how to get and stay motivated

Whether you are working from home or commuting to the office again as well as also balancing a work/life schedule, it’s a lot to keep organized. My Monday through Friday is about to get a little bit busier so right now I’m planning ahead to make sure I have a schedule and game plan to keep me motivated with a busy schedule.

On Sundays, I love to sit down and make a long to-do list for the upcoming week. I write down every little thought, little or big task and any event I have going on that week. From there, I can schedule errands, tasks and make appointments on my paper and phone calendar. To make sure I add some fun into my week, I like to schedule a fun date night during the week or make weekend plans in advance to have something to look forward to.

Making small goals for the week can help prevent the days from blurring into each other. Read a whole book, workout 3 times a week or get a daily walk in. Try a new restaurant, or coffee shop or find a trail to walk. One thing I’m bringing with me post-pandemic is that life is too short to do the same thing every week!

I love having routines and I swear it’s the secret to keeping my life organized! On Tuesdays, I clean up the house so it’s done weekly and never a big daunting task. Sundays is our laundry and Wednesday is our date night. Baths on Sundays make for a relaxing way to start the week.

With a busier schedule coming up, meal planning is going to be more important than ever!

After being at home for more than a year, I’m looking into in-person workout classes for an excuse to leave the house and meet new people. Find ways to try new things!

For years I was told that you need to be hustling 24/7 to succeed. But the past year + has changed that mindset for me drastically. I’m taking breaks when I can. Weekends are for relaxing. Alone time in the morning is valuable and should not be overlooked. I love to listen to a podcast and enjoy my morning coffee. Evening routines are easy because we meal planned and keep a tidy house so it leaves more time doing the things we want to do.

Start your week with a positive mindset. Work bag is packed by the door, lunches and dinners are planned. Drink water, make time for those fitness goals, and reward yourself for achieving goals, big and small!

Have a good week, friends! You deserve it!


How to Ease Back into the Mundane

For weeks, we have been getting happy news that the world as we knew it prior to 2020 is coming back. Eating inside restaurants, busier grocery stores and it’s safe to dust off that suitcase and plan a trip. With this excitement can also come with forgetting how to live a busy work day and have that same energy to socialize and just do the bare minimum outside of work. I see it in our house that after that 9-5 commitment that takes up all of our lives in some way or another, it doesn’t leave much room for anything else. Before 2020, I think we were encouraged and even told we were succeeding when we were able to have a full work week and a full social life as well. This past year has allowed our household to slow down and enjoy that free time after work without scheduling it with a dinner with friends, a fitness class or any other last minute plan. Even with the world in panic around us, in our house we were able to get restful sleep because we set aside that free time after work. Days started to blur into each other but on the plus side, we had healthy home cooked dinners each night, time at night for me to shower and not be rushed, an at-home workout a few nights a week with time to watch tv or read a book.

Now that we see others doing things and seeing people again, I want to fill up my social calendar with fun exciting things as well but also be mindful to schedule free time in my day again. I’ve enjoyed reading again and a few minutes of meditation at night before bed. It’s not normal in all households since we don’t have children, but in the morning we can enjoy a cup of hot coffee before it gets cold. Why are we rushing so fast to get rid of all of our free time and go back to over scheduled?

Here are a few ways to ease back into that life we all lived in 2020:

