Working Happy

DSCN2327 One thing that I've gotten really good at since living in on-campus housing at my university is making do with what I have (although my mom might have a different viewpoint.) I always wish for more, like that perfect coffee table, coasters, a new desk, and some beautiful desk organization. Since August, my desk (slash workspace, slash journaling nook, slash present wrapping station, slash home theatre system, etc.) has essentially looked like the photo above. (Except it's usually covered in more papers and books for my classes.)

A few hodge-podge desk tools that I've picked up over the years, like my stapler, tape dispenser, and (new to me this semester!) lamp with storage built in. But as I've grown Spikes and Stardust over the last year, my workspace wasn't quite measuring up to the standard I want to hold myself and my fledgling business to. Especially not with the holidays rapidly approaching!

When Poppin reached out and offered to send me a few products, I was beyond ecstatic. I mean, I had put some of their products on my apartment wish list over the summer!

I was thrilled. Amazed. Grateful. Filled with wonder. And happy, definitely happy.

A box came a little while later, which housed the tools for me to up my workspace game, so to speak. I still have the desk that I've had for years, but having color-coordinated, beautiful pieces that let me bring my Virgo organization tendencies even more into play on top of that desk?

It's priceless.

I've played around with different configurations over the past week and a half, and currently have settled on the one below :

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There is!! So much!!! PINK!!!!!!!!! It makes my heart happy every time I look at it. DSCN2342

Those ballpoint pens? They're amazing. They write smoothly, look beautiful, and bring a smile to my face every time I use one. And no, I'm not exaggerating. (The pink also makes taking notes in class or doing research much more enjoyable!) I filled in my trays with sticky notes, binder clips, and put my #truthbomb card that I received at Danielle's talk at the Texas Conference for Women where I can see it every day.

Also, can we talk about notebook nirvana? Because I have arrived, thanks to Poppin. Two medium-sized soft covered notebooks, one small one that can fit into my small bags when I'm on the go, and three beautiful mini notebooks that are perfect for housing inspiration whenever it strikes. DSCN2343

This post was made possible with the help of Poppin. All thoughts & opinions are my own. 

How To Be A Productivity Super Heroine

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[Heart & Arrow Design]

  • Do school work when you need to do school work, do client work when you need to do client work, do self-care when you need to do self-care.
  • In the words of Ron Swanson, don't half ass two things. Whole ass one thing.
  • The pomodoro method is your best friend for doing one thing at a time. You can do anything for 25 minutes, and the scheduled breaks help you from getting overwhelmed or losing focus.
  • Drink a lot of water throughout the day to keep yourself hydrated.
  • Know what your Top Three Tasks are for each day and focus on accomplishing those.
  • Under promise and over deliver.
  • Learn what your boundaries and limits are. Get to know your body and when it's talking to you. Know how to work within your limits and maximize your peak hours of productivity.
  • Always have one day per week where you just take care of you. No homework, no client work, no going into work. Do what makes you happy and what helps you relax.

P.S. -- Last week I opened up about how I do it all.

How I Do It All (The Secret Is : I Don't)

DeathtoStock_Desk5 Sometimes I feel like I'm a superhero, like I'm the Natasha Romanoff of my life. Able to do everything, to know everything, and to always be on my A-game. But the reality of it is that sometimes I'm a lot more like Steve Rogers -- one person who has so much goodness and ambition, but keeps going stubbornly even when things don't always work how I want them to.

At twenty-two I'm currently a full-time student, a full-time blogger, a part-time retail employee, and a part-time freelancer. That doesn't count being a friend, a daughter, or who I am outside of all of those things. And at the end of the day, it's a lot of hats to wear. School itself is a full-time job, claiming 30-70 hours per week, depending on how much I have going on in my classes at the moment. I work retail anywhere from 5-15 hours per week right now because of my school schedule. My freelancing fluctuates every week with the needs of my clients. Blogging can take anywhere from 10-30 hours per week, depending.

On the surface it can all seem easy.

