Fitness · Health · Organization · Productivity

7 Secrets to a More Productive Day

7 Secrets to a More Productive Day

Have you ever looked at your mile-long to-do list and thought, “How am I going to get all of this done?!” Your girl is guilty. Being an independent business owner, blogger, and full-time college student can make my calendar look chock-full. Prioritizing has to be a priority, and I’ve done some experimenting with my organization and time management. Here are my top 7 secrets for a more productive day:

1. Make your bed.

I know, you’re rolling your eyes at me. But really, if you make your bed in the mornings, you’re a) less likely to get back into it and b) more likely to be in a productive mindset. It makes everything nice and clean and you’ll immediately feel accomplished and ready to conquer the day.

2. Use a planner.

Having everything written down will make it so much easier to know what needs to be done each day, and you’ll never forget an appointment again! Never used a planner before? Start by writing down everything you know you have to do. When do you have classes? When do you work? When is your brother’s game or sister’s dance recital? Then fill in the gaps with things like homework, downtime, and lunch dates. If you want to get real fancy, color code it (my C/Type A personality is ALL over this).

3. Determine Your 6 Most Important Things.

What are the 6 most important things that MUST be done today? Write them down. Maybe you need to do the laundry that’s been piling up, or maybe you need to mail your cousin’s birthday card, write a paper, go to the grocery, or renew your gym membership. Once you have your 6 most important things, prioritize them. What tasks are time- sensitive? What tasks are going to take more time and effort? Eat the frog first. Doing the hardest or most daunting thing first gets it out of the way and off your mind! And remember — busy does not always mean productive.

4. Use the Pomodoro Technique.

“Pomodoro” is the Italian word for “tomato,” and this technique is named for those kitchen timers that are shaped like tomatoes. But don’t worry, you don’t need to hunt one down, just use the timer on your phone! Work in 25 minute increments, and take a 5 minute break between each work session. After 4 work sessions, take a longer break, maybe 15-30 minutes. I use this technique with everything: housework, writing papers, making business calls, you name it. You’ll surprise yourself with how much you can accomplish in 25 minutes! Plus, having a timer keeping you accountable helps limit your temptation to scroll through social media when you should be working.

5. Work Out in the Morning.

Trust me on this one. Morning workouts get you energized and help you focus on the rest of your day. If I procrastinate my workout, I either think about it while I should be focusing on other tasks or decide I’ll do it later and then never do. When I started committing to my workout in the mornings, I noticed I felt better — physically and mentally — throughout my day.

6. Get Up Earlier — Which Means Go to Bed Earlier

Okay, I know you’re rolling your eyes at me again. But really. Getting up earlier gives you SO much more time in your day to be productive. Think of how much you could get done with just 15, 20, 30 more minutes, even an hour more, in the morning. You might even have time to fit in that morning workout we just talked about! Start small and build up to it. But be aware, getting up early while still getting a healthy amount of sleep means going to bed earlier. Which brings me to…

7. Give Yourself Time to Unwind.

How many of you are on GO from the second your feet hit the ground in the morning? Allowing yourself time to wind down after a busy (and hopefully, productive) day is a must for good sleep. Do something you love, whether it’s starting that book you’ve been meaning to read, writing in a journal, or putting on a face mask. Your brain needs time to relax so you can relax and sleep well. Take care of yourself!

I hope these tips help you be your best every day! Comment below which is your favorite and what you do to unwind!

xoxo Erin

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Why I’m Ditching Perfectionism (And So Should You)

Why I'm Ditching Perfectionism (And So Should You) photo

Last year, I wrote my goals down on paper for the first time. I decided what I wanted to accomplish in the year of 2017 and made a list, even breaking those goals down into smaller goals. I even wrote down what I would do month by month (I know, I’m really extra). That list got packed away somewhere in the mess that is my desk and I forgot about it after about three months, even though the plan was to keep track of my progress. I recently found it and decided to look back and see how much I accomplished, as well as how much I forgot to do. The goals I had listed included things like “hold a 5-minute plank” and “get outside more.” But one goal in in particular hit me harder than the rest: let go of perfectionism.

