My productive morning routine

I’m a morning person by nature. I grew up in a household of morning people so I really didn’t have much of a choice in the matter. Mornings offer you something no other time of day can; a fresh start. Once you open your eyes it’s the beginning of a new day full of new possibilities and the chance to do things differently than yesterday. Although I myself am a morning person, most of the people in my friend circle and my co-workers are not. They look at me like I’ve grown a second head when I tell them I wake up at 6 AM by choice. The night owls in my life tell me they could never imagine getting up early and actually enjoying it. I’ll let you in on a secret though, anyone can become a morning person with the right habits. This isn’t to say being a morning person is better than being a night owl, far from actually. I believe we all have a preferred time of day and for me, that’s morning. Unfortunately sometimes our lives don’t line up with how our ideal day would play out which is why I’m sharing with you how I manage my mornings to show you how you can also become a morning person.

Get enough sleep

Getting enough sleep is probably the number one thing people struggle with on a daily basis. For many years I struggled with insomnia and getting any sleep at all was a victory most nights. The average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep per night. This can be a tricky feat if you’re waiting until late at night to get work done or studying out of the way. I have found the most success when I go to bed early, preferably around 10 PM so that I can wake up at 6 AM the next morning. I know what you’re thinking, that’s way too early to go to bed! It might seem like it at first but once you start getting up early you’ll find you have just as much time in the day as you did when you stayed up late. For anyone who isn’t used to getting to bed early i recommend going to bed a half hour earlier each night until you get yourself to bed at a time that works best for you.

Don’t Snooze!

This is a trick I learned from Mel Robbins in her book The 5 Second Rule. From the time your alarm starts going off you have about 5 seconds to act before you’re just not going to get out of bed. Of all the times I’ve hit the snooze button, there’s very few that left me actually feeling well rested compared to when the alarm first went off. If you’re a serial snoozer like I am, the best advice I can give is to get that alarm as far away from your bed as possible. If you have to physically get out of bed to turn your alarm off you’re much more likely to just stay up. For those of you who need your phone near you in cases of emergency or to listen to something to help you sleep, I highly suggest investing in an alarm clock and no longer setting alarms on your phone. You’d be amazed how much time you can waste in day just hitting the snooze button over and over, never actually feeling any more rested. If you’re interested in learning more about Mel’s 5 Second Rule which works with way more than just your alarm, you can find it here.

Get Dressed

There’s something about getting dressed that signals to your brain that now it’s time to wake up and get things done. Typically I will lay my clothes out the night before so I don’t have to try and come up with an outfit idea when my brain is still half asleep. This also helps me come up with cute outfits without having to do all the trial and error because I’ve already done that the night before. Even if you don’t plan on going out anywhere, putting on comfy clothes that aren’t pajamas will still do the trick.

Breakfast

You know what they say, breakfast is the most important meal of the day. After 8 hours of sleep your body is going to be severely dehydrated and hungry. After you get dressed it’s time to give your brain some fuel. You’re not going to get your best work done if you’re running on empty. I like to start with some water while I’m making my breakfast which usually consists of bacon and eggs or oatmeal. Your breakfast doesn’t need to be complicated or Instagram worthy as long as it’s giving your body some nutrients. This way you’ll avoid getting “hangry” before lunch and you’ll be able to focus on the task at hand.

Set up your work space

Now that you’re all fueled up, it’s time to start thinking about doing some work. For me, this is when I grab my computer from the bedroom and set it up in my dining room. This is a place where I know I can sit down and do work without any distractions like TV. There’s lots of light coming through the windows which helps me feel more alert while I work. After I’ve got my computer set up I’ll throw on a playlist that helps me focus and stay motivated. I try for more mellow playlists and ones that play songs I don’t know the words to so I can focus on the task at hand. After my desk and music are set up, this is when I’ll take the time to make a cup of tea or coffee to keep with me while I work. You want to make the experience as enjoyable as possible, after all doing work really isn’t a punishment and you’ll feel amazing once you’ve got a few tasks knocked off your list!

