10 Activities to Reward Yourself the Right Way

Reward yourself the right way with thisI’m going to let you in on a little secret.  I’m a huge procrastinator and sometimes the only way I can get anything done is with a reward.  You know — a light at the end of the tunnel type thing.

If you have nothing to look forward to, your workload can quickly overwhelm you. So I’m a big fan of rewarding yourself after completing a time-consuming task.

However, it’s also important that the reward matches the progress that you’ve made.  So if you spend 20 minutes replying to your emails, you probably should treat yourself to a marathon Netflix binge.

But put a limit on it.  Will you watch 1 episode of House of Cards or 2?  If you plan out your reward in advance – it will be much easier to stick to it and get back to work.

There’s the thing though — a reward doesn’t have to take hours to be effective. There are some quick ones that will do the trick just as well.

Here is my list of small rewards you can treat yourself to without feeling guilty:

  1. Make a cup of tea.
  2. Go for a walk for 15 minutes.
  3. Listen to your favorite song.
  4. Watch a cute animal video for 4 minutes.
  5. Send a silly text to your friend.
  6. Eat some dark chocolate.
  7. Go on an adventure via Periscope for 10 minutes.
  8. Look up something you want to buy online for 15 minutes. (But don’t actually buy it until you’ve finished all your to-do’s for the day!)
  9. If you like to exercise, you could go for a quick jog or do some 10-minute yoga.
  10. Read a chapter of a good book. (Sign up here for a free chapter of Listful Thinking!)

How do you like to reward yourself?

10 Ways to Break Up Your Routine

standupI’m a sucker for a good routine. I’ve been known to stand in the same spot every day while I wait for the subway, eat the same thing for breakfast and even pick out my clothes before going to bed at night.

Goodness knows that you oftentimes need your routines to keep you on schedule. I sure do! They can help you order your life, and bring a sense of normalcy to an otherwise hectic schedule.

However, given enough power and time, they can potentially dampen your productivity. If your “routine” is starting to feel more like a rut, try boosting your creativity by shaking things up!

Here’s how to do it:

Take a different way to work: We take the same way to work every day, and for good reasons: The shortest route, the least stressful way, the commute that takes you past your favorite coffee shop. Occasionally breaking from this rut can bring a fresh perspective. After all, your mind is used to seeing the same sights for roughly the same time every single day. Changing this up could be a stimulating experience to wake you up to a new way of thinking or see a new neighbor you didn’t even know existed!

Change up your lunch: Always grab a burger? End up chatting with the same people about the same things? Change it up! Eating a salad with lots of leafy greens can be a healthy way to get the nutrition you need to focus. Picking a new spot means you might run into new people to chat with too.

Switch up your exercise: Services such as ClassPass offer a variety of classes and workouts you can try. So go give a spin class a shot, or maybe try out yoga. Read more

How to Schedule Meetings in a Snap

Learn how to become a better schedulerSometimes it feels like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to get everything done, and in spite of making and maintaining a list to help us streamline our lives, some things still end up causing unneeded stress.

For me, I get a bit anxious whenever I need to schedule a meeting.  It seems silly but the thought of having to look at my calendar and come up with several options stops me in my tracks.  I usually end up putting off those types of emails for a while and they take up valuable space in my in-box for too long.
There are a number of online programs and apps that can alleviate stress and streamline the process of scheduling meetings:

YouCanBook.Me— With a simple setup, you can connect your Google calendar to your YCBM profile. What’s really nice is it allows you to embed your YCBM account directly on your website. This way your clients can quickly schedule an appointment without having to waste time creating an account themselves. It can be a little inflexible, but it’s worth a try.

Calendly— Calendly  is another program that connects directly to Google calendar. Similarly to the other programs on this list, it is rather easy to use and takes the burden of scheduling (often through bothersome phone tag!) off your shoulders. Read more

Be More Productive with a 15-Minute Vacation

photo credit: Nicole Rouyer Guillet

photo credit: Nicole Rouyer Guillet

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

The most productive people know the importance of taking a break. In fact studies show that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. This is a productivity tip I talk about in my book, Listful Living.

But what do you do with you break? Some go for a short walk, others make a cup of tea – but what about something a bit different? Today I’m going to show you how to take a 15-minute vacation and feel rejuvenated and re-energized.

Here’s how it’s done:

1. Go onto Google and choose the street view.
2. Type in your favorite city or a place you’ve always wanted to visit.
3. Use the Google navigation tools to take a stroll around and enjoy
4. Walk down the Champs-Élysées in Paris or relax on the beach in Bali!

Another great way to take a virtual vacation is to use the app Periscope.  If you haven’t heard it’s a new video streaming app that I’m totally obsessed with. Download it and you can watch people live streaming from their phones all over the world. Just recently I watched someone walk along the Great Wall of China. It’s so much fun and a great way to reward yourself after some hard work!

What do you like to do on your break?

BONUS FREEBIE: Want even more ways to stay organized, productive and less stressed? Click here to get access to my List-Making Starter Kit. It will boost your efficiency and get you back to doing more of the things you love.

6 Ways to Improve Your Life in Under a Minute

 Goals like getting healthier and being more organized can sometimes seem quite big, daunting and worst of all time consuming. But it doesn’t have to be that way. There are little things you can do each day, that may not radically change your life, but they can make it a bit better.

Here are some little ways to improve your life and, since I know how time conscience you are, they’re all things that can be done in less than a minute:

1. Eat a blueberry – Blueberries are not only delicious, they’re also really good for you. They’re high in antioxidants, high in fiber and low on the glycemic index. Plus this study shows eating blueberries can help ward off degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease.

2. Stretch out – A minute is not enough time to go for a run, but you can still get a little workout while you sit at your desk. These desk exercises are a great way to get your blood flowing again. Or there’s a new book called Happy Go Yoga that gives you some quick yoga moves to do on the go.

3. Doodle – When you’re scribbling away on a piece of paper it may seem like a waste of time. But studies show that doodling helps you to focus and increase your memory. So feel free to doodle away at your next meeting.

4. Make a cup of tea – I love tea! I’m practically obsessed. And for a good reason. Tea can help to reduce stress, lower blood pressure and reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease. So why not make yourself a cup today? Green is my favorite but darjeeling comes in close second.

5. Look at cute animals – Animals are adorable and they are also good for your productivity! Researchers at Hiroshima University have found that looking at cute pictures or videos of animals trigger care giving impulses, which can improve your work performance. That’s because you’re more likely to be attentive.  I suggest checking out CatsvsCancer.org because as you’re watching cute cat videos and increasing your productivity, you’re also helping to raise money to fight cancer.

6. Change your shirt – In a study from the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, adults reported feeling happier around the colors green and yellow. So put on something brightly colored to help lift your spirits.  It just takes a few seconds.

What are some little things that you do to improve your life in under a minute?