If you know me, you know I have been a hard-core perfectionist from the get-go. I have always wanted everything to be perfect – my schedule, my grades, my assignments, my organization, the way my bed is made, even how the laundry is folded. This is partly my OCD tendencies (no, but really) and partly the stubborn perfectionism that has ruled my life for years.

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not perfect. No one is. But I felt like I needed to be – in my business, my blog, and my personal life. Of course, everyone wants to hit every goal they set, but it just isn’t always going to happen like that. I felt like I would be a failure if I didn’t meet my monthly goal, if I didn’t drink enough water that day, if I didn’t work out that morning, that day, that week. I would be upset with myself if I broke my health streak or if I couldn’t find the right word in my writing. If a picture wasn’t perfectly Instagram-ready, I wouldn’t post it. There were pictures I wanted to post but didn’t because it would interfere with my “perfectly structured” Instagram theme. I held off posting, held off writing, held off everything on my blog because I wanted everything to be perfect… but I held off so long that I went months without writing or posting.

If you ask me, that’s not any way to live.

I’m back, I’m better, I’m doing my best to do what I have been called to do, what I love to do, without fear of failure or imperfection.

DO NOT allow perfectionism to rule your life. DO NOT allow the idea of failure to stop you from trying. DO NOT allow one mistake to cause you to give up. DO NOT allow negativity into your heart.

DO enjoy yourself. DO get back up. DO work toward goals. DO challenge yourself.

Be okay with the journey. Trust the process. Stay positive. Reach out for advice. Be persistent.

Be bold, be radiant, be YOU.

I’m ditching perfectionism. Are you?

xoxo Erin

P.S. – Please feel free to comment, DM, or e-mail me your thoughts on this topic!

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Pinterest-y Blueberry Pancake Smoothie

I found a BOMB smoothie recipe on Pinterest about a month ago and I tweaked it to my own liking. It’s literally my favorite right now (next to chocolate and banana, of course). So without further ado, Here is my “Blueberry Pancake” smoothie recipe!


You will need:

  • 1 Cup Skim milk
  • 1/2 Cup blueberries (frozen is preferable)
  • 1/2 a banana (or a whole one, depending on the size of the banana)
  • 2 tbsp. Oats
  • 1 tsp. Cinnamon

Put all ingredients in your blender. I have the Skinny Girl personal-sized blender! I got mine at Sam’s Club.


Add ice, especially if your blueberries were not frozen. It makes the smoothie cold and gives it that “blended” texture! I add 3-4 ice cubes.


Blend for about 1 minute and enjoy!


I hope you love it as much as I do!

Comment if you try it out and if you switched up any ingredients! 

xoxo 

Erin

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At-Home 30-Minute Glute & Hammy-Focused Workout


Happy hump day!

So today I overslept and only had a quick 30 minutes to get in my workout. I actually really enjoyed this one because it was a spur-of-the-moment kind of deal. Usually I like to have my workout planned out so I can follow along and check each exercise off my list, but today I just took some of my favorite glute and hamstring exercises (and a couple new ones!) and threw them together into a quick and effective workout.

 
• 3x10x10x10 Calf Raises

10 normal calf raises, 10 calf raises with toes pointing out, 10 calf raises with toes pointing in. Good for a warmup and/or a burnout at the end of a workout!

• 3×10 RDL

Squeeze at the top! One of my absolute favorites.

• 3×20 Lying Hamstring Curl w/ Dumbbell Lay down on the ground (or a bench) and hold a dumbbell perpendicular to the ground between your feet and curl it up with your hammies. I used light weight and high reps for this one.

• 3×8 Curtsy Lunges to Squat Complex
This is a new one for me, and you’ll either love it or hate it. Do a curtsy lunge on one side, come back to center to squat, and do a curtsy lunge on the other side, coming back to center for a squat to complete 1 rep.

• 3×12 Hip Thrusts

Classic booty burning exercise.

