3 MINDSETS THAT HOLD US BACK FROM SELF-CARE

3 MINDSETS THAT HOLD US BACK FROM SELF-CARE

This month’s blog comes to us from organizing expert and best selling author, Julie Morgenstern, author of Organizing From the Inside Out, Never Check Email in the Morning, Time Management From the Inside Out and Time to Parent.

Our hobbies, passions, and the things we do for pure relaxation fuel and restore us physically, emotionally, and even spiritually in the most efficient way imaginable. Renewal activities provide care and nurturance for our souls — providing us with the energy we need to get through everything work and life throws at us. Yet, even though we know that and crave time for renewal, it can be very hard to make it happen.

Deloitte Insights survey found that 91% of employees and executives say well-being is a top priority. Yet the majority struggle to prioritize self-care, and 1 out of 3 are constantly struggling with fatigue, stress, and overwhelm.

What gets in the way? Time is certainly one major factor. Our lives are filled with demands and responsibilities, making it difficult to carve out for self-care. But the mechanical time issue is ultimately solvable. There are many practical solutions to the time issue–and we’ll cover many of them in this self-care series. The bigger challenge is our belief systems. In my 30+ years as a time management consultant and coach, I’ve noticed patterns of thinking that hold us back from the self-care we crave and know we need but are afraid to take.

Here are the three most common mindsets that get in the way of giving yourself time for self-care. See if any of these interfere with your ability to take more time for well-being.

MINDSET 1: If I’m not taking care of someone or being productive, I don’t have value. 

That may sound harsh when put in writing, but many high-achieving people are driven by a work ethic that leads them to feel irresponsible or that they have no value unless they are working or taking care of someone. That belief system can be hard to transcend when your value is identified by what you produce, do for others, and give to the world. You may feel like taking time for yourself for hobbies, napping, or relaxing is “doing nothing.” And “If you’re doing nothing, you have no value.”

If you can relate to that, I want you to entertain the idea that the richer and more well-rounded you are as a human being, the more you can have more value in the world. Hobbies stimulate our imagination. Rest allows us to make connections and think more clearly so that we can solve problems in more innovative ways. Being well-rounded allows us to become more compassionate and relate to more people, which equips us to provide even more value out in the world.

MINDSET 2: Taking time for yourself is selfish and/or stealing from others.

It can feel like taking time for fun or relaxation, or yourself is stealing from somebody. It’s stealing from your job. It’s stealing from your family. It’s stealing from your friends. And that can make you feel so guilty, that you don’t dare give yourself the renewal time you really need. But here’s the mindset shift: taking care of yourself is not competing with your job, family, or friends. It’s in service because it restores your energy. It grounds you. It refills your tank so you can give some more. There’s a cycle of energy out, and energy in that allows us to function at peak, and you have to keep refilling so that you can continue to give. It’s not selfish. It’s in service to others.

MINDSET 3: Work first, play second

Responsible adulthood seems defined by the ethics of work before play. This mindset can be a showstopper because we were programmed with that message as kids. You know, do your homework before you go out to play. The principle certainly has its merits. But as that message seeps deeper and deeper into your unconscious psyche, it can drive you to be all work and no play and nearly guarantee that you have zero time for self-care. Your work seems endless: as you check things off your to-do list, more tasks are added all the time. So if you are waiting to complete everything on your to-do list before practicing self-care, that moment is never going to happen. And you will absolutely wear yourself out in the process. So I encourage you to flip the script. You’re a responsible adult, get some to-dos done, play, recharge your batteries, get some more to-dos done, play, restore your batteries, etc. And that cycle of play, work, play, work actually allows us to go the distance.

We need to believe that we deserve time for ourselves and that it is an essential component of a happy, healthy life. If you need a little extra boost, remember this: what’s good for your own mental health is good for all of the people and projects in your life. When you take the time for yourself, time, energy, and focus expands. Self Care positions you to do good for others, your job, your family, your community, and the world.

Your Friends at Jacobs Gardner are big fans of Self Care and Work Life Balance.  Let us make your job easier by providing you with White Glove service for all your office supply needs.  www.jacobsgardner.com

Graduation Gifts from Jacobs Gardner Office Supply At A Glance

Graduation Gifts from Jacobs Gardner Office Supply At A Glance
Graduation is an exciting time! Graduates may be going on to more schooling, to a new job, or may not know what exactly the next step might be. The future is full of possibilities and it’s normal to feel a bit nervous. Give the gift of planning to help them sort it all out! Wherever they are in their after-school pursuits, an AT-A-GLANCE® planner, professional notebook or calendar can help give your graduate a sense of control and organization. It gives them a place to write down dreams, thoughts about the future, current accomplishments and help set them up for future success. While many people may use a smartphone calendar, a planner is more than just a spot to keep appointments and meetings. A planner gives the user a place to: • Brainstorm dreams and goals • Break down goals into manageable to-do’s • Write down information they need to remember • Plan projects alone or with a team • Track habits, workouts and more Time management is one of the most important skills in life. If we manage what we have to do, we can create time and space for the things we want to do – activities that bring us joy and connection while allowing us to best use our talents.   Review this gift guide for some gift ideas that will support your graduate now and throughout life. The Signature Collection Choose a Signature Planner or Notebook for your graduate. This collection was created for busy students and professionals who like a simple planning experience. They have large areas of open writing space and simple, yet stylish covers. Plus, high-quality paper resists ink bleed which helps prevent writing from bleeding onto the next page. Our Signature planners are available in both weekly and monthly formats, so you can choose the style that best fits your graduate. 

