5 Ways Waking Up Earlier Will Change Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

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I hear the excuses all the time. You’re simply not a morning person and I get that. Guess what? Most of us aren’t. Even the ones who are morning people now most likely weren’t always that way. I know I wasn’t until I discovered the major benefits to waking up early and getting things done. Now there’s no way I could ever go back to sleeping in. I understand that it’s not for everyone but I want you to give it a try for 30 days just to see how you like it. Trust me when I say it will be totally worth it. You may be wondering “but why??”. I have the answer to that! Read on for 5 ways waking up earlier will change your life.

1.    It helps you be more productive

First of all, rising early can add HOURS onto your day in which you can get so much done. Aside from that, getting an early start and focusing on yourself gets your mind right so you’re ready to take on the day. I find this to be true in my personal life. During the week I wake up early and I’m able to get more done than on the weekends when I sleep in a little. Even waking up an hour later on Sundays will put me in a lazy mood and it’s difficult to get going.

One thing I want to mention before we move on is once you get into the early morning habit, do it every single day even on the weekends. This is something I recently changed in my routine and it helps when Monday morning rolls around and you’re already used to the early morning alarm.

2.    It’s better for your health

Of course this all depends on how you spend your morning time but I’ve found that as people begin to wake up earlier they also start making healthier choices. This allows more time to get in some exercise and a nice breakfast. Another thing I recommend is drinking a glass of water as soon as you wake up. It will help you feel refreshed. If all of these habits are too much to change at once, just start with the habit of waking up earlier and you can always work on your healthy habits later on.

3.    It relieves your stress

There are two ways waking up early can relieve your stress. First of all, you won’t be rushing around running late for whatever it is you have to wake up for. Secondly, many people practice meditation, prayer, yoga, reflecting or journaling in their morning hours which also helps reduce stress. I really enjoy reading my book with a nice cup of coffee before getting ready for the day.

4.    It helps you get in touch with yourself

When you practice the things mentioned in point #3 (journaling, reflecting, etc.) you’re working on yourself. You’re discovering who you are and what you want to do with your life. Why are these things great to do first thing in the morning? Because most other people are still sleeping and everything seems to be super quiet and peaceful so you can really focus and get in touch with yourself.

5.    It helps you sleep better at night

Think you can’t possibly wake up any earlier simply because you’ll be too tired throughout the day? Think again! Waking up earlier has actually helped me sleep better. It regulates my sleep pattern so I naturally wake up at the same time every morning without feeling groggy. Read more about the shocking dangers of hitting snooze

I’ll admit, waking up an hour or even a half hour earlier is a drastic change. That’s why I always recommend baby steps. Wake up just 10 minutes early and do something that you truly enjoy. Once you’re comfortable with that, increase the time. Every little bit makes a difference!

I’ve talked a lot about why you should wake up early and how doing so can change your life in so many ways. By now you’re probably wondering how to become a morning person. Here are some quick tips.

•    Wake up just a little earlier at a time and work your way up
•    Focus on yourself and things you enjoy doing in the morning
•    Drink a full glass of water when you wake up
•    Brush your teeth right when waking up
•    Jump in the shower first thing
•    Enjoy some morning exercise
•    Place your alarm clock at the other side of the room and don’t hit snooze!
•    Eliminate screen time before bed to help you fall asleep quicker
•    Stick it out for 30 days to get into a routine of doing it

Many people I hear from, artists in particular, say they just work better at night. I completely understand that and agree that you should get the important tasks done when you’re most alert and creative. However, I was also like that and I’ve seen an incredible change when I started waking up earlier to get things done. It feels good to start the day with a clear mind and vision of what you want to accomplish for the day. You don’t have to become a morning person forever but I want you to consider these 5 ways waking up earlier can change your life and take on the 30 day challenge. Can you wake up just a little earlier every day for a month? Comment below if you plan to give it a try and let us know how it goes!

