Awesome resources to stay peaceful and productive in December

Like I mentioned last week, December can be such a chaotic month. There’s a lot of pressure to see a bunch of people, squeeze in all of the holiday festivities you can, and let’s not forget the amount of work and deadlines that pile up before the end of the year.

Whew. Just thinking about all of that makes my chest tighten and my thoughts spin.

But there are ways we can slow down and accomplish everything we need to accomplish with peace and ease. And actually, when we slow down, we get more done.

Below are all of the things I’ve been doing/watching/reading/listening to stay calm and productive this month. Pick the things that resonate with you and give them a try!

Listening to…
Spotify’s Acoustic Christmas. I love this playlist because it puts me in the holiday spirit and it’s mellow enough for me to enjoy while working.
Commute with LEVIS playlist by female DJ Jilly Hendrix. This one pumps you up and makes me feel like a boss.
Podcasts: Let it Out and Food Psych are my faves. I’ve also heard great things about Call Your Girlfriend and Lady Lovin‘. I get SO tempted (and give in a lot) to go on Youtube during the day when I’m taking a break from work/eating lunch/procrastinating. But that just gets me so off track and brings me no peace whatsoever. Podcasts help me stay on track, give me positive energy, and entertain me!

Reading…
Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison. OMG read this memoir from Hugh Hefner’s former main gf. She goes deep about what Playboy mansion life was really like and how she empowered herself to get out, work hard, and live an amazing life on her own terms.
The Universe Has Your Back by Gabrielle Bernstein. Any time you open ANY of Gabby’s books, you’ll feel happier and calmer.
Someday, Someday, Maybe: A Novel by Lauren Graham. LG hit it out of the park with this one.
Let it Out: A Journey Through Journaling by Katie Dalebout. Awesome book of journaling prompts that connect you to your purpose, calm you down, and help you feel awesome about yourself.

Putting on my face…
This face mask from Lush. My all-time store-bought fave.
Greek yogurt. Duh. My all-time DIY fave. Smear a few tablespoons on your face, leave for 15 mins, wash off gently.
These too: egg/honey, greek yogurt/banana, egg whites.

Rocking body confidence with the Instagrams of…
Tess Holliday
Nourish and Eat
Robin Lawley
Ashley Graham

These resources will give you energy and a sense of calm…so that you can really enjoy this month AND knock out your To Do list.

Two awesome and low-effort time management techniques

Sometimes (a lot of times), it’s hard for me to focus while I’m working. I tend to start a task, then shift a few moments later to something else that I remember I have to do, change the song I’m listening to, text someone, grab another glass of water, etc. You know the drill.

In our world of constant stimuli that offer immediate gratification, staying on one task for a set period of time can be pretty difficult. I recently discovered two time-management tools that really work for me. I invite you to try them for yourselves.

1. When you’re faced with a challenge (however big), take a few deep breaths. When we’re working on a task, challenges come up. We may not know how to respond to an email, proceed on an assignment, or we may have to Google around for an answer to a question. When these challenges come up, we get slightly uncomfortable/annoyed/frustrated, so our minds wander to distract ourselves from that discomfort. But that just makes us lose concentration, prolonging the time it takes for us to finish something. The next time you notice yourself switching gears right away when a challenge comes up, remove your hands from your laptop or phone and take two deep breaths.Put your focus on your breath.Then return to the task. You’ll often find that when you go back to your task, the challenge at hand is less of a pain than you thought. With just a little more concentration, you can figure it out and get your task done.

2. Set a timer for 10 mins and crank out that email. Sending emails seems like such a mind-numbing task, but it actually takes a lot of concentration. We may have to include a lot of detail and direction to our recipient or write a thoughtful response to someone’s idea. And how annoying is it when you finally send an email and realize you made a mistake!? It can take a long time to write a useful and error-free email, and it’s so easy for our minds to wander while we write. Try this technique. Set your timer for 10 mins. Get hyperfocused and try your absolute hardest to get that email written within that 10 mins. But don’t send yet. This helps you get out everything you need to say—quickly. THEN, after the 10 mins, read the email aloud to yourself and send.

Try these techniques at work or school this week. They’ll help you stay focused during your work time so that you get your work done quickly—and you avoid having to take work home or squeezing in work in other parts of your day.