The Harmony Collection 

Give your graduate the gift of guidance. The Harmony Collection gently guides and helps users focus on the life they desire most. Your graduate can track goals, plans, notes and ideas throughout the year. And each month features a motivational quote to keep them inspired! 

Harmony Planners also include a storage pocket, premium paper that resists ink bleed, durable covers and colorful stickers to color-code plans, projects and goals.

Harmony

The BADGE Collection 

The perfect gift for a fashionable graduate! The Badge Collection offers durability and stunning original cover art. Inside, uncluttered layouts give your grad plenty of space to write out their plans on the thick, premium paper. They have colorful and sturdy tabs to quickly flip to the current month.

Like many of our collections, BADGE offers matching desk calendars and wall calendars, which are great for team or group projects. 

Encourage Your Graduate All Year Long 

Before you wrap the gift you’ve chosen, take time to jot down some little notes of support and encouragement throughout the year. Let your grad know that they’re in your thoughts!

Here are some ideas: 

  • I believe in you 
  • You are doing awesome! 
  • Any day you feel frustrated, call me! 
  • Sending you positive vibes today 
  • We are so proud of you 

Please share this article with others who may be looking for graduation gifts this year. 

These graduation gifts and others are available from Jacobs Gardner Office Supply. 

4 Steps to Successful Spring Cleaning

4 Steps to Successful Spring Cleaning
Spring-Cleaning

Are you ready to wipe away the grimy buildup of the winter months? We are too! We’re excited that the season of spring cleaning has arrived.

But where to start? How to begin? There’s no single “best” way to spring clean and there are many possibilities to choose from. Read on for some steps to get things kicked off and create your own ideal plan!

Step 1: Write Down the Plan

Capture your cleaning goals in your planner! Think about your approach. Do you want to go from the top to bottom of your house or work in one room at a time? You could even start outside and work your way in. It’s up to you!

Once you have your plan, stick to it. Use our At-A-Glance planners to keep track of those spring cleaning goals. You can also hang up one of our wall calendars at home to remind you of your projects.

Step 2: Prioritize Your To-do’s

There are tons of cleaning tasks you could do for the ultimate spring clean, but be realistic about how much you can accomplish at once. Set your priorities. Determine which tasks need to be done right away and which can be left until later.

Browse through our spring cleaning ideas at the bottom of this article and pick the ones your home needs right now. Make a list in your planner and check them off one by one!

Step 3: Find Time to Clean

Don’t burn out on your cleaning schedule. It may help to spread the process over a few days or weeks. For example, set aside 15-20 extra cleaning minutes every day, plus an extra hour once a week. If it takes you three weekends or six weeks to finish your spring cleaning, that’s totally OK! Clean at your own pace.

Step 4: Prepare Your Supplies

Organize all your cleaning supplies in one handy area for the big clean. It’s best to stock up ahead of time, so you don’t have to stop what you’re doing to run out for supplies. We carry a wide variety of supplies, so you can always call us for fast, free delivery!

Spring Cleaning Tasks

Throughout your home:

Check expiration dates on fire extinguishers

Clean/disinfect trash cans

Clean windows, screens, windowsills and blinds

Dust books and shelves, décor and picture frames

Open windows and screen doors

Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Shampoo/wash rugs and carpet

Sweep and scrub floors

Wipe walls, trim, baseboards and ceilings

Wash floor registers and other vent covers

Bathroom:

Clean mirror, sink and drain

Clean toilet, inside and out

Clean out cabinets and vanity

Discard old and expired makeup

Polish faucets

Update first-aid kits

Wash bathmats

Wash and/or replace shower liners and shower curtains

Bedroom:

Clean out dresser drawers

Flip or rotate the mattress

Clean underneath the bed

Wash bedding, pillows and curtains

Garage:

Clean garage door and door frame

Declutter tools, sports equipment, games and toys

Replace batteries in garage door openers

Kitchen:

Clean and descale your coffeemaker

Clean the dishwasher

Clean the garbage disposal

Check food expiration dates in fridge and pantry

Clean oven and microwave

Sharpen knives

Wash cabinet doors and knobs

Living room/family room:

Clean television screen

Sanitize remote controls

Spot clean sofas

Wash throw pillows and blankets

Office/work-from-home area:

Organize files

Disinfect your computer keyboard and mouse

Shred any papers with potentially sensitive information

Outside:

Sweep porches, decks and walkways

Pressure-wash the driveway/patio

Wash exterior doors and siding

Wash outdoor furniture

For Calendars, Planners, Cleaning Supplies and more, contact Jacobs Gardner Supply Company. We’re here to help you!