Review your tasks

If you read my other post on productivity you’ll know I’m a firm believer in writing out your to-do list the night before. Ideally in this step you will have the to-do list you made the night before sitting in front of you. This is the time I take to re-assess what I’d like to get done today and the order in which I think it makes most sense to complete the tasks. I suggest getting the most difficult task out of the way first if you can. Once you get the tough job out of the way everything else feels like a walk in the park. This way even if you only manage to get one thing checked off your list you’ll feel a huge sense of relief.

Now it’s time to get to work! I hope this gave you some ideas on how you can use the morning to increase your productivity and have some fun while you’re at it. Remember to take some breaks and celebrate the little victories as you go. How do you stay productive? and are you a morning person or a night owl? let me know in the comments.

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How to decorate a rental or dorm room

There’s nothing better than moving to a new place and getting to make it your own. The trouble is, most dorms and rental units have strict rules on what you can and can’t use in the decorating process such as nails or screws. That being said there are plenty of options out there to make your space yours, keep reading below for some ideas!

Command Hooks

Picture from here

Command hooks are the next best thing to nails and screws, and they can be moved and removed without damaging the walls! There are many different types of hooks you can buy such as small clear hooks that are virtually invisible on the wall, or you can opt for some serious heavy duty hooks that can hold up to five pounds on a single hook. Make sure you choose the correct type of hook for what you’re hanging up or it may just come crashing down in the middle of the night! These are by far the best option if you have any artwork to hang on your walls.

Lights

Nothing is sure to make your room feel cozy and aesthetically pleasing like some fairy lights on the wall or the ceiling. They are relatively inexpensive depending on where you get them from, I strongly recommend checking amazon since they usually have the best prices. Lighting can change the feel of your space, sometimes the main lights built into our room are harsh. Adding other lighting options gives you the chance to make the room more cozy in the night time without feeling like you’re sitting in an interrogation room. Better yet, if you have a large space you’d like to cover, amazon has curtains of lights you can purchase. I got mine for about $22 CAD and it’s 9 feet long! Definitely a good option for a selfie wall.

Feature wall

My favourite thing to do for any new place I move into is to create a wall full of things that I love. You can make a collage that features everything you like, or you can fill a wall with one thing you really like. In my case I have an entire wall in my living room filled with records to add some colour to the room with their bright labels. Another great idea I’ve seen is to make a collage of all your favourite people on the wall. This could be friends and family or even people you look up to. The easiest method for this is to use sticky tac. There’s many different names for this but the best brand to use I’ve found is UHU stick tac. It’s a few cents more but the difference in quality is well worth the price. There’s nothing worse than coming home to find all your pictures fell down off the wall. Having a wall full of your favourite things is not only a nice personalized touch, it also helps boost your mood to have things around the room that make you happy.

Plants

Plants can feel intimidating to those who have never had a plant to take care of of their own, but plants bring an incredible cozy feeling to any space. For those who are new to taking care of plants I recommend getting a cactus or a succulent. These plants are incredibly forgiving and they only need to be watered every few weeks. Depending on the size of plant you get they can fill an otherwise bare space and make it look more visually appealing. You can put them in pots that match your room or pick out some crazy coloured pots to add some colour. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to get some plants, they clean and filter the air in your room! Who doesn’t want that?

Those are some of my tips to make you rental or dorm room feel more you! How do you decorate your space? Share in the comments below, I love seeing other people’s spaces!

Tips for a productive day

Some days there’s just so much to do that it seems impossible to know where to start. If you’re in university or trying to catch up on a large list of to-do’s it can feel like there’s simply not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Over the years I’ve managed to find a method that helps me stay productive. Not all these tips may work for everyone but I have found them genuinely helpful and they help keep everything in a manageable state so you can still have some time for fun in your day.

