Shaking off the Boredom Blues

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Ever since college, the “B” word has been banned from my vocabulary. “B” as in bored. Nothing pushes you to use your time more wisely than being a waitress working afternoons in a slow restaurant. As you’re frequently reminded, they’re not paying you to stand in a corner on your phone.

Finding things to do has become my trademark at work – there’s never a time when I allow myself to twiddle my thumbs and not be proactive about finding ways to stay busy.

However, there comes a point when the motivation just isn’t there and the mundanity seems to set in.

That’s a good time to reassess what motivates you, what gives you meaning to your work and your play. There are internal motivations, such as when you’re focusing on being more physically active. It can do a brain and body good to remember why you’re trying to be healthier in the first place. Weight loss? Training for a marathon? If you’re trying to finish a project, think about why you want to finish this task. When I was working on my project draft last month, I actually wrote down my motivations on sticky notes above my desk, where I would see them everyday.

If that’s not quite doing it for you, then maybe it’s time to think about planning a little something that will break up the monotony of the month. Make plans to meet up with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Take a class in something you’ve never tried before (hello, acroyoga!). Treat yourself to a massage/manicure/hike in the woods. Give yourself something – no matter how small – to look forward to and brighten your week.

Me? I think I’ve got my eyes on a concert in San Francisco I’d like to go to this summer 🙂

 

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March Madness

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Hello world! It’s been ages since I lasted posted, but I promise for good reason – I spent the entire month of March finishing the draft of my first book!

Finishing this project is a huge deal for me. I started it in November 2014 (!) as a post-grad starter project, and promised myself I wouldn’t start anything else until I had finished this manuscript.


Fast forward two years, and I wasn’t very far on my draft. Every so often I’d work up the energy to take my computer to the library for an hour or so and jot some words down. After two years, though, I hadn’t made it past 80 pages. Yikes.

Then, I stumbled across a book recommendation for Book in a Month by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, and something clicked. I realized I was sick and tired of not making progress and just making excuses for not writing.

I purchased the book, and the rest is history!

Well…not quite. It was one of the most difficult tasks I’ve embarked on. I’d set a goal to write 3,000 words a day, which took me about an hour and a half. Doesn’t sound like much, but every day I struggled to stay motivated. The lure of relaxing after work in front of the TV was a constant, but in the end, I came through!

Here are some insights I gleaned while writing:

  1. You have to cater to your inner goddess. At first, I planned out that I would get up at 5:00 AM every day to get my writing out of the way. It took a week of oversleeping for me to finally cave in and admit that I’m not a 5 AM person. I also like being in comfortable clothing, having lots of water by my side, and using a legitimate keyboard, rather than a cheap travel one. Catering to these whims made the writing process so much more enjoyable.
  2. You have to rededicate yourself to your goal every. Single. Day. I wanted to give up every time I sat down to write, no lie. But I made it a priority to post sticky notes around my desk about why I wanted to achieve this goal in the first place. It was instrumental to helping me reenergize.
  3. You have to keep going no matter what. I realized my story had major plot holes / character holes / switching character names early on. There were also a handful of days where I had to either skip writing altogether or didn’t make my word count. There were many opportunities for me – the constant quitter – to stop the project altogether, but I persevered.
  4. You have to focus if you want to see this goal through. Normally, I’m trying to juggle fifteen thousand goals at once. New fitness routines, new recipes to try, new makeup techniques to perfect, etc. When March rolled around, though, I realized I could only put 100% into one thing, and I chose that thing to be writing. It made me sad to have to dial back on going out with friends and catching up on TV, but I kept reminding myself it was only for a month.
  5. At the end of the day, it comes down to your attitude. A book in a month – especially one guided by a book of the same title – sounded kind of silly when I started, and I was embarrassed to tell people. And every day I didn’t get to where I wanted was a total bummer. Nonetheless, I told myself repeatedly that I would get this done, no matter what. And I did!

There is still much, much work to be done, but I’m looking forward to it. If you’ve made it this far through this post, I hope you take away this single thought if nothing else: when you put your mind to it, you can achieve anything you want. Corny, but forgive me, I’m riding the high of following through with something for once in my life. Feels pretty good 🙂

 

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Looking at the {Wo}Man in the Mirror

6:30 AM. My alarm is shrieking on my nightstand. I can barely open my eyes, but I don’t have any time left to sleep – I was supposed to already be up, dressed, and working on my novella. I was supposed to have my gym bag packed and my tea brewing and be a functioning human being.

With all of this weighing on me, I moved to get out of bed. Just then, a little voice in my head yelled Stop! Wait! Hold on for a second. Are you happy with this arrangement?