New Year Reflection Process

<strong>New Year Reflection Process</strong>

This month’s blog post comes from Christopher Littlefield. Christopher is an International Speaker, Trainer, and Founder of Beyond Thank You!

New Year Reflection Process

I hope this message finds you well and beginning to slow down for what I am sure is a much-needed holiday break.

As you prepare for the New Year, I want to share an end-of-year personal reflection activity to help you become present to all the ways you have learned and grown over the last year. Grab a cup of coffee, a glass of wine, a pen and paper, and carve out a little time to celebrate your year!

Answer These 5 Questions Before Wrapping Up Your Year!

Do you ever find that no matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish, you end up focusing on everything you didn’t do? No matter if your last year was the best or worst yet, before you mentally and emotionally reset and establish goals and resolutions for the year ahead, invest thirty minutes to an hour to reflect, learn from, and celebrate the last twelve months.

In this article I wrote for Forbes, I share a simple, personal reflection activity to support you in this process. You can read the full article via the link above, and I have included the questions below:

Questions:

1. What were my most interesting moments and unique experiences over the last year?

Did you attend a conference, start a new job, or get to sit in on a meeting with the boss? Did you attend a cool concert or a friend’s wedding or pick up a new sport? What moments or experiences defined your last year and why?

2. What challenges did I face in the last year, personally and professionally? How did I grow from these?

Did you start a new position that required more responsibilities? Did you or a loved one face a health issue? Did you go through a breakup or start a new relationship? How did you deal with these challenges and what did you learn in the process?

3. What new skills did I develop/improve last year?

Did you learn how to code, give presentations, or start learning a new language? Did you improve your ability to run meetings, coach employees, or increase the speed at which you write reports?

4. What have I learned about myself, how do I work, and what do I need to be at my best?

Did you develop any personal routines/processes that support you in and outside of work? Did you learn anything about the types of projects or topics you enjoy working on most/least? Did you learn anything about the types of people or work environments you enjoy most/least? Did you learn about what impacts your physical or mental health the most?

5. What am I most proud of?

After answering the above questions, reflect on what you are most proud of yourself for over the last year.

After, take a minute to reread and celebrate all that happened over the last 365 days. When you are done, schedule time to brainstorm what you want to make happen in the year ahead!

5 Compelling Reasons Why Having a Calendar is Essential

5 Compelling Reasons Why Having a Calendar is Essential

In today’s fast-paced world, where time seems to slip through our fingers like sand, staying organized and efficient is crucial. One powerful tool that can help you achieve this is a calendar. Whether in digital or physical form, a calendar provides a visual representation of your commitments and tasks, helping you manage your time effectively. Lets explore five compelling reasons why having a calendar is essential for a well-organized and productive life.

 

5 Compelling Reasons Why Having a Calendar is Essential

 

Effective Time Management:

Time is a precious resource, and managing it wisely is key to success. A calendar allows you to plan and allocate your time effectively. By scheduling your tasks, appointments, and events, you gain a clear overview of your commitments and deadlines. It helps you prioritize tasks, avoid conflicts, and make the most of your available time. With a calendar, you can allocate specific time slots for important activities, ensuring that they receive the attention they deserve.

Improved Productivity:

We all strive to be more productive, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed by a seemingly endless to-do list. A calendar comes to the rescue by providing structure and organization. It helps you create a routine and set specific goals for each day, week, or month. By visualizing your objectives and breaking them down into actionable steps, you can maintain focus, stay motivated, and track your progress. With a calendar as your ally, you can avoid procrastination, stay on track, and accomplish more in less time.

Enhanced Organization:

Keeping track of important events, meetings, and deadlines can be a daunting task. A calendar serves as a centralized hub to store and retrieve information about upcoming events, birthdays, anniversaries, and other significant dates. You can easily add new entries and set reminders to ensure that nothing falls through the cracks. Furthermore, leveraging features like color coding or categorization helps you distinguish between different types of activities or tasks, adding an extra layer of organization to your life.

Efficient Planning and Scheduling:

Imagine trying to juggle multiple commitments without a clear picture of your schedule. A calendar empowers you to plan efficiently by allowing you to see your schedule at a glance. You can identify available time slots, plan meetings, and schedule tasks accordingly. By having a visual representation of your commitments, you minimize the risk of overbooking or double-booking yourself. With a well-planned calendar, you can navigate your days with ease, reducing stress and ensuring that you show up prepared and punctually for all your engagements.