• 3×15 Glute Kickbacks w/ Ankle Weights & Resistance Band (each side)

This one was a new twist on one of my favorite exercises. I typically do these with ankle weights, but added a resistance band and OH MY GOSH talk about a booty burn. Get on all fours to do donkey kicks and pin one side of a resistance band under each palm. Put the foot you’ll be “kicking” with in the loop and use the band as extra resistance during the kickback. Keep your foot flexed during this exercise.

• 1 min. Plank

Because what else do you do when you only have one minute left on your timer?


Try this workout or incorporate some of these exercises into your next lower body workout! What’s your favorite? 

xoxo

Erin
*DISCLAIMER: I am not a certified personal trainer. This blog post and list of exercises is only a suggestion from my personal experience. 

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Breathe. Pray. Focus. Do.

We’ve all been there. You have goals. You have plans. They get wrecked in a split second and you’re left wondering… where do I go from here? What’s my ‘next big thing’?

You have trouble getting back up to even just your starting point. You need to do “this much” today and “this much” tomorrow. Continue for the next two weeks and you’ll be fine. You’ll catch up. You’ll be back on track.

You get caught up in life. Stuff happens. You set your alarm for 6:00 am and oversleep until 10:00. You skip your workout. Take a look at your To Do list and it seems like you have ten million things to do. What to tackle first?

I can tell you your best bet.

Take a deep breath.

Let it out.

I haven’t posted in a while. I was so high-key before we went on my (much-needed) family vacation, but since we got back, I’ve been trying to get back into that driven mindset. I was so ready to get up early, work out, and smash my goals the first day back, but I woke up with a busting headache and was having vertigo-like symptoms. Needless to say, I spent the whole day on the couch.

The next day was better, but I felt like I shouldn’t overwork myself. 20 minutes of HIIT cardio did the trick. I had a blog post started, but I never finished it (or posted it).

Then life happened. I struggled (but succeeded) to meet my business goal for the month. (A huge thank you if you helped me with this, whether it was a purchase or just a share on Facebook, it helped tremendously.) I started thinking of all the things I needed to finish before the end of the month, things I needed to start before the end of the month, things I had forgotten about, things that had just come up. My mind and heart pulled me in so many directions and I didn’t know which aspect of my life to focus on. What do you do when you feel like you can’t?

Breathe. Pray. Focus. Do.

I was talking to my boyfriend about everything going on and he called me on FaceTime to talk through it with me. He held up this little index card with a word written in the middle. “Can you read this?” he asked me. As the video focused, I could read the word printed in his handwriting. INTERVENTION. (HIMYM fans, you will get this.) We took things step by step and started working through things little by little. I’m finally starting to feel like I can get my ducks in a row (Betsy, if you’re reading this, I will forever imagine that GIF you sent me when I say this).

Now, this post was not to complain. It was not to say “these are all my problems” or “wow I’ve had a rough time with this and that.” It was not an excuse for why I’ve been majorly slacking on certain areas of my life. This was a post to say to anyone who has been going through a rough patch:

This. Too. Shall. Pass.

It will get better. Regroup, reset, restart, remind yourself why you’re doing what you’re doing. I had to remind myself of how I created this blog and why I decided on this name. Isn’t my goal to BLOOM and GROW and help others do the same? And who says only one part of your life can bloom and grow at one time? I have so many different sides to my personality: fitness, blogging, skincare and makeup, business, organization, faith, writing, school, friendships, relationships, dreams, goals, vision, and so many more. I’ve had such a hard time determining what to focus on… but who says I can’t connect them? They’re all just flowers on the same plant that God is feeding and watering, helping each and every flower bloom and grow in its own beautiful way. Not all of them will look the same… some may be big, some may be small, some may be a different color or shade than the others. But if I’ve been given so many passions, who am I to throw them out? I am more determined now than I have ever been before to develop every part of my life.

Make a list of your passions and try to find connections among them. What will you do today, this week, this month, this year, to develop and pursue your passions?