How to stop procrastinating (ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it)

This week, I managed to do lots o’ yoga, went to the state fair, ate delicious ice cream, and played around with Snapchat at the doctor’s office (follow me at sgreenberg721).

doctors-office-jenis-alpacas-collage

Let’s talk about something work-related. How about procrastination? Ug I can procrastinate with the best of them. In fact, just last night I was sitting at my desk ready to do some work (on an awesome project comin to ya soon!) when I got sucked into The Hills. I spent almost two hours watching episode after episode and researching what every single character (even minor ones who never actually spoke) is doing now. That’s how I discovered the awesomeness of Jilly Hendrix.

I managed to get my work done, but I had to stay up late to do it, and my original plan was to bang it out, then hit the hay. Gah! Can you relate to this?

Procrastinating doesn’t do anyone any good. It just makes the work you have to do that much more unappealing, unbearable, and even tortuous. Yet, we all procrastinate sometimes, so we’re not alone.

The trick is to decide exactly what we’re going to work on for a certain amount of time, and shorten the amount of time we stall on doing that work. How do we do that? As my yoga teacher once said, “Ain’t nothin’ to it but to do it.”

What does that mean? It means that the hardest part of doing work is actually getting ourselves to do it. It’s true. When I was procrastinating last night, I knew that the work I had to do wasn’t hard; actually it was pretty fun and about a topic that revs me up. The hardest part was pulling myself away from The Hills. I got really comfortable in front of my laptop, just Googling away searching for answers about people I don’t know. All I had to do was pause The Hills and do my work. Once I did, I got into a good rhythm and did what I had to do.

That’s the hardest part for most of us–just pulling ourselves away from our laptop, the couch, our friend’s house, the phone, etc. But that’s the most important step. If we can just take that first step–getting ourselves to focus on the work in front of us–then our work becomes easier and we stop procrastinating (for that moment, at least).

Here’s how to get out of procrastination and into action:
1. Whatever procrastinating activity you’re doing–using social media, binge watching, Youtubing the Carpool Karaoke episodes, biting your nails–take a deep breath. Inhale and exhale deeply. Get into your body for a few seconds.

2. Move around. Get up and get a glass of water. Dance to a song that gets you going. Go to the bathroom. Move from your bed to your desk. Getting some blood pumping in your body will wake you up.

3. Turn off the TV show, movie, social media, etc. Just X out of whatever you’re doing that’s keeping you from doing work. Turn it off for now like it’s no big deal.

4. Pick one task you’re going to do. Don’t just say, “Okay, now I have to do work.” WTF does that even mean? If you don’t have a concrete plan or goal in mind, you won’t be able to focus and then you’ll end up procrastinating again. Instead, say, “Okay, I’m going to read one chapter of my book.” Or, “I’m going to pick a topic for my paper.” Giving yourself one task will make your workload feel manageable. And when you finish it, you’ll feel really productive and good about yourself…giving yourself more motivation to keep doing work.

5. Set a timer. I loooove timers. Use your phone or an online timer like this or this. When you use a timer, you don’t feel like you’re chained to your desk forever. You’ll work hard for a given amount of time, then take a break. Then you’ll do it again.

This is the exact process I use to get my own work done. We all procrastinate, and that’s okay. But we have goals, dreams, and obligations. So procrastination can’t take up too much of our time. This process will help you. You got this!

A peaceful way to accomplish goals and manage time

Emily, a college student blogger over at Honeybee Joyous gave me an awesome opportunity to try out her new Plan Better Live Better 2016-2017 Planner. I’ve never been able really stick to a planner and usually juggle 2-3 pieces of paper with a weekly and daily To Do list for work tasks AND personal tasks. I spend most of my days scatterbrained with so many things I have to do, goals I want to accomplish, and creative ideas I want to explore…and a lot of times, I don’t get much done because I don’t know what to work on first. But the Plan Better Live Better Planner is helping. Here’s how:

  1. It’s big. It’s about the size of computer paper.  There’s enough space to accommodate both my work and personal tasks/commitments, AND enough space for me to add things throughout the day that I need to do or remember as they pop into my mind, which happens a lot to me. The planner comes in a pdf, and you get to decide how to use it: print it out yourself, send to Staples to print out, bind, put in a binder (like me!), staple, etc.
  2. No more juggling several lists; everything is in one place.  I tend to create separate work/personal life To Do lists, then a list of weekly or monthly personal and work goals. It’s hard keeping all of that stuff fresh in my head so I remember to take action on it, but with the Plan Better Live Better Planner, everything is in one place. The weekly spread includes tons of space to write out my schedule for each day, but it also designates space to a “This Week’s Top Five” goals column and a “Don’t Forget” column. Those are lifesavers for me. I get to think with intention about what I want to accomplish this week–in my work life and personal life–AND jot down all of those random, but important tasks that pop into my head during the day, i.e. wrap shower gift. Get mom’s bday present. Everything I need to remember and/or do is one place. It’s so much more peaceful than my previous methods.
  3. It’s set up for you to be productive in a peaceful way. There’s also a section for every month called “My goals for this month are…” which is a box that gives you enough space to write out everything you have/want to do for the month, then schedule each task into your weekly spread. My scatterbrained thoughts always make me think I have so much stuff to do that it’ll never get done. But the monthly goals box helps me see everything that needs to be accomplished in front of me (which calms me down because everything is out of my head and onto a page), decide how high of a priority each task is, and schedule it accordingly on the very next page in the weekly spread. This type of planning helps us scatterbrained folks to focus, get clear on what we have/want to do, and actually do it.

