Life style, work style

I’m one of those people who revels in having a full calendar. I get annoyed/weirdly enjoy telling people that “no, I cannot make that because if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a million times.. I need at least a week’s notice.” At the beginning of my day, I sit down and look at my page-long to-do list and feel powerful and ready to attack. By lunch time I’m usually still on track and making a good pace. It’s once I hit 1:00 after lunch that the mid-afternoon slump and [just a] 30 minute nap beckons to me like a siren. If I cave, the rest of the day is done and I wake up groggy most times and in a rush to get my head in the right place to get ready and go to my [real] job that pays the bills. During the day I participate in self-motivated efforts with this blog and my Mary Kay business. When I give in to the nap, or sometimes even if I don’t, my to-do list may get one or two more things checked off and a good chunk is left untouched and added to tomorrow’s list. Unproductive.

I came across a new concept of organizing and working in bursts that seems to me to be more effective than a monstrous to-do list (or 2 or 3 lists) and I’m going to participate in a challenge to implement this approach in my own life as well. The method is called batching. I read a post yesterday that explains about the method and its roots. Author Tim Ferriss explains it like this:

“Being busy is a form of laziness – lazy thinking and indiscriminate action. Being overwhelmed is often as unproductive as doing nothing, and is far more unpleasant. Being selective – doing less – is the path of the productive. Focus on the important few and ignore the rest.”

 His book, The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated) can be found on Amazon here.

Being busy is a form of laziness? At first I was caught off guard with this statement but the more I thought about it, the more I realized the truth in it. I over-schedule myself with house to-do items, blog to-do items, Mary Kay to-do items, social obligations, you name it.  Running your own business venture or businesses ventureS like I’m attempting to do (while working meanwhile and running our household) requires a lot of work. It really does. But I have to wonder if I’m working the best way. I think not.

Jess Lively said:

“I encourage anyone else who is struggling to keep up with their calendar to join me on this week of batching!”

I’m struggling. I subscribed to her email and I fell in love with her color coded google calendar (which I already used obsessively to stay organized) batch schedule.

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My calendar:

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If you notice on the left, I have 4 calendars currently lit. That’s right, I use 4 calendars for my life. The school calendar is actually not mine, it’s Josh’s – but I had him input his assignments and things so that I would be aware of when he would have to spend large chunks of time that might otherwise affect things that we have to do around our house, or together.

For the most part, I use my calendar for due dates (especially bill and due date reminders) but as you can see the rest of the day (before my 5-10 work shift every night) is open. In comparison, Jess Lively’s schedule is color coded and blocked off so that there’s a focus for each block of time. I’ll be working today to implement a similar color-coded blocking off of time throughout the week to meet all of my personal & work obligations. There’s something nice about having the whole day to do everything in whatever order I would like, but it’s not really that productive.

On another note, I believe in having a balanced lifestyle. I came across this article about 5 things you should do in the morning to kickstart your day off the right way. Read here. My favorite?

1. Lay in bed for at least 5 minutes after you wake up. I usually spend those 5 or 7 minutes talking and snuggling with my puppies as they’re trying to convince me to get up because it’s time to go outside and eat breakfast! I’ve got a few others to implement (like the exercise thing…) but between giving myself a little extra time in the mornings and scheduling out my days to better reflect my work/personal needs – it’s all going up!

How do you feel about batching?

New year, new look

I’ve been working like crazy through the holidays to get things in order to start the new year off right. Today I’d like to share my file cabinet that got a new look for the new year.

This baby is a total hand-me-down from my parents, who have used it.. for who knows how long. It had files in it from when I was a baby.. so over 20  years.

FxCam_1355836514679It’s had paint drip on it from the different times I painted my bedroom at the old apartment, and just looks like it needs a little TLC. I’ve been experimenting with spray paint more recently and have been drawn to brighter colors of late. What better way to cheer this sad, tired looking file cabinet up than with some school bus yellow spray paint?

It did take me 3 cans to completely coat this bad boy to my satisfaction. For whatever reason, this spray paint (Krylon Fusion in the brightest yellow on the shelf) disseminated through the air and turned the floor outside of the drop cloth yellow as well!! (but luckily came off when I hosed the porch off) But just a warning in case you are inspired to turn something in your home a bright cheery color, by spray paint.

File cabinet makeover grid

 

I love the yellow so much, it almost makes me WANT to file all my papers. 🙂

 

Darling Little Things: a new makeup routine

With any new year comes lots of purging, reorganizing and clean slates. This year is no different. I recently became a Mary Kay consultant and am SOOO excited to have new products and a new skin care regiment. That being said, there is lots of stuff… everywhere. So, I decided to pare down to essentials and really love the items that I have and use them.

I have 4 make up bags that have random stuff in them, a couple of products that I use in each of them that got left behind when i decided to move on to a new make up bag. I went through everything and kept what I absolutely loved and threw out the pieces that have just been laying around taking up space and I have a beautiful little spot for all of it now.

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The beautiful part about this little set up is that I only bought the basket. I had originally set my sights on a larger basket but found this one in the kitchen section of World Market for a bargain price of $7.99. It fits better on my vanity counter anyway. I already had an empty mason jar just sitting on a shelf (I’m slightly obsessed with mason jars and buy them randomly just because) and I already had the cute little glass that are holding my brushes. I picked that up at Anthropologie for $4 bucks and thought it was the cutest thing.

Of course I have more make up that I don’t use everyday, the wilder colors.. I am a total sucker for the brighter colored eyeliners [purple, green, teal],but I’ve gotten to where I don’t wear those every day. SO, I did keep one make up bag with all of my beloved items that are for special occasions and it stays tucked in a cabinet in our bedroom and not thrown in a cabinet with 4 other bags full of random nonsense.