  • Make a list of habits and routines you picked up this past year that you would like to keep.
    For me, it’s mediation with the Calm App and reading one book a month.
  • You’ll be getting invitations to social events again but learn to feel comfortable to saying no.
    Not interested in that activity, just nice decline. You do not need to be busy 24/7 again right away.
  • Work boundaries were difficult this past year because of “unprecedented circumstances”. Take those sick days for a mental health day if needed and create a way to leave work at work.
  • If you have the budget, hire a company to come in once a month or more if you can afford it to clean your home. Being at home made me realize how much of my free time I spent cleaning our house while working full time.
  • It’s not just you, after a year of being at home we all don’t have have clothes that once fit us. Don’t despair and get rid of them. Pack them up in bins and put them in storage so the only clothes in your closet are ones that fit you. I swear it does wonders for your mental health!
  • Plan one trip this summer and look forward to it. It doesn’t need to be big but by having one thing planned you have something to look forward to. You don’t need to travel every weekend to feel like you are making up for lost time. Ease back into having your busy weekends back.
  • Speaking of weekends, plan to have one activity free weekend a month this summer. Say no to things, don’t plan on leaving the house. It’s a routine we had for over a year and our bodies are going to miss it!
  • Before you sign up for those fitness classes, art class, second job, weekly breakfast date with friends… try to wake up early on a Saturday at the time you would have to go and go through the motions of getting ready. Is this the activity you want to add back into your schedule again? Do you really need to be waking up early on a Saturday to do something you don’t really enjoy that much?

Your free time is valuable. Just because the world is going back to the way it was before 2020 does not mean we need to be busy all the time again.

And most importantly, have an amazing summer having fun with friends and family you have not seen in a long time. Make memories, laugh a lot and let’s not wait this long to see the people in our lives again!

Everyday Habits

sweater // my everyday leggings

I’ve never been much of a Monday person but lately I have found myself really motivated to get stuff done on Mondays. Maybe it’s the relaxing weekends or knowing we are going into another lock down, whatever the reason is I like to be productive during the week. As someone who craves structure and doesn’t have much of that these days, I created a schedule that I like to stick to as much as I can. Over time my body has adjusted to these routines and I’m getting some of that structure back. In case you are interested, here are my everyday habits…

Wake up with alarm

Throw on bathrobe and head downstairs to make coffee and breakfast

Fill up giant water bottle which I refill all day

Take my vitamins

Head to my office where I’ll check emails and make my to do list for the day

Listen to podcasts like The New York Times The Daily while I get work done

Update my Google Calendar with reminders and tasks

Break for lunch and get dressed for the day before heading back to my desk

Daily walk at 3PM (most days) and I’ll listen to a fun news podcast like Pod Save America

Run errands in the afternoon

After my walk, I’ll catch up on tv or finish up some work

We usually make a dinner plan in the morning and take turns cooking at night

I’ll spend 20 minutes at night tidying up before I head upstairs for the night

On Sundays, I’ll talk a long bath and during the week, a long shower at night

I like to blow dry my hair, apply lotion or do a manicure if needed after my shower

When I get into bed at night, my body knows it’s time to unwind

My night time skincare products are on my nightstand so I remember to apply them

The goal is to read a chapter a night so I keep my book on my nightstand

The Calm App has changed my life and now I can’t sleep without it

Seems silly when it’s broken down but I love having this outline for my day. I have purpose in the morning and motivation to finish up my work so I can go on my walk. My daily to do list can be very long with urgent tasks and tasks to do eventually. I’ve been writing my to do list and then adding tasks and reminders so I can get alerts on my phone. It’s also an easy way to add to my grocery list or move things around. Creating a routine does not need to be precise, I prefer mine to guide me with goals and times allotted when I can get work done, get in some fitness, and when to take care of myself.

What A Week

I feel like I should start off by announcing it is Monday, November 9th like Governor Cuomo in New York did each day during the pandemic briefings. With last week’s election anxiety, its never ending news coverage that had all of us glued to the television waiting on results I found myself in a slump. There’s plenty to do to keep me busy during the day and I found it difficult to do any detailed task once I moved to the couch in my bathroom in the morning. Scrolling on social media, on said couch in the same bathrobe I wore basically all week, I noticed a lot of people also in the same spot glued to the television waiting for results to come in. There was a lot going on last week that kept us busy so this week I want us all to take a deep breath and put the remote down as we get back to work!