I listened. I stopped. And I reflected.

Currently, I’m on a quest to instill some good habits into my life. I’ve lovingly named it the BLOB program (better life or bust!). BLOB basically has involved me trying to live healthier- I go to the gym more, eat better, and sleep more, and at the end of a certain period of time of doing well, I earn a “prize”. Cue images of sticker charts for children.

On the other hand, I’ve become more serious about finishing the first draft of my novella. The goal is to have the draft finished by the end of March. This has meant at least six written pages a day, plus research and outlining.

Unfortunately, these two little projects of mine have begun to clash.

Where BLOB states clearly that I should be in bed by 10 PM, my novella demands 3,000 words to be written after work. BLOB requires a stretch session before the day starts. The novella needs an outline before that night’s pages can be written. It goes on.FullSizeRender

It’s only been three (count ‘em – three) days of this back and forth, and I’m already exhausted and disappointed. Where I gain with one, I fail with the other. And it doesn’t help that my roommate has recently gotten me into Gilmore Girls on Netflix.

Reflecting this morning gave me the moment’s pause I needed to say something has to give. In college I remember seeing a Venn Diagram of three circles arranged in a triangle. One is sleep, one is your social life, and one is your grades. The caption underneath read “pick two”, meaning that something always has to give.

In life, we cannot be great at everything, always. I can’t be staying up until 1AM every night and expecting to run a full day on only four hours sleep for a month. And I can’t expect to finish my draft if I am spending more time working on other projects.

It’s ok to compromise and to adjust in order to prevent this kind of burn out. I’ve decided to lessen my BLOB duties for the remainder of draft writing, but in return I’m going to focus on achieving a more reasonable bedtime by prepping for my writing the night before. It’s not perfect, but I’m hoping it will be a major improvement.

May you also seek the answers to your problems with a little reflection in your life 🙂

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Organization Never Looked Hotter

It started innocently enough.

I wanted to buy a new planner for 2016. And I don’t mean a run-down-to-CVS-and-grab-whatever’s-on-the-shelf kind of planner. I wanted to invest in something pretty and high-functioning. Something that was going to help me get that much closer to achieving all of the goals I’d set for the new year.

A simple Google search led me to a website (much like this one) run by a woman who owns many different types of day planners for different aspects of her life – and reviews them! Suddenly I was staring at spiral bound Erin Condrens, Simplified Planners, Day Designers, Kikki K’s – the list was endless. Each planner more beautifully styled and more well organized than the next!

Stay with me. It gets better.

Finding the day planners meant finding blogs dedicated not only to the planners themselves, but their decoration.

As in, totally decked out daily, weekly, and monthly layouts, created by so-called “planner addicts”. It’s scrapbooking to a whole new level.

As a wannabe planner addict myself, I’ve now spent many, many hours drooling over these beautifully inspired layouts. It’s a beautiful marriage of creativity, DIY, stickers, and goal planning.

As any #bosslady #careerwoman knows, organization is a major key to success, both personally and professionally. I had no idea that it could be so beautiful.

Don’t believe me? Below I’ve included some of my favorite Instagram accounts from both planner addicts and individuals/companies that design the accoutrements.

Take a look, but be careful! You might fall in love ❤

p.s. Curious as to what I ended up with? Stay tuned for next time!

NEW Week! NEW Month! Let's start February off with a bang!💕 📷: @plannerhappiness

A post shared by Day Designer® (@thedaydesigner) on

My planners are now complete with @paperprincess beautiful tassels and paper clips!! 😍😍😍

A post shared by Wenda | 📒 Planner Addict (@wendafuldesigns) on

Last half of the week! 😍💙💜💚 • all shops are tagged •

A post shared by Jessica (@jkruuu_plans) on

 

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What day is it? ….Day 31

It has been a week since I returned home from Hawaii! It is time to pull it back from the relaxing, sun filled sky vacation mind set and get back into the flow of reality. I hope you all were not thinking of my absense as falling off the band wagon…again.

My island seista was not a result of months of planning and anxiety. It was merely the product, more like passion, of my partner. He has been itching to back to the islands where he has family. And month ago, I merely had to hit submit and our tickets were bought. This was a little out of character for me.  What was I thinking?! Jess doesn’t take vacations during the busiest part of her work year. To be honest, Jess doesn’t really like taking vacations. Period. Sad right?

I have been programed. I have been set to see taking time for myself as selfish and secondary to everything and every person in my life.

I share the same feelings as Aubrey from one of her recent posts. I am ready to move onto a new step in my career. I am ready to take it a next step with my partner. And ready to make BIG changes, but how could I put that all on pause for a 15 hrs journey to spend 10 days on a beach?