Reduced Stress and Improved Mental Well-being:

The feeling of being overwhelmed by a chaotic schedule or forgetting important events can lead to significant stress and anxiety. A well-organized calendar serves as a stress-reducing tool. It provides you with a sense of control over your time and commitments. By having a clear overview of your schedule and managing your time effectively, you can experience a greater sense of accomplishment and peace of mind. A calendar allows you to stay on top of your responsibilities, reducing the chances of missed appointments or conflicting commitments. It empowers you to make intentional choices and align your actions with your goals, ultimately contributing to improved mental well-being.

In a world filled with distractions and ever-increasing demands on our time, having a calendar is more important than ever. It acts as a powerful tool for effective time management, increased productivity, enhanced organization, efficient planning, and reduced stress. By incorporating a calendar into your life, you can take control of your schedule, stay organized, and make the most of every precious moment. So, embrace the power of a calendar and unlock a world of possibilities for a well-organized and fulfilling life.

 

jacobsgardner

 

Contact Jacobs Gardner for a large selection of 2024 Calendars and Planners. We’re here to help and look forward to serving your calendar needs this year. Call 1-800-638-0983 or email: customercare@jacobsgardner.com.

Use Gratitude to Counter Stress and Uncertainty

<strong>Use Gratitude to Counter Stress and Uncertainty</strong>

This month’s blog comes to us from Christopher Littlefield. Christopher is an International/TEDx speaker specializing in employee appreciation and the founder of Beyond Thank You. This blog is about focusing on gratitude, and we are grateful for his wisdom.

 

Use Gratitude to Counter Stress and Uncertainty

 

Taking care of our mental health during a pandemic isn’t easy. Since the outbreak began, we’ve all been feeling — understandably — a lot more stressed. One study found that 57% of people are experiencing greater anxiety, and 53% of us are more emotionally exhausted. These kinds of emotions tend to arise when we lose some form of stability in our lives. Right now, we just don’t know what comes next. Living in a constant state of uncertainty can feel like running a race with no finish line or completing a puzzle without a reference picture. Everything seems unclear, and the worst seems possible.

Of course, this not a fun state of mind to be in. So what can we possibly do to help minimize the impacts of uncertainty on our wellbeing? While it may not address the root cause, research shows that gratitude can help balance us out.

“Gratitude is an emotion that grounds us and is a great way to balance out the negative mindset that uncertainty engenders,” said Dr. Guy Winch, author of the book Emotional First Aid. When we express gratitude, our brain releases dopamine and serotonin — two hormones that make us feel lighter and happier inside. If we want to take care of our minds during this pandemic, understanding how to trigger this feeling is an important tool to have at our disposal.

Before you can trigger it, let’s understand why gratitude is so important. We experience gratitude when we shift our focus from what we don’t have to what we do, and when we take time to appreciate and be thankful for those who have contributed to the abundance in our lives. Nearly a decade of research by Dr. Robert Emmons — the world’s leading scientific expert on gratitude — and others has found that people who have regular gratitude practices are healthier, happier, and have better relationships. Further research suggests that gratitude is also key in helping individuals and teams persevere in challenging tasks.

Think of your mind like your digestive system — what you put in it impacts how you feel. When you flood your mind with a constant flow of worry, envy, resentment, and self-criticism (compounded by a barrage of news and other media) it negatively impacts your mental wellbeing. A gratitude practice is like a workout and a healthy eating plan for your mind.

In his article Why Gratitude is Good, Dr. Emmons shares, “You can’t feel envious and grateful at the same time. They’re incompatible feelings, because if you’re grateful, you can’t resent someone for owning things you don’t.” He goes on to share that his research found that people with high levels of gratitude have low levels of resentment and envy. When we take time to focus on what we are grateful for, we choose positive emotions over negative, thus we take steps to nurture our mental health and wellbeing.

How do we trigger gratitude in ourselves? It’s simple. We take time to shift our focus.

How to Trigger Gratitude in Ourselves

Have you ever noticed that when you are looking to buy a new phone or a jacket all of a sudden everyone around you has it? That’s because, consciously or unconsciously, whatever we are focused on is what we see. If we want to trigger gratitude in ourselves, we need to intentionally shift our focus to that which we are grateful for. The simplest way to do this is through questions and prompts and a few daily rituals.

Pause and reflect

When you find yourself stuck in a constant state of worry, or hyper focused on what is not working around you, try to pause for a second and ask yourself one or two of the following questions.

1.  What have I gotten to learn recently that has helped me grow?
2.  What opportunities do I currently have that I am grateful for?
3.  What physical abilities do I have but take for granted?
4.  What did I see today or over the last month that was beautiful?
5.  Who at work am I happy to see each day and why?
6.  Who is a person that I don’t speak to often, but, if I lost them tomorrow, it would be devastating? (Take this as a cue to reach out today!)
7.  What am I better at today than I was a year ago?
8.  What material object do I use every day that I am thankful for having?
9.  What has someone done for me recently that I am grateful for?
10.  What are the three things I am grateful for right now?