Slumps happen and last week was a justified reason for being in sweatpants all week while we were watching the news waiting for results to come in. At first I started to feel really guilty sitting on the couch all day. I would switch from different news channels to get different perspectives and binge watched Downton Abbey on Amazon Prime when I needed something light to watch. Jake was working 12 hour days in the office that week so he was out the door before the sun came up and would be coming home late and often doing more work from home. Both of us were not hungry so we often skipped dinner or just snacked while we watched Steve Kornacki at the board breaking down the numbers. Jake was sweet and told me not to stress and just hang out on the couch all day because it’s something he wished he could do. I’m embarrassed to say that we had a sink full of dishes by the end of the week because neither one of us had the energy to do the mundane things. I let myself live in the slump knowing that I could start fresh the next week which helped me take the time to relax and be lazy which is what my body needed.

After nights of staying up late, Jake and I were both in bed on our phones on Saturday morning when the results came in. We got a text from a friend we were in a group chat with all week sharing election updates to turn on the tv because Pennsylvania was called. We went running to our media room to turn on the tv and felt a sense of relief that the election was decided. I got to call my parents to tell them the news and it was good timing because they were with my brother in Raleigh. I had a few errands to run in Center City so Jake and I had an excuse to go out and enjoy the warm weather. I loved he energy in the city and the warm weather was just what my body needed. It was my first long walk in a week and my body hated and loved it at the same time. I forgot how much my body needed a long walk everyday. I have an alarm set on my phone everyday at 3pm to take a walk and listen to a podcast. Sometimes I’ll run an errand and other days I’ll just walk 20 blocks and look at the pretty Philadelphia architecture. I am also setting my alarm a bit earlier this week so I can have a slow morning with hot coffee and a mug of hot water with lemon. It’s a great way to start drinking a lot of water throughout the day and has health benefits too. After a week of only wearing pajamas and some days changing into different pajamas throughout the day, I’m ready to get back into some real clothes this week! I like to put on makeup a few times a week just so I can feel a bit more normal

I woke up today and headed straight for my office to get organized for the week. I pulled out my planner and made a long to do list. I put some items that need to be done this week and some things that I want to do this week for me because they bring me joy. Scheduling time for a face mask on Wednesday night, catching up on shows on Thursday afternoon, reading for an hour before bed and catching up on laundry on Tuesday. Later today I’ll find a day that works best for Jake and I to plan an outing maybe to get coffee or brunch next weekend so we have something to look forward to.

Being in a slump can feel like the worst way to spend your time but it’s usually a sign that your body needs a break. I’m so quick to get mad at myself when I don’t have the energy to do things or be productive or when I skip a daily walk but it’s usually because my body needs rest. This week I am planning out things to do and ways to relax in the evening. I love taking a long shower at night and then getting into bed after I apply lotion and my night cream to read my book. It’s the nights that I keep the tv off and get into bed early that I have the best sleep and wake up the next morning refreshed.

Take care of yourself and find ways that allow your body to get rest. The colder months are coming which means less sunlight and colder days that can cause seasonal depression. I’m creating routines now so I can be ready for environmental changes.

Don’t Forget to Do These Things This Month

I love lists because they keep track of all of the things going through my mind and help me get it all done! Since we are halfway into 2020 and starting a new month, I thought it would be good to do a long list to start off the month! Those New Years Resolutions have long been forgotten along with those plans and projects to accomplish during quarantine? Are we still pretending to work out every day from home? I wanted to make a realistic list of things to do this month of stuff I should do and things I may have overlooked.

Clean your door knobs
Okay, so I know this sounds crazy but during the pandemic I’ve realized how rarely I’ve ever cleaned a door knob. I’ll grab a Clorox wipe or just a paper towel and spray it really good with a cleaning spray and then walk around wiping down the door knobs. Takes a few minutes and gives me some peace knowing our home is COVID free!

Water your plants
My poor plants! I prefer succulents since they are tricky to kill and my one plant is really struggling because I just forget about it! I’ve added watering my plants to my Sunday refresh routine and I’ll add it to my calendar to remind me!