I had spent exactly one full week back at work. I knew this was all worth it when a colleague of mine shared his reaction to a phone call I had with a client. “That is how you come back and crush it.” He is my biggest cheerleader, but he made a great point. I did crush it. That was one of the best conversations I have had and the best part was: it was authentic.

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Take me back! 

This break has created a moment of pause. It allowed me to really take time amongst all of these aspirational changes to really think the all through. Sure, this pause allowed me to see volcanos and sea turtles. It more importantly made me realize why and how to make these changes. It has renergized my pursuit to be the most authentic version of myself. It has alowed me to finally be ok with taking time for myself. Because in the end, we all won. We all benefited from me watching the sunset while New England watched the snow.

Take a day off! Better yet, take 10!

XXOO Jess

Day 15, or ‘I’m So Over This’

Try to think back to an unpleasant day you had at work.

Maybe it’s not a difficult task. Maybe it is. Depends on how you would describe unpleasant.

I’ve had unpleasant days where co-workers have flat out yelled at me for minor discretions. I’ve had days where I’ve dropped IKEA furniture pieces on my feet. And then there are those days I’ve been called in to plunge the toilets in the men’s restroom.

Yet, nothing is coming quite near to the feeling I’ve had this past week, having returned from spending the holidays at home with my family.

I haven’t had one of those typically terrible days at work where all I’ve wanted to do is crawl home and lick my wounds. Instead, my days have become…mundane. I’ve come to the realization that I am ready to move on from my current job.

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Somebody needs to update her resume…

Immediately after concluding this I felt dread, anxiety, and guilt. I think in America we’re conditioned to firstly, work constantly, and secondly, have an undying gratitude to our employers. I remember as a kid going in to work with my mom on occasional Saturdays, just so she could make sure she was ahead of the game come the following week. She was incredibly passionate about being a dedicated and productive employee.

I feel guilty for wanting to trade up my position and for wanting new challenges. It’s almost like a betrayal to the company that has taken such good care of me for the last year. I don’t think these feelings will ever go away completely; I’m a people pleaser and I do very much adore my current workplace. However, I don’t want to be someone who stays where they are because they’re too afraid of hurting others or of new opportunities.

In times like these, I find it helpful to go straight to the worst-case scenario. If I found a new job this year, what would realistically happen?

What if my boss gets upset? Ultimately, she should not have final say over my life choices. She’ll have to deal.

What if the new place ends up being a terrible fit? Hopefully interviewing with the company will weed out any major warning signs, but in the end it’s a gamble. I know that I can handle whatever obstacles that are thrown at me, and if I need to move on then I will.

What if I can’t actually find a new job? Sometimes our imagined timelines don’t always pan out, but it’s important to never let the goal fade. I would keep searching in earnest, reimagining a new deadline or plan if the first couldn’t be reached.

I have learned so much in the year plus that I’ve spent in Los Angeles, and especially with my current employer. I plan on staying on a little longer in 2016, but I’ve got a lot of career ahead of me that I think I’m ready to take the next step on, despite how nerve wracking it already feels. In the mean time, I want to dedicate myself to learning as much as I can from my mentors, as well as developing relevant skills on the side (hello web design!).

Have a great weekend everyone 🙂

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Day 7

You guys…this is it.

This is the moment. The moment where I realized that I have no excuses left. For anything.

Let me explain.

This morning, as I was opening the office with my co-worker, we starting chatting about our goals. And if you’ve read this blog with any sort of regularity, you’d know I’m a huge sucker for goals and anything goal-related.

My co-worker is a fresh faced lad who graduated college only last summer. He told me he was anxious to get going on his goals, which mainly revolved around getting back into doing standup comedy, practicing his swing dancing (he’s a classy guy), and figuring out where he wants to take his career.

I applauded his effort, but reminded him not to be too hard on himself. He did, after all, just graduate college.

And suddenly, I realized that I did not just graduate college. I graduated

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Me as a fresh faced grad! Alas, it’s time to get moving on my life’s to-do list.

college going on two years ago. Until this point, I had always let that be just one of my reasons to let my own goals slide.

I just graduated college, I have plennnnnnty of time to do [insert task].

I’m new to Los Angeles! I just need to get familiar with the city, that’s all.

Nobody ever gains success until they’re at least 25 anyways….

I’ll start [insert creative project] as soon as I’m settled into adulthood.

The list goes on.

I have been my own worst enemy from day one by not holding myself accountable. I based this on the reasoning that as a new grad, I needed to get some sort of “footing”, both mentally and physically in the city.

