why are we more productive in the morning

Why are we more productive in the morning?

“If you win the morning, you win the day.”

Tim Ferria
more productive in the morning

If we have all day to get things done, why are we more productive in the morning? ‘Morning rituals’ is the latest catchphrase in the self-help industry with every guru spouting the value of waking up early. It has reached a point where you’re led to believe that you need to wake up at an unearthly hour if your want to be successful.


Nothing could be further from the truth. Ultimately, it’s not the time you wake up that matters. What really counts is what you do with the time you have. Let’s look at some of the most common morning ritual mistakes.

1. Waking up early when you’re a night owl

We’re all different individuals. Some people are like larks and have no problem getting up early, but these larks struggle to stay up late. Their natural circadian rhythm and genetic make up predisposes them to waking early.

At the other end of the spectrum are those who wake around 10 am or later. They struggle to wake up early but have no problems staying awake well into the night. They’re fully alert even if it’s 3 am.

The biggest mistake one can make is to force themselves to wake up early when it’s not something that aligns with their circadian rhythm. Pay attention to whether you prefer working late at night, and adjust your work schedule so that you get your most productive work done when everyone else is asleep.

In cases like these, your ‘morning’ routine will actually be later in the day or even in the afternoon because your waking hours are different. Nevertheless, the concept of a routine still applies.

If you have no issues waking early, you can easily train yourself to wake up earlier than normal. However, you can forget about burning the midnight oil and working through the night.

Work in a way that’s ideal for you. There’s no need to emulate the waking hours of some top CEO just because someone on social media is telling you to.

2. Piling on unnecessary activities will derail your productivity in the morning

Another common mistake people make with morning rituals is doing other activities first… instead of doing first things first. Some people wake at 5 am and start meditating and journaling, and doing yoga followed by a long walk and of course, they have to have a healthy breakfast.

They think they’re starting on the right foot but by the time they’re ready to work, it’s 9.00 am, and they realize 4 hours are gone, and no real work has been done. The other activities do have their benefits, but shelve them till later in the day.

When you wake, after you’ve freshened up, now is the best time to start working on your most important tasks for the day first. Consider what i most important to accomplish when you are putting together your to-do list for the day. Always remember to keep the main thing the main thing and work on tasks that move the needle when you’re still fresh.

After 4 to 5 hours of focused work, you’ll need a break. Now you can do your gratitude journaling, meditation and other activities that help you stay sane.

3. Exercising too hard

Exercise is great, but the workout intensity will have a direct impact on your workday. If you train hard at the gym with supersets, and countless reps, you’ll be exhausted after you work out. The same applies to those who engage in high intensity interval training.

While exercises like walking, swimming or cycling first thing in the morning can leave you feeling refreshed, other workouts like CrossFit, heavy resistance training and so on can leave you feeling wiped out.

So consider getting it done after your important work is done. If you trained hard early in the day, you might not have the energy later on to focus on the tasks that require more mental energy.

In conclusion, it will take you a few weeks of iteration before you have a morning routine that’s ideal for you. Always remember to reflect on how the morning routine makes you feel and if it’s aiding in your productivity. Once your routine is set, you have to stick with it – and no matter what you do, whether it’s a weekday or a weekend, always wake up at the same time daily so that your circadian clock is not disrupted.






Effective Sleep Tips
to Increase Productivity

Effective Sleep Tips to Increase Productivity

And sometimes our morning routines start the night before, with our quality and quantity of sleep. Sleep is definitely key to being more productive in the morning. Every single day when you wake up, you have a finite amount of energy. As you go throughout your day, your energy dissipates on different mental and physical tasks. This is why your willpower is weakest at night. Most people binge eat at night or watch too much TV when they know they need to rest and so on. They lack the energy to maintain will power. The best way to boost your energy and get the most out of your day will be to get sufficient sleep. You end up feeling well-rested and brimming with energy to start your day. Here are a few quick tips for a good night’s sleep.

> Have a fixed sleep routine for more productivity in the morning

What does that mean? It means going to bed and waking up at the SAME TIME daily. This one tip alone is better than all the rest combined. It’s that important. Try to go to bed and wake up at a fixed time so that you will establish the habit and your body will automatically start to feel sleepy at the usual time, and be refreshed when it’s time to wake. Your circadian rhythm is now in sync.

> Get the right amount of sleep

We live in times where we are told that hustling and grinding and burning the midnight oil is held up as the standard. You supposedly have a higher chance of achieving success if you sacrifice sleep for work. Most people need more than 4 hours a day to be productive. Sleeping less and going about your day bleary-eyed and groggy is a sure-fire way to failure in the long run. You need to get your required amount of sleep.

This is how you discover how much sleep you need… Go to bed at the same time every day for 3 days in a row and wake up without an alarm clock. Only wake when you feel refreshed and no longer sleepy. Take note of how many hours you sleep on each of the 3 days. On the third day, add up all the hours and divide it by 3. This will give you the average… and that’s how many hours of sleep your body needs a day. Forget about what the CEOs and other people who barely sleep say… and instead listen to your body. You’ll not only feel better, but will achieve more. It’s not the number of hours you’re awake that matters… but what you do with those hours that make all the difference.