 

{xoxo}

Erin

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15 Facts About Me || Finding Fit 7

Seven blog posts in and it just dawned on me that I may have some readers who know absolutely nothing about me. I figured many of the people reading are people I have on Facebook, but I could be wrong. So, without further ado, here are fifteen random facts about me!

1.     I am currently a junior in college.

2.     I am studying creative writing with a concentration in fiction at Southern New Hampshire University’s College of Online and Continuing Education and I’m considering a minor in social media marketing.

3.     My favorite desert, by far, is cheesecake.

4.     With that being said, nothing beats chocolate. NOTHING.

5.     I cheered all through middle school and high school, and now I’m coaching.

6.     I’m a Mary Kay consultant! I’m currently in my fourth month and loving it.

7.     I probably drink too much coffee.

8.     I once had my mind set on being a YouTuber.

9.     I met my boyfriend (and best friend) on Twitter. We live an hour apart and still make it work!

10.  I love pugs! They’re so adorable. Honestly, dogs in general are adorable.

11.  My first blog was on tumblr.

12.  I don’t have a gym membership… I’ve been doing everything at home with just a treadmill, some free weights, and resistance bands. I do want a membership eventually, but that’s another story.

13.  I have a love/hate relationship with cardio (but don’t we all?).

14.  PINEAPPLE GOES ON PIZZA. This is not debatable.

15.  The beach will always be my favorite vacation spot.

Now you know a little bit about me! I would love to share more, but I don’t want this post to be too long. I’m hoping posts like these will connect me to more people who have the same kind of goals as I do, and that we can help each other out with new ideas! What do we have in common? Comment below!

{xoxo}

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IT’S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT || FINDING FIT 6

Before I get into this blog post, I need to clarify why I’m posting it. I’ve never really been comfortable posting a picture in a swimsuit, let alone a bikini. But when I was talking to these two girls and we realized that despite how extremely different our body types are, we are all around the same weight, give or take two pounds, we knew we had to post a blog about it (make sure you check out their blogs as well!).

We all have different lifestyles: Lauren is a dancer, Darci likes to run, and I like to lift weights. Lauren is in the theater program, Darci is going into occupational therapy, and I am studying creative writing. But here’s one thing we have in common: we’re learning to love our bodies in the shape they’re in while still maintaining a healthy lifestyle and trying to improve ourselves.

I believe it’s so important to realize that one person’s “healthy” weight, one person’s “shredded” weight, one person’s “summer body” is not always going to be your “healthy” weight, your “shredded” weight, your “summer body.” Everybody is different, and every body is different. What works for one person may not work for another; what one person likes may not be enjoyable for his/her friend.

I follow people on Instagram, Twitter, and other social media who are in the fitness industry, and they share their stories, what worked for them, what didn’t work, and their favorite meals, workouts, and products. I think this is a great way to reach out to followers and encourage them to try new things… but it gets dangerous when we don’t take certain things into consideration. For instance, cardio may work wonders for your favorite Instagrammer, but when you put in 3 30-minute sessions a week, you still don’t see results (and you hate running). Maybe your super-healthy friend always eats clean, but you can’t bring yourself to do it because you looooove to indulge in your favorite dessert. That awesome-looking ab circuit seems easy on YouTube, but when you try to do it, it’s entirely too difficult. That doesn’t mean you beat yourself up about it… that means you appreciate how that person stays healthy and positive while finding what works for you. Support each other. Love each other. Trust the process.

Don’t try to look like your friend. Don’t try to look like a celebrity. Don’t try to look like that girl on Instagram with a million followers. DO try new things. DO try methods that have worked for others, and DO listen to your body if it isn’t responding. DO take the time to write down your goals and love the process while progressing toward those goals. DO try to be your best self. DO love the body God has given you and appreciate what it can do. Be happy. Be bold. Be radiant. Be you.

Go check out my girls’ blogs at http://www.dailydoseofdarci.wordpress.com (Darci) and http://www.lovelaughlaurenblog.wordpress.com (Lauren) for their part of this blog!