By taking time to write down our answers, we consciously redirect our attention to that which we are grateful for. It’s also a great way to look back and realize what we may have thought of as insignificant was actually the things that brought us joy.

Write a gratitude journal

One common practice is to keep a daily gratitude journal. Jae Ellard, the founder of mindful-based consulting company Simple Intentions, recommends book-ending your day with thoughts of gratitude. She recommends carving out a few minutes at the beginning of the day and end of the day for reflection. Maybe it is the fresh pomegranate you had with your yogurt or gratitude for the health of one’s families. Dr. Winch suggests starting the practice of “writing one paragraph every day about one thing for which we’re truly grateful and why that thing is meaningful to us.” He says, “This introduces positive thoughts and feelings into an emotional climate that is tipped too much toward the negative.” We can also focus our gratitude exercise toward the meaningful things in our lives of which we are certain, such as our friendships, passions, or family, thereby reminding ourselves that while uncertainty exists in some aspects of our lives, certainty still prevails in many others.

Build it in like a routine

Since the start of the pandemic, my wife, our four-year-old daughter, and I start every meal by going around the table and sharing one thing we are grateful for. It may be our health, the food on our table, or getting to play with Legos for an hour earlier that day. Although my daughter resisted the practice at first, she is the first one to remind us if we now eat a bite without sharing our thoughts.

I recently came across someone who has taken on the practice of sharing one picture a day on LinkedIn of something he is grateful for and tells his audience the reason behind it. His daily practice not only helps him focus on the positive but inspires others to do the same.

Another way to create a ritual around gratitude is to start or end each virtual meeting or co-study session with a grateful minute. Pick any one or two questions outlined above and invite a few team members or friends to share their answers.

If we want to be able to keep running in this race with no clear finish line, we need to learn to take better care of the runner. Although there is no one solution, learning to trigger gratitude may help us cope along the way.

Jacobs Gardner carries a wide variety of journals to begin your own Gratitude Journal: www.jacobsgardner.com

 


 

Christopher Littlefield is an International/TEDx speaker specializing in employee appreciation and the founder of Beyond Thank You. He has trained thousands of leaders across six continents to create cultures where people feel valued every day. He is the author of 75+ Team Building Activities for Remote Teams—Simple Ways to Build Trust, Strengthen Communication, and Laugh Together from Afar. You can follow his work through his weekly mailing The Nudge.

5 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE POSITIVITY IN THE HOUSE

<strong><em>5 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE POSITIVITY IN THE HOUSE</em></strong>

The beginning of a new school year can be challenging for many kids – adapting to new classmates, a new teacher and, likely, a new environment altogether. Though initially exciting for some students, there are those who require a bit more time adjusting to back-to-school season, and the new physical and social situations that come with it.

There are steps you, as parents, can take within the home to help facilitate this transition using a variety of simple tools and products…some of which you may already have lying around. Discover a world of opportunities for introducing some much-needed positivity and year-round optimism back into your kids’ lives without breaking a sweat or breaking the bank. Here are our five best tips for bringing positivity into the house.

 

5 ways to encourage positivity in the house

 

Teach gratitude

One of the most surefire ways to instill positive thinking in your child is by encouraging them to manifest gratitude. While that might sound like a tall order, it doesn’t have to be – sometimes, it can be as simple as jotting down a few words each day.

There is considerable power in writing out what’s on one’s mind. By creating a gratitude mural with the Post-it® Flex Write Surface in your house (somewhere communal, like the kitchen), you and your child can transcribe one or two things you both are grateful for at that moment. Once those moments are living in print, they become easier to remember and reference when life gets a little overwhelming. You can use dry erase AND permanent markers with the Post-it® Flex Write Surface, permanent marker wipes away with just water.

Show love

Back-to-school stressors are unbelievably common – for both students and parents. One of the most effective methods of easing your anxious child into a new school year is also one of the simplest: write an uplifting message on Post-it® Super Sticky Notes and put it in their lunchbox. It could be a funny joke, a charming family anecdote, or a simple “I love you”.

Or make things even more personal by laminating a favorite photograph of one of your child’s fondest memories with the Scotch® PRO Thermal Laminator. A simple gesture that takes no more than five minutes can leave a lasting impression on how your child thinks and adapts to their school day.

Make meaningful lists

Keeping kids busy, active and engaged throughout the weekend helps promote the stimulation and creativity needed to prepare them for the school week ahead! And, what a better time to start than on Saturday morning? By using some basic planning tools, you can help produce a different, more positive kind of day – one that encompasses your child’s physical and emotional needs.

Using organization products like Scotch® Double-Sided Tape to help secure motivational images or stickers, and Post-it® Super Sticky Easel Pads to safely stick to walls where you can see all of your work in action, you can create a calendar of daily tasks to help motivate your kids once they’re awake and ready to face the day. For example, “Morning Meditation from 9:00 am – 9:15 am” followed by “Breakfast Clean-Up at 10:30 am”. Meaningful tasks not only teach kids responsibility, but they also keep them busy. And staying “the right kind of busy” helps bolter moods and encourages overall positivity.