> Have good sleep hygiene

Besides the 2 major points above, there are several other smaller factors that play a role too.

  • Sleep in a dark room. The less light in it, the better.
  • Avoid using digital devices such as your mobile phones, tablets, etc. The blue light emitted by these devices will interrupt your sleep patterns.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine 8 hours before bedtime. The half-life of caffeine can adversely affect your sleep.
  • Practice yoga or stretching to ease tight muscles and release tension in your body. It’s also important to have a firm mattress so that your body is well-supported.
  • Do not exercise or eat too close to your bedtime. Exercise will boost your energy levels and keep you awake. Eating will mean that your body will have to spend energy digesting food while you sleep… and will not be able to rest fully.
  • Other than that, you may wish to consume a supplement to aid with sleep. Aromatherapy and meditation may help too.

At the end of the day, if you get the first 2 points above right, it’s just a matter of testing a few other methods to see what works for you. In most cases, once you establish a pattern, you’ll sleep like a baby and will have sufficient rest to do your best the next day.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is your brain more productive in the morning?

With the right night’s sleep, our brains can be more productive in the morning because they are refreshed and ready to go. Same as other parts of our bodies, we refresh at night so that we wake up regenerated in the morning.

Why do I work better in the morning?

I have to admit, I am this type of person. My most productive time is before lunch. I feel more proactive, less prone to procrastination, and pretty much ready to go.

Are morning people more productive?

Apparently less than 1% of the population are actually night owls. Who knew??? Early risers tend to be less fatigued and less irritable (provided that they’ve gotten a good night’s sleep). When we set ourselves up for success by getting a good night’s sleep, most of us are actually more productive in the morning.

Etsy gift guide

Etsy Gift Guide – for journals and planners

Who doesn’t love a good gift guide? It’s like someone else doing all the legwork and you get all the credit! And an Etsy gift guide makes for truly unique and wonderful gifts. While we all know what Black Friday is, you might not be aware of Small Business Saturday. I love shopping small businesses, to support folks who are going the hard road of doing their own thing and doing it on their own.

The pinnacle of small business owners are Etsy shop owners – people who create and produce their own goods and put them out into the world. That’s why I’m so excited to talk with you about these planners, journals, and planning accessories straight from Etsy to you!

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

The editors over at Etsy have put together a beautiful collection of journals and planners that you have to check out! I do want to point out a few of them in particular that caught my eye:

  • This customizable birth flower name journal would be perfect for your mom or a new mom you might know.
  • I saw this terrific bundle of 5 mini leather journals and immediately thought of stocking stuffers or coworker gifts.
  • I love a guided journal and this gratitude journal would be a beautiful gift for someone who needs a boost of self-reflection.
  • If you’re searching for something with a more professional appearance, you have to check out this personalized padfolio.

An Etsy gift guide would not be complete without mentioning several of my own favorite vendors. I want to introduce you to:

  • If you’ve never checked out Planner Kate, you’re missing out! She offers all kinds of planner stickers, including stickers that are the perfect size and shape for all your Erin Condren planners.
  • Sunshine Sticker Co also offers stickers, and my favorites are the sticky tabs you can add to any planner or bullet journal.
  • I just love my planner pouch from Naptime Craze Designs, not only does it hold my discbound planner together but it has all kinds of storage for my pens and supplies.
  • If you’re looking for some fun and unique stencils, you have to check out Moxie Dori. It was one of the first stores I discovered when I started bullet journaling.
importance of being productive

What is the importance of being productive?

You may ask yourself, why is being productive so important? You’ve probably been told (repeatedly) that being productive is important, but you may not know exactly why. And the answer honestly isn’t that easy, as being productive can affect different parts of your life. So what is the importance of being productive?

You Manage Your Time More Effectively

One thing that being productive does is that it allows you to have more control over your life. This way you will have time to do all the activities which truly make you happy while still balancing work life. Not only that, but you won’t ever feel like you’re wasting your time either. And who knows, you might finally have time to try that one thing that has always been on your bucket list.

It Keeps Your Mind Active

As you grow older, according to scientists at Harvard Health, it’s just as important to keep your mind active as it is to keep your body healthy. This is because your mind starts to deteriorate if you don’t constantly keep working and learning new things.

And a deteriorating mind can lead to a plethora of other problems and diseases, which could lead to an early death. Therefore, focusing on being productive not only keeps your mind engaged but also keeps it active and functioning for years to come—all while you are accomplishing the things you aspire to achieve.

Your Quality of Life Increases

In this world, everyone knows time is money. So, when you have more time, you’ll likely have more money as well. Just look at some of the most famous CEOs and their productivity levels, and all the fun they get to have.

Honestly, they live a pretty high-quality life no matter how you look at it. This doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll make more money by being productive, but it does mean you’ll finally have time to start that side business you always wanted to.

The importance of productivity? It could be the key to happiness!

Money can’t buy happiness, but being productive can. The Anxiety and Depression Association for America has found numerous studies that conclude some people can achieve similar results with medication for their depression by increasing productivity only.

Of course, this doesn’t work for everyone, but productivity boosts your mood and motivates you, which will likely increase your outlook on life and emotional health.


