Why Dreaming Big Is Getting You Nowhere And What You Need To Start Doing For Success

By Nicole Tinkham

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You’ll hear us say it all the time and it’s definitely something we believe in and stick by. It’s important to love this life of yours, to do the things that make you happy, and to dream big. You may have already started dreaming big by writing some goals down, creating a vision board, and visualizing your future. That’s great if you have and something we still encourage you to do. But what happens when you’re doing all this dreaming and nothing ever happens? If you’re feeling a little defeated and frustrated, this blog is for you. We’ll explain why dreaming big is getting you nowhere and what you need to start doing for success.

Dreaming big is the first piece of the puzzle. It’s figuring out what you really want in life and it’s certainly a crucial step. But if you stop at your dreams without taking action, you will never move forward. How do you expect these dreams to actually happen? Think they’re just going to fall into your lap? We can tell you from experience that’s not how this works. What you can start doing though is thinking big.

For example, it’s so easy to get lost in the excitement of a new career opportunity. You’re creating this new life for yourself and you have a list of things you’re dreaming of accomplishing. But the question is, are you taking those dreams and strategically planning what exactly will happen in your future? When you don’t have a plan one of two things typically happens. Either you get burnt out on this big dream or you fall behind trying to adapt to these new changes in your life.

What you need to do is get out of your head and get “all in” on the things you want to accomplish. You must give it your all. You must have a plan and take action. You must get focused. You may even have to make sacrifices like TV time, sleep, and extra vacations at least until you get things rolling. If you’re not 100% in it, it’s still all just a dream. You need to switch from dreaming big to thinking (and doing) big!

There’s no way of predicting the future but it doesn’t hurt to have a game plan either way. Know exactly what your next step is if you succeed and what your next step is if you fail. Sure, there will always be little surprises that come up along the way but you can handle them confidently when you have a strong plan. Don’t just wait around to see what happens. Be prepared.

So while dreaming big paints the picture of how your life could look, it’s also important to think big. Take action on those dreams, follow through with them, and plan for anything the future may bring (good or bad). It may be impossible to predict exactly what could happen in the future but think through every possible situation you can imagine and plan for it. If you’re a dreamer but feel stuck, start doing these things to finally see success in your life.

5 Planner Hacks That Will Change Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

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It’s the beginning of a new year and if you’re gearing up to make the most of it, you probably purchased a brand new planner and you’re ready to go. Maybe planning and staying organized last year didn’t work out so well or maybe you’re just totally new to this. In either case, we understand the struggle of organization. It can be completely overwhelming looking at a book full of tasks that need to be done. Or maybe you forget to open up your planner altogether which makes having one pretty pointless. Don’t worry; we have 5 planner hacks that will change your life and help keep you organized throughout the whole year.

1.    Don’t include everything

There’s two types of people in the world; those who don’t (or rarely) write important things down and those who write every single little thing down. They key is to find that sweet spot. You have to write some things down but jotting down too much just becomes overwhelming. If there’s something you do on a daily basis without much thought, it doesn’t need to go in your planner. For example, you’ll want to have your dentist appointments marked down in your planner but it’s not necessary to schedule time to brush your teeth every day. You should hopefully be in the habit of doing that daily already.

2.    Plan to plan

We know you want to use your planner and stay organized but the problem normally lies in something as simple as forgetting to sit down and plan. You just need to get in the habit of doing so consistently. Schedule time to sit down and plan for the day, week, and month. It may only take you 15 minutes but it won’t get done unless you plan on getting it done. So how exactly do you plan to plan? We recommend setting an alarm to go off on your phone as a reminder. You should also schedule things into your planner at the same time every day. So for example, you can plan your day at 9:00AM daily, plan for your week every Sunday at 9:00AM and schedule for the month on the 1st of every month at 9:00AM. The more consistent your timing is, the easier it is to form the habit of getting it done.

3.    Use only one planner

If you think having one planner is difficult to keep up with, you’ll drive yourself bonkers with multiple books. Sometimes it may seem like a good idea to separate your home life from your career to-dos but we advise against that. You’ll find yourself flipping back and forth between the two planners which will only make the process more confusing. Plus this is exactly why colorful highlighters, pens and washi tape were invented. Instead of using a whole different book, color-code your tasks to keep them separate but all in the same spot.