Use your head

A playful home is a positive home, and you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars on the latest board games or handheld gaming consoles to get together as a family and create lasting memories. Sometimes, impromptu play can be the best kind.
One of our favorites involves a piece of construction paper, a marker, some Scotch® Double-Sided Tape and a pad of Post-it® Super Sticky Notes from the new Summer Joy Collection: simply cut a long strip from the construction paper and wrap it around your child’s head (like you’re fitting him or her for a crown). Once the strip fits snugly on their head, fasten the ends together with a piece of tape. Then, write a word or phrase on the note, stick it onto their construction paper headband, and, using only hand actions, have your child act out the clue until the right answer is guessed. Alternate back and forth and make a night of it!

Say it loud

At home, kids can benefit from learning how to train their minds to recognize their own positive traits. One of the best ways to aid in this self-training is by writing and reciting daily affirmations.

Using Post-it® Super Sticky Notes, encourage your kids to form their own self-affirmations and write them down. Then, stick these notes on their bedroom desks or on the bathroom mirror so that they can recite them aloud while getting ready for school. Simple, yet effective ways of manifesting positivity.

We hope you enjoyed these creative tips for bringing positivity into the home. Discover more products for encouraging year-round optimism that your kids can take with them back to school – and beyond!

School supplies are available from www.jacobsgardner.com

How To Structure an Unstructured Week

<strong>How To Structure an Unstructured Week</strong>

Today’s blog comes to us from renowned organizer, Julie Morgenstern. Her best-selling book, “Organizing From the Inside Out” is one of our favorites.

 

Structure Your Week

 

Here’s an interesting challenge: How do you structure your time when you are not tied to an outside schedule? A reader inspired us with this note:

“I am retired and struggling to accomplish the important things because I get so bogged down in daily must-dos. I’d like help with overwhelm and staying on track to fulfill the big life purpose stuff.”

Whether you crave retirement or dread it (because you don’t know how you would fill all that free time), it’s astonishing how days can suddenly slip through your fingers when the routine of the workday is gone. The most mundane tasks (shopping, laundry, or researching a new cell phone plan) can suddenly take over your entire day, leaving you exhausted and drifting in a sea of unsatisfying drudgery.

It’s not just retirement that can put us in this situation. Sudden job loss, illness, or choosing to stay home to raise kids all remove the external structure generated by our work lives. As much as we may sometimes feel slaves to our work schedules, the structure is also powerful and grounding as an organizing principle for our lives.

So, how do you organize your days to be meaningful and fulfilling when you are not tied to an outside schedule? Here are three strategies that can help

1. Preserve the structure of the work day.

When you think about it, the structure of our workdays is an extension of the structure of our school days, a routine that has been with us since we started kindergarten. That predictable, reliable architecture subdivides our days into smaller blocks of time. You wake up, get ready and leave the house. There’s a morning activity, lunchtime, followed by an afternoon activity. Then dinner time, an evening activity, and bedtime. It is a helpful infrastructure in that it is easier (and arguably more interesting) to organize 2 or 3 hours at a time rather than 24 amorphous hours.

2. Fill the structure with activities you choose.

Once you embrace the built-in structure that is at your fingertips, the only question becomes what you pour into that structure. When you are in charge of the routine, you get to choose what activities you will assign to the morning, afternoon, and evening blocks. Choose activities you find meaningful, fulfilling, and fun. It might take some experimentation, but the good news is–you have the freedom to explore and find the things that bring you energy and satisfaction.

3. Assign themes to time blocks:

I have noticed certain patterns of what people crave time for when they are too busy with work. We all tend to crave time for Physical health (exercise, body care); Learning (expanding your knowledge through reading, adventures, classes, etc); and Relationships (spending time connecting with and expressing love for the important people in our lives). You can take these themes and assign them to different time blocks in the day (like being your own camp director). For example, perhaps mornings are for physical health, afternoons are for learning, and evenings are for relationships. Of course, you may occasionally need to spend time during the week or weekend for life’s drudgery stuff, but it can be contained to just one or two blocks, as needed. That still preserves plenty of time blocks for more fulfilling activities.

When you have the gift of freedom to organize your own schedule as you wish, the goal is to fill it with what’s most important to you. Stick to the beautiful architecture that you’ve had your whole life, but embrace the opportunity to fill that architecture with activities of your own choosing. Things that really ignite your spirit and allow you to explore all of who you are in your best self.

Calendars and planners are available from www.jacobsgardner.com

5 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Wrap Up the Year

5 Questions to Ask Yourself as You Wrap Up the Year

Happy Holidays!

Our last blog of the year comes from Christopher Littlefield of BeyondThankYou.com. Christopher has lots of thoughtful questions to ask yourself as the year comes to a close, and the New Year unfolds.

Answer These 5 Questions Before Wrapping Up Your Year!