The point is, most people don’t prioritize productivity as they should. Productivity is truly the key to better time management, which has proven to keep your mind healthy and happy for years to come. And don’t forget to check out these tips for proactive time management!

What about the pitfalls of not being productive?

Everyone has a day or two now and then when they aren’t as productive as they could have been. And that’s ok. Really — it’s okay. But if you find yourself constantly working but not being productive, this is likely to cause several lasting implications not only on your morale but your future work as well.

You May Experience Guilt

When you feel you aren’t productive, you may start to feel guilty about it. And this guilt is a vicious cycle. When you feel feelings of guilt, you are much less likely to be able to focus on a project to be productive. So even not being productive for a single day can impact your entire week.

You’ll Lose Motivation

A huge aspect of motivation is the feeling of accomplishment. If you aren’t feeling productive in your work, you’re likely to miss out on the feeling of accomplishment, and then you won’t have any motivation to work. Like guilt, the lack of motivation is also a vicious cycle that is difficult to escape once initiated.

You’ll Leave a Trail of Half-Finished Projects

If you aren’t accomplishing anything, you will probably leave a trail of unfinished projects in your wake. And this won’t just affect your morale, but it may make you look bad to your employer or coworkers who have to finish these projects you are constantly abandoning.

It Could Lead to Depression

Often, when people feel they don’t have a purpose in life, they could experience melancholy or depression. This is because humans often tie their emotional well-being in with their sense of accomplishment. And just like everything else on this list, once you’ve fallen into the pit of despair of thinking you don’t have a purpose, it can be difficult to recover.


Although remaining productive is a difficult and challenging task, it is necessary to maintain your sense of emotional well-being. That is one of the biggest keys to the importance of being productive. Without productivity, you’re likely to feel guilty, unmotivated, and maybe even depressed, and it’s likely those around you won’t feel too great about having to pick up your slack either.

The best way to avoid these pitfalls is to do your best to remain productive in your everyday life. And remember, even if one day you may not finish what you want, the next day is a new and productive day.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the importance of being productive when it comes to success?

It’s all about momentum and self-confidence! The more productive you are, the more productive you will want to be. The sense of accomplishment when you “finish all the things” will make you want to get up the next day and do it again. And that’s where the success comes in — the forward and upward momentum.

What is the importance of being productive every day?

Truthfully, it’s not about changing all the habits all at once. Improving daily habits is a step-by-step process. The first step I suggest is to work on your to-do list strategies. Every night, my dad used to write out his to-do list for the next day. Such a goal!

Why do I struggle with being productive?

I think one of the biggest struggles with being productive is how overwhelming everything can be. And when it becomes overwhelming, it can seem easier to just forget about it. I would highly recommend checking out these 5 steps to finishing what you start to give you some ideas on keeping your momentum going forward!

5 steps to finish what you start

5 Steps to Finish What You Start

finish what you start
Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Do you often struggle to finish the projects you start, even when you have every intention of finishing them? Are you currently struggling with a specific project (or ten) in your life that you can’t seem to finish? Let me guess, do you have more than a few household tasks on your to-do list?

Don’t worry – you aren’t alone. Many people struggle to follow through on their tasks. Believe it or not, this is a common problem that most people face. As we look into the very near future, we probably want to start setting goals for next year. Luckily, you can follow a few steps to ensure that you can become the type of person who finishes a project once you start it.

1. To finish what you start, Make A Plan

First and foremost, the number one way to finish everything you start is by making a plan before you start. It needs to be a plan which you write down. A mental note isn’t worth the piece of paper it is written on. You may want to jump in and start something in your excitement, but you might not realize all the work and challenges you will face.

When you take the time to make a plan, this will better prepare you for the task at hand, and you’ll be able to spot problems much more easily. A well-thought-out plan ensures you will be aware of the work your project requires and have an idea of how you will proceed. It is also a good time to break the project into smaller chunks to make it easier to conquer. Don’t forget to take some time to brainstorm potential problems you may encounter along the way.

2. To stay on track, Take A Break

If you find yourself getting overly frustrated or beginning to loathe the project because you’ve been working on it for so long, it’s okay to take a short break. This break will help reset your mind and focus. Get hydrated, move around, find some time to take in the present world around you. You might even be able to solve some of the problems you are facing while you take this little breather. Just make sure that when you set an endpoint to your break, this way you can hold yourself to it and not just abandon the project.

3. To make it more achievable, Make Small Goals and Track Your Progress

As you plan how you will conquer your task or project, break your goal into smaller mini-goals. Then, cross them off and reward yourself as you complete them. It will help keep you on task, and you’ll be able to feel as if you are making progress, even if it’s small.  This progress will do wonders to keep your spirits high while working on the project. The little rewards you are giving yourself will probably help too.

Many projects remain unfinished because they are long, and you lose sight of the end goal somewhere in the middle. To maintain motivation, you need to track your progress on the goal as you go. You may even want to consider rewarding yourself for a job well done at certain points to maintain your motivation.

4. To stay focused, Identify Your Distractions

Maybe you’re finding every reason under the sun not to work on your project. It’s time to identify these distractions and how they may be affecting you. If the distraction is easily removed, remove it. If it’s more of a mental distraction, it may be time to look into something like meditation to help you clear your mind. Whatever your distractions are, it’s time to identify and eliminate them so you can focus on your goal.