6 Easy Steps To Enjoying The Stress In Your Life

By Nicole Tinkham

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We write many blogs on ways to rid stress from your life so you may have read this title, thinking what gives?? We often view stress as a negative thing in our lives and it certainly can be. It sucks the time right out of our day, turns our hair gray, and prevents us from living the care-free life we want to live. However, if you switch your mindset just a little (we’ll show you how), you can actually begin enjoying the stress in your life. Read on for 6 easy steps for making stress your friend.

1.    Focus on what’s going right

We all experience different feelings when going through the stages of stress, but one thing that we all have in common is that it effects us, whether we admit it or not. In most cases, we experience sweaty palms and a racing heart. Use this stress signal to switch your way of thinking! When stress tries to take over, instead of focusing on all that is going wrong, channel your thoughts to think about all that is going right in your life. A simple re-direct of your thought patterns can actually change the way you think about the stress you may be facing.

2.    Use it to propel you forward

Sometimes being too comfortable where you’re at is a bad thing. You may not want to make the necessary changes for a better life because you’re just content. When stress pops up, you can use it to make a change because you decided you aren’t comfortable in the situation you’re currently in, and want something different!

3.    Embrace the feeling

We are often trained to feel a certain way in different circumstances. When we’re stressed, we automatically assume it’s a bad thing. But what if we could embrace that feeling and know that it’s good to feel that way every once in awhile? Of course you don’t want to be in a constant state of stress but from time to time it can be beneficial. Next time you’re stressed out, remember that it does not have to have a negative effect on you!

4.    Accept the challenge

Sometimes stress is brought on by a new challenge in life. Get your competitive spirit on and give it all you got! See what you’re really made of and all the incredible things you can accomplish when you aren’t scared to face the obstacles that get thrown your way. Remember, change can be a good thing!

5.    Be more productive

Stress gives you a boost of energy. Use it to your advantage! Get focused and be productive. Stress also puts pressure on you to reach your goals which can be very motivating.

6.    Get really good at future situations

The more you handle stressful situations, the better you’ll be at getting through future situations that come up. It’s all prep for whatever is coming up next.

While we just talked about the 6 easy steps for enjoying the stress in your life, it’s important for us to mention the negative side effects of stress as well. Even though there are benefits of stress such as increased energy, focus and motivation, too much stress can have a negative impact on your health. Be careful! You know you need to chill out and relax when you start getting headaches, body aches, and are sick more often. When you do reach this point, do these 7 simple ways to a peaceful mind

5 Ways To Wake Up That Don’t Involve Getting More Sleep

By Nicole Tinkham

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Do you ever find yourself falling asleep in the middle of the day and you just can’t figure out why? You feel like you’re getting plenty of sleep but it keeps happening and you aren’t getting as much done in the day as you’d like to. I know this feeling all too well since I struggle with it often. Believe it or not, there could be a solution to this sleepiness that doesn’t involve getting more sleep at all. So instead of wasting the day away being unproductive, you need to try these methods! Read on for 5 ways to wake up that don’t involve getting more sleep.

1.    Get enough Vitamin B

Did you know that vitamin B12 deficiency is actually really common? You may not think twice about it but Vitamin B is known for increasing energy and it really works. I had to mention this one because I know from experience that it’s a must for me in the morning. I take a pill but you can also get a great source of vitamin B12 from meat as well. Everyone is different though and the amount of Vitamin B that everyone needs can vary. If you’re still feeling extremely exhausted, you may want to see a doctor on other options.

2.    Drink more water

While water is essential and has so many health benefits, it can also help you stay mentally sharp. I find that cold ice water is best for reducing sleepiness but the important thing is to just drink it throughout the day. If you have a problem remembering to drink more water, get yourself a big water bottle that you love and set a timer to remind yourself to sip often. It’s recommended to drink water after waking up, 30 minutes before a meal (helps with digestion), and before bed.

3.    Take breaks

It’s so easy to feel burned out when working on a single project for hours at a time. You need a little variety in your day so get up and move around. I’ve found that getting outside in the sunshine helps to wake up and we could all really use more fresh air anyway. You don’t have to take long breaks throughout your busy day. In fact, just 5 minutes should do the trick. You can even be productive while you walk around by listening to some audio (an audio book, inspiring music, or a helpful podcast).