The truth is, time is ticking, and I have too much to do to let it slide by. If I want to turn my dreams into plans, I need to use every day to its fullest. No excuses.

Happy goal planning!

Back To Business

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There’s a photo on my inspiration board I made that simply reads, “It’s time to work a little harder.” Over the summer, my board sat tucked behind another piece of art in the corner of my room, amidst my unpacked boxes and bags from my August move.

Recently, I unearthed my board, and took a good look at that photo. This summer seems like a blur, but I’ve walked out of it not feeling like my best self. I’ve wanted to blame the heat, and work, and my move, but these things all boil down to excuses for not putting in the extra effort to achieve what I want.

For instance, I stopped writing for the blog because I was “too tired” or “didn’t feel in the mood”. Every day, I’d say tomorrow. The point of writing these posts was to motivate me to accomplish my dreams and pursue new interests alongside my cousin. It feels like when I stopped writing, I stopped thinking that I could do better.

In high school and college, I used to wonder what adults did in their free time. They didn’t have essays to write, practices to attend, plays to rehearse for, tests to study for. Now, as a graduate and semi-adult, I’ve forgotten what it was like to really give every day your all. I achieved so much with 24 hours, even while being a full time student with three part time jobs.

It’s still hotter than hell outside (fall doesn’t exist here), but I’m embracing the metaphorical season change with a new mindset. It’s alright to take a vacation and ease up on the throttle every now and then. What’s important is that you get back on the saddle and continue on your journey. The year isn’t quite over yet, and I want to spend the next few months refocusing my attention on my goals. It’s time to work a little harder, and I could not be more excited to do so!

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Note to Self: A weekly reflection of everything I should have done

More often than not, I find myself making a mental checklist. Do the dishes, Call your mother, Take a Nap, Pay Car Bill. I think it is safe to say we all do this, but for my impermeable brain these mental notes go untouched.

It is not surprising to report that the most productive, meditative place is in the shower (or driving). It is here that I daydream about the newest DIY or where I dwell on a terrible day. Yesterday, I began to take an inventory of all of these mental notes. Call mom-check, take nap-check. However, there are some things I didn’t get to because they lacked a deadline or a tangible reason to do them.  And then it hit me-in that meditative shower-I decided that the best way to hold myself accountable for the millions of mental emails gone unanswered was to write them here!

Note to Self:

  1. Call your people
    1. Being a working professional*, my friends and I have gotten into a rhythm. We would go days, weeks without talking and be able to pick it up where we left off. (I think I stole this from an inspirational meme) Our professional lives has pulled a lot of us across the country. Despite being so great at falling back into our friend flow, I am constantly asking myself things like What Sam is doing for her wedding? or Is Rachel lost in the mountains?
  2. Wake up earlier
    1. Why did I leave two minutes later than I should have? Why did I hit snooze a million times? Why did I think Facebook was worth the 45 minutes of my life instead of showering? This is a daily struggle. I am perpetually on time/late. As all of my career counselors say,If you are on time, you are late. 
  3. Show yourself some love
    1. However we choose to show this love-we deserve it. It was clear this week that I have been putting off some self care. Getting sick while traveling was a clear sign that I need to focus more on doing some intentional lovin’.

Stay tuned for more!

Jess (2)

*aspiring professional

Friday Favorites

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Happy Friday friends! On the off chance you’re facing some free time this weekend and don’t know what to do with yourself (besides nap!), I’ve compiled a list of my current favorites in entertainment!

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Reading: The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

This novel is about the women of a family coming together to solve their individual problems by spending a month at their old beach cottage. Old romances are rekindled, loved ones are lost, and former feuds come to a head. It’s the perfect fluff-book reading material you need for a day at the beach!

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin

Watching: Grace and Frankie

This Netflix original series is about two women who strike up an unlikely friendship after their husbands leave them – for each other. It’s incredibly funny, heartwarming, and sometimes outright bizarre. My roommate and I binged this in a week flat. Check it out on Netflix!

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Listening To: Jekyll and Hyde by the Zac Brown Band // The TED Radio Hour

Musically, I’m checking out The Zac Brown Band’s new album, Jekyll and Hyde. Be forewarned: it’s country music. They’ve got some unusual tracks on it which feature guest artists; it’s a break from their usual country-folk-reggae sound. My personal favorite: Loving You Easy.

Podcast-wise, I can’t get enough of ‘The TED Radio Hour’. It seems like every time I throw on an episode of the gym, I learn a lesson or find new motivation. The host, Guy Raz, takes the highlights from every talk and sits down to interview each lecturer. I promise you’ll walk away having learned something new!

A happy weekend to all, and to all – a nap.

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