5. To stay motivated, Visualize The End

Even if you are tracking your project, you may find that you’ve lost sight of your end goal. This is why you should frequently spend time visualizing your end goal in your mind. It will help you remember why you are working on your goal in the first place.

Finishing what you start is never easy. So next time you get excited about a new project or goal in your life, slow down a bit and make a plan, complete with smaller goals and rewards for yourself. Then, as you pursue the project, don’t be afraid to take small breaks if you need to recuperate. Chances are, thanks to these steps, you will be much more likely to finish your new goal than leave it abandoned.

BONUS –> The Top 3 Reasons You Don’t Finish What You Start

Do you feel as if you are constantly leaving a trail of half-finished projects in your wake? Are you the type of person who has one project in particular that you’ve always wanted to finish but just haven’t gotten around to it? If that sounds familiar, keep reading to find the top three reasons you tend not to finish what you’ve started.

1. You’ve Lost Motivation

When you started the project, your enthusiasm for starting something new first motivated you. However, if you haven’t seen any results in some time, this may have caused your motivation to lower. The best way to combat this loss of motivation is by breaking your project down into more manageable pieces and rewarding yourself along the way for steps well done. Conquering these more manageable pieces will help keep you motivated even when the project is long.

2. Negative Thoughts About The Project

Another reason you may find it difficult to complete a task is because of the way you think about the project. When it comes to mind, do you think you will never finish it? Or is your mind filled with thoughts of how hard the project is? Both are negative paths of thinking, and they will keep you from finishing the project. Instead, it’s time to transform your thinking to be positive regarding the project you are trying to complete. A more positive outlook will give you new energy and motivation to complete the task.

3. Lack Of Discipline

Another reason people can’t finish the projects they start is a lack of self-discipline. A person with self-discipline doesn’t give up when the going gets tough. They also tend to avoid procrastinating or slacking off. If this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably time that you work to cultivate self-discipline in your life. Boosting your self-discipline will ensure you can start finishing all the projects you start.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to finish what you start?

It is the sense of accomplishment when it’s done!  Your cross stitch project is ready for the holidays in time; you finished the book club novel just in time; your closet has so much empty space in it.

What happens if you need to change the plan?

That is OKAY!  Projects are fluid and evolving, especially large ones.  I don’t know how often I’ve redesigned my fall vegetable garden and I’m okay with that.  I will still end up with delicious lettuce and piles of cucumbers even if the cucumbers are in a pot instead of my raised bed.

What if you decide not to finish what you start?

Realistically, there are numerous reasons that this is actually valid.  Maybe the project is no longer relevant; maybe it ended up requiring more resources that you realized; or maybe it didn’t turn out to be the project you had in mind. If the scope has changed drastically, then maybe change your perspective on the project — look at it like adapting with the project instead of giving up on the project.

top 7 to-do list strategies

To-do List Strategies – the top 7 tips

Did you know that there are to-do list strategies than can actually make your list easier to tackle? There are! Read below for the top seven tips for making the most of your own to-do list.

“Plan your work for today and every day, and work that plan.”

Margaret Thatcher

Most of us know what a ‘to do list’ is and yet, the majority of people don’t use one and prefer to work from memory. They have a jumbled list of tasks in their mind and get these done in a haphazard and almost always, inefficient manner.

  1. Have a to-do list
    The first and most obvious strategy is to have a to-do list to actually follow. The best way to go about creating one will be to do a brain dump on paper of ALL the tasks and commitments you need to get done. This is an almost cathartic process that will bring you relief while it frees up mental energy.
  2. Prioritize
    The next step will be to use the Eisenhower Matrix to prioritize your tasks. Check out the image below in the FAQ section for more information on this prioritization grid.
  3. Focus
    Once you have your to do list prioritized, the next step will be to focus on ONE task at a time. Avoid multitasking at all cost. It ruins one’s ability to concentrate and also leads to shoddy work. Take each task to completion before moving on to the next. This is such a simple rule, but people overcomplicate things by not adhering to it.
  4. Limit your to-do list
    Ideally, you shouldn’t have more than 7 items on your to do list. Break the list up into 2 parts. At the top, have all the most important tasks which will yield the highest rate of return in your life. At the bottom will usually be the mundane, routine chores that need to get done just to keep life normal… but don’t really yield much reward. Trying to do too much in any one day can be overwhelming. So, it’s better to have a shorter to-do list, and if you complete all the tasks for that day fast, you can add a few more from your ‘brain dump’ list and work on them.
  5. Plan the night before
    Create your to-do list the night before. This will ensure that you hit the ground running the next day instead of spending your most alert hours in the morning planning what to do.
  6. Break down bigger tasks
    Some tasks are too big to complete in one day. So, while they may be on your to-do list, you’re not going to be able to finish it all on that day.
    In instances like these, it’s best to write down that task on a separate sheet of paper and break it down into smaller tasks and create a checklist for the work process. Each day, you’ll work on one or a few steps in that checklist.
    These are the steps that will go on your to-do list daily… and NOT the huge, monumental task. Always remember to break it down into bite-sized pieces.
  7. Carry over tasks
    Sometimes, despite your best efforts, there will be some tasks that you just can’t complete in time. No worries. This happens.
    Just move them to the next day… BUT do NOT add them on to a list that’s already full. Instead, make them part of the list of 7 or so tasks that you need to complete.
    In this way, you’ll not have a growing list of things that need to get done that keeps getting longer by the day. Always aim to have only 3-7 items on your to -do list.