4.    Exercise

This one may sound like an oddball (how can being active give you more energy??) but just trust me on this. Exercise actually helps you produce energy during basic everyday tasks which means it will take you longer to tire out and when you do, you’ll recover much quicker. Remember that it’s ok to stick with a light routine. No need to train for a marathon here. Start your morning with a walk, some yoga, or even some simple stretches. The key is to get moving.

5.    Eat the right foods

You may think sugars and carbs spike your energy but they could actually make you much more tired later in the day. Try sticking with whole foods whenever possible with no extra junk added (think the outer aisles of the grocery store) and you’ll have more overall energy, better health, and  just feel much better inside and out. We recommend having healthy snacks on hand so you’re not tempted to reach for the junk when you get hungry throughout the day.

We just gave you 5 ways to wake up and feel more energized without the typical solution of just getting more sleep. Of course, sometimes sleep is the answer! So be sure to get your 6-8 hours of sleep every night, stick with a schedule, don’t have any caffeine after 2PM (it can mess with your sleep even if you fall asleep just fine!), make sure it’s dark and cold in the bedroom, and eliminate all distractions (phone, TV, computer) before bed. Get your sleep plus the things mentioned above and you should see a boost in your energy allowing you to be more productive and happier.

There are so many ways to live a life full of energy. Tell us, what method works for you??

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!

8 Simple Ways To Get An Energy Boost In The Afternoon

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By Nicole Tinkham

If you tend to feel groggy in the afternoon hours shortly after lunch, you are not alone. We’re sure you’ve heard the “get more sleep” speech before but maybe that’s not the issue. Even those who get plenty of sleep still get the afternoon yawns. Of course everyone’s different so your tired times may vary but the point is, at some time during the day you may feel yourself nodding off and we can help you get that little extra boost of energy that you need.

1.    Take a walk

Moving around and getting the blood flowing will definitely help keep you from falling asleep at your desk or whatever it is that you’re working on. Step away from your project, walk around, and stretch it out.

2.    Do something easy

Finding it hard to focus on your big tasks at this time? Instead do something that takes little thinking like sending an email, organizing your space, or calling a friend. I guess we’re saying to be productively lazy. Work but not too hard.

3.    Fuel your body with healthy food

Nutrition plays a huge part in how you feel throughout the day. Eat a healthy breakfast, keep it light for lunch, and munch on a small snack in the afternoon (almonds are a great choice). Too many carbs is said to really put you to sleep in the afternoon so try to limit them at lunch.

4.    Plan your day around your sleepy hours

We mentioned that everyone’s different and could have different times throughout the day that they feel tired. If you’re able, plan your day around your sleepy times. Aim to get important work done before and after that time so you can take a break when you need it most.

5.    Power nap

A short 20 to 60 minute nap can go a long way. If you are able, get a little shut eye but not much more than an hour or you may feel even groggier than before. Set an alarm and you’ll be surprised how refreshed you’ll feel after a good nap.

6.    Use peppermint oil

Just a drop of peppermint oil rubbed into your hands and a little on your face (not near the eyes) is sure to wake you up when you start dozing off.

7.    Eat dark chocolate

This is our favorite one on the list!! Be careful though, milk chocolate is not the same and the sugar in that could make you even sleepier after your sugar rush. But just a little dark chocolate makes you feel good and the little bit of caffeine will help wake you up.

8.    Do what you love

You will be more energetic and excited about working on a project you love than something that puts you to sleep even more. Get the not so fun tasks done first so you have something to look forward to in the afternoons.

When you just can’t seem to stay awake, you get absolutely nothing done. Then since you didn’t get anything done in the afternoon, you may have to stay later at work or stay up all night completing your project. The cycle starts again when you don’t get enough sleep and find yourself even more tired the next day. First thing’s first, get done what you can in the morning while you have the energy. Focus on the important things and get them done so you don’t push them aside later. Then play around with some of the ideas on this list and see which one works best for you.