Plan Better Live Better collage

A few things I’m not crazy about/not sure if I’ll use:

-While I LOVE how much space the planner has, I can’t throw it in my purse. Or whip it out at the doctor’s office when making an appointment. Though I just use my phone calendar to schedule appointments when I’m out, then plug them into the planner when I get home.

-There is a finance tracker for each month to help you keep track of how much you spend. But I think I’m too lazy to physically write out each of my expenses. Don’t think I’ll be using this much.

-Wish it was a little cuter. This planner is really meant to help you show up for and accomplish everything you want/need to get done. Pretty flowers, inspirational quotes, or whimsical fonts are not the priority. I get it, I just can’t help but miss a cute planner! I DEFINITELY recommend printing this in color. Mine is in black and white (to save $), but I wish I paid a little extra to see Emily’s grey and blue color scheme; much more energizing.

That wraps up my review on the Plan Better Live Better Planner. I’m excited to continue using it, and hope you try it out too! Click here to get it!

Disclaimer: I am an affiliate for the “Plan Better Live Better Planner” and will receive a small percentage of sales made through the link. All opinions are expressed are 100% my own.

How to stop being crazy around food, Part I (and an excerpt from one of my college journals)

Time for another blog post from yours truly! Here’s a bit of what yours truly did this week: took a sick day while dogsitting, ate the best pizza outside on a bench, attended a work conference in my hometown, went to a big ol’ cousins party, and looked at beautiful flowers.

Flower dogsitting collage

As you know, binge eating was a big part of my life as a college student. I wanted to lose weight so badly that I would restrict my food intake during the day and then at night or on the weekends RIP into all the food I could get my hands on.

One time in college I went on a “sugar cleanse” (dear God). I was not allowed to eat any processed sugar. A lot of natural sugars, like bread and most fruits, were off limits, too. The cleanse was supposed to support brain function and hormone health, but we all know why I really did it: to lose weight!

One weekend during the cleanse my body was starving for sugar. I couldn’t take another minute depriving myself of sugar (um, I just wanted a f*cking sandwich on normal bread)…so I binged like crazy. I went so crazy that on Sunday night, I was eating spoonfuls of powdered sugar from a gingerbread house kit that my mom sent me for the holidays. When I finally put the spoon down and realized what I had done, dread and self-loathing set in.

Here’s what I wrote in my journal that night:
I want to hide, to sleep, to be alone and cry. I feel stupid and weak. Failure keeps coming up. Everyone seems to have it together. Why can’t I stop myself from eating and eating and eating? F*CK! I totally relapsed and feel horrible. I do NOT want to go to class tomorrow.

I wish I could say that after that night, I decided to find a more peaceful way to relate to food. But it took many similar binge eating moments to do that. And I STILL struggle with my relationship to food, though things are much, much better.

All of this chaos I’ve experienced around food has helped me form my personal food philosophy, which I’m going to share with you tonight:

Eat exactly what you want, whenever you want, without judgment.

Let that marinate with you for a bit. Let the words work on you. Imagine what life would be like if you lived by that philosophy. What thoughts and emotions come up for you when you read those words?

I’ll be back next week with a full explanation of what my food philosophy means, and how I practice it in my life.

How to make progress on projects and goals even when you’re really scared and confused

First of all, I can’t get enough of this song–probs because it was on an excellent episode of Broad City.

Second of all, how was your weekend? My brother was in town from Atlanta and it was great. We spent time with our cousins, watched basketball, and ate Easter candy. He also tolerated being put into many-a-headlock by me. That’s just what little sisters do.

Easter Candy
Third of all, I want to teach you how to make progress, take action, and be productive on your projects and goals even when you’re scared and confused.