So how do you make the most of these to-do list strategies?

Always remember to delegate and automate where you can. The hard truth is that you’ll NEVER have time to do it all. Tasks and commitments will keep popping up daily. The best way to maintain control of things will be to delegate or outsource the less important tasks to others.

Sometimes you’ll save more money by hiring someone. For example, instead of spending 45 minutes to mow your lawn, you’d be better off paying a lawn mowing service to do it for you. You’ll not only save time and free it up for important tasks that matter… but the lawn mowing company will probably complete the chore in a faster time and do a better job than you – because that’s what they do.

In the same vein, automate your routine tasks whenever you can or hire out the repetitive tasks that are essential to your business, but don’t require your direct involvement.

Use the to-do list strategies in this article to create to do lists that will organize your life and also help you get the most done in the time that you have. For a few more to-do list hacks, check out this list too!

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the 1-3-5 rule?

The basic 135 rule is this — to accept that you can’t finish an unlimited number of things in any given day. But you can reasonably expect to finish 1 BIG thing, 3 MEDIUM things, and 5 SMALL things.

What is the Eisenhower Matrix?

You may have seen the Eisenhower Matrix before but not realized what it was actually called. It’s a tool used to prioritize your to-do list. (Yes, President Eisenhower himself did develop the concept that later became the Eisenhower Matrix.)

to-do list strategies - Eisenhower Matrix

What are some other good strategies for making a to-do list?

I did want to point out that you don’t have to choose either paper planning or electronic planning. In fact, I usually use a combination of both. Sometimes it’s just easier to use a combination depending on what list I’m working on.

I also recommend keeping at least a scratch pad nearby so you can write things down as soon as you think of them. The whole point of a to-do list is so that you don’t have to keep everything in your poor overworked brain!

proactive time management

The best 5 proactive time management tips

“Proactive time management? That’s crazy talk Lori, I can barely keep up let alone be proactive about things!” But wait, let me help with the 5 helpful tips below!

proactive time management
Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

There’s no denying the fact that we live in a ‘pressure cooker’ world with a never-ending barrage of commitments, deadlines, catastrophes and other events that demand our attention and time.

Now more than ever before, people are feeling the stress of not having enough time to do anything. They always feel like they’re behind the 8-ball and playing catch-up.

The truth of the matter is that no one can manage time. It will pass you by anyway. What you need to do is manage is your life and where your attention goes… and this is how you do it…

1. Shut out the noise

In order to find some semblance of peace and order, you’ll need to eliminate the pointless distractions in your life. That may mean getting off social media for a few months. It may mean turning off the news on TV (which never fails to rile you up). By eliminating these energy-draining ‘parasites’, you’ll have more time for what matters.

2. Prioritize

Always do what matters when it matters. For example, focusing on the tasks which have the highest return in your life. If you’re a writer, that will mean focusing on your writing first thing in the day.

Too often, we keep what’s crucial for later – because the work is ‘unappetizing’ and the procrastination helps to delay the unpleasantness of the task. However, this just delays the inevitable and makes the process worse than it has to be.

Instead, by getting the hardest tasks out of the way FIRST, you’ll not only feel more accomplished, but will have more time to breeze through the easier tasks because now you feel ‘lighter’ from having done what you were avoiding.

3. Follow a daily routine

While many people will frown at the idea of routine and structure in their life because ‘being controlled’ is anathema to them – the truth is that with structure comes freedom.

After all, you’ll be deciding on your own daily routine. This is not a military regimen where you need to follow orders from a barking sergeant. No no… this is your routine.

You can tailor it to suit your life. The key point to note is to do the needful in an efficient manner so that your commitments and work are met in an orderly manner. Some of the most important aspects of proactive time management.

Routine will eliminate a lot of decision fatigue in your life. You’ll know exactly what to do every single day and can coast through it in ‘flow state’ while you accomplish more with less effort. Doesn’t that sound fantastic?

Of course, it does!

4. Be more organized

This simple tip will save you hours of frustration and stress in the long run, not to mention the time savings too. Declutter your home so that it’s neater and requires less cleaning. Check out these five ways that decluttering can actually maximize your personal resources.

The same applies to your desk/workspace. The more orderly and neat things are, the less time you’ll need to spend searching for the items you need – and you won’t end up wasting time and energy.

5. Set deadlines

Remember the drill sergeant from earlier? Well, deadlines are like invisible bosses that keep prodding you to stay focused and complete the tasks on time. Always have deadlines for any job you do, and give yourself slightly less time than you think you’ll need.

Parkinson’s law states that the amount of work expands to fill the time available for its completion. So, the less time you give yourself, the faster you’ll get the work done. Of course, be reasonable with your deadlines.

They should motivate you to work faster, but not be so unreasonable that they annihilate you. Just remember the differences between busy and productive.