Tell us, how do you boost your energy in the afternoon? Leave you tips in the comments below!

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?

How To Take A Mental Break For A Stress-Free Day

By Nicole Tinkham

How To Take A Mental Break For A Stress-Free Day

So many of our blogs and tips we post on Facebook mention taking breaks when needed to increase your productivity. Stepping away from a project, taking a walk, or switching your focus are all great ways to take breaks throughout your day but every once in awhile you need to completely shut off your brain. Sometimes this can be tough to do especially if you have a long to-do list and a ton of things that need to get done. Even if you are taking your focus away from the project at hand, chances are you’re still thinking about it when you take your breaks. We’ll show you how to completely switch off your mind so you can take a mental break from life for a stress-free day.

1.    Visualize Relaxation
We know you’re creative and used to using your imagination so this activity should come easy to you. Take at least 5 minutes to leave your work area, sit somewhere quiet, and visualize whatever it is that relaxes you. Picture yourself in a sunny field with the breeze blowing through your hair. Or you’re on an empty beach listening to the waves crash in. Really focus on this relaxing state and ignore your actual surroundings. Allow yourself to get lost for a moment and when you come back to reality, you should feel totally refreshed.

2.    Listen to Relaxing Music
Give your typical music (or whatever you’re used to listening to throughout the day) a break and plug into some relaxing audio. We’re talking about nature’s music, like rain falling or birds chirping. As with visualizing yourself relaxing, listening to relaxing music will allow you to escape from the real world allowing you to leave your stress and worries behind. Close your eyes and take slow, deep breaths to totally calm your mind. We recommend using Spotify, a free app to find relaxing audio.

3.    Take a Nap
Not only does taking a nap feel incredible but it’s also shown to boost energy, productivity and creativity. Plus when you’re napping, you’re not thinking about he stresses of the day. Think you don’t have time to nap? All you really need is a 25-30 minute refresher. If you don’t work from home, taking a nap may be difficult to do during the day. If that’s the case, keep this tip in mind for the weekends. We know how hectic they can be and taking just a little bit of time to catch some zzz’s could be just the thing your body needs to power through the rest of the day and weekend.

4.    Practice Yoga
Meditation and yoga are both proven ways to relieve stress. Either one of these mindful activities will work but we really like yoga since it gets the body moving. Not only will yoga help clear your mind but it will also improve your flexibility and your performance in other physical exercises you may do. Whether you’re meditating or practicing yoga, be sure to take deep breaths to really get yourself relaxed. And if you’re short on time a short 10 minute session can get the job done!

5.    Seclude Yourself
Whether you love being around other people or it’s just not your cup of tea, sometimes you just need to be by yourself. With social media and drama in the office or with friends, you need to seclude yourself every once in awhile in order to hear yourself think (or not think). Spend some quality time with the most important person in your life, you! Turn off your phone and shut down your computer and tablet. This will help you get rid of all that negativity that’s out there. For now, you’re in your own little world.

6.    Spend Time in Nature
We spend a lot of time talking about the importance of being out in nature especially to get out of a creative rut. It’s definitely our favorite way to escape the stresses of our busy lives. Being out in nature puts things into perspective. We rarely have time to enjoy this beautiful Earth we live on and that’s sad! Get out there and feel the grass and dirt beneath your feet. Soak in the scenery and just be present in the moment. Make sure you have plenty of time to do this as it’s so easy to lose track of time when you’re out there. But maybe that’s the goal in the first place 🙂

When reading over this list, we realize that you may not think you need to be doing these things. You might believe that it’s just a waste of time especially when you have so much on your plate right now. Listen up! It may sound crazy but taking just a few short breaks throughout your day or spending a little more time at some point during the week to clear your head, relax, and de-stress will actually increase your productivity. So by taking these breaks you’ll actually get more done than not taking a break at all. Of course we don’t expect you to do all 6 things on this list but try a few out over the next couple weeks and see what works best for you. This could seriously change your life!

What helps you to relax?? COMMENT below with your top tricks!