4.    Personalize it

Your planner is a very personal thing and should be treated as so. It’s important to choose a planner that will suit your needs. For example, if you do a lot of traveling, a compact planner may be perfect so you can easily take it everywhere with you. But if you take a lot of notes, a larger planner may be ideal for you so you have enough room to write. Get a planner that’s your own personal style. Fall in love with it so you can love using it. Also consider a bullet journal for total customization.

5.    Physically check things off your list

Checking a task (any task, big or small) is so incredibly satisfying. It’s so satisfying that it actually pumps you up for the next task on your list. That being said, actually check off or cross out completed tasks. Oh and don’t stress over the tasks that don’t get completed. You can just move these over to a later date or make a separate list of these tasks to be completed whenever you have the extra time. Remember that you can only do your best so don’t beat yourself up over what doesn’t get done.

Make this year the year you don’t give up all hope on your planner! We know it’s not easy following a planner consistently. It takes some time to plan everything out and it’s so easy to forget to open it up and get planning. But once you’re on a roll with doing it, it’ll become much easier and planning ahead makes everything else easier too. You don’t have to be a super organized person to make a planner work for you. Just keep it simple, be consistent and don’t put too much in it.

Have you had success with your planner? Let us know your top tips in the comments below!

New Year Checklist – 10 Things Every Artist Needs To Do

By Nicole Tinkham

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Getting ready for the New Year doesn’t have to be crazy and overwhelming with serious goals and planning. It’s great to have some goals laid out, an idea of where you want to be by the end of the year, and to get organized too. But we also think it’s important to HAVE FUN!! On this list of 10 things every artist needs to do for the New Year, you’ll notice that something fun is included in more than half of the tasks on the list. And if you find a daunting task you don’t want to do, turn it into a game or reward yourself for completing it!

•    Have a new sketchbook ready to go (open it up every day!)

•    Get organized for peace of mind

•    Make a list of things you want to learn – Plan to attend an art workshop, save YouTube videos, buy a new art book, or subscribe to an art magazine

•    Plan something fun – we all need a break. Plan a vacation at some point next year or even a staycation if you have nowhere to go

•    Have your goal and action plan written down

•    Plan regular friend and family time! It’s easy to get so wrapped up in our own little world that we forget to spend time with the ones we love

•    Have an open mind – Do something wild, crazy, unexpected, out of the norm, and anything that takes you out of your comfort zone

•    Buy fun colored Post-it Notes to write yourself positive notes and reminders

•    Change up your art room for creative inspiration and more room for new supplies 🙂

•    Get your artist portfolio in line

We believe that having fun is the best way to start the New Year, wouldn’t you agree? Doing something you enjoy is easier to stick with than something you don’t. Start doing some of the things on this list, have fun with it, and don’t stress about starting a new year. Tell us, will you follow this checklist when heading into the New Year?

Everything You Need To Know About Bullet Journaling And Keeping Your Life Organized

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By Nicole Tinkham

There’s a new cooler way to keep track of your happenings! Go ahead and ditch that non creative planner and jump on board with us as we discover the craze of the year, bullet journaling. Having a creative mind doesn’t mean you have an excuse to be unorganized. We’ll show you how you can be artsy and still have everything in order through a journaling/planning technique that can change your life. Read on for everything you need to know about bullet journaling and keeping your life organized.

What it is

Put simply, a bullet journal is a customizable to-do list, journal, planner, organizer, calendar and note taker all in one book. With this type of journal you can create your own pages which allow it to work with you and your schedule rather than you having to fit your priorities into a pre-made planner like we’re used to doing. Before you get all crazy with your notes and ideas, know that your bullet journal should be super structured and there’s a reason for that. It’s designed for you to be productive, keep up with reaching your goals, and weed out the unimportant tasks that can hold you back. Not everyone is a structured person and that’s fine. Your journal should have at least some structure but you can also make it your own.

Why you should try it

Not all planners will suit your needs. Have you ever bought a planner that doesn’t provide enough room to write the tasks and appointments you need to? Or maybe the planner is too big when you’d really like something smaller. Or maybe you’d like to track something (like a food journal) that a typical planner doesn’t allow for. This is why you need a bullet journal for total customization!

For the creative thinkers who don’t like structure but also need to get organized, this is for you. It’s perfectly acceptable to doodle in a bullet journal. In fact, it’s highly encouraged. You can make it your own and it’s a fun way to get used to organization in your life.

So many times we think having a different list for everything helps us stay organized when in reality, it just stresses us out even more. Think about it. You have your grocery list, your to-do list, your brainstorm of creative ideas list, and more. Having all these different types of lists everywhere can be distracting. With a bullet journal it’s all right there in one notebook making your life easier.