{xoxo}

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Back on Track || FF5

Back on Track - FF5.JPG

Can we take a moment for how difficult it is to get back on track after a holiday? I enjoyed myself over Memorial Day weekend, going to grad parties, going out to lunch/dinner, grilling out, eating dessert… and I don’t regret any of that one bit. Sure, I’m on a “cut,” but DUDE… live a little! However, the holiday is over and I’m ready to get back on track.

My first step to getting back on track after a holiday is drinking water. I know, some of y’all hate plain water, and I totally understand that! Try getting some lemons (or if you’re short on time or just don’t want to cut up a lemon, some lemon juice) and infusing your water, or even squeeze it directly in your water. Lemon water has lots of health benefits, helps with bloating, and it also tastes delicious! It’s energizing in the morning and calming at night (I drink mine warm like tea at night). If you’re struggling to up your water intake, grab a big water bottle and carry it around with you. I picked up the Quench Hydration 40-oz. water bottle in my photo from Wal-Mart and it’s amazing. If you need something a little smaller for daily use, I recommend a Tervis travel mug, which you can personalize! I monogrammed mine… pink, of course!

My second step is to refresh my memory on my favorite meals and find some new recipes. I use MyFitnessPal to log my food and water intake, and this app makes it super easy to go back and look at my past meals. I can go back and look at some of my best days and repeat those meals, and create new combinations based on what I know I like. They even have recipes available so you can switch it up when you get bored with the same old meals. 10/10 would recommend.

My third step is to remind myself that it’s okay to slip up. It’s not going to kill me to eat the last bit of leftovers from the holiday so we can get it out of the fridge and replace it with our normal foods. I love, love, love Louisiana Crunch Pudding Cake from Kroger… and I ate it for dessert. But I also got my fruit, veggies, and protein in. Cutting is a process, and honestly, I’m not cutting for a show or anything major like that. I’m doing it for me and to find my healthy, to find my fit. That doesn’t mean I can’t indulge in dessert every once in a while! A healthy relationship with food is the number one most important thing for me in a healthy lifestyle. Moderation is key.

Give yourself time to detox yourself physically, mentally, and emotionally. Put on a face mask, sit down with a good book, your devotional, your Bible, your favorite Spotify playlist, or your favorite movie, drink your water, get a good night’s sleep, and hit your restart button in the morning. Sweet dreams, lovelies!

-xoxo-

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3 Weeks Left || My Current Split || Progress Update || FF4

Selfie

Here we are, with only three weeks left of Finding Fit. The last six weeks have flown by! This has been a learning experience… never have I ever shared my goals and plans on a blog. I’ve been kind of MIA lately on this blog but I’ve been struggling with how to share my experiences when I’m still learning. Not everything I say or do will be right, but this is trial and error for me, just like it is for everyone else. I can feel myself making progress, even if the number on the scale isn’t necessarily moving the way I want it to (more on that later).

My past split was:

Monday – Legs, heavy weight
Tuesday – Back/Biceps/Shoulders
Wednesday – Legs, bodyweight
Thursday – Chest/Triceps
Friday – Legs, heavy weight
Saturday – Cardio
Sunday – Rest

I’ve had this split for a pretty long time, and I feel like I’ve plateaued with it. I thought that if I just went really hard and took it more seriously than in the past, I would see the results I wanted. Not that I didn’t, but I feel like my body is used to this schedule, used to the order of exercises I’m doing. More than that, I’m bored with it. I don’t want to have a mundane workout routine; I want to switch it up and challenge myself. And honestly, as much as I hate to say it, I need more cardio. That last five pounds is tricky! With that in mind, here is the split I have used the past two weeks and will be using for the final three weeks of my cut:

Monday – Legs
Tuesday – Cardio
Wednesday – Upper Body
Thursday – Cardio
Friday – Legs
Saturday – Cardio
Sunday – Rest

Now, let me explain this. I went from having three leg days to two (tear…) and having one cardio day to three (again…tear). I combined my previous Tuesday/Thursday into one upper body day. I did this because my upper body develops way faster than my lower body, and my lower body is really where I’m trying to build the most muscle and lose the most fat. I find that upping my cardio has made a huge difference in the past, especially if I’ve barely been doing any (one day of cardio works, but lemme be honest, I was doing the BARE MINIMUM).