Save a copy of any rent/mortgage policies for COVID
Things changed very quickly in 2020 and we all got a lot of emails from every retailer, credit card and company that has our email letting us know that they are here for us. I saved every notice about a COVID policy change in case I need to refer to it in the future. Know your options and be prepared in case you need assistance or receive conflicting notices.

Clean your fridge
Take everything out and scrub it clean real good! Invest in some fridge organizers and glass tuperware to keep your fridge looking clean and organized.

Back up your photos
We are all on our laptops more than ever right now so use your downtime productively. I’ve always used Google Photos to back up my photos and recently started to clear out junk and create albums so I can easily get to photos.

Finance check in
Take a look at your income and note any changes since COVID. If you are saving money on your commute or daily Starbucks, add that money that you are not spending to your savings since you are already used to not spending it. Now is a good time to look at those quarantine purchases and how much money you spent. Looking at previous purchases will help you stop making impulse buys!

Buy a new toothbrush
If you have to think about when the last time you got a new one, it’s been to long. I have a little reminder in my planner to get a new toothbrush head for my electric toothbrush every 3 months. After going on trips and forgetting a toothbrush too many times, I finally got a toothbrush to leave at my parents house in North Carolina, one for my toiletry bag and bunch of toothbrush heads to easily swap out every 3 months. Now I have no excuses for forgetting a toothbrush and not changing it on time.

Create a file for important documents
If you asked me where my passport or birth certificate was, I would have to wait a few minutes to think and try a few places. A goal for me is to create an actual file with these important documents so I can find them easily when I design and decorate a guest room turned office in September. For now the goal is to find the documents….

Make a list of local restaurants to try
I can’t wait to go back to Philly in the fall and one thing I am really looking forward to is going out to eat again. Jake and I are making a list of restaurants that are safe that we would like to visit. It’s a great way to support local businesses and help with making plans to get out of the house during the week.

Make cleaning caddies
A bit excessive, but I have a bucket in all of my bathrooms and on each floor with cleaning products with a cabinet of extras so I always have what I need to clean. When everyone was struggling to find to find cleaners, I was prepared because of my Grove Collaborative subscription. Stock up because the stores are still bare and we will be getting another wave of Covid soon…

What I’m Loving Right Now

I know I am not alone with trying to stay busy and sane during COVID. Personally, I like to stay busy because it prevents me from overthinking about the negatives and worrying what is to come. I’m not pretending that everything is fine and that I can’t get sick, I am acknowledging facts backed by science and following CDC guidelines. I try to focus on the positives and make a little gratitude list in my head before bed. I’ll journal in the mornings and thought I would share some of the things I am loving right now. This list isn’t full of the cutest clothes, new tech gadgets or going places. For the first time since we moved into this house I am finally making it a home. It was already decorated and had my things in it for a year, but now I am at home and finding things to love here. Life is always a competition about who looks best, who has the most but right now we are all in comfy clothes, messy hair and no makeup because we don’t need to compete anymore. A lot of us feel the same and experience similar struggles – grocery shopping, financial strains and at times, boredom. Instead of focusing on the negative, I’m making myself focus on the things I am loving right now during my time of quarantine. And who knew this list would be so long?

Making dinner every night
I know it sounds silly because everyone makes dinner but I’ve been able to actually make homemade meals almost every night of the week. It’s been a nice break from frozen foods, quick and easy options while I find more time consuming recipes that require a little more work.

Pots of coffee
We recently had to get a new Keurig since my old one broke so Jake got the K-Duo so we could make pots of coffee as well as individual cups. Since we are home all day I love to make a cup of coffee and then Jake and I will refill our cups throughout the day. Seems silly but I feel like such an adult grabbing another cup of coffee before heading back to my makeshift desk at our dining room table.