You can set goals for yourself and actually make them happen. Since you can customize this journal, you can include your big goals and areas that you need to work on and fill them in daily. Having your goals and tasks clearly written will keep them in the front your mind so you can achieve them.

You can be totally unique and artsy! Add some color, doodles, fancy handwriting, fun washi tape, and more. This seriously takes planners to the next level.

Every day can be organized differently and you can change things up as needed. You can’t do that with other planners. You won’t get bored and you’ll discover new and better ways to staying organized.

You can add in a habit tracker to help you stay on track with good habits. It’s simple too! Every day you do something right, you fill in a square for the day. This will show your consistency, where you need to improve, and will help you get better at doing that habit. This is especially helpful to visual people who like to actually see their progress on paper.

You can put in as much time as you want. You can set up your day in just 2 minutes or you could spend more time reflecting and jotting down each detail. You can make it super simple but most people like to spend some more time on it and make it look nice too.

You don’t need any fancy supplies, unless you want them! All you really need is a grid journal and a pen. Colorful pens, highlighters, stickers, and other embellishments are just an added bonus.

Different ways to do it

There are two ways to go about bullet journaling: Setting it up 100% yourself as we’ve talked about or purchasing one with premade pages.

It may sound like the premade books go against everything we’ve said about customizing your own journal but hear us out. If there’s a specific goal you have in mind, there may be a journal out there to help you reach that goal specifically. For example, we’ve seen nutrition bullet journals that are set up to plan for meals as well as other things. Even if you go with this option, it won’t be like a typical planner. These are creatively designed and provide you with what you should need to achieve your goals.

If you take the DIY route, all you’ll nead is a gridded journal (in any type and size) and a pen. You’ll be writing everything out yourself but you can use the guidelines below for marking tasks to help you stay organized.

Simple dot = Task
X = Task complete
> = Task Migrated
< = Task Scheduled
O = Events
= Notes
* = Gives task priority
! = Creative idea/inspiration
An eye drawing = Further research required

You’ll also want to leave a few pages in the beginning of your journal open for the index which is what brings everything together. You’ll have to number your journal pages which can be time consuming but it’s definitely worth it in the end. As you work through your book, simply add topics to your index and indicate which page number they are on.

Top tips

•    Create a weekly log where you brain dump all the things you want to get done for the week but not sure which days you’ll do them.

•    Break your days up into time periods. Several tasks don’t feel so daunting when they’re grouped by time and importance.

•    Separate your events in a creative way with doodles or washi tape.

•    Include your reading and movie wish list into a to-do list

•    Get a quality notebook that you absolutely love. We recommend Moleskine.

•    Use a ruler to help you create straight lines.

•    Use planner stencils to help you create fun shapes.

•    Use colorful page flags to help you easily find the page you need.

•    Create a “waiting on” list. This is great for when you place an order for something and are waiting for it to be delivered. Be sure to include the arrival date so you can track it!

•    Have a section to set monthly and weekly goals.

•    Create fun themes by doodling around your lists.

•    Log your memories. Jot down certain words that remind you of a particular event or doodle it.

•    Include a gratitude section.

•    Have fun with your headers on each page. Learn new creative lettering and just have fun with it.

•    Develop a planning routine. Sit down to plan each month, week, and day. Take the time to do this and in the end you’ll be more organized and will actually save yourself time.

Still don’t think bullet journaling is for you? We DARE YOU to give it a try just for a month or two. We totally believe in the power of keeping goals organized and how fun you can make this normally boring task if you do it right. We think bullet journaling will blow your mind! It’s totally different than anything you’ve ever seen before.  Give it a try and be sure to let us know how it goes!

The Secret To Reaching Your Goals On Time

By Nicole Tinkham

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It’s now October. Just let that sink in for a moment. That means there are only a few more months until 2016 is officially over! If you’re just now thinking about your New Year’s resolutions that you haven’t accomplished yet, you’re not alone. It’s incredibly easy to set goals for yourself in the beginning of the year and then put them off since you know you have a full year to accomplish them. But then when it gets to around this time, just a few months before the year is over, we tend to ditch the old goals and decide to start fresh in January again. But why give up on them now? You still have a few months to go!! In this blog, we’ll explain how to get in gear to reach those goals by January plus the secret to reaching your goals on time so you don’t run into this last minute situation again. Read on if you’re not ready to give up on your goals just yet.