It feels good to pare down and simplify. Now the things I have are all things that I love and I don’t have to rummage. Time saver and I’m back to a place where I enjoy getting ready again. Cheers!

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Christmas Cards spread good cheer

And it’s good if they’re reminding you of that good cheer that was sent your way and not cluttering your kitchen counter tops. This was the first year I actually mailed out cards. I’ve halfway done it in the past (sent out 4 or 5) or given them out in classes when it’s easiest to just hand them to people. But half the fun of Christmas cards is getting cards back in the mail! I already have a better idea for what to put on our cards for next year. 🙂

As far as the organization half of it, I actually thought of this idea all on my own. I went to Michael’s Craft Store and found a delightfully Christmas-y bow (green and red polka dots) and chose similar red and white polka dotted ribbon.

What I started with.

What I started with.

I then took clothes pins and spray painted them gold to hold cards. I’m slightly obsessed with gold spray paint these days. It easily covers other colors and previous layers and covers very evenly..and is instaglam to anything you put it on. Go get a can, you’ll be blown away too.

Our very full Christmas card holder

Our very full Christmas card holder

I put our Christmas card hold right next to the front door, next to an antique 7 Up crate that holds some of our favorite knick knacks and most importantly – our keys so we can grab and dash out the door. It’s a nice reminder of all of our friends out there and adds a bit of festiveness!

Darling little things: jewelry organization

Up until recently, I was utilizing a traditional jewelry box. Don’t get me wrong, it’s very classy, traditional, sleek.. and black. And plain. I had the recent lightbulb go off in my head that getting ready in the mornings and putting outfits together would probably be MUCH easier if I could actually SEE everything that I have. Plus, all of the pieces of jewelry that I own are pretty things that I love, so why not display them anyway?

I started with this DIY project (featured in the sneak peek post last week), a jewelry board. I found the original project tutorial on Something Like That Designs, she walks you through her process here, and also see her Finders Keepers Post for some other organization inspiration- I ended up copy catting some of her thought process!)

First: Sneak Peek Project Reveal

My beautiful jewelry organization board

All of my favorite earrings are easily seen on this board. This is so much better than digging through a drawer or box and trying to find the matching pair!

I tweaked the tutorial a smidge when I made my own board. I purchased a frame from Michael’s Craft Store & then browsed the paint aisle. While some of the other tutorials out there (there are a lot on Pinterest if you’re looking for a different spin) show just taking the back out of a frame, I chose to keep that cardboard that comes with it and actually keep the back of the frame as well. I painted the cardboard insert a rose gold color and spray painted my chicken wire (which you can buy in a roll at Home Depot anywhere from $10 and up) a burgundy color. The two colors look amazing with the dark wood frame, so I kept it as it was. The only difficult part I had was threading the earrings through the wire with the backing still on the frame, it took a bit of maneuvering at times.. but we rent and I would rather spend that extra 10 minutes threading it through the wire with the back on than have lots of scuffs and things to fix on my wall when it’s time to do that, but that’s up to you!

Since I kept the back on, I wasn’t able to use the little cup hooks to hang my necklaces. I found these great little tacks at Walmart for a buck and was able to punch them through the back of the cardboard to hang my necklaces. The antique-y brass-gold color works nicely with my color theme.

Next: Everyday Items to Add Some Pretty Utility in Your Life

My newly updated dresser top

1. This great little ceramic egg crate was a steal of a deal and cost me $5 bucks at World Market (one of my favorites). I chose the yellow because I’ve been trying to incorporate more of yellow’s cheeriness into our home, but they had an assortment of pretty colors to choose from. The jewelry board organizes and houses all of my dangly earrings and the egg crate holds all the studs. I work for a rather conservative company that does not care for flashy jewelry. Instead of going without, I have grown a pretty large collection of studs that sparkle 🙂 The egg crate lets me separate them into categories (pearl, diamond, costume jewelry, blue, gold, etc.) and they’re easier to find, easier to see.

2. This is an example of using things you already have on hand. I bought this [yellow, gold] candle holder a few years ago and have used it as a small vase, a candle holder, a few different ways over the years. I had stored it in a drawer when we moved and I rediscovered it recently. I decided to put a leather cuff and another larger bracelet in it. I can see what’s inside, and it gives adds visual interest with its pop of color.

3. This plate is probably my favorite. I found it on the clearance aisle at Michaels for $1.48. It had a sticker on it that said “sold as is.” There are no marks on this plate that I could see… so, after visiting and falling completely in LOVE with Paris on New Years Eve, of course I bought it. It holds my every day favorite pieces: my new & beautiful birthday present watch from the boyfriend as well as the b-e-a-utiful necklace that he bought me our first Christmas together, my favorite rings [including a spoon ring!] and a very unique spoon bracelet.

4. While cleaning out my jewelry box with all of my nice, real jewelry, I realized I had another jewelry box somewhere with costume jewelry in it that I used to wear quite a bit a few years ago. I found the [very adolescent] jewelry box and decided it was time for a more sophisticated update for the pieces I wanted to keep and continue to wear. I found this little basket/box with button and loop latch at Hobby Lobby and got it half off for about $4 bucks. It was lacking pizazz so I dug through my craft bag in search of something that would give it that little something extra.

Add a Paper Flower to a Plain Box/Basket

 I had some on hand but you can go to your favorite craft shop and purchase paper flowers. I layered 2 for the effect I wanted & added a contrasting button on top to complete the design. Now it’s got that something special to it and is different, but goes nicely with all of the other elements atop my dresser.

I’m still working on organizing a second dresser that holds tanks, scarves, socks, and a drawer full of randomness that I’ll hopefully be able to show soon, but for now is still a serious work in progress.

Always be on the lookout for items that can add some pretty in your life.