Apply these 5 time management tips in your life and you’ll be amazed at how much more productive you become, and you’ll not only free up your time, but your stress levels will drop considerably. Start implementing them in your life today!


Frequently Asked Questions

What is proactive time management?

Being proactive with your time management means being “in front” of it” instead of constantly feeling reactive to situations. You intentionally make plans and follow through with those plans. And yes, sometimes things crop up or the unexpected happens. But when you have a plan in place, you can take care of the “surprises” and then easily get back to your plan.

How can you be proactive in managing your time?

In addition to the five specific tips above, the general rule is to make some sort of plan and stick with it. Even if you don’t block specific times for specific tasks (i.e., I will vacuum at 10:00 AM), knowing that you will empty the dishwasher and vacuum all the bedrooms sometime before the kids get home from school then you have a plan with a deadline.

How does time management improve productivity?

When you manage your time effectively, you don’t spend your time wondering what to do next. When you spend precious time trying to figure out your next task, you end up losing out on your productivity.

Is productivity the same as time management?

They are not the same thing however they are close partners and usually walk hand-in-hand. And typically if you improve your skill at one, your skill at the other will follow suit!

why you should support small businesses

Why you should support small businesses

Have you been asking yourself why you should support small businesses? Because small businesses keep us connected!

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

How much impact do small businesses really have?  Well, I’m glad you asked!  By 2021, there were approximately 32.5 million small businesses in the US – that accounts for 99.9% of all US businesses.  That’s just incredible to me!

Whether I’m shopping at a farmer’s market or on someone’s website, I love the idea of supporting the people who are doing it on their own; who are coming up with these ideas and products and services and then providing them to their clients and customers.

I suspect that in the last two years since March 2020, these numbers have changed dramatically.  With the shifts taking place in the workforce and in the homeplace, more people are starting their own businesses. Or at least side businesses. I think the pandemic and the corresponding quarantine(s) have changed how people view the workplace and their work-life balance.

Not only does running your own business open the possibilities of being more connected to your own family because of the potential for more flexible work demands, but I feel like it connects us to each other.  When I buy a photograph from an Etsy shop, it warms my heart to think that the photographer took and developed the picture and then carefully packed it up and mailed it to me.  I feel connected to that photographer in a way that just doesn’t happen when you buy a picture form a big box store.

My favorite places can show you exactly why you should support small businesses!

Why you should support small businesses

Creative Market sells beautiful digital products, so you have access to them immediately upon purchase.  No waiting on the postal service!  But they aren’t made by Creative Market, they are made by wonderful creative people!  Personally, I have quite a few files and collections from different independent creators such as fonts, graphics, and templates.  And a secret between you and me?  Every Monday they offer six free products for you to download and use.

Personally, I’ve bought so many beautiful things from Etsy that it’s hard to know where to start!  But I love that the shops that are owned by the people making and selling their own creations. A few of my faves are:

  • Phoenix Botanicals and Green Beauty Cosmetics
  • Country Creek Seeds and Valley Variegations
  • Sunshine Sticker Co and Planner Kate
  • Smoldering Creations and GRN House of Glass
crafting subscription boxes

I just love a good subscription box.  I have tried so many over the years but some of my favorites have come from Cratejoy. It’s time to discover 1,000’s of subscription boxes as unique as you are! Whether you want fun coloring books or tasty coffee or pretty soaps or even planner stickers (yay!), there is a subscription box for that.  And the best thing about Cratejoy, you get one of these wonderful packages created and sent to you on schedule from these amazing creative geniuses!

When I think about why you should support small businesses, it comes back to being connected. When I buy a plant from an Etsy shop, it’s amazing to me that the same person who grew the beautiful little plant in their own greenhouse is the same person who put him in his pot of soil, carefully boxed him up, and took him to the post office. I feel connected to that plant and that gardener so much more than if I just bought the same plant from a massive home-and-garden store. And I feel so much more excited when that plant grows because it feels like that connection with the gardener is thriving along with the plant.

Frequently Asked Questions

3 reasons why you should support small businesses

  1. You can make an impact in someone’s life. You will be directly affecting someone’s livelihood.
  2. You can make an impact in your community. Your community farmers at the market appreciate your business in a much different way than the mass market grocery store does.
  3. You can make an impact in your own life. Many times, the products and services are more customizable, more personal, and more cultivated with you in mind.

Why are small businesses so important to the economy?

In addition to creating millions of jobs all over the country, small businesses create growth and innovation to almost any industry. And small businesses support each other. Owners of small businesses tend to support other small business owners and freelance entrepreneurs.

tools to get organized

What are the tools to get organized?

tools to get organized
tools to get organized

What tools you need to get organized? What tools do you need to stay organized? It does vary individually, but there are some basics including the whys and hows.

Have you ever thought about putting together an organizing toolkit for yourself? I don’t mean a toolkit to get organized, I mean a toolkit that will help keep you organized! Who wouldn’t want one of those???

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

1. Why do you need to gather your tools to get organized?

It saves your valuable resources! These resources are our most valuable commodities and we have to treat them as such. We have to make sure that we use them to the best of our advantage and not waste them!