We’ll admit, a couple of months is not a lot of time to reach some big goals you may have, but you can still make some headway before the New Year starts. For example, you may not be able to get your business up and running by January but you can save up the money for start up costs or create a business plan. Start thinking about smaller goals within the big vision you have that you can start doing right now. Breaking them down makes them seem more manageable and you’ll feel more accomplished when checking them off your list.  

Another thing you’ll have to do in these final months is get laser focused on those goals. You won’t be able to work on them just when it’s convenient for you. It’s time to get serious! This may mean making some sacrifices and working late into the night. But if you push through now, you’ll be in a much better place come the New Year. Plus, doing anything at this point is better than nothing at all! Just do the best you can and make the most of these next couple months.

Whether you’re setting goals to end the year out or looking to set new goals for next year, the KEY to actually achieving them on time has everything to do with the deadline. You absolutely must have a deadline for every single step in the process of achieving your goals. Realistically think about what it will take to reach that goal. What do you need to put into it? How much time will it take you? What type of obstacles will you possibly face and how long could they hold you back?

Once you figure out about how much time it should take you to reach your goal, move that deadline AHEAD! It could be moved up a week or a whole month. This will really help you push to get it done by the new date and if you don’t accomplish it by then, no worries because you’re still within your main deadline.

Shooting for an earlier end date really gets you focused. Sure, you may have to work harder but it also allows you the extra time to get started on the next goal. You mostly likely won’t procrastinate (as much), you’ll be more productive, and you’ll reduce stress.

However, we also understand that moving the deadline forward can easily scare some people out of getting started. That’s what your success partner is for. This person supports you along the way and holds you accountable in your journey so you actually reach those goals. You won’t want to let that other person down so you’ll be sure to follow through with what you say you’ll do! Here’s more on how a success partner can help you and how to find one.

Setting goals is so EASY! The difficult part, however, is following through with them and seeing them to the end. Don’t let the end of 2016 stop you from crossing some of those New Year’s resolutions off your list. There’s still time and you’ll be amazed at what you can achieve when you really get focused. Side note: It doesn’t have to be a new year to set goals for you! As you reach your goals, start creating new ones regardless of what month it is. When you do go about setting your goals, get super determined and push the deadline up. This gives you a little wiggle room so you don’t freak out (and give up) as the deadline approaches.

We can’t wait to hear what you’re tackling for the end of 2016. COMMENT below and let us know some goals you’re going after in the next few months.

9 Quick Tips To Get More Done That You Can Start Doing Today

By Nicole Tinkham

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Ever wonder how certain people get so much done in a day when you can barely handle one task on top of everything else on your plate? No, these people aren’t magical genies. They just know how to get organized and focused. They know how to block out distractions and prioritize so they get the most important things done first even if they don’t feel like doing them. It goes way beyond creating to-do lists, although that is a step in the right direction. In this post we’ll explain 10 quick tips to actually taking action and getting more done, all of which you can begin today!

1.    Make a list – you won’t remember everything (even if you think you will).

Tip: Use your smartphone for this so you always have your list available.

2.    Plan your day out – Think about what you want to accomplish ahead of time. Create your to-do list either the night before or first thing in the morning before starting your day.

3.    Only worry about the most important tasks of the day and get those things done first. Everything else can wait if you don’t have time to fit them in.

4.    Keep your end goal in mind – this will push you to get those not so fun tasks done.

5.    Schedule time in your day to complete the important things and actually set a timer when you get to work.

Tip: Get super focused for about 45 minutes on one task then take a little break and walk away from it.

6.    Get rid of distractions. Turn off your phone and make it clear to your friends and family that you are in work mode.

7.    Have a positive mindset – Instead of saying “I wish I had time to do this” tell yourself “I will make time for this”. When a negative thought enters your mind, replace it with a positive one.

8.    Always  move forward even if you have to take baby steps. No task is too small if it’s moving you toward your goals.

9.    Don’t overwhelm yourself with a long list. Keep it short.

So often we overcomplicate things in life. One 5 minute task that we don’t want to do could seem like it takes hours to complete. And it could if you let it! They key is to get focused on the most important tasks and not let distractions get in your way. Get the things you don’t like doing out of the way first so you don’t procrastinate all day on them and end up not doing them at all. Remember to get the dirty work done first so you can play in the art studio later!

Tell us, how have these 9 quick tips helped you get more done?

Should You Take A Risk Or Play It Safe?

