Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Recipe for Early Morning Productivity

An important part of my morning routine.
I require more sleep than the average person. I can do about two days in a row of less than 6 hours, and I am a hot, cranky mess the next two days. I try to hide this from people who don't know me too well ... but unfortunately boyfriend has been on the receiving end of the crankiness a lot.

I am fully aware of the problem and have tried counseling. No such luck.

I'd much rather go to bed at early and get up at 5am (or earlier), than stay up until 1am trying to finish something. It's just not my style. [This is also a public apology to my college roommates for my crazy study habits ... I promise I tried to be quiet when I was showering at 4:30am ...]

Here's my basic recipe for a "good" morning routine:
Get up immediately (snoozing makes me feel lethargic all day), take a shower, put on a little bit of make-up (I like the feeling of being put together), make the bed and pick up the bedroom, make coffee, look at my to-do list and come up with a game plan for the day. This last step also takes some prioritizing skills, like weighing deadlines and estimating how much time each project will take. 

This article from Entrepreneur.com really rang true to me - The Power of Mornings: Why Successful Entrepreneurs Get Up Early.

Author Lisa Evans states, "Tapping into the power of mornings, a time of day when there are less demands, might be the key to increasing your productivity."

Here's why, according to Evans - 

You are less likely to get distracted in the morning.
You have more willpower during the day.
Mornings give you the opportunity to set a positive tone for the rest of the day.

Evans also shares four tips for using your mornings better -

1. Keep a time journal to see where your inefficiencies are. (Mine: laying in bed catching up on social media. As a social media manager, it is my job to monitor the happenings all day.)

2. Imagine your perfect morning. Every morning I always "dream up" my ultimate day and all the productive things I will do. Now, my day doesn't always go to plan and that was a hard less on to learn. But it's good to have goals, right?

3. Plan your morning. Come up with a game plan for the day ... priorities, people.

4. Build the habit slowly. The part about making the bed and de-cluttering the bedroom is a fairly new development in my life. Because I work from home, I see the bedroom on my way to the bathroom. If it's a mess, I usually can't focus until it's presentable. I have issues...

But, some days ... my mornings start like this. I once asked boyfriend if he wanted me to put "noodles in a box" aka lasagna to take for lunch. My words were just not working ...
In addition to this planning part of my routine, I also highly recommend good tunes (I like to live stream The Red Dirt Rebel on my computer) and relaxing smells (the Leaves candle from Bath & Body Works is a good one).

Sometimes I get discouraged if my day doesn't go as planned. So, one thing I've been working on is acceptance. Some things are unavoidable and schedules can be rearranged.

I'm interested to hear others' take on early mornings. I know routine is good, but sometimes being flexible is better. How do you adjust if something doesn't work out the way you had it in your head?

Until next time,

Thursday, April 17, 2014

You Can Do Anything ...

I've made no secret that I think home renovation is scary and hard. We haven't even moved yet, and my stress level is super high.

You may remember this post from a couple weeks ago, and just as update ... my little laundry room project still isn't finished.

After an afternoon and evening spent priming trim yesterday, I came across this post from wanderrgirl.com via Pinterest, and thought it fit the bill (and my crappy mood).

Image courtesy of wanderrgirl.com

Like I said, we're not moved in yet. And the date we want to move is looming in the 10 day range - W.T.F. Our current house isn't packed up. The laundry room isn't finished. The flooring guy hasn't come yet. The plumber hasn't run gas lines or water lines. ... and and and and and and ...

You get the point.

Right now, I'm dealing with a lot of what-ifs. For those of you that know me, you know I hate loose ends, I hate not finishing a project and I hate not having a clear deadline. I like to set my goals and then work towards them.

Each of the quotes above have reminded me that I am not super woman. And just because I want things to be a certain way, doesn't mean that they will be.

Here's what I've learned -
  • It's okay to take a break and spend the evening watching The Big Bang Theory with boyfriend.
  • Just because we want to move someday, doesn't mean I have to kill myself to get it all done right now.
  • If the paint lines on the ceiling aren't perfect ... no one is going to notice. These are just little obstacles and pressures I am putting on myself.

And finally, like David Allen says above, "You can do anything, but not everything."

That's the truth isn't it?! I am perfectly capable of painting the laundry room, and working a full-time job and getting supper on the table. But I can't do it all at once.

Breathe Robin. It'll be okay. That's a hard lesson to learn. This posts also serves as a public apology to boyfriend, who I have been rather cranky with lately. [Sidenote: He'll probably never see this.]

What do you do to calm yourself down in situations like this? What brings you back to reality?

Until next time,

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

What DIY Websites Don't Say

We bought #FlemingFarm about 4 weeks ago. Progress has been slow, but we hope to be moved in by May 1 ... as in 29 days from now. WHOA.

In the mean time, we have been attempting to do some things in the house ourselves -- like my most recent project of painting the laundry room. When I thought to myself, "Hey, I can paint the laundry room no problem," I must have been intoxicated. I think Pinterest made me do it.

DIY stuff is hard! Here's what they don't tell you -

My house looks like this right now...
1. Painting makes you feel muscles you didn't know you had. My sides ACHE. The middle of my back is SCREAMING. And my triceps ... WOWZA.

2. These blogs never say how long things REALLY take. Yeah, I can read all the steps online - Wipe down really well, vacuum, patch any holes, sand rough spots, tape, prime the walls, paint two coats, touch-up, enjoy your work - but it takes about 3 times longer than you think it should.

I originally had my laundry room project done by Sunday afternoon in my brain. Instead, it's still ongoing. I haven't even painted the floors, trim or cabinets yet...

3. Wood paneling is really the worst thing to paint ... ever. They tell you to prime it (check), buy a good quality paint (check), and the buy a heavy nap roller to really get in all the crevices (check). But, it still took 3 coats of paint on the ceiling and I'm not sure I'm happy yet.

I wanted to buy these at Menard's ... but I didn't.
4. Make your own decisions at the home improvement mega-store of your choice. I ended up with a giant roller for the ceiling and tiny paint trays ... because that's what the semi-adorable 19 year old paint department worker handed me. So, the roller doesn't fit in the tray and you have to kind of wing it until you get enough paint on the roller. Of course one doesn't realize this until the roller is open and you've already committed to the idea. Oh! And said roller is for the ceiling and weighs 4534 pounds when filled with paint. (I think I know why my triceps hurt).

5. Painting with your significant other is challenging in and of itself. Last night we put coat 3 on the ceiling and walls and although boyfriend only helped me for about an hour ... I think I counted at least 50 eye rolls on my part. Let me tell you something -- boys want to rush,rush,rush and girls want to take their time and make sure it looks good.

I know I was wrong for assuming (and I apologized for my bratty behavior), but when someone tells you they like painting and are halfway decent at the chore, you assume they know to go with the grain of the wood when painting paneling. You assume they know to smooth out their brush strokes and to get all the way to the edge. NOPE. But don't worry, we worked through our issues and hopefully all we have left is the floor and cabinets and trim...

My favorite part of the project? The wall color is called "whiskers!"

This is a vicious cycle people.

The project isn't done yet. So I promise to post more pictures when it's actually "camera ready."

Tell me folks, what are your painting or DIY tips? Comment below with what you wish the blogs and self help people would have told you.

P.S. - Thanks to my friends and mom for helping me paint this past weekend. Turns out I am not very good at making decisions on the order of things. My mom is a saint and has all kind of patience. My friends are awesome for driving all the way to Rensselaer just to smear some paint for a few hours.