In the last two weeks, I lost a quarter inch off my waist, about half an inch in my glutes (sad face), and FINALLY my left side isn’t smaller than my right side! I’m right-handed, right-footed, right-side everything dominant, and my right side was consistently half an inch bigger than my left side. After taking my measurements again yesterday, I seem to be symmetrical. Not sure how long that will last, but hey, it’s progress.

If you need any reason to not trust the scale, here it is… even after all that progress on my measurements, the number on the scale hasn’t changed much. Still fluctuating between 122-124 lbs. (I’m 5’2.5” for reference… yes, the half counts). Honestly, my goal at the beginning of this cut was to change the number on the scale, but now, I’m more interested in measurements and progress pictures. Who knew a quarter inch off my waist would be such a noticeable difference?

As I progress, I will post more about what has worked and what hasn’t worked. Thank you to everyone for your continued support and readership. Love you from the bottom of my heart!

{xoxo}

DISCLAIMER: I am NOT a certified personal trainer. I am only sharing my experiences for inspiration.

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The Importance of Vision

The Importance of Vision

I have a vision board on my wall, right at eye level above my desk. It’s small… vision boards don’t have to be big, so long as the dreams aren’t small. I have encouraging and motivating quotes, Bible verses, pictures of people I look up to, and of people who have achieved what I want to achieve. Maybe I don’t pointedly look at it every single day, but every time I’m at my desk, walking into my room, putting away laundry, or even just watching Netflix, it’s there in my peripheral vision. I consistently see photos of my dreams and goals, and I strategically placed each photo so that it corresponded with the next one. I surrounded a picture of Mary Kay lipstick with quotes that say “I think you should just go for it” and “She believed she could, so she did.” Guess who’s a Mary Kay consultant now?

I’m still learning to “embrace the journey” and how to not be “afraid of being a beginner.” Heck, creating this blog was a little bit scary… I started a blog back in 2015 and it got put on the back burner. While creating Bloom and Grow, I didn’t know if anyone would read it, if I would be any good at this, if people would laugh at me. Hear me when I say this… don’t let those kinds of thoughts hold you back. DREAM BIG. Maybe I won’t get the views, the readership, the likes and the comments that other blogs get, but hey, if I can reach just one person and inspire that person to “just go for it,” I’ll be happy.

Terri Savelle Foy has a great video on YouTube about vision boards and the power of having a vision, a dream, a goal. Write it down. Pray about it. In the words of a quote on my vision board, “Do something every day that brings you closer to your goals.” Remember that “you are capable of amazing things” and that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13). Be “fearless” and “fear less.” Believe you can. It may take time, but that time is golden. Use that time to better yourself, and celebrate even the little accomplishments.

Having a vision board, goal journal, or something along those lines is one of the “major keys” to success in goal setting and achieving those goals. Terri Savelle Foy tells us someone photoshopped her into a picture so it looked like she was on a stage speaking to thousands of people so she could put it on her vision board; she now has her own ministry and a women’s conference in Texas. Sure, I had dreams and goals before, but I never felt like I was getting anywhere. I would try and quit, try and quit, try and quit. Once I created my vision board (which, from the picture, you can tell it turned into more of a vision wall), I started achieving even my smallest goals, completing my day-to-day to-do lists, and eventually checked off some pretty big goals from my goal journal. It’s amazing what happens when you have a vision and write it down.

If you’re reading this, I challenge you to create a vision board. It can be big, small, tangible, or virtual… save images from Pinterest on your phone and create a collage to set as your wallpaper. Maybe you want to cut and paste pictures from old magazines onto a piece of printer paper and frame it on your nightstand. Or, if you’re super crafty, pin pictures on a bulletin board or create a gallery wall with your favorite picture frames! Show me your vision boards and tell me what you want to achieve in the next week, month, or year!