Do you ever find that no matter how hard you work or how much you accomplish, you end up focusing on everything you didn’t do? No matter if your last year was the best or worst yet, before you mentally and emotionally reset and establish goals and resolutions for the year ahead, invest thirty minutes to an hour to reflect, learn from, and celebrate the last twelve months. In my latest article in Forbes, I share a simple, personal reflection activity to support you in this process. You can read the full article on Forbes, and I have included the questions below.

Questions:

1. What were my most interesting moments and unique experiences over the last year?

Did you attend a conference, start a new job, or get to sit in on a meeting with the boss? Did you attend a cool concert or a friend’s wedding or pick up a new sport? What moments or experiences defined your last year and why?

2. What challenges did I face in the last year, personally and professionally? How did I grow from these?

Did you start a new position that required more responsibilities? Did you or a loved one face a health issue? Did you go through a breakup or start a new relationship? How did you deal with these challenges and what did you learn in the process?

3. What new skills did I develop/improve last year?

Did you learn how to code, give presentations, or start learning a new language? Did you improve your ability to run meetings, coach employees, or increase the speed at which you write reports?

4. What have I learned about myself, how I work, and what I need to be at my best?

Did you develop any personal routines/processes that support you in and outside of work? Did you learn anything about the types of projects or topics you enjoy working on most/least? Did you learn anything about the types of people or work environments you enjoy most/least? Did you learn about what impacts your physical or mental health the most?

5. What am I most proud of?

After answering the above questions, reflect on what you are most proud of yourself for over the last year.

After, take a minute to reread and celebrate all that happened over the last 365 days. When you are done, schedule time to brainstorm what you want to make happen in the year ahead!

Happy New Year from all of us at Jacobs Gardner

Six Tips for a Healthy Work Life Balance

Six Tips for a Healthy Work Life Balance

This month’s blog comes to us from author Pamela Bump and our friends at HUBSpot. They have a huge selection of resources to help balance your work and personal life.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you love your job, you’ll never have to work again.”?

Well, that myth is both false and incredibly misleading. In fact, research shows that the more passionate you are about a job, the more work you’ll actually do.

The truth is a successful career takes time, initiative, and hours of hard work. And, while some companies enable employees to successfully execute on their roles within 40 hours each week, you’ll occasionally need to work later or longer to excel at other organizations

When you think you have the perfect job, you might tell yourself, “I clock in 70 hours a week because I’m doing what I love,” or “The family dinners I’m missing will be worth it in the long run.” But, while your role might not “feel” like a job, working long hours without making time for yourself eventually takes a major toll.

In fact, research shows that throwing yourself into work too heavily could cause stress, burnout, and — commonly — a lonely personal life.

Yes — Managers value employees who take initiative and put in extra effort when needed. However, your personal life is important to your

physical, psychological, and emotional well-being

.

So, how do you continue to excel in your career while making time for yourself and your loved ones?

The truth is there’s no simple trick to achieving an ideal work-life balance. But luckily, there are a handful of strategies that can get you pretty close.

To help you juggle your work and personal life, even if you work remotely, here are six tips that I collected from a few highly motivated HubSpot marketing managers.

While the tips below work well for in-office employees, these can be especially helpful if you’re working remotely and finding it hard to separate your work life from your personal life.

6 Tips for Achieving Work-Life Balance

1. Set hard-stops for each workday.

Despite the thought that successful employees will work late into the night, studies show that you’re least productive at night. Additionally, working late hours can make you tired in times of peak productivity during the day.

If your role revolves around large projects or long to-do lists, you might be tempted to work late or on weekends to get more done. However, our marketing managers suggest setting hard stops so you don’t overexert yourself.

“When working on a long-term project, it’s very easy to keep going into the night thinking, ‘I can get the whole thing done today,’ which was obviously bad for work-life balance,” says Joe Mayall, an associate product marketing manager at HubSpot. “Setting hard stops for myself in the evening really helped me balance things out.”

“Set (and abide by) your own boundaries and accept that a task is usually not THAT important that it can’t wait until tomorrow,” advises Lisa Toner

To prevent any tasks that you can’t plausibly complete in normal work hours, Toner says, “You should manage expectations with your manager about how much can actually be done during business hours.”
When you’re working remotely, setting hard stops can be even more import.

My blog colleague Christina Perricone explained that knowing when to stop working is a common struggle of remote employees who usually work where they live.

“Since you miss out on the social cues to head out for lunch or end the workday that are inherent in in-office settings, you have to create them,” says Perricone. “Set calendar appointments for lunch or a walk or a midday workout. Otherwise, you might find yourself sitting in front of your computer for 10+ hours a day.”

2. Make time for self-care and breaks each day.

Whether you’re working remotely or in an office, you can take steps towards managing your personal life without getting distracted from work. If your schedule allows, one way to do this is by blocking time for breaks or short self-care activities, such as taking a walk, on your calendar.