  1. Start the night before

If you’re looking at this article trying to be productive right now, then this tip comes too late, but this is my number one tip because planning ahead can make all the difference. Before you go to bed, make a list of the things you would like to get done the next day and write them down. Having a visual list with things you can physically cross off is incredibly satisfying and it’s been proven too give a mini dopamine boost to keep you going! Personally I prefer writing things down on paper and getting to check them off as I go. This is not the most environmentally friendly option however. If you’d like to go digital with your list, Evernote is a great productivity app with note features which you can check off as you complete your tasks. Better still, it’s free.

2. Make your bed

This tip is all over the internet for a reason. It seems like such a silly step but it really does work. Making your bed is a simple quick way to complete a task as soon as you get up. This gives you a quick little sense of accomplishment before you even leave your room. Having already accomplished one task makes it much easier to start working on your other to-do’s. Plus, having a clean and tidy space it much easier for focus and motivation.

3. Listen to some music

Cleaning or doing work in complete silence is incredibly dull. You can make the whole experience so much more enjoyable by turning on a playlist. The key to not getting distracted by the music however, is to play more mellow playlists like indie and folk. I find it helps me focus if i’m listening to songs that I don’t already know the words to. Spotify has some amazing curated playlists for getting “in the zone”. If you enjoy indie playlists, I highly recommend the youtube channel alexrainbirdmusic. They come out with new playlists for the coming seasons and it’s an incredible way to find new music you may have otherwise missed. Their playlists are perfectly cohesive to keep the vibe going from each song to the next.

4. Start with the hardest task first

Starting with the hardest task first doesn’t always seem like the most desirable way to start your day, but it really does work. When you get your least favourite task out of the way first, you don’t spend your whole day dreading it. Once the hard work is out of the way all the other jobs you have to do seem easy-peasy. By completing the most difficult task first it also ensures that if for some reason you can’t do everything today, you only have a simple task to complete tomorrow.

5. Take mini breaks

You can’t expect yourself to work all day without taking any breaks. You’ll feel completely drained by the end of the day. Allow yourself to take some breaks between tasks to reward yourself for completing them. I like to treat myself to a cup of tea between tasks. The key here is to give yourself enough time to unwind, but not too long that you have a hard time getting back into productivity mode. Try for breaks between 10 and 15 minutes. Make sure to get up and walk around the room and have a nice stretch if you’ve been sitting at a desk. Maybe go for a quick walk around the block to get some fresh air and clear your head. Most importantly, don’t forget to have a snack. You’re brain works best when you’re not hungry or thirsty.

6. Reward yourself

Like the tip above, you want to reward yourself for completing tasks. Once you’ve completed your task for the day it’s time to relax! Enjoy some Netflix without guilt or go visit a friend for a nice walk and some coffee. It’s important to maintain a level of self care even when you’re busy because being productive for one day won’t help you if you burn out later that week. I’m a big fan of having a bath with a relaxing bath bomb from Lush after a long day of getting everything done. It helps me wind down and get ready for bed so I can have a good night’s sleep and do it all again tomorrow.

Did any of these tips work for you? What are your favourite tips to stay productive? Share them below and I’ll give them a try. Thanks so much for reading, now you’re armed with all the tools you need to get stuff done. Go forth and be productive!

My October 2019 Playlist

Now that it’s October we can really begin to get into the fall spirit. Fall is one of my favourite seasons and what better way to spend your fall than to cozy up with a nice cup of tea or coffee and throw on a mellow playlist. This is a playlist I have compiled for when I need some nice calm background music to chill out or when I need to be productive and don’t want to get too distracted by the music I’m listening to. You can find my playlist on Spotify here.