By Nicole Tinkham

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Let’s pretend for a moment that we’re all starting out at the same level. There’s not one person more skilled or advanced than anyone else. We are all the same but it’s totally up to each individual with how they spend the next 10 years of their life. How do think everyone would differ? It’s safe to say that each person would take a different path depending on what interests them. But how successful they are and how quickly they get there depends on the choices they end up making. There are basically two main types of people: the ones who after 10 years haven’t moved forward much at all; they found a comfy place in life and decided to stay where it’s safe. And then there are the people who have excelled, and they’re usually the ones not afraid to get out of their comfort zone and take risks. If you’re the type of person who rather stay where it’s comfortable, that’s totally fine! But if you’re not happy with the way your life is going and aren’t willing to make a change, that’s on you. That is the decision you have made. In order to change your life you must make a change and that can be scary. The biggest life changes happen when you decide to do something that is completely out of your comfort zone. If you just can’t seem to make the leap, read on to determine if you should take a risk or if it’s better to play it safe.

Do you really want it?

There’s a difference between taking good risks and taking stupid ones. While we encourage you to jump right in with what you’re passionate about, we also want you to think it over! We’re not saying to sit on it for a year or two but just seriously consider your options. Where can you see yourself in a year? What about 5 years? What will your life look like at that point? Consider the good times as well as the struggles you may face. Is this big decision in line with your priorities? For example, if the most important thing in your life is family, does pursuing this goal take time away from them or does it add to it? Also consider your why behind what you’re going after. Do you have a strong and emotional connection to this big thing you’re about to take on? Are you doing it for yourself or for someone else? Is it something you really want to do or something you feel like you should do? We understand that there are a lot of questions being thrown at you here but take some time and really think these things over before you get started on your new journey.

Be clear on what you want to do

Once you decide that you in fact do want to take on this challenge, figure out how you will make it happen. Don’t just be clear on your end goal but also the mini goals along the way. What does your road map look like? How will you get to where you want to be? This will be your action plan. It may change as you go but having a good idea of how you’ll get there, will give you a great overview of what to expect. When doing the research on what goes into making your goal a reality, you may find that this just simply isn’t for you. That’s ok, keep thinking about ways to either modify it or think of a new plan that fits in better with your life and passions.

Is it really a big risk?

When going through the first two steps, you may want to turn around and run away immediately. Everything seems overwhelming and scary at first, we understand that. But before you back out completely, consider how much of a risk it even is. Often times it’s not as crazy as we think in our minds. Yes, you’ll have to get uncomfortable but what is the absolute worst that could happen? What if you fail? Will you die? Probably not! Considering the possibility of failure might be terrifying but consider if you didn’t go for it? What if you always played it safe and never made a change in your life? Would living that way be scarier than just going for it and living a life you actually love?

Really think about failure and plan out what you would do in certain circumstances. Of course there’s no way to predict the future but having a plan in these cases reduces your fear of what could go wrong and helps you realize that your worries are most likely minor ones that you can handle. If you still don’t believe you can handle them however, think about ways you can modify your big goal. You can always start slow and take baby steps toward that goal. Or maybe you’re meant to do something entirely different in life! No matter the case, you’ll figure it out. It takes time but you will get there.

Our challenge to you
Above, we mentioned taking it slow if the risk of going all in is too much for you to handle. Even if it is too much, we don’t recommend always staying in your comfort zone. Doing things that you normally wouldn’t do helps you grow as a person and exposes you to new things that you may just fall in love with. Get out there and discover who you are! You don’t have to quit your day job to work on your artwork to see a drastic change in your life. You can simply get out there at local art events and meet some new people if that’s something you would normally feel uncomfortable with. Or maybe enter your artwork into a show if you’ve had a lack of confidence lately. We challenge you do to one scary thing a month for the next couple months and once you do those things, keep adding to that list. The more you put yourself outside your comfort zone, the better you’ll get at doing these things. You’ll even gain the confidence to one day possibly take on that huge goal that absolutely terrifies you now.

It’s funny how taking risks means something different to all of us. What sounds totally crazy to one person could be a walk in the park for someone else. Don’t compare yourself to others thinking that you could never take something on because you’re simply not good enough. Don’t let how other people live their lives determine how you live yours! You are your own person and you can live your life however you choose to. You can do anything in this life of yours so be sure to make the most of it. Do something crazy and go after your dreams. Life is too short to not enjoy it. Taking a risk or playing it safe is something that only you can decide but we suggest taking the risk when you can if it means living a happier life that you’re passionate about.