  • It will save you time.  Next time you set off to “do the thing”, everything you need will be in one place; just grab that container and off you go.
  • It will save you money.  For example, I keep my gardening seeds all in one place (admittedly, it’s not a fancy container, it’s a reused Folger’s can), but I always check the can before I buy more so that I know what I already have.  If the packets were scattered all over the garage, I might end up buying more basil seeds when I still have some.
  • It will save you energy.  Many days I feel like energy is my most lacking resource and if I had to search the whole house just to find the things I need to clean the bathroom, it probably wouldn’t get done.  But having the bucket with everything makes it so easy to grab and go.

2. What kinds of tools do you need?

There are so many options that can streamline your life.  What would benefit you the most and give you back the resources I talked about above (time, money, and energy)?

  • What about a carrying device for your home cleaning supplies?  For example, a bucket or a caddy is especially handy for a multi-story house!
  • Do you send a lot of physical mail?  Put together your stationery, cards, and stamps (and for me, stickers) into one folder or binder so that everything is ready at your fingertips.  No more searching the junk drawer for those roaming stamps.
  • Do you run a side business out of your home?  I have an active shop on Poshmark and couldn’t never make it work if I didn’t keep all my wrapping and shipping supplies in one place.
  • Do you travel frequently?  Then you need a travel toolkit!  Whatever items you take on every trip, make sure you have duplicates and keep them packed (I’m looking at you, extra phone charger).

3. How do you put together your tools?

  • It truly does depend on the type of toolkit you’re trying to assemble.  Here are a few ideas that might help spark an idea!
    • Home cleaning, such as sponges, cleaners, rags, and grocery sacks
    • Stationery, such as greeting cards, return address labels, pretty pens, and fun stickers
    • Side business, such as inventory counts, finance tracking, supplies, and notebooks
    • Travel, such as extra chargers, mini toiletries, zip bags, and packing cubes
    • Planner supplies, such as dividers, stickers, pens, highlighters, and inserts
    • Gardening, such as seeds, trowels, gloves, and watering can
    • Sports kit for your little ones, such as baseball, soccer, football, ballet, or gymnastics
    • Party supplies, such as plates, napkins, plasticware, decorations, and tablecloths
  • And of course, the storage devices or containers are dependent on the type of kit.  As I said, my gardening seeds are in a Folger’s can but my stationery is in pretty folders and binders!
  • Have you considered that even electronic toolkits can be helpful?  Keeping your inbox organized and your documents in folders are all part of creating your own electronic toolkit.

Ultimately, your tools for getting organized are personalized based on what you need to accomplish. Make it your own and make it work for you!

Frequently Asked Questions

What tools help you get organized?

If you’re new to getting yourself organized, there are three basics to get started:

  • Your daily space – where do you spend the most of your time? In the home office? Maybe camped out in your living room? Start with the space that you see the most.
  • A notebook and a pen – No need for fancy notebooks yet, unless you just can’t resist this beautiful Erin Condren Color Block Polka Dots Coiled Notebook 7″ x 9″. Just a notepad and a pen to start making notes about your process.
  • Patience – This isn’t an overnight process. When you start, you’ll need to start sorting your piles, then comes organizing the items you are keeping. Take your time and stay focused but don’t stress.

What tools help you stay organized?

I love my planners and notebooks. I’ve tried various electronic, digital, and online organizing tools but they just aren’t the same. I like being able to write my to-do lists, and cross off the tasks as I complete them. It is so much more satisfying!

What 3 things can you do to get organized?

  1. Look at the big picture – Whether you are putting together a kit to clean your house in less time or you are organizing your pantry so you don’t keep buying the food you forgot you already have, remember what resource you are trying to save and what you can accomplish when that resource is given back.
  2. Look at the small picture – What can you accomplish today? Tomorrow? You have 20 minutes before you have to leave for your book club meeting, can you gather up the dog’s chew toys on your way out the door?
  3. When you’re about to tackle a larger organization project, make sure to gather all your supplies well in advance. It doubles the time and frustration if you have to stop every few minutes to track down the magic marker or the toilet bowl brush.

What are your top 3 tricks for staying organized?

  1. Consistency! Even just five minutes of organizing every day will help develop the habit and keep you on track to stay organized.
  2. Decluttering! It’s virtually impossible to stay organized if you continue to add clutter to the space. Think about it like cleaning up after a toddler — if the little one throws a toy on the floor every time you pick one up, the space will never be clean! The same applies to any space, if you’ve cleaned it up don’t add more clutter to it.
  3. Systems! It is so much easier to stay organized when you have systems in place. Keep your goals in mind without losing sight of the small steps you will need to get there. But without systems, you could end up running circles without any progress. You will need a recipe to bake your cake!
advantages of printables

Advantages of printable planners: The Top Three

Did you know that printables can be your planner’s best friend?  Do you know what the key advantages of printable planners are? Whether you prefer daily, weekly, or monthly planning, read on to find out the top three reasons why you should consider printable pages for your planner even if you already have another system in place!

advantages of printable planners
advantages of printable planners

Advantage #1: Perfectly Personalized

Imagine walking into a store and picking each individual page for your planner, and then putting it all together just for yourself.  And being able to go back to the store year after year and duplicate the planner at no additional charge.  If you decide you need a random weekly planner page in addition to your regular monthly pages, or you want to add a second gift tracker when the holidays come around, simply being able to add individual pages as you need them. Want to try out new mood trackers? Go ahead!