When I finished grad school, I freaked out. I woke up every morning sick to my stomach. So many questions raced through my brain. What job should I get? Should I move? If so, where? Should I get a quick job now to make money? Or should I focus on getting a “real” job? Do I even want a “real” job? What do I really want? But is there even time to think about what I really want? Should I freelance for a while? But will that even pay enough for me to live on? Do my family and friends think I’m stupid, lazy, and spoiled?

These questions haunted me all day, every day. I was anxious all the time and never knew what to do with myself or how to structure my days. All I wanted to do was watch Gilmore Girls in bed.

But, as we all know, ignoring work for too long just makes us more anxious. So one morning, I decided to make a list of super simple things I could do to have a productive day and feel calm and strong. This is what my list looked like (no joke, I pulled out my journal from that time):

Things to do to keep me moving forward (literally what I called this list)
1. Make bed
2. Make breakfast and eat in dining room
3. Take walk
4. Figure out and test drive directions to restaurant when my family visits
5. Schedule meeting about x,y,z with Professor X
6. Clean bathroom
7. Email that woman I freelanced for last semester. Ask if she needs help.
8. Spend 20 mins updating LinkedIn account
9. Read email thread with cousins about Europe itinerary
10. Look at how much I have in bank accounts
11. Make cookies for party

See how simple and finite these things are? I had no idea what kind of job to get, whether I should move, etc., and I was so scared all the time. But instead of just staying in that place of indecision and confusion, I took very small actions forward. I put myself in forward motion, even though I was unsure of what I wanted the end result to be.

Notice that my list doesn’t just include job-related actions. It includes other things I needed to get done and responsibilities I had to fulfill at the time (cleaning, getting directions, finalizing travel plans). Doing those things made me feel productive in the moment and took my mind off of my anxiety. And my list includes things that helped my body and mind feel relaxed and strong. All of these things helped me feel more empowered and confident, which gave me more momentum to keep taking action instead of getting paralyzed by fear.

If you’re grappling with big projects and questions–maybe a big research paper, grad school applications, a job or internship search, figuring out where and if to move–I want you to take out a piece of paper and write a list of 5-10 small things you can do to move forward. What are small actions you can take to be productive and calm down? Maybe you can make a list of potential companies to work/intern for. Maybe you can freewrite about your research topic for 10 mins. Maybe you can make an appointment with your professor to get your questions addressed. Maybe you can take a walk with a friend today.

Doing small things every day to move you forward really will help you accomplish and get clarity on your goals. Keep them simple. Cross them off as you do them. Be very proud of yourself. Trust that as you take action, you’re getting closer and closer to finding answers to all of your questions and uncertainties.

Comment below and tell me 3 simple things you’re going to do TODAY to move forward!

If you missed my Kick Ass in Class training call, listen tonight!

Last week, I hosted a really cool training call, Kick ass in class: How to stop comparing yourself to your classmates and impress your professors. Remember? Welp, it was awesome….but the recording didn’t work (doh!).

So tonight Nov. 3 at 9pm est, I’m hosting the call AGAIN. If you missed this super fly, hot, and valuable call the first time, now’s your chance to hear it!

Join me tonight and get these goods:

  • Step-by-step guide to prepare for and contribute to every one of your classes
  • Practical, simple, and hella-effective tools you can use RIGHT AWAY to shift out of comparison mode in class and speak up
  • Ample time for questions about your own struggles participating in class and getting caught in comparison thoughts

Here are the call-in deets:

641-715-3580
Access code: 842-094

Can’t wait to talk to you soon! Tonight, Nov. 3 at 9pm est. Hop on the phone with me!

I’m hosting a FREE training call on how to kick ass in class!

Ready for another week, college and post-college peeps? I’m jazzed because on Tuesday October 27 I’m hosting a FREE call called, Kick ass in class: How to stop comparing yourself to your classmates and impress your professors. Sound good? That’s cuz it is!

We’ll be riffing on how to speak up in class when those funky comparison thoughts make you feel inferior to your classmates and afraid to participate. You have important things to say and you gotta say ’em (your profs and classmates want you to).

Here’s what you’ll get in the call:

  • Step-by-step guide to prepare for and contribute to every one of your classes
  • Practical, simple, and hella-effective tools you can use RIGHT AWAY to shift out of comparison mode in class and speak up
  • Ample time for questions about your own struggles participating in class and getting caught in comparison thoughts

I’d love for you to join me in this conversation. It’ll be a mix of vulnerability (I tell a bit of my story), motivation, practical tools, and swear words (I’ll try to keep those in check).

Here’s how to join:

October 27 at 9pm EST
641-715-3580
Access code: 842-094

Can’t wait to talk to you in real time!