I'm making good grades in my classes so far, I make it to every shift I'm scheduled, I get all of my client's work done, and I'm always working on this space, even if I don't post for days at a time.

But I can assure you, it's not.

There are weeks where I'm barely meeting deadlines, nights where I sleep less than five hours, days where I sleep until three in the afternoon, times I forget to eat lunch or dinner until eleven at night, days where I do nothing but watch things on Netflix or reread a favorite book, pretending like I don't have obligations to meet soon.

On the other side, there are days where I knock everything out earlier than needed, where my life feels balanced and productive and everything works.

As I learn how to be a student, a blogger, a freelancer, a retail worker, and a person all at once, the balanced days become more frequent. But not every day is balanced. And that's okay.

Because, at the end of the day, I have to remember that I'm a person, and there is only so much I can do in twenty-four hours. Instead of beating myself up about not getting enough done, I choose to forgive myself and start fresh the next morning. What's done is done, and the best thing I can do is focus on what I did accomplish instead of what I didn't.

Image from Death to the Stock Photo

What If You Said Yes?

Do you ever have times in your life where you feel like everything you look at is sending you a message? And every message lines up with all the others you're seeing? That's been happening to me for awhile, but especially in the last two weeks. But the most profound thing I've come across so far has been this poem by Danielle LaPorte, that showed up in my email inbox and stole the breath from my body:

focus (a poem for sacred prioritizing)

We dance ’round fires to pray for others to change,

and we change our names so that a reality we don’t truly want will let us in the door.

When we should be burning fears, tattooing our declarations, and praying for the courage to reign the terrain of our purest potential.

I feel like there is a force inside of me just asking to be released, to be nurtured and allowed to grow. This online space is asking for more attention, my fledgling freelance business is asking for more attention, and my lifelong desire for travel and adventure is asking for more attention.

While I do love my college and am a year and a half from graduating, I don't feel like this is the right place for me to be right now. I'm entertaining the idea of taking a semester off from college because my soul is yearning to go into a more creative exploration of myself, of life, and of the world. I want to see what I can do with Spikes and Stardust, with helping people all over the world with my freelance work, to see what new corners of my country and others I can briefly call home. To me the decision to embark on this journey in the beginning of 2015 makes perfect sense -- a new chapter for a new year.

But it isn't that easy.

If i decide to go down this path, it means withdrawing from college and hoping that I'll be accepted if I reapply as a returning student down the line. It means planning out what I would do, where I would go. It means figuring out budgets, living expenses, how I'll be able to start paying on my student loans if I decide to stay out of college for longer than six months. It means going out into the world and standing on my own two feet in a way that I never have before. And it's frightening in a way I can't quite put into words, all of the "real-world implications" that I need to figure out as soon as possible piling up.

There's a space in my heart that feels so calm and tranquil since I realized it was an option. A part of me that quietly believes that no matter what the world gives me once I make the decision, I'll be able to handle it. With that knowledge, there's still a huge decision to be made. So many factors to bring into play. And I don't know what the right answer is. I know what I want to do, what I feel like could be an amazing move in my life, but I have no way to guarantee that it won't backfire in terrible ways.

What would happen if I just said yes? If I opened myself up to the universe and saw what it had to offer me?

I haven't made my decision quite yet, but I'm exploring it from every angle. But whatever I do decide, to stay in school or to take a semester off, it will be because I know that is the right decision for me at this time.

Essential School Supplies

DSCN2303 School's been in session for about a month here in the USA, and I thought it was high time to share my supplies -- my toolkit, if you will. I have classes Monday through Thursday, two on Monday/Wednesday and three on Tuesday/Thursday. Everyday, including the weekends, I use my agenda which is color-coded to the extreme.

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For each set of classes I have a binder + a notebook for each class. I take those, as well as the textbooks I need, each day. DSCN2306I like to keep my supplies old school, so to speak. While I love my laptop, I don't take it with me to class or anything. I find that writing things down physically helps me to internalize the information I'm learning much more quickly than if I'm typing notes in class.