I even keep my travel printables right in the month of the trip. I simply print one out for each trip when we’ve locked in the dates and start making my notes right there.

Being able to add any page you want (I admit that I have several fun coloring pages in mine), and not being “stuck” with pages you don’t need.  Like a beautiful eyeshadow palette with that one weird shade.  Who wants that in a planner that you are going to use every day for an entire year? No one!

Planners are so personal because they are truly your life on paper.  And why shouldn’t it work for you instead of the other way around?  If you mess up a page, no need for whiteout, simple re-print and replace. Personally, I love this particular feature!

Advantage #2: Completely Customizable

Individual printable pages allow you to customize the layout and combination in your planner itself.  But in addition to the individual printables that are available, you can also find beautiful blank templates.  These templates are terrific because you can add your own colors and pictures, or even type in special dates to remember directly into the calendar.

For example, the gift tracker that I use has everyone’s birthdays printed right onto the page. It’s so handy not to have to recreate that every year (since rarely do people’s birthdays change, ha!) Not to mention the templates are yours forever so you can update and reprint year after year.  Or if you need to add or change something, make the edits and reprint just that page!

Advantage #3: Entirely Economical

I mentioned it above, but I wanted to highlight the fact that printables are actually very economical.  That is the world of printable planner pages!  Being able to pay upfront just once, and print as many as you like!  There is the initial cost for the files or templates, however after that purchase, you own those digital files and can re-print as many pages as you like.

Need 5 gift trackers?  Go ahead and print them all out!  Made a mistake on the week of April 9th?  Reprint and replace it! Wait, do you need to insert more Notes pages in June? Do it!

No matter whose system you use or where you find your printables or templates, they are a great economical option for a truly personalized and customized planner that’s all about you!


Frequently Asked Questions

What are printable planners?

Simply put, printable planners are digital pages and files that you create or buy, and then physically print out to put in a holder such as a binder or a discbound system. You can buy individual pages or entire planners, whichever you are looking for.

What can I do with a printable planner?

Anything you want! It is yours to personalize and customize any way you see fit. And you can change it as you go through your year. Do you currently have a spiral for this year? No worries, if you want to start testing the waters with printables, go ahead! When I started my first bullet journal, I found some lovely printable trackers I wanted to use. I made my purchase, printed it out, and then glued it into the pages. You can start today!

Why are paper planners better?

I’ve really tried to get into some of the electronic planners but they just aren’t the same. I like my paper planners because I like the tactile aspects of putting pen to paper. I like using my colored pens and pencils, I like doodling in the margins, and I love my stickers. My current planner is a discbound system, full of so many wonderful printables, and I love the fact that I can truly make it my own. I’ve added spreadsheets, calendars, schedules and more.

Do paper planners even still matter?

Just ask Erin Condren whether paper planners still matter! I think there is something special about a beautiful paper planner. Think of it as the difference between a Happy Birthday email or a Happy Birthday card in the mail. Which would you prefer to receive? The card of course, that has a loved one’s handwritten note and signature.

I also like the fact that even if I don’t hole punch a page and insert it, I can stick things into the discbound holder such as bills that need to be paid or cards that need to be mailed. If you’re planning only in electronic formats, where do you keep those things???

Inspiration and Motivation for your Planner

When you think about your planner, what inspires you in your designs and decorations? How do you find your inspiration? What motivates you to keep it accurate and up-to-date? Whether you use a pre-printed planner, a plain dot-grid journal, or a collection of printables — we all add our own mark to our planner system!

Where do you look for your planner inspiration?

When you sit down, how do you decide on the month’s theme or layout?  Do you base your designs and decorations on the season?  On the holiday of month?  On a personal event happening in that month?  If you’re like me, it’s all over the map depending on what I have planned for the month.

  • A lot of the time mine is based on the time of year – floral for spring, beautiful leaves for autumn.  But if I have a particularly big event in a month, I might switch it up.  In April of this year, I have a family wedding to attend so the design might include doves or wedding bells.
  • While electronic organization has it’s advantages, I almost always circle back to organizing in paper.  If for no other reason than I love my stickers and washi tapes!
  • I’ve even mixed up the mood trackers based on the overall design on the month.  If you aren’t integrating a mood tracker, you should give it a try!

How do you stay motivated to use your planner?

When life gets busy, productivity and habits can start to fall by the wayside.  How do you stay on track with using your planner?

  • When I started my first bullet journal, I actually put “bujo” as one of the habits in my habit tracker!  It helped me build the habit that is now instilled in me (for the most part).
  • Having all your journaling habits and supplies in place makes it so much easier to accomplish your planner goals.
  • For a little help or inspiration, check out these planner habit suggestions to cement it as part of your daily life.

A collection of ideas and designs – check them out!

This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a small commission when you click the links but at no additional cost to you.

Here are just a few products to give you some ideas and inspiration for your journaling.  Some of them are brand-new products and some of them are just my favorite products!


Erin Condren Ettavee Ultimate Planny Pack


Erin Condren Layers Planner Folio


Coco and Opal Design Sticker Club