Thank goodness I signed up for a few things before COVID really shut things down. It’s no secret that I love Grove Collaborative since I’ve talked about the company so many times. A few weeks into quarantine, I received my Billie Razor subscription with new razors. The last thing on my mind was to walk a mile to CVS and get new razors so having them delivered was great because I didn’t even have to think of it. I’ve loved Amazon in the past but now more than ever I’m using it! My Alexa will notify me when it’s time to order more coffee based on how much coffee Amazon thinks I’ve had since my last order. Now coffee is on a subscription! Obviously we won’t be at home forever but this experience has made me realized how great it is to have stuff sent to my home on a subscription service so I don’t even have to worry about running out. Find out what works for you and see what subscription services fit your lifestyle.

Slow Sundays
Okay, so here is where you can really find gratitude during Sundays. Do you remember Sundays? They were often referred to as scary Sundays because there was a rush to get everything done (clean, laundry, food shop) so you were ready for the week and also needed to relax so you could decompress from the previous week and get ready for the next one. In our house Sundays have turned into slow Sundays. There is no rush to get out of bed and when we do, we’ll make a fun breakfast and drink coffee while we watch a classic Disney movie. There is no rush to get errands done and our only chores are to change the sheets and take out the trash. Enjoy the slowdown that we have right now. Your body needs it!

Eating Locally
So while we are making dinner a lot, we are still ordering in to support local restaurants once a week. Before our work schedules were so busy that we could never make dinner reservations because one of us would always have to work late last minute. Once we got home we would be too tired to cook and just order from the same places. Now when we order in, it’s a nice treat since we don’t order food as much anymore and can’t go out to restaurants. We also love supporting the local restaurants right now in Philly and have found a few new places we never would have tried before!

Cleaning & Organizing
I’ve been joking with my family that I am running out of things to clean because organizing and cleaning my home is keeping me sane. Some days I will spend hours doing a deep clean and others I just pick a cabinet or something small that won’t take much time. I’ve also gotten in the habit of tidying up the house before bed and it has been a game changer! It is so nice to start the day with a clean first floor and while i wait for my coffee to brew, I’ll listen to The New York Times The Daily podcast while I empty the dishwasher. It’s little things we have the time to do now to keep our homes clean and get it organized. Take advantage of it!

Okay so I know we can’t do anything or see anyone, but this has inspired me to plan trips with friends and family. In the past we all made valid excuses because work, life, responsibilities and couldn’t go places but now I think I can get people to agree on a trip! I’m also party planning because I cannot wait to host a party with friends. I’m loving this book for creative themes. If anything this experience has taught me the importance of taking time for experiences or materialistic things.

Organizing Photos
I’ve made it a rule to be semi-productive while watching tv so I’ve been organizing my photos. I keep all of my photos saved on Google Photos because I can easily get to photos on the app. I’m deleting old screenshots, making albums and tagging people so I can have my photos better organized. Take it a step further and organize printed out pictures if you have them. I finally finished making my travel scrapbook after having it in a box for the last 4 years!

Deleting Clutter
Not only am I on a mission to purge clutter in my house but I am also deleting clutter on my laptop. I’m backing up documents on my Google Docs and adding folders to keep things organized as well as deleting unnecessary items. I love using Google Docs and Google Photos because everything is in one place! To get even more organized, I’m adding peoples addresses to my phone book and to their contact in my phone and adding their birthdays to my paper planner and my Google Calendar. It’s taking time but I know I am going to love having everything in folders and backed up!

Spending Time With Family
Finally this is my favorite thing about quarantine. Since we are all slowing down and missing our loved ones, my family and I have been having a weekly book club on Sundays. It’s less about literary content and more of an excuse to see each other on Zoom every week. We don’t have to get dressed up, it’s nothing fancy other than just saying hi and sharing funny stories about the week and talking about old times. I’m convinced my family is keeping the postal service in business because we have been sending homemade cards back and forth to each other which has been a lot of fun to make and receive!