certain way!  You're the only one that will benefit from your planner so make sure it's working for you.

If you'd like to find more planner posts on the blog, click here.  If you'd like to watch more planner videos, check out my YouTube channel here!

xoxo, Moe


Essential Oils for the Spring Equinox

I'm a little bit late with this post as the Spring Equinox happened on March 20th of 2018.....but better late than never!   The Spring or Vernal Equinox is a time when the light of day and the darkness of night are in perfect balance.  Unlike the Autumn Equinox where the days get shorter and we slip into the darkness of winter, the Vernal Equinox pushes us into the longer days of summer.  Now is the time to freshen up our homes & tidy up our lives to make room for the newness of Spring.  So if you've been itching to get Spring Cleaning (and you're sure it's not the allergies kicking in) now is the time to get your butt in gear!
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Also known as Ostara, the Spring or Vernal Equinox is a celebration of fertility of the land, or newness, and of planting seeds.  This is a time to prepare & a time to plan.  I often find that I get the inspiration to set new goals or adjust the ones I set in January to better align myself with the path I find myself walking.  So if you've felt you're moving in slow motion perhaps you'll get some inspiration around this time to start planning and planting the seeds that will help you move forward!

In previous seasonal essential oil posts, I've related the seasonal changes to moon phases.  If the Autumn Equinox is the Full moon, the Winter Solstice is the Waning moon, then Spring is the New moon.  This means that it is time to discover what we'd like to work on as the moon waxes.  We're working with the energy of growth and development.....so that by the time we are at Mabon (the Autumn Equinox) or the Full moon we're able to harvest our hard work!

Essential Oils for the Season

Since this is the season of preparation, of planting, and of cleaning the scents that match these vibes are fresh & earthy.  These scents inspire openness of the heart & mind as well as happiness with self.  We're working with the Heart, Third Eye, and Solar Plexus chakras!

Light Citrus Oils

Oils like lemon, lime, and grapefruit offer a fresh light scent that inspire happiness in us.  Citrus oils work with the Solar Plexus Chakra where our center of joy and self acceptance is located.  After the long winter, these oils give us hope for the coming warmth!  When used in cleaning products, these oils purify & disinfect.  Lemon is the perfect multipurpose oil for cleaning.

Herbaceous Oils

These hearty, earthy oils will open up the Heart Chakra.  The best example I've heard on how to relate these herbaceous oils to the Heart Chakra is to think about the love you pour into cooking & preparing meals for your loved ones when you use seasoning like rosemary, basil, or oregano.  You're pouring your care and love into your creation & nurturing the ones you love!  Plus spring is all about new growth & greenery!  A lot of herbaceous oils - like Rosemary and Basil - can bring about feelings of renewal & transition.  So just as we move through to a brand new season and brand new growth, these oils can help ease emotional transitions as well.  

Florals & Firs

This set of oils connects the Heart & Third Eye Chakras.  Fir oils can still have a little bit of a chest opening (so heart-centric) and also help with movement through emotion.  For example Cypress is known as the oil of Motion and Flow and as we're going through this new growth season, we'll be breaking old habits, patterns, and beliefs!  Florals are oils I like to associate with the Third Eye Chakra.  Much like you'd want your third eye to bloom open to developing your intuition, you can imaging the flowers of these oils doing the same: opening to the sun, growing, and developing.  Since Spring is when we start to see the flowers poke through the ground reaching out to their full potential so too can we use floral oils in the Spring to open up ourselves.

Oil Blends for the Season

I find the best way to create custom blends is to group my oils by category - so a group of citrus oils, a group of herbaceous oils, and a group of florals & firs - and then grab one from each group and inhale from the bottles.  Do the smell good together?  What else might be needed?  Rosemary & Lemon make a great fresh scent for the kitchen, but if you add it something like Basil the aroma gets just a little deeper.

Lavender, Lemon, and Peppermint are thought to aid in combating seasonal allergies but you may find you prefer to use Rosemary over Peppermint.  Lavender and Citrus Bliss can be an amazing, even tempering blend but add in something like Douglass Fir or Cypress and you'll find feelings of support as well.

Here are a few Spring inspired emotion blends to get you started, try diffusing 2 drops of each oil or creating a roller bottle for yourself!

Creative Inspiration

Citrus Bliss - the Oil of Creativity // Cypress - the Oil of Motion & Flow // Basil - the Oil of Renewal
Perfect for getting the inspiration flowing & moving through the creative process.  Inspires newness & growth as well as working through old patterns.

Spring Forward

Lime - the Oil of Zest for Life // Douglas Fir - the Oil of Generational Wisdom // Rosemary - the oil of Knowledge & Transition
Perfect for feeling uplifted while trying to break old habits to allow for new ones to develop.  Give you the inspiration to move forward with a zest for life.  Great for the inspiration to spring clean!

If these essential oil blends are inspiring you, consider grabbing the free ebook about getting started with essential oils.  Personally, I use essential oils to balance emotion but there are a ton of everyday uses as well.  Check it out below!

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You can also follow along on Instagram to learn more about essential oils.  If you're wanting to learn more, make sure you like the Facebook page so that you'll be able to see when I host FREE essential oil classes!

Free & Floral

Grapefruit - the Oil of Honoring the Body // Lavender - the Oil of Communication & Calm // Ylang Ylang - the Oil of the Inner Child
Helps expand belief in yourself & get back to your natural state of happiness.  Great for a relaxing bath as you focus on self love.

Citrus Bloom

Bergamot - the Oil of Self Acceptance // Clary Sage - the Oil of Clarity & Vision // Tangerine - the Oil of Cheer & Creativity
This oil blend can help to reveal to you a creative pursuit and give you the confidence to pursue it.  Perfect for an early morning diffuser to get started for a creative spring day.

Using essential oils seasonally can really get you connected to the emotions of the changing seasons.  You may notice in each of these guides some oils overlap - herbaceous oils were also mentioned in the Fall Essential Oil guide.  But what to pay attention to here are the prevailing feelings of the seasons.  Herbaceous oils help us in the fall as we transition into colder weather where we may be spending more time indoors & with family.  These oils support our heart as we work with others.  In the Spring, we're transitioning away from this and moving into our own personal growth.  So we can use the emotional properties of herbaceous oils to support our relationships with ourselves.

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Read all the essential oil posts on the blog here.

xoxo, Moe