“Schedule personal things in your calendar like workouts, phone calls with family or friends, or coffee breaks. Then honor those commitments. This will force you to take a break in your workday and do the things that will recharge and fulfill you,” says Jennifer Stefancik, a marketing manager in our acquisitions department.

“When I get back to work after doing something personally fulfilling, like going on a run, I always feel more focused and energized.” Stefancik shares.

3. Be transparent with your manager and colleagues about your personal-life boundaries.

While you need to set work-life balance boundaries for yourself, you should also be transparent about boundaries you’ve set with your team or manager.

One way to do this is by noting your work and off-work hours on your company’s internal calendar. Additionally, you should also talk to your manager to come up with a schedule that enables you to experience and manage important moments in your personal life.

One HubSpot manager who’s transparent with his team and creates a public schedule to embrace his life as a parent is Victor Pan, HubSpot’s Head of Technical SEO.

“I cherish the small talk I do when I drop off my daughter at school and with other parents. To do this, I talked to my manager about blocking out time in my work calendar — which is shared externally to my peers and colleagues,” Pan explains.

However, Pan notes that establishing a flexible schedule with managers won’t always be doable at other companies.

“Being able to engage in work-life design is a privilege for teams with safe spaces, but it’s also something someone engaged in part-time work can consciously control,” says Pan. “At the end of the day, we’re here to make the most out of the time we have given to us.”

4. Prioritize and audit your to-do list.

Along with establishing a transparent schedule that fits in both time for life and work, you can prevent yourself from instances where you’ll need to work overtime by taking on prioritization tactics and auditing your to-do list to ensure that you’re working efficiently.

“So many of us get bogged down by never-ending to-do lists and as you check off one item, three more gets added. In today’s world, it’s more important than ever to focus on the high impact activities and reduce or cease the activities that do not drive significant results,” says Toner.

To help her prioritize her tasks so that the most important items fit smoothly into her work hours, she draws out an “Impact/Effort Matrix”: a four-by-four chart where you list all your tasks on scales related to the effort needed to complete them and the impact they’ll create.

Once she’s done filling out her matrix, Toner follows these steps:

Review the activities in the high effort low impact bucket and assess if you can simply stop doing them — these are usually not worth your time.

Take the activities in the low impact, low effort bucket. Determine if you need to keep doing them or if they can be delegated to someone else.

Look at the high impact, high effort bucket and research more efficient ways to achieve the same results. If so, move those items into the high impact, low effort square.

Six Tips for a Healthy Work Life Balance

When you’re done using the matrix, “you should have one to two items remaining in the high effort, high impact bucket that you continue to work on over a longer period of time,” says Toner.

“Everything in the low effort, high impact bucket should be the work you prioritize,” Toner adds. “By doing this exercise regularly you can learn if your to-do list is actually worth the time it takes to do it. Then, you can decide if you should stop, delegate, improve efficiency, or keep going.”

5. Schedule time off as needed.

In a recent blog post where HubSpot marketers revealed how they prevent burnout, Irina Nica, a community and influencer relations manager, noted that taking time off can help you eliminate stress while also adhering to your personal life.

“I was one of those people who would rarely take any time off because ‘there are so many things to be done,'” Nica said. “Even when I did, I still let some work slip into my day, even if that meant only checking my emails.”

“Over time, I’ve changed my views on time off and it’s been great for my productivity,” Nica explained, adding, “I learned to disconnect in the evenings and during weekends. Now, aside from the regular summer and winter holidays, I take long weekends off every now and then. That helps me relax and refreshes my perspective.”

Taking time off doesn’t necessarily need to be devoted to vacations or travel. For example, if you live with family, time off can be used for staycations, where you stay in and spend time with loved ones. Or, if you live alone, you could simply take a few days off to relax, video call friends, binge some TV, and perform self-care.

6. Physically separate work from your personal life.

If you occasionally or regularly work from home, the lines between work and life can get incredibly blurry. Because of this, you might find yourself working too late or thinking about work when you try to relax in your home. Luckily, one strategy that can help with this is creating a workspace for yourself.

“Try to designate a space in your home exclusively for work,” Perricone advised. “Taking calls from your bed or writing memos in front of your TV likely won’t be very effective. You need a space that allows you to focus and be productive. That way, you can keep your work and home life as separate as possible.”

Finding a Good Balance

While the five tips were all slightly different, they all followed just a few major themes that you can keep in mind when aiming to achieve a work-life balance:

• Time off: Everyone needs breaks or time to disconnect from work. Even if you work remotely, be realistic with yourself about when you’ll need a break from work and schedule break times in your day or longer PTO accordingly.

• Setting boundaries: Schedule hard stops and breaks for yourself, while also setting boundaries related to your work hours with your team and manager.

• Prioritization: Recognize the tasks you can save until tomorrow and how to complete your weekly to-do list more efficiently.

• Separate work from life at home: When you work from home, the lines between work and life can get blurry. Be sure to use the tips above to help separate your work life from your personal life at home.