Romance – Ex:Re

Stranger Still (acoustic) – Blossoms

The Ghost in Your Smile – Jarle Skavhellen

I’m on fire – Soccer Mommy

Dinosaur – Fog Lake

Oakwood – Angus and Julia Stone

Grizzly Bear – Angus and Julia Stone

Lilo – The Japanese House

Someone To Stay – Vancouver Sleep Clinic

Coffee – Sylvan Esso

Other Lives – Hazel English

The Last Great Washington State – Damien Jurado

Paper Aeroplane – Angus and Julia Stone

Graveyard – Halsey

See Me – Talos

Bloom – The Paper Kites

Nostalgic – A R I Z O N A

Rose Petals – S. Carey

Lovesick. (Yoke Lore Remix) – FINLAY

St. Clarity – The Paper Kites

Girlfriend – Sheare

Youth – Daughter

Bobby – beabadoobee

Ghosts – Scavenger Hunt

All The Pretty Girls – KALEO

King and Lionheart – Of Monsters and Men

Paradis Perdu – Christine and the Queens

Share some of your fall music faves with me in the comments! I’m always on the search for new music to try. How have you been spending your fall?

My Top 5 Podcasts

My Top 5 Podcasts

Podcasts are probably my favourite type of content to consume. I tell myself I don’t have enough time to sit down a read a book, but a podcast is something I can listen to and still carry on with my day and get all my to-do’s done while learning something new or simply having a good laugh. Here are my top 5 picks that I seriously recommend you listen to.

  1. My Favorite Murder

My favorite murder is an amazing podcast for anyone who enjoys true crime. Karen and Georgia bring their love of comedy and true crime together to give you a seriously entertaining and fascinating podcast week after week. It may sound strange to combine death and comedy into the same podcast but Georgia and Karen are able to do so in the most respectful manner that does not dismiss or disrespect the victims in the stories they tell. Most importantly they keep you laughing just enough that you can still turn all the lights out when you go to bed. This podcast is capable of converting anyone into a murderino (their cute fan club nickname).

2. Stuff You Should Know

If you enjoy learning new facts this is the podcast for you. Chuck and Josh have made hundreds of episodes going into incredible detail of how specific topics work. There’s an episode for any interest you have and the hosts do an amazing job of breaking everything down into small bite sized pieces that are capable of keeping the attention of even the most distracted individuals. I credit this podcast as being the source of most of my conversational “fun facts”. From how the plague started to the history of Papasan chairs you can leave feeling like a mini-expert.

3. Don’t Blame Me!

Don’t Blame Me! is an advice podcast I wish I had when I was younger. Meghan and her producer Melissa give out practical (and seriously funny!) advice to their viewers who call in with an array of dilemmas. The podcast frequently features guests on the podcast so there’s a good variety of opinions being shared and new lenses being used to look at issues many of us can relate to. This podcast covers topics that cater most to young women but women of all ages can appreciate and relate to the discussions being had. From sex positivity to dealing with unhealthy relationships this podcast acts like the big sister we all wanted.

4. Dreamer’s Disease

I recently discovered Dreamer’s disease through some of my favourite youtubers. Many of them have been guests on Alex’s podcast which is quite possibly one of the most inspirational I’ve come across. Dreamer’s disease focuses on self improvement and how to create the life you want. Unlike other books and podcasts on this topic, Alex brings people on board who have already mastered the aspects they’re talking about. These are people who are living breathing proof that one can master spending time alone, coping with burnout, and finding your purpose. If you’re feeling unmotivated Dreamer’s disease is sure to light a fire in you.

5. Dirty John

Dirty John is a story based on real life events. It’s a story of caution to those in the dating world that you can never be sure of who you’re really talking to. This one also falls under the true crime umbrella but with a much more serious tone. The podcast is split into seven parts and is more of an audiobook than a podcast. Never the less the story of Dirty John is seriously captivating and reminds us that there are people out there who only want to cause harm to others. If you like stories of survival then this one is for you.

And there you have it! My top 5 picks for podcasts. Thanks so much for reading and please leave me your podcast recommendations below, i’m always on the hunt for my next favourite.